Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Test what?

"A senior European defence official told The Daily Telegraph that North Korea had invited a team of Iranian nuclear scientists to study the results of last October's underground test to assist Teheran's preparations to conduct its own — possibly by the end of this year."

Under the terms of a new understanding between the two countries, the North Koreans have agreed to share all the data and information they received from their successful test last October with Teheran's nuclear scientists. ... There were unconfirmed reports at the time of the Korean firing that an Iranian team was present. Iranian military advisers regularly visit North Korea to participate in missile tests. ...

The disclosure of the nuclear co-operation between North Korea and Iran comes as Teheran seems set on a collision course with the West over its nuclear programme, although it insists it is entirely peaceful.

One of the most valuable skills in diplomacy is never to let the facts get in the way of a good policy. Maliki is our man in Baghdad. America should seek engagement with Iran and Syria because they only want stability in Iraq. Pakistan is our friend. Yasser Arafat was our partner for peace and he never ordered the murder of an American ambassador. Teheran's nuclear program is entirely peaceful. In each case reality is subordinated to the overarching and luminous vision. And oh, this skill at diplomatic doublethink is called realism.


Blogger Tom_Holsinger said...

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours."

1/23/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

If we have been caught with our pants down again, Trish, posting at the Elephant Bar, links to a possible explanation. Just one more thing to consider.
Spying in Baghdad: The CIA’s Real Mission Impossible

1/23/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

Realism is dealing with whoever we need to at the moment, like a temporary alliance with Stalin in World War II in order to beat Hitler.

It is better than the fantasy that if we just unleash our military, then every problem in the world will be solved by dinner time.

1/24/2007 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

WW said...
if we just unleash our military, then every problem in the world will be solved by dinner time

Actually, WW, if we did, they would probably be over by lunch. It's when you unleash 10% of our military that we have a problem.

But your point is valid - Realism is essential. And so far away.

It's all about the numbers.


1/24/2007 03:07:00 AM  
Blogger Herr Wu Wei said...

> Maliki is our man in Baghdad.

Maybe he is. The US military reports 52 recent operations were targeted against al-Sadr's group, compared to 42 against Sunnis.

US Shia Crackdown

More than 600 members of Iraq’s Mahdi Army are in detention awaiting prosecution, the US military announced in a statement late on Monday – the latest indication that operations against the radical Shia militia have been stepped up and that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has withdrawn political protection from the group.

The statement is unusual in that it detailed the number of operations against specific organisations and seems intended to show that there is a new emphasis on neutralising the Mahdi Army. It said that in the past 45 days, the US-led coalition and Iraqi security forces had carried out 52 operations focused primarily against the militia, compared to 42 targeting Sunni insurgents.

1/24/2007 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Other delusions and lies:

The North Korean "nuclear test" was successful.

The Iranians care deeply about the Palestinians.

Lebanon is an independent country.

You can defeat terrorism by letting terrorists, or any members of their families, continue to live.

1/24/2007 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Has anyone ever given any thought to considering whether the State Department is actually necessary? To start with,woslujo is there a job definition for it? What is it SUPPOSED to do? I suppose it's in the Constitution but I must have been asleep when that part came up.

1/24/2007 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iranians only want to peacefully delivery nuclear energy via missle, and their friends in North Korea just want to help.

1/24/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

It's not only the politicians who delude themselves and call it "truth". In the book "The Pitfall of Truth: Holy War, its Rationale and Folly", Vel Nirtist writes on the role of religion in fostering terrorism.

Quoting him:
Though spending eternity in a bordello is certainly an added bonus, many die not just for that reward, but out of sheer love of God. They love God with self-abnegating, self-denying abandon, unhesitant in following His will.

But is it God that they love? In following the Koran, is it God's will that they fulfill?

Obviously, the answer to that question hinges on their ability to know that the Koran is indeed God's word, that it is indeed the expression of His will. And it so happens that, for reasons which have nothing whatsoever to do with religion, nothing at all to do with God, nothing to do with the tenets of Islam, whether moral or amoral, whether peaceful or violent, whether good or bad, they do not have that ability. Muslims fall into what secularists call an "error" and what the religious call "idolatry" - and, as a result, commit horrific acts which we call "terrorism."

1/24/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics is the art of convincing people that problems that will resolve themselves are serious problems that the government will resolve.

The weather and economy tend to be cyclical in nature. In the 70's our glorious leaders solved global cooling, they will now thru great effort, solve global warming.
They will also solve problems with the economy thru the time tested method of blaming whoever happens to be in office when the busines cycle goes South and taking credit when the business cycle goes North.

Politics is also he art of convincing people that serious problems are either not problems, or someone elses problems.

We hear endless cries of "Sending UN troops". The UN has no Army. Any troops it sends anywhere come from donor countries. Mostly questionable places like Pakistan or Bangladesh.

1/24/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

I'll add to that list of comfortable delusions: Phrases like 'axis of evil' are needlessly 'provocative, 'unnecessary' or 'unhelpful.' Like we're six-year-olds on a playground being scolded for teasing the class clown.

With few exceptions, the current generation of our so-called leadership class has demonstrated, repeatedly, that it can be intimidated by decadent Europeans, conned by charlatans like Arafat, and neutered by gangsters in Teheran, Pyongyang and Beijing.

And whenever this becomes obvious, we get excuses about how difficult it all is, the subtlties, the complexites and paradoxes, blah, blah, blah -- all of it from well-dressed, careerist bureaucrats we pay handsomely to manage these things, people who insist all along that they know what they are doing.

Bullshit. It's all just so much smoke designed to cover cowardice and impotence. Most of it barely rises above the antics of a division president flown in to cover his ass in front of the board.

In the end, accessorizing free market democracy with luxuries like metrosexuality and pacifism only work if the world's predators agree to play along, or we keep them in line. The former is unlikely; the latter unavoidable.

1/24/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...


Yes, let's decommission that gaggle of internationalist subversives at Foggy Bottom. They spend most of their time advocating and petitioning this country on behalf of our faux-allies and enemies, instead of the other way around.


We haven't unleased our military since 1945.

1/24/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first blush, the Islamic Republic and kommunist Norks don’t seem to have much in common other than their hatred of the Imperial- Satanic Yanks. But then you realize Jimmy Carter had a hand in making them what they are today. Probably should add “Bush is the Devil” Socialist Venezuela to complete the peanut farmer’s triumvirate and prove the only foreign policy more problematic than "doublethink" realism is misty-eyed, money under the table Carterism, during and post Presidency.

"...accessorizing free market democracy with luxuries like metrosexuality and pacifism only work if the world's predators agree to play along,..."

Especially great last graf, Cosmo.

1/24/2007 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

"In the end, accessorizing free market democracy with luxuries like metrosexuality and pacifism only work if the world's predators agree to play along, or we keep them in line. The former is unlikely; the latter unavoidable."

very well put,cosmo.

1/24/2007 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Talk softly and carry a big stick. Good cop, bad cop.

You have to tell them quietly what you want and then remind them again how happy you are with their progress. If at the same time you are moving a couple of carriers into position and have loaded bombers on the runway so be it.

Talking quietly and politely allows them the option surrendering their ambitions by finding a multilateral solution within the international community. The diplomatic talking allows them to back down with dignity, makes their capitulation more likely (Libya 2004).

Having them back down is much more important than fufilling your wish of seeing them cowering before the might of America. What is the point of defeating someone if they can be caused to surrender peacefully?

1/24/2007 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger ricpic said...

But what exactly is "the vision?" That if we're real nice, super nice, and exercize perfect table manners, the evil meanies will what? come to their senses, stop being evil meanies and instead emulate our niceness and our manners? If this is the vision, and God help us all, I believe it is, then we are truly being led by lambs - highly credentialed lambs but lambs nevertheless - to slaughter.

1/24/2007 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/24/2007 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/24/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...


Sounds reasonable (as you often do).

As long as your step one is followed by your step two. In Libya's case, watching the spectacle of two governments vaporized by a nation half way around the world must have give any diplomacy some starch.

Our enemies and antagonists have learned to bet that step one will seldom, if ever, be followed by step two. And as they are emboldened, others will follow. Same goes for lax law enforcement, threatening a child with punishment that never materializes or bribery in exchange for good behavior.

Further, I'd argue that it is we who back down or back off -- and way too often -- withered not by threats of superior firepower but by a non-stop stream of vitriol, abuse, media-fueled bigotry and show-trialing, and human rights industry shakedowns.

This behavior is encouraged by naive multi-culturalists, who do not understand that concession, concilliation and compromise are often perceived as weaknesses to be exploited or as provocation to aggression.

There's a time for magnanimous gesture -- and those times must be earned, not set out for the taking like a bowl of coffee table candies.

1/24/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger El_Heffe said...

"And oh, this skill at diplomatic doublethink is called realism."


1/25/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...


The State Dept. has no force with which to make American demands. They are nevertheless required to pursue foreign policy interests and do so by painting the interests in terms of reasonableness. There is no candy, everything wretchard portrays as a luminous vison - Arafat cooperating for democracy, Malaki working for America, Teheran without a weapons program, peace in Iraq - is in Americas best interest. What the State Dept. does is portray American interests as reasonable things to do that are universally good - good for me, good for you - so that even regimes antipathic to America are able to find the action reasonable (hopefully).

As long as your step one is followed by your step two.

Yes. But it is not be the job of some unelected bureaucrat to decide if force is to be used. That is the job of the elected officials - they can use the tools of diplomacy, military, spies, trade to do whatever they want. To blame the State Dept. for not presenting a forceful enough stance is like blaming your hammer for not being able to drill properly.

1/25/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...


I think you've described well the State Department's mission and the limitations inherent in its scope.

In practice, I fear our stiped-pants internationalists 'go native' and spend way too much time petitioning on behalf of their 'clients' and explaining to the folks back home why things we want can't get done, instead of advocating U.S. interests.

Critics of Britain's Foreign Office have been leveling the same charge for, well, centuries . . . diplomats pursuing agenda independent of an elected government.

I believe Wretchard once recalled George Schultz' standard first meeting with newly minted ambassadors. Asked by Schultz to identify their country, most picked the country to which they'd been posted. Schultz would correct them by pointing to the United States.

I take your point. But perhaps the examples chosen do not illustrate it well. Arafat snookered the West out of billions, waged ceaseless war against Israel and abetted the destruction of whatever civil society may have existed in 'Palestine.'

Iran, like North Korea, will get its weapons program or, at any rate, will announce it once it believes it has wrung every concession it believes it can get from the West.

Maliki's maneuvering, like all other parties operating in Iraq, is calculated to game both the occupation and the impatience of the American electorate.

But, again, I don't think this diminishes your overall point.

1/25/2007 03:18:00 PM  

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