Friday, December 07, 2007

Good cop, good cop

Stephen Peter Rosen's prediction at Middle East Strategy at Harvard sheds light on why even liberals are uneasy about the new NIE. Rosen writes:

In my view, the Iran program halted in 2003 because of the massive and initially successful American use of military power in Iraq. The United States offered no “carrots” to Iran, but only wielded an enormous stick. ...They did not publicly announce this halt because if they did so, they would be perceived as weak within Iran, and within the region. By continuing the enrichment program, they kept the weapon option open.

Given observable uranium enrichment activity, enough uranium will be available for one bomb in one year. It does not makes sense for a country to test its first and only weapon when it has none in reserve to deter attacks. So the first test is not likely before two years from now or late 2009.

What will Iranian behavior be after the first test? All countries, with the exception of India, that have developed their own nuclear weapon, have transferred that technology to other countries.

As I wrote in Not that Far, embracing the line that sanctions and diplomacy alone can bring Iran to heel ironically work against, well, sanctions and diplomacy.

What the new NIE has done -- and why I think even the liberals are so worried -- is that the intelligence assessment has made it very difficult to sustain even the bluff of working towards regime change; a threat they would have no truck with but at the same time probably found useful for so long as they could get a President George W. Bush to articulate it. Now that the doves have got what they ostensibly wanted, whether by design or misadventure, it has become apparent that it's not everything they wanted after all. It's ironic that an NIE which was supposed to have "proved" the usefulness of sanctions and diplomacy may wind up underlining its ultimate inadequacy without the threat of more dire action to give it teeth.

The reason is simple. Diplomacy and sanctions work best within a "good cop, bad cop" scenario. Iran had an incentive to meet with the European and UN "good cops" only for as long as it feared the "bad cop". Once the "bad cop" sits it out the "good cop" will be laughed at to his face. Rosen continues:

The prediction is that the Iranians will use nuclear carrots and sticks to induce Gulf states to ask the United States to withdraw from their current bases, sometime after 2009.

Liberals should be careful of what they want because they may get it.


Blogger Paul said...

Liberals are neither careful of what they want, nor heedful of what they get. They revel in authoring laws of unintended consequences.

12/07/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

To state the obvious, how does this NIE change anything? The Iranians continue to concentrate U235, the actual construction of the device is dependent on the possession of a certain quantity of the stuff and I believe that the process of concentration is quite lengthy. So the drive on their part to acquire the thing is not changed, just the active part of the effort.

Amejinidad is still in charge and I take him at his word.

I think the NIE is the product of a wishful thought that we can all just get along.

12/08/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

"The prediction is that the Iranians will use nuclear carrots and sticks to induce Gulf states to ask the United States to withdraw from their current bases, sometime after 2009."

And once that is done, the Iranians will re-open "negotiations" over disputed natural gas fields currently controlled by certain Gulf Emirates, each of which currently houses American bases. There's no need to spell out how those "negotiations" will end.

12/08/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Why isn't anyone commenting on the fact that even if the Iranians *did* stop their nuclear program in 2003, they were still funding terrorism around the world, as well as shipping both materiel and men into Iran for the express purpose of killing Americans?

I don't see why anyone would think we should give Ahmadinnerjacket a pass and benevolently pat his pointy little head if he did quit poking sticks at nuke innards, since he and his mullah's have malevolently been blowing up both Iraqi Muslims and American soldiers all during that period.

In fact, because their activities since 2003 in Iraq have demonstrably caused American deaths, it seems to me that Iran's behavior vis-a-vis Iraq is *worse* than their nuclear aspiration, and that we should be eager to punish them with a nuclear slap or three just for that. (Not to mention the embassy take-over, which we still owe them for.)

12/08/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Carl said...

The most serious fallout I see from this NIE is that it helps portray the actions of Iran as being somewhat rational. Iran is run by a relatively small group of radical Shia Holy men whose motives and theology we do not fully grasp. What we do know about them does not lead to any confidence in their interest in peaceful coexistence with the rest of humanity. The admittedly limited knowledge that we do possess of them leads us rather to believe that they expect to eventually defeat and dominate the rest of the world through the fulfillment of various prophecies that I will not go into here. The NIE does not address this basic fact and instead tries to frame Iran's intentions in western rational terms. I think that is the danger in this document. Iran is ruled by a religious order that is unalterably opposed to western value systems. There has been no detectable moderation of their system since the revolution. They continue their belligerent rhetoric about the destruction of Israel, etc. Iran is not ruled by people we can trust with nuclear materials, much less a nuclear weapon.

12/08/2007 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The absurdity of the Dems and the MSM reveling in this new report as yet more damage to their sworn enemy President Bush is striking. This same type of finding declared that Saddam had WMD's, and the libs denounced Bush's twisting and slanting of intelligence. If he could twist and slant it in 2002, why can't he do the same now?

I know, expecting logic from liberals is like expecting your dog to talk.

Most of the editorials I read are enthralled with the fact that Iran dropped their nuke weapons program in 2003, but no other mention of 2003 are necessary. What else happened back then, pray tell? We'll never know, it's lost in the impenetrable mists of time for libs.

So, let's see, prior to the invasion of Iraq, both Libya and Iran had active wmd programs, and the invasion coincidentally happened to occur when they decided to give up those programs. Likewise, North Korea had active nuclear programs, and now theirs is being deactivated.

War, what is it good for?

Of course, all of these nations were active in weapons programs during the halcyon days of the '90's, when history had ended. We no longer needed a military, and we were so invulnerable that we could ignore Osama's open declarations and acts of war with us. Let's go back to that posture of weakness now, since it worked so well back then.

Wait a minute, my dog is reading the NYT to me.

12/09/2007 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Tony: If he could twist and slant it in 2002, why can't he do the same now?

Because in 2002 he had Rummy and now he has Robert Gates. The adults are back in charge.

12/09/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

So Teresita,

How did Rummy and Bush get the UN Security Council to pass all those sanctions against Iraq, how did he get the US Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act, how did he get Clinton to launch Desert Fox against Saddam's wmd programs ... in the '90's?

You make my point about liberal "logic" such as it is.

12/09/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger always right said...


Someone else pointed the following fact out for me (which opened my eyes) re:2003.

JFKerry formally announced his candidacy for 2004 Presidential election. The combat war hero thriced wounded on the battlefield must have generated such fears among the mullahs that they pissed in their pants and surrendered.

12/10/2007 01:46:00 PM  

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