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Thread: Article: neither Obama nor Trump right about Iran

  1. #131
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    Re: Stay alert & try to engage with any moderates - if we can find any there

    Quote Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
    Originally Posted by southwest88
    & help the dissidents without endangering them unnecessarily.
    quote off/



    The first thing to do is to rehabilitate the US State Department. As the US has stood up military commands across the world (Central Command, for instance), the State Dept. has lost budget & personnel, & is hardly involved in US diplomacy ever since 09/11 & the War on Terror. Iran, for example, was very helpful initially to the US in the early days of our military intervention in Afghanistan. We exchanged information, Iran offered to carry out search & rescue for downed US aviators inside Iran, & so on.

    That all ended when Pres. W made his speech on the axis of evil, linking Iran as an active enemy of the US & US interests in the Persian Gulf region. The PNAC crowd under W also made a great stink about a military invasion of Iran - which no one in the military command thought was actually doable - because the civilian support (in the US) for a long & costly war wasn't there.

    The State Dept. was essentially an afterthought on rebuilding Iraq & on trying to administer Afghanistan. That explains why the embassy in Iraq is so huge - a boondoggle for the construction firms, I assume - & virtually useless to the US, although perhaps a good target for insurgent mortars. But that's hardly our preferred role in the World. & that also helps explain why we're in year 18 of an apparently endless war in Iraq, & I believe we still have troops (14,000?) & spooks in Afghanistan.
    OK, so, we try to rehabilitate the State Department, hopefully by succeeding in kicking Trump out of the White House in November 2020. Then, what?

  2. #132
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    Re: Don't count on the professional Iranian military

    Quote Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
    Having tried brute force for 19 years now, it's time to pull back the military & try diplomacy again. That means having people @ the State Dept. who understand the cultures, languages, history & leading personnel of Iran (& Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) It will take them a while, of course, our diplomats are quite rusty by now, having been kicked to the curb after 09/11, when we were going to remake the Middle East (all of it! All @ once! & on the cheap - the oil would pay for everything! Hell, we'd make money on the deal!) on the model of US bucolic nice suburban areas, replete with swimming pools, country clubs, & probably strip malls & Welcome Wagon®. That didn't work out well @ all - time to let the workaday diplomats have a go - & not jostle their elbows, while they're @ it.
    I understand that, but your prescription is a bit vague. What exactly should our diplomates be trying to accomplish? Any specific plan/strategy? Goals?

  3. #133
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    Re: Don't count on the professional Iranian military

    Quote Originally Posted by HumblePi View Post
    In 2018, a ballistic missile alert was issued over the television, radio, and cellphones in the U.S. state of Hawaii. People in Hawaii were in a panic, even opening up manhole covers to put their children underground. Had a missile truly been launched, the Hawaii push alert should have been followed up with another set of alarms with sirens, which did not happen, but why? It's because the U.S. Pacific Command knew it was a false alarm. Had it not been a false alarm, the U.S.Pacific Command would have about 15 minutes to respond and take it out long before it reached Hawaii. The U.S. Strategic Air Command is superior to any in the world. The U.S. is well protected.
    Look, HumblePi, I sure hope you are right, and in the case I'm the one who is right, of course it gives me no pleasure whatsoever. I have children, I hope they will give me grandchildren; nothing would make me happier than the assurance that they will be safe from nuclear threats in this increasingly tense world. Unfortunately, though, I do believe that chances are that you are wrong. See this VERY detailed, and VERY sober assessment of the state of our missile defenses:

    The Best Defense Ever? Busting Myths About the Trump Administration’s Missile Defense Review

    Just one paragraph among many:

    The Missile Defense Review also proposes a major expansion of the interceptors based in California and Alaska designed to shoot down intercontinental-range missiles, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense. This system has, at best, a mixed test record. The Missile Defense Agency, an agency free from many of the Pentagon’s usual oversight, testing, and accountability rules, states a success rate of 10 intercepts out of 18 attempts since 1999. The Union of Concerned Scientists puts the intercept success rate under 50 percent. Keep in mind that those tests have been highly scripted toward success rather than conducted under operational conditions.
    See, my memory was faulty. I thought our defenses would intercept three out of four ICBMs. It's actually much worse than that: around 50%. Tests were done. In ideal test conditions, not random and unexpected real life attacks, we only intercepted 10 out of 18!!!

    See several paragraphs saying that a lot of the myths about missile defense are wishful thinking and rely on technological ideas that either don't exist yet or aren't tested.

    See for example what is said of your hope for laser strikes from space:

    Space-based kinetic interceptors could target ICBMs during their boost phase, but that requires the interceptor to be near the launch site. A battle satellite in low-Earth orbit will, because it is orbiting, spend only a small fraction of the time within range of adversary launch sites. Continuous coverage therefore requires a constellation of dozens or more likely hundreds of expensive satellites. Satellites carrying directed-energy weapons like lasers could have more range, but still would require line-of-sight shots — and more importantly, that technology does not currently exist. Orbiting anti-missile platforms would themselves be highly vulnerable to anti-satellite weapons. Advocates may propose that orbiting ballistic missile defense platforms carry defensive countermeasures of their own, but it is hard to imagine how such countermeasures could not be overcome with improved anti-satellite weapons. Development of defensive space technology has been described as a “self-licking ice cream cone” as it is never really reaches the intended goal; it only perpetuates the need for a next step, and more funding.
    And now, like I said, these are real experts who seem to know what they are saying. See the authors' credentials:

    David T. Burbach is an Associate Professor at the Naval War College who writes on security and technology issues. Joan Johnson-Freese holds the Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Chair of Science, Space & Technology at the Naval War College.
    This other article is more optimistic than the two professor's but still says that at best we're protected at 81% so 1 in 5 will still go through, and the article states at the end:

    The biggest wild card, North Korea, is believed to have between 10 and 20. Just one of those poking through U.S. missile defenses would be unspeakably catastrophic.
    How America Protects Its Citizens and Allies from Ballistic Missiles

    Now, NK has more; currently estimated at 30 with capacity for 30 more. 60 x 80% is 12 still coming through. Not good.

    Again, this is not meant to challenge you in any way; I'd have loved to find out that you are right, but I'm really afraid that you are wrong, unfortunately for us all.
    Last edited by GreatNews2night; 01-13-20 at 09:00 PM.

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    Time to retool & reinvent ourselves

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatNews2night View Post
    OK, so, we try to rehabilitate the State Department, hopefully by succeeding in kicking Trump out of the White House in November 2020. Then, what?
    Yes, put diplomacy front & center in foreign policy. We (the US) need to rebuild our post-WWII alliances, look @ how much military we actually need (I recommend reading The new rules of war, Sean McFate, c2019, William Morrow - sound thinking on why we're getting outmaneuvered by pipsqueaks like CIS, China, N. Korea, & suggestions to gain the upper hand), rebuild our infrastructure, reevaluate our sunk costs in the cities & urban areas. We need to solve national health care, & start searching for, IDing & training up the next generation of scientists & engineers & doctors. We've cut off a lot of foreign students who came here to study, & often stayed & settled in the US. Their success was also ours.

    Without that flow, we need to develop our own sources. We have people who could do it, but we need to work with them to get them up to speed. Some of that may just be mentoring, but we need to get going on it.

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    Re: Time to retool & reinvent ourselves

    Quote Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
    Yes, put diplomacy front & center in foreign policy. We (the US) need to rebuild our post-WWII alliances, look @ how much military we actually need (I recommend reading The new rules of war, Sean McFate, c2019, William Morrow - sound thinking on why we're getting outmaneuvered by pipsqueaks like CIS, China, N. Korea, & suggestions to gain the upper hand), rebuild our infrastructure, reevaluate our sunk costs in the cities & urban areas. We need to solve national health care, & start searching for, IDing & training up the next generation of scientists & engineers & doctors. We've cut off a lot of foreign students who came here to study, & often stayed & settled in the US. Their success was also ours.

    Without that flow, we need to develop our own sources. We have people who could do it, but we need to work with them to get them up to speed. Some of that may just be mentoring, but we need to get going on it.
    That seems like a great plan for America, but even if we accomplish all that, it will hardly solve the Iranian problem. Again, do you recommend anything specific, rather than just saying that we'll beef up the State Department and diplomacy?

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    The stars my destination

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatNews2night View Post
    I understand that, but your prescription is a bit vague. What exactly should our diplomates be trying to accomplish? Any specific plan/strategy? Goals?
    We need to evaluate our military posture in the World. Does every political/military problem require yet another multi-billion-dollar weapon system @ the bleeding edge of technology? Why is that?

    We can't afford to hollow out our industry & manufacturing to build the World's best weapon system of all time, with every technological bell & whistle added on, on a cost-plus basis. We don't need all that, we need sustainable technological superiority that doesn't bankrupt us in the bargain.

    We also need a realistic foreign policy. Pace PNAC, we don't need to invade Iran, nor N. Korea. The CIS (Russia & then the USSR) has already withstood @ least a pair of invasions; I don't think it's doable there either. The last successful invasion in China was from within, & Mao & the Communist Party there very nearly lost. We need to reinvigorate our technological & engineering base; & fanning our biotech base would be an excellent boost to our economy & go a long ways to solving pressing domestic & global problems.

    There's plenty to do.

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    Re: Time to retool & reinvent ourselves

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatNews2night View Post
    That seems like a great plan for America, but even if we accomplish all that, it will hardly solve the Iranian problem. Again, do you recommend anything specific, rather than just saying that we'll beef up the State Department and diplomacy?
    In terms of our relationship with Iran? Sure, we have to reevaluate: First of all, we got really crappy advice from the British cousins, who ran into contractual issues that they didn't want to pay off on in Iran in 1953. Lacking the power (& funding) to steamroller Iran's nationalists, they talked Eisenhower into doing the deed for them, by dangling the Red Menace in front of him. So we (the US) got off on the wrong foot with Iran to begin with.

    Then we were so in love with the Shah of Iran after we propped him back up on the throne, & the weapons & oil/natgas infrastructure & equipment & jobs & oil & money that Iran generated - that we neglected to leave any networks on hand in Iran, to monitor what the status was there. We instead relied on Savak (their secret service, we trained them). We didn't leave any network there, either. We relied on the Shah to be straight with us, even though he was dying of some exotic cancer, & lost all interest in carrying on (I don't think we knew about his health issues, either.)

    He didn't want to destroy the country in order to save it (or rather, his reign). So he eventually capitulated, after dithering for far too long. We allowed the Shah into the US for treatment, which set off the excitables (the proto Revolutionary Guard in Iran). They charged & took the US Embassy, captured the staff, & paraded them about. The mullahs were appalled, but @ the same time never disavowed the act - which poisoned the relationship through Pres. W's term.

    So - we all need to take a deep breath, & start over. It will take decades of careful, painstaking work - because the relationship has been so fraught, because the US has been the fall guy for all kinds of game playing - some imperial, some fanatically paranoid - but then, incredibly ugly things have happened to Iran. Usually the US was just holding the bag when the cops came by - & sometimes we were the bad guy.

    We - the US, the West, & Iran still have to live on the same planet. Or @ least pretend to, enough that we're not @ dagger's point all the time.

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    Re: Time to retool & reinvent ourselves

    Quote Originally Posted by southwest88 View Post
    In terms of our relationship with Iran? Sure, we have to reevaluate: First of all, we got really crappy advice from the British cousins, who ran into contractual issues that they didn't want to pay off on in Iran in 1953. Lacking the power (& funding) to steamroller Iran's nationalists, they talked Eisenhower into doing the deed for them, by dangling the Red Menace in front of him. So we (the US) got off on the wrong foot with Iran to begin with.

    Then we were so in love with the Shah of Iran after we propped him back up on the throne, & the weapons & oil/natgas infrastructure & equipment & jobs & oil & money that Iran generated - that we neglected to leave any networks on hand in Iran, to monitor what the status was there. We instead relied on Savak (their secret service, we trained them). We didn't leave any network there, either. We relied on the Shah to be straight with us, even though he was dying of some exotic cancer, & lost all interest in carrying on (I don't think we knew about his health issues, either.)

    He didn't want to destroy the country in order to save it (or rather, his reign). So he eventually capitulated, after dithering for far too long. We allowed the Shah into the US for treatment, which set off the excitables (the proto Revolutionary Guard in Iran). They charged & took the US Embassy, captured the staff, & paraded them about. The mullahs were appalled, but @ the same time never disavowed the act - which poisoned the relationship through Pres. W's term.

    So - we all need to take a deep breath, & start over. It will take decades of careful, painstaking work - because the relationship has been so fraught, because the US has been the fall guy for all kinds of game playing - some imperial, some fanatically paranoid - but then, incredibly ugly things have happened to Iran. Usually the US was just holding the bag when the cops came by - & sometimes we were the bad guy.

    We - the US, the West, & Iran still have to live on the same planet. Or @ least pretend to, enough that we're not @ dagger's point all the time.
    OK, finally you have addressed the topic, and did well. Thank you; these are very good points. It is very interesting to think of the USA as the victim of manipulation by other players. We continue to suffer manipulation from Israel, from Saudi Arabia, and now even from Russia. I actually like your idea of stepping back and resetting the tone and quality of our - as of now non-existing - dialogue with Iran. Of course our current administration has no appetite for it, and no capacity to do it even if they wanted to. But maybe in the future another administration will be able to reset things. Of course, for this, the Iranians would have to be willing to engage as well, and their resentment and mistrust is such that it is not very likely that they'd be willing and capable, either.

    From our side, it is encouraging than in the other thread I started about this, 85% of people declared that they wanted anything but war against Iran. Despite our divide, the American people don't want war with Iran. A national poll found that 56% of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of Iran, including 40% of Republicans. So, there is hope.

  9. #139
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    Re: Don't count on the professional Iranian military

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatNews2night View Post
    I understand that, but your prescription is a bit vague. What exactly should our diplomates be trying to accomplish? Any specific plan/strategy? Goals?
    There isn't any with Trump in office. All of that comes from the President and Trump neither has the interest or the inclination or even the bandwidth. But the question is a bit premature until we know Trump is gone and we see who we have in there.

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    Re: Don't count on the professional Iranian military

    Quote Originally Posted by jnug View Post
    There isn't any with Trump in office. All of that comes from the President and Trump neither has the interest or the inclination or even the bandwidth. But the question is a bit premature until we know Trump is gone and we see who we have in there.
    Yep, that's what I said in my other response:

    Of course our current administration has no appetite for it, and no capacity to do it even if they wanted to. But maybe in the future another administration will be able to reset things.

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