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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's a good thing I'm not the President.

When I first heard about the British hostages taken by Iran, I wondered if, in this day and age, if terrorism could, in fact, be considered tantamount to a weapon of mass destruction. If so, the taking of hostages would certainly qualify. Since the use of weapons of mass destruction invite responses in kind, the next question would be how exactly to respond. Were I the President, I would at least be sorely tempted to name off Tehran, Mashhad, or Qom in negotiations, and ask their leadership which of those cities they'd like to lose for the next 10,000 years. Nevertheless, I hope calmer heads will prevail and that Iran's leadership will finally display some of the sanity that's been almost completely absent from their government since 1979.


1138 said...

Taking prisoners and treating them well (I did not see any heads cut off) cannot be considered "WMD" by any distortion of imagination.
Considering the pressure that's been ratcheting up I'm surprised that it took this long for Iran to let off a little steam.


It was a British problem, and President Bush put his foot in it and actually made the situation worse (his own special family talent).

At least now it appears to be over and handled with good old fashioned diplomacy rather than counterfeit cowboy gunfire.

It would have been faster had Bush kept his egotistical mouth shut.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Given what little is known about the internal workings of Iran's government, I rather doubt it could have been resolved much sooner. I've heard some news reports that indicated that there could have been a power struggle between the Revolutionary Guards and the regular army that may have been far more responsible for protracting this situation. Had this situation devolved further, it could've gone really pear-shaped.

Snave said...

Hey, you would be a far better president than the guy we have in the White House right now. For one, I don't think the act of analytical thinking stresses you out so much that you need a couple of hours of nap time and couple hours of working out per day.

I'm sure Bush would have probably preferred to secure the release of the sailors by other, more punitive measures, but I like the way things happened. It definitely doesn't make me think much better of Blair, and it definitely doesn't make me feel like I can trust Ahmendinejad AT ALL, but I still like how it turned out. Tehran wasn't bombed, Iran wasn't invaded. There may have been some dialog in the situation instead of just threats. I think lots of people in the Middle East, including leaders, would like to TALK about some of the problems in that area... not necessarily try to negotiate or threaten each other or whatever, but just to TALK about gripes, get things out in the open, and who knows, maybe the situation over there COULD calm down a little. This is why I don't care if Nancy Pelosi talked to the leader of Syria. I think that even if he is a scoundrel, we are far worse off NOT talking to him than we are trying to create some kind of dialog with Syria. "We don't negotiate with terrorists" is fine, but she wasn't negotiating, she was visiting, and probably letting him know that not all Americans support the ways in which Bush/Cheney view the rest of the world. If someone wants to go on a peace mission of their own doing, possibly at their own risk, I really have no problem with it.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I agree largely with what you said, and at least Ms. Pelosi is a high-ranking member of the government and does carry a great deal of authority, probably that of an Undersecretary-equivalent given her position and allowing for her being a female going to such an aggressively patriarchal society. Still, I think punitive measures should always be on the table whenever a nation-state uses the tools of terror to advance their standing in the world. With Iran, it would be, in the worst case scenario, the loss of one of their cities.

With China, though I think this should be done regardless, it should be the appointment of an Ambassador to and full diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as a nation-state and sponsoring their reentry into the United Nations and other major international organizations, coupled with a loss of MFN should additional punitive measures be required.

In short, find what will hurt the enemy the most deeply and wound them to the core of their souls, and do it. There's a reason street-fighting is so effective: street fighters aren't afraid to get dirty when they have to.

1138 said...

Nixon screwed Taiwan by pushing to have the mainland replace them in the U.N. and effectively making China a legitimate superpower.
Of course it was all done as part of a campaign to put another wedge between China and the U.S.S.R. but now China has become every bit the problem the U.S.S.R. was and more.
China has long been a sponsor of terror in the world and we help fund it with each ship that arrives at our shores.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

That's part of the problem of playing chess on the global stage when the board, pieces, and rules constantly change. It was the right thing to do in the early 1970s, but perhaps should have been undone, at least partially, shortly after Gulf I. I'm no fan of China's government. What they've done to their own people is enough for that. However, I also agree with what you've said. Aren't they a trading partner of Sudan's?