Iran threatens preemptive war, sends warships to the coast of Syria

Discussion in 'Archive: Your Jedi Council Community' started by Ghost, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    It's far more likely Israel will attack Iran first, which is why the US and other western countries should be ensuring this does not happen instead of worrying about some supposed attack on them and their allies that Iran will never actually do.

    Iran's biggest global threat is their links with terrorist organisations, this should be dealt with and pressure should be put on the corrupt regime the country has.
  2. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    You missed my point. If Iran made and sold a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization, it would be extraordinarily difficult to prove that conclusively. Our excellent accounting of all nuclear bombs in the world is based almost entirely on the willingness of participating governments to disclose their arsenal data. There is no one walking around and counting up nuclear weapons (or materials) and physically verifying what's reported. So if Iran sold a weapon a terrorist organization, and they used it, we would certainly suspect them of the crime. But as soon as we started accusing, they'd naturally deny. And our ability to act would be severely hampered.

    I was trying to point out that Iran's calculus is that the US will not act forcefully in response to their provocations. I think they know there's a limit as to how far you can push us, but I suspect that without a clear act of war from them, the US will not engage Iran militarily. So selling nuclear weapons to terrorists with sufficient ambiguity in place as to their source, the Iranians may be calculating that our response would be, at best, saber rattling and threats, which they can deflect with denials and bluster.

    That said, like you, I happen to think that if a nuclear bomb was actually detonated on US soil, no matter how small, all bets would be off. We wouldn't worry about international opinion and we would act unilaterally on whatever flimsy evidence we need and bomb the everliving daylights out of much of the middle east. Wise? No. But it's probably what would happen. The question is does Iran really think that we'll react that way? One would hope that they would certainly fear it on some level. But I'm not so sure. And there is something to be said about a wink and a nod stab into the heart of the west.

    I think Iran's behavior over the last few months has been about playing to jingoism, testing the boundaries of US restraint (weakened by having fought in the middle east for 10+ yrs) and testing the strength of their relationships with China and Russia.

    I was trying to communicate how the Iranian government (well, the Iranian National Guard, anyway) might perceive that event. No, I don't think there was a whole lot we could or should have done differently in that situation. As for the experts who question the Iranians involvement in the plot, I tend to defer to the people doing the actual investigating rather than the armchair quarterbacks who used to do the investigating. I've seen the Iranians in action. They can be awfully amateurish at times.

    No one gives nuclear weapons to anyone. They are sold. And are very, very valuable. Your point that it might not be in Iran's self-interest to sell one because of the wild card factor is valid. But Iran knows that the terrorist organizations will only target the west. Certainly certain factions in the Iranian military would be very happy to see targets in the West get blown up. Win-win.
  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    You don't think a Sunni terrorist group would target Iran?
  4. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Of course there are some who would want to do this, just as there are complete lunatics in the US (Hello, Rick Santorum!) that want to go to war with Iran. But that's a much less important question than considering whether control of the Iranian armed forces (and more specifically, their fissile material) is so loose that one of these figures could act independently. The second question is then whether the official governing apparatus of Iran would see any benefit in doing this.

    I think the response to the first question is plainly no. There's not really a military-civilian split in Iran like we see in Pakistan. The Revolutionary Guard has been exercising more influence of late, but they've done so through conventional democratic means. More importantly, their leading figure is Ahmadinejad, someone who is already prominent. For all his bombast, he's never shown any serious indication of doing something like what you are suggesting. And while he's lost influence recently, his base is still for the most part with him, and those that have peeled off have not done so for a want of aggressiveness against the US. Indeed, if anything, the general mood is arguably more conciliatory than the one he is portraying. Let alone the fact that the significant parts of the Revolutionary Guard seems to have sided with Khameini over Ahamdinejad in the first place.

    As to the second, I guess I don't see how it's possible. While some terrorists groups may see "the West" as a monolith, the government of Iran most certainly does not. How would it help, for instance, to bomb one of their own oil importers? More broadly, what would a terrorist attack against the United States even accomplish? There's no coherent geopolitical endpoint here, it's just killing a bunch of people. How would it fundamentally alter the playing field in Iran's favor? I'm also dubious of your "testing the limits of support" theory. Both Russia and China have, repeatedly over the last decade, abandoned diplomatic allies for offenses far smaller than detonating a nuclear weapon. They've let the sanctions against Iran go farther than the regime initially predicted for even trying to develop them. It is completely implausible to me that they would somehow believe, in light of all this, that they could expect any real international support after doing something like what you're suggesting.

    You started out by criticizing those who refuse to treat Iran as a rational actor. I agree with that. For that reason, I'm baffled as to why you think they would attempt something that gives they have A)no clear rationale for trying B)no plausible plan for executing and C)no real way of dealing with the consequences of. For me, no part of this adds up to "rational" at all.
  5. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    No.

    Your intel (and subsequent analysis) is faulty.


    Seriously? Look what 9/11 did to our democracy? They are quite happy to see us abandon our talk of freedom and democracy.

    Edit: You know what? Screw it. Carry on.
  6. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    (Un?)fortunately, I saw your original comments. As it happens though, I'm certain that you (not entirely through your own fault) lost track of what I was arguing. I have never tried to deny that Iran wants nuclear capability, and that this would be to its clear advantage in exerting regional influence. What I took specific issue with, as I tried to make clear from both my pattern of quotation and the structure of argument introduced in my first paragraph, is the notion that they would sell a nuclear weapon to a terrorist.

    On what is apparently now a closing note, I will say that I don't particularly appreciate the way you just stormed out. Even if you had wanted to discontinue the discussion, you might have done so without the thoroughly theatrical use of profanity and expression of your own exasperation. In the past you've complained about people making personal attacks, or even arguing about policy/ideas too aggressively. We can acknowledge that some of that is accurate, and therefore I'm happy to note that hasn't really gone on here. So what explains your behavior? Have whatever opinions you won't. And choose to discuss them or not as you feel like it. But please, abandon this maneuver where you simultaneously suggest that other people are gravely mistaken and refuse to actually defend your comments. It is insulting, if not childish, and no one should have to deal with it.
  7. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
    I apologize for cutting the conversation short. I was more irritated with myself than you. That doesn't come across in text, unfortunately. I was annoyed with myself for getting caught up in another pointless debate. It could have been anyone. You just happened to be the person I was quoting. I assure you it wasn't personal and I apologize.

    Unfortunately, there are times in debates about national security issues where I have information not in the public domain that informs my opinion but that I can't bring to discussion for obvious reasons. On that point, I apologize if all I say is something borderline cryptic that amounts to "you're wrong". Can't be helped. I acknowledge that this isn't going to satisfy you and that's ok.

    On the substantive point of the argument:

    I wasn't saying that Iran will sell their weapon once they acquire it. I'm saying that they could. It is an entirely plausible scenario for the reasons I outlined. I do not necessarily think it's particularly likely, but it's certainly more likely than them using it in a direct attack against Israel. That too, is also a non-zero probable event. It annoys me when people suggest that it's ridiculous that Iran might behave in this way. What's ridiculous is thinking that we know everything that motivates these people.

    Side note: What profanity are you talking about?
  8. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    I presume 'screw it'. Mr Wocky has some rather traditionalist ideas about what constitutes profanity, I think.
  9. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Lol. Sorry, guys. :p

    I actually didn't go back and check what was said before writing it out. I certainly felt like "Screw it" was probably a bit more coarse language than was justified, I wouldn't classify it as profanity. I just misremembered what you actually said, probably as a result of conflating it with what I had taken to be the tone of your overall post. My mistake.
  10. Souderwan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 6
  11. Jack1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    star 5
    Just based on last reports, our military is sending more ships INTO the gulf past the SOH due to all of this. This should deter Iran from closing the strait. If there are one or two U.S. aircraft carriers in the gulf with support ships in the gulf and Iran foolishly closes off the gulf and says we cannot leave? Who wins that showdown? Those carriers are leaving if needed to. "MAKE OUR DAY!" ;)