Stupidest Idea This Week

Here’s a sooper-genius proposal for dealing with Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

We propose that Iran’s efforts to produce enriched uranium and other related nuclear activities be conducted on a multilateral basis, that is to say jointly managed and operated on Iranian soil by a consortium including Iran and other governments. This proposal provides a realistic, workable solution to the US – Iranian nuclear standoff. Turning Iran’s sensitive nuclear activities into a multinational program will reduce the risk of proliferation and create the basis for a broader discussion not only of our disagreements but of our common interests as well.

OK, people – did you learn anything from Oil-For-Palaces? When hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, people cheat. And to expect the Russian, Chinese, and European ‘partners’ in Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle to act strategically when immediate financial rewards are at stake is – well, it’s kind of Captain Renault-ish.

And let’s train and educate the Iranian scientists so they can be more efficient at making enriched uranium…say, in parallel programs that we’re so good at detecting.

And let’s invest millions in an infrastructure on Iranian soil, so the Iranians can simply come by one day and decide to treat it – well, with all the sanctity of an embassy. The genius authors of this correctly dismiss the notion of building the plant in Russia for strategic reasons; people, why not put it in Germany? (if you’re going to ship the fissile materials anyway…).

And as a cherry on top of this steaming cow pie, they suggest that the main reason to do this is because Ahmadinejad is in trouble with his own people, and needs a political lifeline. Because?

If you haven’t seen this video – you should.

So let’s revisit – we’re creating a management structure that is designed to be corrupted, to improve the ability of the Iranian regime to cheat, and to create an immensely valuable asset for them. The defense is that it will improve our enemies’ standing with his people (who are starting to hate him., in part because our policies are working), it will create a ‘bright line,’ crossing which will mean the regime will “certainly” face military action (hey – all the liberal commentators who say things like this – will you sign, in blood, please a memorandum fully supporting bombing raids and the inevitable civilian casualties and diplomatic fallout if Iran does, like cheat us on something like this? I’d take you much more seriously if you did).

The authors of this foolishness are ostensibly grownups, and my betters in the world of international affairs:

William Luers is the president of the United Nations Association-USA and was formerly US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia and Venezuela.

Thomas Pickering is Co-Chair of the United Nations Association-USA, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and former US Ambassador to Russia, Israel, India, Jordan, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the UN.

Jim Walsh, a Research Associate at MIT, was previously Executive Director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

I’ll have to go look through Gaddis’ book “The Cold War” for the quote on why diplomacy didn’t work to end the Cold War; as I recall it in essence, because the diplomats were totally invested in the idea of stability, and in essence because invested in the balance of power between the two sides – regardless of which side they were on.

Here’s a perfect example of that. Where do we get such men?

23 thoughts on “Stupidest Idea This Week”

  1. *William Luers*

    _Born in Springfield, Illinois, Luers received his B.A. from Hamilton College and his M.A. from Columbia University following four years in the United States Navy._

    *Thomas Pickering*

    _He graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University._

    *Jim Walsh*

    _Dr. Walsh received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology._

    So, we get such people from Columbia, Tufts, and MIT. Certainly no surprises there.

  2. Isn’t what they are proposing already the de facto status quo? Russia provides the fuel, Pakistan provides the know-how, and North Korea provides the technology. These goobers should be thrilled.

  3. AL,

    Sadly, this is the sort of thing Barack Obama will offer Iran if made President. Just like Carter did with Iran, and Clinton did with NK and Iraq.

    As Winston Churchill once said, “He who appeases the crocodile is merely eaten last.”

  4. Wow! From reading this one would get the impression that Iran has a history of invading and occupying its neighbors. Let’s try an experiment. I’ll name four countries in the region that have been attacked in the past five years and anyone who can present evidence that identifies Iran as the aggressor wins a prize.

    Iraq, Syria, Lebannon, Afganistan.

    Get to work people.

  5. YAWN. Im not going to bother arguing about Iran’s terrorism web. Coldplay is on record as being comfortable with a nuclear armed Iran. Fine. People can make up their own minds if that is wreckless or not.

  6. “YAWN. Im not going to bother arguing about Iran’s terrorism web”
    -MB

    What’s there to argue? Name a greater act of terror than launching a war of aggression.

    “Coldplay is on record as being comfortable with a nuclear armed Iran”
    -MB

    Hardly, I’m “on record” with being comfortable with no such thing. In fact, to set the record straight, I’m supremely uncomfortable with the existence of ANY nuclear weapons anywhere, from those with the most (US) to the only country in the Mid-East region with them (Israel).

  7. I’m supremely uncomfortable with the existence of ANY nuclear weapons anywhere, from those with the most (US) to the only country in the Mid-East region with them (Israel).

    Funny, that when you need to come up with places with nukes you need to register your discomfort about, you dredge up the US and Israel.

    Yet Russia with thousands of warheads, a government 50% organized crime and 50% wannabe Stalinist strongman, with a crumbling military and shoddy oversight or a North Korea where a brutal regime tortures and mass-starves it’s own citizenry whilst routinely provoking it’s neighbors strangely don’t make the list…

    We get it, United States evil…yadda yadda yadda.

    Have you ever considered just wearing a hair shirt instead? Very eco-friendly and they don’t rely on underpaid third world workers. Win win.

  8. “Funny, that when you need to come up with places with nukes you need to register your discomfort about, you dredge up the US and Israel”
    -Treefrog

    “Funny” how you missed this in my response: _I’m supremely uncomfortable with the existence of ANY nuclear weapons anywhere…_. In any event I specify the US primarily for two reasons, first because it is my own country and the one for which I feel responsible, secondly the US is far and away the most aggressive nation on the nuclear front–going so far as to unilaterally abrogate the ABM Treaty so that it may go about the business of militarizing space and developing a first-strike capability via a (mythical though lucrative) “Star Wars” missile defense system. The latter actions have had the predictable effect of motivating rival powers to respond in ways that endanger us all. Thanks Bush.

  9. Whoops, that got cut off…

    At any rate, that looks, from this point of view, suspiciously like an argument that while you don’t want Iran to get nuclear weapons, well, why bother doing anything to stop them from getting them since so many evil regimes, like the US and Israel, already have them?

  10. Treefrog I included Israel in the list for what I assumed was the obvious reason that it refused (unlike Iran) to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed hundreds of nuclear weapons (with delivery systems) in defiance of it–without reproach from the US.

    As far as stopping Iran from aquiring nukes, well for one thing there is no credible evidence that they are actively pursuing such ends. Outside of the same freaks, frauds, liars, and hustlers who successfully executed the Iraqi/WMD Hoax six years ago, no one takes this “threat” seriously.

  11. Coldtype:

    I included Israel in the list for what I assumed was the obvious reason that it refused (unlike Iran) to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed hundreds of nuclear weapons (with delivery systems) in defiance of it–without reproach from the US.

    You can’t be in “defiance” of treaties you don’t sign. Was it wrong for Israel to decline a treaty that India and Pakistan have refused to sign?

    North Korea signed the treaty, flouted it, and withdrew. Do they earn points for that with you, or would you like to reproach those bad boys?

    Obviously, one can sign a non-proliferation treaty without being sincerely committed to proliferation. And if you’re an enemy of Israel, you earn as much encouragement as reproach if you break it.

  12. “You can’t be in ‘defiance’ of treaties you don’t sign. Was it wrong for Israel to decline a treaty that India and Pakistan have refused to sign?”
    -Glen Wishard

    Actually Glen the US is in defiance of the NPT to a far worse degree than any other nation. The US was instrumental in aiding and abetting all three of the programs you’ve just mentioned. As a signatory to the NPT the US was obligated to prevent precisely what Israel, India, and Pakistan achieved with our nation’s critical assistance. We need not tarry over the feasibility of an Israeli nuclear program under threat of US sanction (in the fictional world where we honor our treaty obligations), but a little “background info”:http://www.antiwar.com/prather/?articleid=8658 regarding our policies towards India’s program would benefit this discussion.

    “Obviously, one can sign a non-proliferation treaty without being sincerely committed to proliferation”
    -GW

    No Glen, what is obvious is that one can sign a non-proliferation treaty and still be committed to dominance. We lead by example.

  13. Nuclear weapons are indeed bad, Coldtype, but you fail to make some important distinctions. I’m far less concerned that India, a stable democracy, has nukes than that Pakistan, which wobbles between anarchy and dictatorship and could be taken over by radical islamists any day now, has them. I’m far less concerned that Israel, a democracy run by civilized people, has nukes than that Iran, a much less civilized nation run by Islamic fundamentalist nutcases, might get them. I’m far less concerned that England and France have nukes than that Russia does for similar reasons. America and Israel may be far from perfect, but only on the far left does America=Russia and Israel=Iran.

  14. I think that what Coldtype is trying to point out, is that ‘rose coloured’ glasses are available in ‘red white and blue’ as well.

  15. “And let’s train and educate the Iranian scientists so they can be more efficient at making enriched uranium”

    The USA has already agreed to do this, when it signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, article 4 of which states: All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate […] the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

    If the USA no longer wants to abide by its commitments, it should leave the NPT.

  16. “America and Israel may be far from perfect, but only on the far left does America=Russia and Israel=Iran”
    -Fred

    Fred what you present are mythical distinctions that have no purchase in the real world. Nation-states are not moral agents but instruments of power. There are no “good” states and “bad” states, merely the powerful and the less so. Each state agitates around the interests of its elite sectors–without exception. And these interests are rarely benign.

    As the US assault upon Iraq without UN Security Council sanction or credible Article 51 pretext has made abundantly clear, we live in a world in which the rule of the powerful prevails not the rule of law. As surely as night follows day, whenever the powerful commit to actions in pursuit of their interests which transgress upon the weak, the weak will seek effective means of addressing the asymmetry of force to their advantage. Given this fact of human society and nation-state dynamics, *NO* nation should have access to nuclear weapons which bear the seeds of our extinction.

    I return to the theme of my first two posts on this thread: neither Iran, Russia, or Pakistan remotely approaches the aggressiveness and belligerence of my own nation and that of Israel, but I don’t value the judgement of any of them enough to trust them with nuclear weapons.

  17. Coldtype, tell it to the Kulaks, the Jews, or the tens of millions of Soviet citizens killed by their loving government. Tell it to the gays who are being hung in Iran, or the women afraid to show their faces in public.

    Thnaks for the insight into your moral judgment and lack of compass. We’ll value your future contributions accordingly.

    A.L.

  18. A.L why doesn’t your compassion extend to the 1.2 million Iraqis who’ve likely been slaughtered since the Team Bush invasion of Iraq or, prior to that, the 500,000 Iraqi children killed by the murderous sanctions of the Clinton era? How about the 5 million (so far) slaughtered in the Congo in service to western interests? We managed to slaughter 3 million (at least) in Indochina, any words of comfort for their survivors? Suhurto’s massacre of the Indonesian left along with several hundred thousand peasants who dared to support them in 1965? How about Indonesia’s US-backed genocide in East Timor?

    What did the Death Squad “democracies” of Central and South America all have in common A.L? Answer: the US as a benefactor. Thus the blood they shed is on our hands as well.

    Finally A.L, why is it that your tears only fall for the victims of Official Enemies but not our own?

  19. Um, CT, because the count of 1.2 million victims is a fiction?

    I’m friends with Iraqis who have lost family members and corresponded with Iraqis who have been killed – murdered by the insurgents – trust me the deaths there are perfectly real to me.

    And I’ve talked about the moral weight those deaths bring – both directly and in abstract, in talking about the fantasy that there is such a thing as “clean hands” in this world. I’ve never seen any such post from you.

    You mention the US-backed death squad murders in Latin America, but not those villagers slaughtered by Soviet-backed guerrillas; you talk of civil war in the Congo as though no one but the West had any role in it – as though none of the combatants themselves had any agency.

    You’re wasting our time and my bandwidth with your junior-high-school vision of the world.

    A.L.

  20. AL, Arguing politics or international affairs with someone who sees no distinction between America and Israel on one hand and Russia and Iran on the other (except that America and Israel are worse) is about as fruitful as arguing evolution with a fundamentalist. And about as much fun.

  21. I see. We invade Iraq, we’re responsible for the deaths. We don’t invade Iraq, we’re responsible for the deaths. And regardless, we use ridiculously inflated numbers created by our enemies as blatant propoganda. Am i missing anything?

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