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tryptych
10-05-2006, 02:45 AM
If this is Ahmadinejad's bluff, it is bluff worth calling

The only route to regime change and disarmament is engagement, so the US must respond to this week's letter from Tehran

Simon Jenkins
Wednesday May 10, 2006
The Guardian

For a British foreign secretary Iraq is easy. It has been Tony Blair's personal, colossal, hubristic, career-wrecking mistake, and the Foreign Office need only sit by and brush his tears with tissues. Iran is different. Iran is hard, as the new foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, clearly found in New York on Monday.

Conventional wisdom can be summed up in a simple declaration that a nuclear Iran one day may be undesirable but not half as undesirable as a war on any scale likely to prevent it. Other things being equal, only arms salesmen welcome nuclear proliferation. But for America and Britain to extend military operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran and start bombing would be, as Jack Straw said, inconceivable and "nuts".

But other things are never equal. The undesirability of a nuclear Iran is supposedly enforced by an international treaty to which that country still claims to subscribe. Though the treaty is all but defunct, its goals remain laudable. Besides, elements within Iran's ever-shifting coalition are known to be alarmed by the fundamentalist outbursts of President Ahmadinejad and his nuclear-enrichment boasts. How can those elements be helped? Might a few threats not do the trick?

Iran is a complex and sophisticated nation that offers more plausible diplomatic pressure points than ever did Saddam's Iraq. While Ahmadinejad may eat, drink and make merry on the Pentagon's ineptitude, he must look warily over his shoulder at his boss, Ayatollah Khamenei; at Iran's national security council under the more temperate Ali Larijani, whom Ahmadinejad does not control; and at his old foe, Akbar Rafsanjani.

A detailed survey of US-Iranian relations in March's New Yorker revealed the full extent of bilateral contacts until they were stymied, first by Bush's 2003 neocon national security directive and then by his ham-fisted intervention in the 2005 Iranian election, which helped Ahmadinejad to power. Even today there are plenty of Iranians who want no quarrel with America, and certainly not with America, Russia and China together. It is probably they who forced Ahmadinejad to send Monday's dovish letter to Washington, to which the Republican head of the Senate foreign relations committee, Richard Lugar, thinks America should respond.

This is the "engagement" strategy that Straw was adopting, to the increasing dismay of Blair and the White House, when he was toppled. Its shortcoming was to lack the belligerent machismo that is the default mode of London and Washington - and now of Ahmadinejad in Tehran. Just as the latter is Bush's ideal raving Islamicist, so Bush is the latter's ideal raving western imperialist. The collapse of the occupation of Iraq offers Tehran a daily foretaste of the glory awaiting Iran's soldiers and their surrogate militias across the Middle East should America launch an attack. Each sabre rattled in Washington is music to the army's ears, as it bids to spend Iran's swollen oil revenues on rearmament.

The trouble with big-stick diplomacy in this case is that its implied deterrence is implausible. There is no conceivable justification for a military attack on Iran when Bush's own intelligence chief, John Negroponte, puts a minimum of "five to 10 years" on its acquisition of weapons-grade plutonium. Bombing factories might impede this but not stop it from happening sooner or later, and would clearly induce Tehran to make that sooner. But then even Russia at its most paranoid and North Korea at its craziest never used nuclear bombs. They are not weapons or deterrents, merely status symbols. And America's acceptance of them in the hands of Pakistan, India and Israel is a gift to the xenophobic rabble-rousers of Tehran.

Washington can spend millions on pirate Tehran broadcasts, but moderate Iranians are crying to the west to stop bolstering Ahmadinejad. It is doing to him what it did to Saddam, putting him on television every night as a global champion of Islam. The one hope of curbing his rhetorical excesses is for his own people to rein him in, and that cannot happen when the west continues to make him regional hero number one. Bush seems unable to comprehend that his castigating a Muslim leader is not an insult but an accolade.

Everything I have read and heard about Iran suggests it is a nation to be approached with wary realism. The west has always misunderstood Tehran, always backed the wrong leader. It is now paying a terrible price for not supporting Iran in its war with Iraq. This oil-rich state of some 60m people may be administratively chaotic, but it is socially and politically subtle. Oil from anywhere will always find a market, but Egypt and Iran are two regional powers with whom a sane west should stay engaged. In the argot of old Washington, whoever rules in Tehran should be "our fundamentalist".

Bush and Blair have given Ahmadinejad a remarkable hand of cards. He can now impose his own economic and military sanctions on the west. He can force up the price of oil and traumatise insurance premiums in the Strait of Hormuz. While his control over the Shia brigades in Iraq may be overstated, he can orchestrate lethal pressure on the occupying forces and watch as public opinion in Britain and America devastates their leaders.

The realpolitik of this part of the world is that the US and Britain badly need Iran's cooperation. They need it to get out of Iraq, and somehow to police the collapse and partition of that benighted country. They have no need of new enemies. So when Ahmadinejad, at whoever's instigation, writes a letter inviting talks, it is a good idea to reply. If it is bluff, it is bluff worth calling. The present shouting match is megaphone appeasement, as would be a bomb attack on Iran's factories. The hawkish route to disarmament and regime change - if such is the goal - can only be through constructive engagement.

There is, of course, one thing that Britain and America could do that would wholly disorientate Ahmadinejad and have him rushing troops to his borders. It would be a sudden end to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a decision would remove at a stroke the running theme of Iranian militancy. It would saddle Tehran with two unstable neighbours whose insurgents and revanchists would cause it, its allies and its surrogates no end of trouble. After a bit of initial crowing the next Iraq will be Ahmadinejad's nightmare. Unfortunately such a step seems too clever by half for the west's present leadership.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1771366,00.html

droid
10-05-2006, 10:37 AM
That letter really is astounding... obviously aimed at the public at large and not the semi-literate Bush. Talk about shifting the goalposts.

If Ahmadinajad wasnt a theocratic dictator you might actually think he was a reasonable person after reading it.

Link from Padraig: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12984.htm

craner
10-05-2006, 10:46 AM
Yeah! He sounds like William Blum! Dude!

droid
10-05-2006, 11:14 AM
Oh yes, I forgot. Iran is EVIL. Everything they do is EVIL. This isnt an attempt at negotiation - its an EVIL plan so they can buy more time to build their EVIL nukes with their EVIL radioactive material.

I take it you dont think this is an historic attempt at engagement then Oliver? Nothing significant there to be noted? Nothing worth discussing?

Youre becoming more troll-like every day. Its shocking to think that someone in your govt might actually be listening to you and your cohorts... on second thoughts - that might explain why they just got stuffed in the elections! ;)

craner
10-05-2006, 12:29 PM
Oh, don't be ridiculous. Such hysterical spasms are beneath you, droid. Your critical faculties are clearly eroding if you think that all I have to say is "IRAN IZ EVIL". It would be easier for you were that the case.

If this letter had anything to do with "engagement" then it would engage. Which it doesn't. No mention of the very things they're meant to be engaging on! (Nuclear power, you dig? Terrorism, got that?)

It's propaganda aimed squarely at you and the rest of the anti-american world. And it's looking to be pretty effective.


You lot get cruder and more credulous by the week.

droid
10-05-2006, 12:42 PM
It's propaganda aimed squarely at you and the rest of the anti-american world. And it's looking to be pretty effective.

Yes because everything Iran does and says is propaganda yes? Because they are EVIL. They want their nukes and they want to destroy Israel and the US and UK if we let them. Anyone who gives them succour by listening to them is 'Anti-American'... http://weareie.com/assets/images/smilies/laugh.gif

Its a clash of civilisations doncha know? :confused:


No mention of the very things they're meant to be engaging on!... Terrorism, got that?

Er - it mentioned the war in Iraq didnt it? But I forgot - you only recognise their crimes as terrorism dont you? - all of our actions are benevolent (any loss of life is unintended but regretable...)



You lot get cruder and more credulous by the week.

Coming from a man who claims to actually trust Tony Blair - your opinions on credulity hold little water IMO. And speaking of 'crudeness' - if you read my first post a little more closely, youll see that I made the same point you did - except in a less doctrinally 'crude' manner than yourself...

craner
10-05-2006, 01:50 PM
Yes because everything Iran does and says is propaganda yes? Because they are EVIL.

Droid, what is this rubbish? You actually believe your own distortions? Or is this your stab at rhetoric?

I mean, explain to me how the letter is a constructive diplomatic document. How is it an opening for dialogue? What is there, in this letter, for any American politician or diplomat to possibly work with, or start from? It serves no such purpose. What therefore follows is that it does not seek to serve that purpose, or is the solo work of Ahmedinejad and he actually thinks Bush and Rice are going to turn around and say, "you know, we never looked at it that way before! And you know, this stuff about Israel having no right to exist...let's talk about that..." I mean, come on, this is no entreaty - it's raw propaganda!

As for terrorism - you still seem oblivious to Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-aqsa brigades, the Chechan war, ties to the ISI, Sunni groups and Shia militias in Iraq, al-Qaeda, etc., etc.,

Remember I tried to detail it for you before?

And that "trust Tony Blair" thing you keep dragging up - a throwaway line, a kind of punctuation, from a thread over two years old. It's not as big a thing as you think. I don't "trust" Tony Blair. He lies. On the whole, though, I agree with his foreign policy. He obviously botched the case for Iraq, which I do not applaud.

Anyway...

craner
10-05-2006, 01:54 PM
opinions on credulity hold little water IMO. And speaking of 'crudeness' - if you read my first post a little more closely, youll see that I made the same point you did

Oh yeah. Damnit.

droid
10-05-2006, 02:18 PM
Yes because everything Iran does and says is propaganda yes? Because they are EVIL.

Droid, what is this rubbish? You actually believe your own distortions? Or is this your stab at rhetoric?

I mean, explain to me how the letter is a constructive diplomatic document. How is it an opening for dialogue? What is there, in this letter, for any American politician or diplomat to possibly work with, or start from? It serves no such purpose. What therefore follows is that it does not seek to serve that purpose, or is the solo work of Ahmedinejad and he actually thinks Bush and Rice are going to turn around and say, "you know, we never looked at it that way before! And you know, this stuff about Israel having no right to exist...let's talk about that..." I mean, come on, this is no entreaty - it's raw propaganda!

Have you actually read the letter? The comments on Israel in particular are surprising.

And I am in no doubt that this is intended to sway public opinion, but the fact is, its opened a channel for dialogue instead of closing one. Surely if youre interested in preventing a repeat of the Iraq debacle, if you think diplomacy should prevail, if you think war should be an option of last resort, then any willingness to talk should be seized upon and not glibly dismissed?


As for terrorism - you still seem oblivious to Iran's sponsorship of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-aqsa brigades, the Chechan war, ties to the ISI, Sunni groups and Shia militias in Iraq, al-Qaeda, etc., etc.,

Remember I tried to detail it for you before?

Im not oblivious, and whilst I think your estimation of Irans role is inflated, you are basically right. What I disagree with is the characterisation of Iran as a terrorist 'cancer' in the heart of the mid east, and the deliberate blindness to state terror. For all Irans 'terror', their bodycount is still a fraction of the numbers killed by the US/UK/Israel (and their allies) since the revolution, for all Iran's internal repression, there's the prisons and public executions of 'allies' like Egypt, Pakistan. Syria, Saudi Arabia...

Why is it that you view Iran alone as worthy of censure? Why are our much greater crimes (and those of our allies) invisible to your eyes? Why do you throw stones from a glass house?


And that "trust Tony Blair" thing you keep dragging up - a throwaway line, a kind of punctuation, from a thread over two years old. It's not as big a thing as you think. I don't "trust" Tony Blair. He lies. On the whole, though, I agree with his foreign policy. He obviously botched the case for Iraq, which I do not applaud.


Sorry Oliver - I was dumbfounded, and still am. No rational being can say 'I believe Tony Blair' even in jest!! :p

Padraig
11-05-2006, 03:27 AM
But then even Russia at its most paranoid and North Korea at its craziest never used nuclear bombs. They are not weapons or deterrents, merely status symbols. And America's acceptance of them in the hands of Pakistan, India and Israel is a gift to the xenophobic rabble-rousers of Tehran.

I'm sure that the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would love to embrace Jenkins' shallow mis-appropriation of nuclear weapons as "status symbols" ... having already also seemingly forgotten the decades of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the whole underlying geopolitical "logic" of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Doesn't he ever pause to even understand that North Korea would by now have been invaded if it wasn't for its possession of nukes? Does he imagine that a country would actually be invaded by the US and allies if it had nukes, as opposed to their bully-boy preference for invading countries who don't actually possess them, but are instead alleged-as-fact to possess them or other assorted WMDs? That's some status symbol, then.

In contrast with the current Bush foreign-policy fundamentalist doctrine of absolute preemption ( the "imperial grand strategy" of US global hegemony), the MAD logic elaborated at the height of the Cold War cannot but appear, from our retrospective view today, "relatively" rational. Bernard Brodie, writing in the 1970s, summarised how this MAD logic effectively worked: "It is a strange paradox of our time that one of the crucial factors which make the nuclear dissuasion effectively function, and function so well, is the underlying fear that, in a really serious crisis, it can fail. In such circumstances, one does not play with fate. If we were absolutely certain that the nuclear dissuasion is one hundred per cent efficient in its role of protecting us against a nuclear assault, then its dissuasive value against a conventional war would have dropped to close to zero."

Though the MAD doctrine came perillously close to being dangerously unravelled when seriously tested during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 (resolved when the Kennedy Administration finally came to its senses and secretly agreed with Kruschev to remove their nuclear warheads from positions along Turkey's border with the Soviet Union), the MAD nevertheless "worked" not because it was perfect, but on account of its very imperfection. What made the strategy seemingly efficient was the very fact that we could never be certain that it would work perfectly, Unless it actually did. It was this scenario that was explored in Kubrick's 1964 Dr Strangelove, with uneasily hilarious effects: what if a situation spirals out of control for a variety of easily imaginable reasons, from the "catch them with their pants down" aggressivity of a rogue general sending off his B-52s for a "preemptive" strike against the sleepy, trouserless Soviets, to simple technological failures [the CRM machine failure] or mis/non communications [the OPE code-breaking and the failure to inform about the Doomsday device]? But it was precisely, and paradoxically, because of this permanent catastrophic threat that both sides never wanted to come even too close to the prospect of MAD, so they both avoided even direct conventional war [though they didn't avoid more limited proxy wars like Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Afghanistan, etc].


Indeed, the perfect MAD strategy (if the US nuked the Soviets, the latter would automatically respond, and the world would thus be destroyed) had a fatal flaw: what if the attacking side counts on the fact that, even after its first strike, the opponent continues to act as a rational agent? His choice is now: with his country mostly destroyed, he can either strike back, thus causing total catastrophe, the end of humanity, or NOT STRIKE BACK, thus enabling the survival of humanity and thereby at least the possibility of a later revival of his own country? A rational agent would always chose the second option. This scenario was overlooked/superceeded in Dr Strangelove, where we learned that the Soviets had actually perfected an automatic"perfect" MAD strategy by developing a Doomsday device ("But vie didn't you tell us!?"). Because if the strategy were perfect (if, in Dr Strangelove, for instance, the Americans - and the rogue generals - had been informed of the Doomsday device prior to its going "live"), it would, on the contrary, reinforce the attitude "Let's fight a full conventional war, since we both know that no side would ever possibly risk the suicidal step towards a nuclear strike!" So the actual logical scenario of MAD is not "If we follow the MAD strategy, the nuclear catastrophe will not take place," but instead: "If we follow the MAD strategy, the nuclear catastrophe will not take place, UNLESS some unforeseen event occurs," as we witnessed occurring in Dr Strangelove. This is why the US has never initiated a "conventional"war with a nuclear power [or any country with WMDs), this is why it won't attack a nuclear-armed North Korea, but did attack a defenceless Afghanistan and a disarmed Iraq, and fought numerous proxy wars during the Cold War.

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3239/207/1600/cartoon-un.0.jpg

"[I]As to Iran and nukes, the surprising fact is that the MAD logic still operates today: Why hasn’t the tension between India and Pakistan exploded into an all-out war? Because both sides are nuclear powers. Why have the Arab states not risked another attack on Israel? Because Israel is a nuclear power. So why should this MAD logic not work in the case of Iran? The standard counter-argument is that in Iran, Muslim fundamentalists are in power who may be tempted to nuke Israel. (Iran is the only large Arab state which not only does not diplomatically recognize Israel, but resolutely denies its right to exist as a state). Is, however, the Iranian regime really so “irrational”? Isn’t Pakistan, with its nuclear arms and its secret services’ ties to al-Qaeda, a much greater threat? Furthermore, two decades ago, Iran was brutally attacked by Iraq (with active U.S. support), so it has every right to feel threatened.


The last trump card of Western liberals is that nuclear weapons would help sustain the anti-democratic rulers in Iran, thus preventing a democratic revolution there. This argument got a boost a few months ago, with elections in Iraq and Palestine. Was perhaps Paul Wolfowitz correct after all? Isn’t there a chance that (Western) democracy may work and take roots in the Middle East, and that this unexpected process will change the coordinates of the entire Middle East? Isn’t the ultimate unresolvability of the Middle East conflict the fact that the anti-democratic Arab regimes need Israel as the figure of the Enemy that legitimizes their rule? Consequently, isn’t Bush merely accomplishing the work of Reagan? In the same way that Reagan was “naively” convinced that democracy would undermine Communism and that Communism would fall, thus proving all the skeptic specialists wrong, perhaps Bush will be proven right in his “naive” crusade for the democratization of the Middle East.


It is here that one approaches the crux of the matter: Such an optimistic reading relies on the problematic belief in a preestablished harmony between the global spread of multi-party Western democracy and the economic and geopolitical interests of the United States. It is precisely because this harmony can in no way be taken for granted that countries like Iran should possess nuclear arms to constrain the global hegemony of the United States. "===>Slavoj Zizek, Give Iranian Nukes A Chance.

But in the spirit of dippelomercy, and given the theological word-of-god hubris and soul-mate-ery evident in both Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad, maybe they could both register on that ever-popular multiculturalist career practice, a "job exchange programme," and exchange clothes for a while ... wouldn't fundamentalists everywhere surely luuve it?

"It is small comfort to the White House that there was something quite American about Ahmadinejad's campaign and the manner of his victory. A socially conservative, God-fearing patriot, a regular guy, sold to an electorate disoriented by modernity, feeling vaguely cheated by life and looking for scapegoats as the candidate to shake up the fat cats and the foreigner-loving liberal elites of the capital. When Bush comes to decide what to do about Iran, he may find himself looking at his own reflection."===> Quoted From:
http://www.nikutai-to-kageboushi.com/lbblog/images/weekendcover.jpg

corneilius
11-05-2006, 04:04 AM
At minimum it puts many of the questions that are asked on the net, that are never raised in the mainstream media, in that media - and that may yet be a way to reach to those people who do not agree with the war in their hearts, yet who do not access to information except via the usual channels - mainstream media, and as they have been absorbing that stream for so long they are almost reflexive to it's subtle manipulations, and rarely think, but rather absorb the opinions given.....

There are good questions in that piece, not too many anwers, and there is an ethic of desiring to seek those answers and their resolution, to avoid further war. As the man says, a bluff worth calling and treating with respect. Nothing to lose, a lot to gain.

Losing the possibility of a war is a gain for all those people who live in the intended war zone. That is worthy of all efforts.

The Iranian president has started a dialogue, the IAEA has been, and remains in dialogue with Iran, as do many other countries. Now it is time for all to demand that the US enter dialogue, and that they are then seen to be stepping down from confrontation and conflict.

Padraig
11-05-2006, 04:42 AM
... The Iranian president has started a dialogue, the IAEA has been, and remains in dialogue with Iran, as do many other countries. Now it is time for all to demand that the US enter dialogue, and that they are then seen to be stepping down from confrontation and conflict.

And isn't that the problem here: the US continued failure to enter dialogue despite Iran's offer?

US, Iran standoff grows tenser (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0510/p01s01-wome.html)

Despite rare letter, Washington sees no reason to engage Tehran as the UN considers action.

As un-noticed others scramble to join or renew the MAD superclub in Iran's footsteps ...

Brazil Officially Starts First Uranium Enrichment Facility: - (http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2006/2006-05-08-04.asp)

Brazil has inaugurated its first uranium enrichment facility to produce the type of fuel for nuclear power plants that Iran is running into trouble for attempting to produce.

Putin calls for defence boost (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1635648.htm):

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has called for a massive boost to Moscow's defence spending to bring it into line with other nuclear powers.


Putin: arms race with US is not over: (http://tinyurl.com/jhlfz)

In an unexpectedly belligerent state of the nation address on Russian TV, the Russian president accused the US of putting its own interests before its democratic ideals, and compared the country to a voracious wolf.

luka
11-05-2006, 10:43 AM
so to get back to olivers original point, how come political prisoners in iran only matter if they're friends of chomskys? (or is this an issue we're avoiding?)

droid
11-05-2006, 10:53 AM
so to get back to olivers original point, how come political prisoners in iran only matter if they're friends of chomskys? (or is this an issue we're avoiding?)

A sneer forms a curve - not a point.

And if he was actually trying to make a serious point, it was such a wilful, shit stirring distortion that its hardly worth commenting on. Heres an equally vapid response though: How come political prisoners ONLY matter if they're in Iran (and not Israel/US/Egypt/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia etc...)?


Plus it was in another thread. :confused:

luka
11-05-2006, 10:59 AM
i disagree.

i think shitstirring is justified if the shit you're stirring is padraigs turgid prose, cos he's bare dumb and annoying.

luka
11-05-2006, 11:03 AM
the politics discussions on dissensus are so ridiculous and stupid that the only rational thing to do is take the piss and cause trouble.

droid
11-05-2006, 11:58 AM
the politics discussions on dissensus are so ridiculous and stupid that the only rational thing to do is take the piss and cause trouble.

:confused: Uh-huh.

Bring it all down to your level eh? ;)

If thats all you have to offer - at least try and keep it in the right thread... Padraig's pissed off loads of people here, true - but the worthless and snide asides from yourself and Oliver are just as distasteful as his aggressive and patronising tone...

I hope you all end up locked in the same asylum one day! You deserve each other...

craner
11-05-2006, 12:23 PM
Oooooh Droid, you're so fucking precious, man!

droid
11-05-2006, 12:35 PM
http://weareie.com/assets/images/smilies/laugh.gif

Right on cue! Couldve set my watch by that post...

craner
11-05-2006, 12:42 PM
Indeed? As I was tucking into a piping hot Americano and getting inky fingers from a complementary Wall Street Journal, thought I pop by and say hi!

It seems that things are still as bad as yesterday.

craner
11-05-2006, 12:43 PM
But I note Padraig's been in.

scottdisco
11-05-2006, 12:47 PM
droid:
Why is it that you view Iran alone as worthy of censure? Why are our much greater crimes (and those of our allies) invisible to your eyes?
&
How come political prisoners ONLY matter if they're in Iran (and not Israel/US/Egypt/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia etc...)?

Craner may not appreciate me saying this because he can clearly speak for himself, but i'm the bloke's mate and want to say, honestly droid, if you think he doesn't care about the sorts of issues you outline above, as we all do, then you just don't know him well enough.
you could go and read through the archives of his blogs to see his views on Israeli political prisoners and so on, for one small example.

i think his original point was a bit of a banterish one yes, and i read it as being addressed to satanmcnugget (who has a cool blog, FWIW) about poor old Ramin Jahanbegloo.
it's satanmcnugget's business what Amnesty International alerts they post about from AI's Iran section but it's not like Amnesty International don't have other alerts in their Iran chapter.
i know we all know this, so, yeah, perhaps Oliver's point was something of a curveball, but i can also see what he means.
in the context of the politics thread here and what they often descend to, it wasn't a bad point.

btw droid did you call Syria an ally of the USA earlier?
i might have misunderstood what could be a vital fullstop, to be fair :)

P.S.
we'll agree to differ with our opinions on his characterisations of Iran. ;)

droid
11-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Indeed? As I was tucking into a piping hot Americano and getting inky fingers from a complementary Wall Street Journal, thought I pop by and say hi!

It seems that things are still as bad as yesterday.

Oliver - how do you expect things to get better here if you avoid any kind of real discussion or engagement in favour of disposbale snideness? Yes - Padraig can be a bit of a gimp, but do what others do and ignore him! Maybe one day he'll learn that if he wants to convince people of anything, then he has to at least attempt some kind of non-psychotic interaction with them...

If youve no interest in being constructive, of making your case without contemptuosly dismissing 'us' all as some kind of homogenous Michael Moore group brain, then why are you here? Whats the point? Is it really that much fun taking cheap shots at people you know virtually nothing about? Cheap shots at your own assumptions and predijuces effectively.

Surely you have better things to be doing? I said it in another thread. Shit or get off the pot.

droid
11-05-2006, 01:55 PM
droid:
Why is it that you view Iran alone as worthy of censure? Why are our much greater crimes (and those of our allies) invisible to your eyes?
&
How come political prisoners ONLY matter if they're in Iran (and not Israel/US/Egypt/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia etc...)?

Craner may not appreciate me saying this because he can clearly speak for himself, but i'm the bloke's mate and want to say, honestly droid, if you think he doesn't care about the sorts of issues you outline above, as we all do, then you just don't know him well enough.
you could go and read through the archives of his blogs to see his views on Israeli political prisoners and so on, for one small example.


First of all - that was a response to Oliver's original BS point, and as I said (just before the bit you quoted), it was an 'equally vapid question'.

Secondly, Ive searched his blog, and the only condemnation of Israel I found was a paragraph about radical settlers cutting down Olive trees. His posts on Dissensus (in the last year at least) are pretty monomaniacal on the subject of Iran. Im all ears if you want to send me a link.

Thirdly - is this the standard that commentators here are now held to? Do Luka and Oliver comb through Padraig's archives to try and qualify and clarify his stance before posting their latest sneering missive? Am I supposed to take the word of someone's friend over the words Craner chooses to post here? especially when Oliver's posts are characterised by ridiculous assumptions of his own making ? (http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=2598) - 'Nah - hes alright mate - he wrote something about Israel once'...



i think his original point was a bit of a banterish one yes, and i read it as being addressed to satanmcnugget (who has a cool blog, FWIW) about poor old Ramin Jahanbegloo.
it's satanmcnugget's business what Amnesty International alerts they post about from AI's Iran section but it's not like Amnesty International don't have other alerts in their Iran chapter.
i know we all know this, so, yeah, perhaps Oliver's point was something of a curveball, but i can also see what he means.
in the context of the politics thread here and what they often descend to, it wasn't a bad point.

It was rubbish designed purely to provoke. Also highly ironic for him to take the piss out of someone for bringing up an issue that he himself has been highlighting for years - even bemoaning the fact that no-one pays attention...


btw droid did you call Syria an ally of the USA earlier?
i might have misunderstood what could be a vital fullstop, to be fair :)


I did indeed, as (im sure Oliver will tell you) Syria has been on and off a strategic ally of the US - most usefully during the first gulf war, when they aided military efforts against Iraq.

The full stop was a typo... :o

craner
11-05-2006, 02:41 PM
Surely you have better things to be doing? I said it in another thread. Shit or get off the pot.

That's a good question and even better point. Honestly? Some people I know and like started Dissensus and use it. Actually, a number have stopped by now, quite sensibly. I don't know, reading this is just a bad habit I've acquired. It can occupy a morning tea break or two.

Maybe, Droid, with your encouragement, it'll be one I can finally kick!

scottdisco
11-05-2006, 02:47 PM
whoops.
i misread vapid as valid , which was basically the point of my post.
[feels sheepish :o]

sorry droid!

Oliver does go on about Mordechai Vanunu and Israeli F16's and the hill top youth and olive groves, doesn't he?
perhaps more in his old blog than either of his two newer ones.
shrugs.

i'll not begrudge Iran being flavour of the month though, eh. (http://hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/iran1205/)

and no i wouldn't presume to hold Padraig down to anything; his posts light up the board!
i guess this is a lesson to let others speak for themselves; my bad.

yeah i knew that about Syria, but in the more here and now they don't seem to have that many concrete allies do they.

droid
11-05-2006, 02:55 PM
That's a good question and even better point. Honestly? Some people I know and like started Dissensus and use it. Actually, a number have stopped by now, quite sensibly. I don't know, reading this is just a bad habit I've acquired. It can occupy a morning tea break or two.

Maybe, Droid, with your encouragement, it'll be one I can finally kick!

Cheap teabreak thrills and provocations! I knew it!

FWIW, I dont think you should piss off - just quit with the attitude (I know thats rich coming from me! :D ). Engage constructively or not at all. At least attempt it... everyone complains that this forum has gone to the dogs - and whats their solution? to make it worse. :confused:

bruno
11-05-2006, 03:22 PM
sorry to barge in on this exchange but, to address the original subject of this thread, it seems pretty obvious to me that the left is completely divorced from reality. i have read mr ahmadinejad's poetic letter, and no matter how charming and reasonable he may appear to be (he isn't) the fact is that this man and many of those in his government are criminals of the worst kind (torturers, repressors) whose word means nothing. these people are not the heirs of the great persian culture, quit being sympathetic to them.

and iran is flavour of the month. so what? events have a habit of taking place like this, one at a time. the left should be thrilled that the united states is actually addressing ahmadinejad with force instead of pretending that he doesen't exist, you would think it a splendid opportunity for a little protest against human rights abuses. instead, as usual, it's bush who is at fault for everything. the delusion!

Slothrop
11-05-2006, 03:29 PM
sorry to barge in on this exchange but, to address the original subject of this thread, it seems pretty obvious to me that the left is completely divorced from reality. i have read mr ahmadinejad's poetic letter, and no matter how charming and reasonable he may appear to be (he isn't) the fact is that this man and many of those in his government are criminals of the worst kind (torturers, repressors) whose word means nothing. these people are not the heirs of the great persian culture, quit being sympathetic to them.

and iran is flavour of the month. so what? events have a habit of taking place like this, one at a time. the left should be thrilled that the united states is actually addressing ahmadinejad with force instead of pretending that he doesen't exist, you would think it a splendid opportunity for a little protest against human rights abuses. instead, as usual, it's bush who is at fault for everything. the delusion!
I don't have a great deal of love for the current Iranian regime, but surely opposing them with force is about the worst thing you can do from anyone's point of view. A lot of ink is spilled on the subject of the US governments need for an 'enemy' to help keep the populace in line, but the exact same thing applies in the case of Iran - the more the west ratles its sabres, the worse the prospect becomes for the moderate and democratic elements in Iran, and the more appealing ruthless hardliners are.

There's even a suggestion that one of the motives for the Iranian government to push the whole nuclear issue was to help to stir up that outside threat, and keep their grip nice and strong...

droid
11-05-2006, 03:38 PM
...no matter how charming and reasonable he may appear to be (he isn't) the fact is that this man and many of those in his government are criminals of the worst kind (torturers, repressors) whose word means nothing. these people are not the heirs of the great persian culture, quit being sympathetic to them.

Change 'Persian culture' to 'American culture' and you have a perfect summary IMO. Only difference is, the President of Iran is actually capable of writing 8 pages worth of text... ;)

Also - find one post on this board from anybody that claims that Ahmadinejad is a 'reasonable' character and defends him as such... just one will do.

Otherwise you know what you can do with that straw man of yours...

bruno
11-05-2006, 03:47 PM
I don't have a great deal of love for the current Iranian regime, but surely opposing them with force is about the worst thing you can do from anyone's point of view. A lot of ink is spilled on the subject of the US governments need for an 'enemy' to help keep the populace in line, but the exact same thing applies in the case of Iran - the more the west ratles its sabres, the worse the prospect becomes for the moderate and democratic elements in Iran, and the more appealing ruthless hardliners are.

There's even a suggestion that one of the motives for the Iranian government to push the whole nuclear issue was to help to stir up that outside threat, and keep their grip nice and strong...

right, but then if you leave things to rot you're not doing much good either.

that theory you mention seems plausible except for the fact that this particular enemy is capable of bombing you to kingdom come, but then again the level of ideological insulation these people have must make that reality a little blurry.

i don't know, i oscillate between 'you must interfere' and 'you musn't interfere' a lot during an average day so i'm probably not the one to judge.

corneilius
11-05-2006, 10:34 PM
States interfere with matters in ways that remove choice, autonomy and power. They do so, historically, to exploit 'resources'. They are always wrong.

The people, who in name only, (voting is not power, only a shadow of it) comprise those states were originally co-erced into the idea of states by violence, and latterly, in some 'democratic' cases, by conscious psychological manipulation. They are always abused.

It is systemic, instituionalised and more importantly lethal to our survival as a species.

In the search for solutions here can be no sides, for we are all in it together.

The letter appeals to the people of all sides to wake up, and though that might not be the Iranian presidents intention (would he want his people wake up, being the a leader of a state?) it is our intention. And that is what really matters to me.

How do I as a person move forward the process of conflict resolution through transparant negotiation, in my own life, in the life of my local community and in the wider community?

What helps me recognise the power of my intention, and encourages me in the process of manifesting that intentions goals?