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Thread: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    donsutherland1;1058394342]Despite Iran's provocative gesture--

    Excellent response.

    Do you think that there exists a 'failsafe' date or requirement that if that date passes and the requirements aren't met, that Israel or Obama has in mind for when they will use the military option? It appears that this whole time we've just been holding Israel back, telling them to give us time. All this time is just further giving Iran the ability to strengthen their defenses, conduct war games, and further disregard the world.

    What do you think the tipping point is?
    Last edited by Polynikes; 11-30-09 at 12:49 PM.
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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Despite Iran's provocative gesture--and it should be noted that approved plans are not synonymous with implementation of those plans--diplomacy remains the most attractive approach for addressing Iran's nuclear challenge. A sanctions regime that precludes Iran from selling oil on the world market (and the U.S. would probably need to subsidize the impact of such a regime on such countries as China) probably offers the best chance for bringing about a diplomatic resolution. The U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan has already led Iranian leaders to calculate that the U.S. does not have a credible military option (whether or not that is actually true).

    A second approach that requires further and increasingly urgent study is whether the development of a containment regime in the event of Iran's pursuing or developing a nuclear weapons capability is feasible. Post-Iraq war analysis found that containment actually did a good job in precluding Iraq's restarting its WMD programs. Such a strategy would need to put Israel and moderate Sunni states under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. Otherwise, one could witness an outbreak of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. A vital issue would concern the degree of Iran's rationality e.g., would its leaders pursue a rational policy in which they would refrain from proliferating nuclear weapons or launching a first-strike against Israel? Unpalatable and flawed as it might seem, containment might be the best alternative should diplomacy fail.

    The military option is probably the most difficult and least attractive one. If a military option becomes necessary--and it could, given the historic experience of revolutionary states/leaders--it would entail substantial risk and sacrifice. At a minimum, such an option would require:

    1. Making available perhaps 500,000 or more combat troops. Air strikes alone won't achieve the desired end of terminating Iran's nuclear program. To produce that manpower would probably require a draft or enormous service bonuses at a multiple of existing ones to would-be recruits. It would also require a period of aggressive training. Allocating manpower and resources on the discredited "Franks-Rumsfeld" assumption that technology renders the need for massive manpower e.g., a critical component of the Powell Doctrine, obsolete would have a high likelihood of producing failure.

    2. Sending special forces units underground in what would amount to "suicide missions" to destroy the existing facilities that are beyond the reach of bunker buster bombs with full knowledge that most or all of those units would be wiped out by the Iranians. The President would truly need to place the national interest ahead of all other considerations in making such a heart-rending and almost certainly unpopular choice.

    3. Preparing a national energy plan to deal with a loss of Persian Gulf oil, and potentially for a prolonged period of time. In the past Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz and/or target the region's oil infrastructure with its growing arsenal of ballistic missiles. Already, Iran is strengthening its naval presence in the Strait of Hormuz.

    The national energy plan would need to allow for a sharing of U.S. oil and/or partial underwriting of the costs of acquiring oil for U.S. allies in Europe/East Asia, China, and developing nations. Otherwise, were Iran to take measures that create a global economic depression, the U.S. would suffer substantial damage to its geopolitical ties and overseas interests. Toward the end of the Arab oil embargo, numerous states were exploring the possibility of cutting special deals to appease the Arabs. Outstanding diplomatic leadership by Henry Kissinger helped avoid that dangerous policy of resource nationalism. Whether or not there are diplomats of a Kissingerian stature today ready to provide the necessary leadership is an open question.

    If the U.S. cannot develop a crash 10-year plan to move away from dependence on oil, its ability to immediately deal with a dramatic reduction in available oil, is questionable. But that's a challenge that would need to be overcome and the 1973 Arab oil embargo would probably be small-scale/short-lived in comparison to what would unfold were Iran to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and/or destroy the region's oil infrastructure.

    4. Readiness to absorb terrorist attacks by Hezbollah and other Iranian terrorist proxies against overseas U.S. interests, as well as on U.S. soil, possibly with unconventional weapons. The U.S. response in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and in the face of the H1N1 flu pandemic suggests that the nation is not adequately prepared for large-scale terrorist attacks in which unconventional weapons are deployed.

    5. Developing the kind of strategic military plan that the U.S. was unable to prepare prior to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The plan would need to consider Iran's history, identify and leverage potential domestic allies, provide a credible mechanism for post-conflict stability, offer a suitable replacement for Iran's current political structure (as the tasks involved would almost certainly require replacing Iran's current revolutionary structure, as the current regime would be bent on revenge), assume the potential rise of widespread Iranian popular opposition, and consider and plan for an enormous range of contingencies. Robust contingency planning would be vital.

    To be blunt, the Iraq and Afghanistan experiences demonstrated that the U.S. does not currently possess the ability to fight two major wars simultaneously. Among other things, Iran might well try to obtain some degree of support from North Korea e.g., weapons shipments, which would further constrain U.S.-led efforts. Iran could probably count on Venezuela's cutting off sales of its oil, at least for some period of time. Through August 2009, Venezuela was the second largest foreign supplier of crude oil to the U.S. this year.

    That the U.S. repeatedly fell behind the proverbial curve of developments in both Iraq and Afghanistan and failed to anticipate some highly likely events (e.g., the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan) raises serious questions about its current military planning ability. To get around those issues, the architects of successful plans (i.e., Generals Powell and Schwarzkopf, etc.) and those who foresaw the kind of scenarios that played out in Iraq or Afghanistan (i.e., Generals Shinseki and Zinni) would probably need to be drawn upon/even take the lead in the planning process. Needless to say, there would be "push back" from current military leaders. However, the margin of error would be too great and the consequences of such error too catastrophic for possible "re-do's" as one witnessed and is witnessing in Iraq and Afghanistan. A strategy that rests largely on ad hoc responses or leaves developments to chance will be a recipe for disaster in a major war. Therefore, those with proved records of success in military planning would need to play a key role regardless of the personal sensitivies of present military leaders.

    6. The war would need to be adequately financed. Potentially significant tax hikes and non-military spending reductions would be required. The U.S. cannot carry out a major war strictly on borrowed funds in the post-recession environment, much less if the world's economies suffer a substantial shock that dries up the availability of such funds.

    7. The U.S. would need the support of the European Union and the world's other great powers, particularly China and Russia. To obtain that support tradeoffs would likely be needed. The U.S. would also need to have the support of moderate Middle Eastern states and be prepared to help those states overcome domestic strife were radical elements to try to exploit the situation.

    Of course, the third and fourth scenarios might be deterred were the U.S. to threaten that they would result in the "gravest consequences" (diplomatic language for a response that could include a nuclear response) were Iran to take such measures. Iran's ability to be deterred would depend on the credibility of the threat (e.g., whether Iran believes the U.S. would carry it out) and revolutionary zeal of its senior political and military leaders (revolutionary aspirations can trump pragmatic concerns). Of course, were Iran to follow through on the third and fourth scenarios and were the U.S. unwilling or unable to follow through on its warning that such circumstances would result in the "gravest consequences," the credibility of U.S. deterrence would be shattered with long-lasting implications. Once a great power's credibility disintegrates, its ability to safeguard its interests, sustain its relationships, and deter risks deteriorates with it.
    Don,

    What do you suggest we do about Iran's refusal to cease nuclear activities?

    Regards,

    Vader

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Good stuff Don, but I doubt we could ever get the support of Russia and China. Iran will never attack them. I think 500K troops would be a minimum. How could we conduct a war of this magnitude without civilian casualties? The American political system does not have the stomach to do what is necessary. A WWII mentality would be a must. It would have to be a no holes barred war, with the US executing at its full capacity. That means starting up bomb-making lines and probably adding some. It would mean bombing the hell out of anything and everything military in Iran. It would mean the US pulling out its biggest hammer short of ICBMs. I doubt the current president has the coconuts to do it; not sure Bush would have done it. It probably would be for all intents and purposes....WWIII lite.
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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Ten more opportunity targets is what this translates to.
    It was the Austrasians, that hewed on bravely through the thick of the fight, it was they who found and cut down the Saracen King.

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by ptif219 View Post
    What happened to Obama talking to Iran and making everything all better?
    He apparently needs to do more talking.
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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    He needs to do less talking and take more action. To date, he's done nothing!
    It was the Austrasians, that hewed on bravely through the thick of the fight, it was they who found and cut down the Saracen King.

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Martel View Post
    He needs to do less talking and take more action. To date, he's done nothing!
    Oh,come on Charles....Everyone knows talking the Iranians ears off will get the needed results
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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Strucky View Post
    He apparently needs to do more talking.
    He may make a decision by 2012.

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Polynikes View Post
    Excellent response.

    Do you think that there exists a 'failsafe' date or requirement that if that date passes and the requirements aren't met, that Israel or Obama has in mind for when they will use the military option? It appears that this whole time we've just been holding Israel back, telling them to give us time. All this time is just further giving Iran the ability to strengthen their defenses, conduct war games, and further disregard the world.

    What do you think the tipping point is?
    A nuclear Iran poses a much more serious threat to Israel (tiny geographically and within easy range of Iran's ballistic missiles). Israel's threshold for error is much smaller than that of the U.S. (large geographically and distant). A first strike whereby even 1-2 nuclear missiles hit Israel could all but wipe out Israel. A similar strike against the U.S., even if it occurred, would be devastating but far from mortal.

    Therefore, I suspect Israel is more likely than the U.S. to have such a date in mind. My guess is that such a date, if it exists, lies in 2010 or 2011, and it will be dependent on the scale of Iran's nuclear activities, extent of Iran's nuclear progress, etc.

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    Re: Iran approves building 10 enrichment sites

    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    Don,

    What do you suggest we do about Iran's refusal to cease nuclear activities?
    Vader,

    IMO, sanctions that restrict Iran's ability sell oil on the world market should be announced and then put in place within weeks if Iran remains defiant. Financial sanctions will do little to impact Iran's economy, which is not highly connected globally. Its loss of oil revenue would have a crippling impact on its economy. Such crippling sanctions would probably facilitate a satisfactory diplomatic outcome, though such an outcome still would not be assured.

    The U.S. should simultaneously be thoroughly reviewing whether a containment regime is possible prior to and perhaps subsequent to Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons and planning a massive military operation should a military option ever become necessary. Such a regime would provide for assured destruction of Iran were Iran to proliferate nuclear weapons or attempt a first strike against U.S. interests and allies.

    It will be important for Iran's calculations on U.S. military capabilities to be adjusted so that Iran comes to believe that the U.S. has a credible military option. Right now, U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan has led both Iran's leaders and its terrorist proxies to conclude that the U.S. does not possible a viable military option. Indeed, just today, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah described the U.S. as being in retreat in the Middle East.

    If the U.S. is to alter Iran's calculations, it will need to take visible steps that lead Iran to conclude that the U.S. has a viable military option. Such near-term steps would include the President's announcing his intention to seek a war tax sufficient to fund a major conflict and his announcing a plan to substantially expand American combat forces. Through diplomatic channels, the U.S. should convey to Iran that any effort on its part to shut down the Strait of Hormuz or attack the region's oil infrastructure would lead to the "gravest consequences."

    In the face of continuing Iranian defiance, implementing steps for financing a major war and large-scale military mobilization, along with a movement of sizable naval forces into the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, including those with short-range nuclear missiles, would likely be needed. Such measures would be aimed at demonstrating to Iran that the U.S. has a credible military option, is moving in that direction, and is serious about retaliating massively should Iran attempt to close the Strait of Hormuz or attack the region's oil infrastructure. Ideally, such a show of force backed by actions, not words, would leave Iran unwilling to continue to run the risks of defiance and would break the diplomatic logjam. Whether or not the U.S. would take those steps remains to be seen.

    Nonetheless, if the U.S. seeks to avoid pursuing a military outcome, it cannot shrink from leading Iran to believe that such an approach is feasible, if not imminent. Sometimes, diplomacy needs to be backed by the potential use of force. This might be one such case.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 11-30-09 at 08:14 PM.

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