Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The calls for appeasment make negotiation less effective

War with Iran is in no one's interests say Anne Applebaum in today's Daily Telegraph.

Man in a Shed thinks her argument is flawed and dangerous - see it here.

In short she thinks the military option is impossible/impractical anyway. ( If so why get so worked up ? - but I think she's missing some rather obvious points ).

As I've said war with Iran would be a great disaster - especially for the people who loss there lives in such a calamity ( and there will most likely be thousands, maybe tens of thousands ). But a nuclear arms race in the middle east will end in the death of millions.

The point to stop all this is now - and EU appeasement just won't do it. A united front, sanctions, and the credible threat of force might.

I've posted a comment below:

    Unfortunately this sort of argument weakens the negotiating hand of the US and EU. Which perversely makes war more likely.
    The Iranians are very vulnerable (despite your repeating the nuclear facilities are hidden / underground line). Just ask Serbia ... Can they protect all their bridges, power stations, oil refineries, government offices, airports, airbases, navy etc. The answer is no. In 30 days the US can knock Iran back 20 years.

    Such an attack would be bad for Iran and everyone else as it undermines Iran's development of a stable and responsible system of government (as well as leading to the deaths of many human beings). But equally it cannot be ruled out, and would achieve its objectives. I suspect the Iranian's know this - and are going to negotiate.


dilys2 said...

We can probably rely on the Israelis to attack Iran at the appropriate time.
Didn't I read that the took delivery of American deep penetration bombs recently?

Man in a shed said...

I doubt the Israelis could do the job without thermonuclear weapons. And none of us wants that to happen.

The destruction of a few sites is far too predictable and therefore likely to be ineffective.

The only way to properly stop this nuclear arms race is to have everyone agree to step back. In the Iranian case that means letting IEA inspections back and cooperating.

The prize is to get them to agree to do that. Then their society and political settlement could develop and become more stable.

But if that can't be achieved then they must be stopped - even at high cost. And that will require the US.

Phil Marcus the Negotiation pro said...

I agree that war is - on many grounds - not an acceptable means to solve these problesm. I also agree that Iran is and sees itself as vulnerable, and that "stepping back" is needed.

The way to do that is for teh West to stop demonizing Iran, recognize it is a nation of humans and that they feel vulnerable, and begin to tlak wioth them, with no conditiosn on beginning dialog.

Dialog is not capitulation. Threats of war are capitulation - to irrational solutions.

dilys2 said...

If you have a deep penetration bomb you can follow it with a nuclear bomb.
The Israelis stopped an Iranian or Iraqi (I forget which) some years ago by bombing without going nuclear.
I doubt that the Israeli's are going to allow Iran a nuclear weapon under any circumstances and international treaties aren't a lot of use.

Man in a shed said...

I think dialogue can be capitulation is you have no other negotiating option, but to give in. I've been told that to negotiate for something effectively you always need another option and for the person you are negotiating with to be aware of that.

I've met a number of Iranians in my time at University - they are bright cultured people. Direct interference through coups and military action only undermines a nation building up its own set of checks and balances. (By contrast the destabilising effects of war are all to visible in Iraq now.)

However - its not just Iran that will go Nuclear, but Saudi and Egypt and others. They are unlikely to have the command and control that the US and USSR had - and use of these weapons - once created - is just a matter of time.

And they do mean to go nuclear - Iran has been developing other dual use technologies to allow the concentration of tritium - so will move to a thermonuclear capability fast after the nuclear step.

We are at the moment of the Nazi's marching into the Rhineland. They can be stopped now - probably without war - but if we fail to try then war is inevitable.

Its a terrible dilemma.