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  #251  
Old 06-25-2019, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I have trouble keeping track: Are we believing what Russia says this week or not?
You'll need to check with Trump's twitter feed. Even his own cabinet cannot answer your question without doing that first.
  #252  
Old 06-25-2019, 07:53 PM
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I have trouble keeping track: Are we believing what Russia says this week or not?
Ironically, the President of the United States publicly told the world that he believed the Russian President when he said that Russia didn't interfere in the U.S. election, despite in that case there being actual real evidence that they did:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Trump
“He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
I don't have great faith in Putin/Russia's ability to speak truth, but when Trump and his Administration repeatedly lie about everything - lie probably more than any elected leader/government in the history of democracy - then one cannot have much faith in what the U.S. say either. It's basically Trump-led U.S.'s word against Iran and Russia's word. I don't trust any of these parties, so I'm still open-minded about where the drone was shot down, until someone produces some actual verifiable evidence.
  #253  
Old 06-26-2019, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Walken After Midnight View Post
Heh. Haaretz's relationship with Bibi is oddly similar to Bibi's relationship with Iran; let's just say that if Netanyahu had actually started the number of wars Haaretz has said he wanted to start over the years, we'd all be dead three times over. But hey, selling newspapers is rough in today's market.

That said, they got one thing right: whatever happens, people will blame Israel.
  #254  
Old 06-26-2019, 08:58 AM
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Heh. Haaretz's relationship with Bibi is oddly similar to Bibi's relationship with Iran;
Why is it "oddly" similar? That sounds like you're implying that the Haaretz newspaper might be in cahoots with Iran. Could Haaretz' criticism of Netanyahu be because Haaretz is a left-leaning newspaper and Netanyahu is pretty far to the right on the political spectrum, and they therefore have different outlooks on the world?

Reuters, February 2019:
Quote:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has touched off rare criticism from AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, over an election alliance with a far-right party loyal to the policies of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane.

Faced with a new merger of centrist parties that opinion polls show might defeat him, Netanyahu engineered the deal between Jewish Power and another ultranationalist faction, Jewish Home, on Wednesday.
...
But criticism levelled by AIPAC and another major U.S. Jewish group, the American Jewish Committee (AJC), against Jewish Power dominated coverage in Israel on Sunday of the closely-contested race.

“AIPAC has a longstanding policy not to meet with members of this racist and reprehensible party,” the lobbying group said, echoing comments tweeted by the AJC.

AIPAC has generally provided unflinching backing for Netanyahu’s policies during his 13 years in power, even as some U.S. Jewish organisations have expressed reservations over Israel’s lurch to the right.
  #255  
Old 06-26-2019, 02:06 PM
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Why is it "oddly" similar? That sounds like you're implying that the Haaretz newspaper might be in cahoots with Iran. Could Haaretz' criticism of Netanyahu be because Haaretz is a left-leaning newspaper and Netanyahu is pretty far to the right on the political spectrum, and they therefore have different outlooks on the world?

Reuters, February 2019:
No, no, you're missing my analogy - just like Netanyahu needs Iran to be a threat to get re-elected, Haaretz needs Netanyahu to be a warmongering maniac in order to justify its own existence. However, while I agree with them that Bibi is essentially a piece of shit (hence his recent alliance with the far right), I also happen believe that he is a blowhard, a milquetoast and an empty suit, who talks tough but is incapable of following through. He may very well cause a war to start through neglect and procrastination, but he will never start one intentionally. For better or for worse, he just doesn't have it in him.

In fact, I would not be surprised if Netanyahu was one of the people who talked Trump down from attacking Iran. That would be just his style: loudly threatening Iran one moment, quietly dialing back the conflict the next.
  #256  
Old 06-26-2019, 04:46 PM
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"Trump Takes On China and Persia at Once"


Here's a neat little couple of paragraphs that introduced Thomas Friedman's latest piece in the NY Times:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Friedman
If you’re keeping score at home on the Trump foreign policy, let me try to put it in a nutshell: The president has engaged America in a grand struggle to reshape the modern behavior of two of the world’s oldest civilizations — Persia and China — at the same time.

Pressing both to change is not crazy. What’s crazy is the decision to undertake such a huge endeavor without tightly defined goals, without allies to achieve those goals, without a strong and coherent national security team and without a plan on how to sync up all of President Trump’s competing foreign policy objectives.
As the title of Friedman's piece asks: What's to Worry About?

Let me answer Friedman's title with the title of this thread: Trump the Statesman?
  #257  
Old 06-26-2019, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
Here's a neat little couple of paragraphs that introduced Thomas Friedman's latest piece in the NY Times:

As the title of Friedman's piece asks: What's to Worry About?

Let me answer Friedman's title with the title of this thread: Trump the Statesman?
Wait...is this guy claiming Trump HAS 'foreign policy objectives'?? Yeah, it actually is worse, as he is also simultaneously taking on Mexico, Europe, Canada and just about everyone else at one level or another. Really, the China part is necessary, but he is so disjointed and ill-coordinated that it's tough to even understand what goals he has, or if he has any at all. Is the point to bring those good, high wage low skill jobs back to the US? Is it to stop China from intellectual property theft? WTO violations? Is it a fight about national security concerns or is it 5G competition and the fact that the first country to bring 5G to the market will have a huge advantage? Or is it about Trump's huge hands? I honestly have no idea and I seriously doubt he does either. He certainly hasn't gone about this in a coherent way, lining up our allies and support for a US push on this, strengthening ties in the region and offering the US as an alternative to China. Just the opposite, in fact...he's pushed away allies and pissed off potential regional partners at the same time he's ramped up his trade war. It's...well, it's insane. The folks who think this dude is playing 3D chess are just delusional, IMHO.

Myself, while I have almost zero sympathy for Iran, especially the Iranian fundamentalist totalitarian government, they should just play for time IMHO. Eventually, Trump will be gone one way or another, and presumably a more sane and coherent government will be in place. China should do the same thing. Sadly, while I think China needs to be confronted, my WAG is that once Trump is out the follow on government will simply hit the reset button and take us back to status quo ante-Trump.
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  #258  
Old 06-27-2019, 10:16 AM
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The effort to build a coalition to wage war on Iran has not been met with enthusiasm by our NATO allies.
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Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he came away with no firm commitments from NATO allies to participate in a global effort to secure international waterways against Iran.

He says the U.S. will provide more details to allies next month on how the Iranian threat has escalated and how they can work together to deter further aggression.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for recent attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

A senior U.S .official says allies expressed interest in Esper’s request during their meetings in Brussels. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

NATO allies have expressed reluctance to get involved in any military effort to help secure the region. Europe wants more emphasis on minimizing the chances of war.
  #259  
Old 06-28-2019, 02:28 PM
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Europe says "hang on; we got this"


Behold, INSTEX!
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European countries want to convince Iran to stick to its nuclear deal with world powers, and have created a payment system that would facilitate some forms of trade with Iran in the face of financial sanctions and pressure from the U.S.

President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear efforts in return for a lifting of painful economic sanctions. To keep the deal going without the U.S., Europe has told Iran it will find a way to keep doing business outside normal financial channels.

European countries have dubbed their trade mechanism INSTEX, for Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges.
Now let's see how the US responds eh.
  #260  
Old 07-01-2019, 12:01 PM
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Iran has exceeded the enriched uranium limit


AP story here.
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Iran acknowledged Monday it had broken the limit set on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by the 2015 nuclear deal, marking its first major departure from the unraveling agreement a year after the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the accord.

Iran had been expected for days to acknowledge it broke the limit after earlier warning it would do so. It held off on publicly making an announcement as European leaders met Friday in Vienna to discuss ways to save the accord. Iran has threatened to increase its enrichment of uranium closer to weapons-grade levels by July 7.
Quote:
Breaking the stockpile limit by itself doesn’t radically change the one year experts say Iran would need to have enough material for an atomic bomb, if to choose to pursue one. Iran long has insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, despite Western fears about it.
And they aren't just meandering along here:
Quote:
Under terms of the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67%. Previously, Iran enriched as high as 20%, which is a short technical step away from reaching weapons-grade levels. It also held up to 10,000 kilograms (22,046 pounds) of the higher-enriched uranium.

At the time of the 2015 deal, which was agreed to by Iran, the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain, experts believed Iran needed anywhere from several weeks to three months to have enough material for a bomb.

Zarif was quoted as also saying that the country remained on track to raise its enrichment if Europe did not take any additional steps toward saving the accord.

“The next step is about the 3.67% limitation, which we will implement too,” he warned.
Russia is, of course, using the opportunity to loudly point their finger at the US cause of the situation (and yes, it helps them that they are correct) AND be the voice of reason; it's shameful that an American president has handed these PR opportunities to our adversaries.
Quote:
In Moscow, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that Iran had warned in advance it was going to exceed the limit set by the deal and emphasized that Tehran’s move followed “unthinkable” U.S. pressure.

“It didn’t come as a surprise, Iran long has warned about it,” Ryabkov said Monday.

“Exceeding the 300-kilogram limit causes regret, but shouldn’t be overdramatized. It must be seen as a natural result of the preceding events,” Ryabkov said. “Iran has faced an unprecedented and unthinkable U.S. sanction pressure, effectively meaning a total oil embargo, an attempt to strangle a sovereign state.”

“We are calling on all European members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action not to heat up the situation,” he added, using the accord’s formal name. “We are urging our Iranian colleagues to be extremely responsible regarding their actions, particularly those that concern Iran’s fulfillment of comprehensive guarantees with the IAEA and an additional protocol to the agreement.”
  #261  
Old 07-01-2019, 12:18 PM
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Iran has exceeded the enriched uranium limit


wtf duplicate post

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 07-01-2019 at 12:19 PM.
  #262  
Old 07-03-2019, 06:12 AM
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Iran says "fuck you"


https://apnews.com/72cd54bb267f497697c2d54f207462ad
Quote:
“In any amount that we want, any amount that is required, we will take over 3.67,” Rouhani said.

“Our advice to Europe and the United States is to go back to logic and to the negotiating table,” Rouhani added. “Go back to understanding, to respecting the law and resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. Under those conditions, all of us can abide by the nuclear deal.”
  #263  
Old 07-03-2019, 07:12 AM
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I've said it before here, and here it is again. Leave it to Trump to create a conflict with Iran in which Iran comes across as the good guy. Only you, Donnie, only you.

Last edited by bobot; 07-03-2019 at 07:15 AM.
  #264  
Old 07-03-2019, 07:13 AM
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Iran has no reason to cooperate. From their perspective, they're already at war. I don't know why people can't understand how regimes can interpret extreme economic sanctions and embargoes as acts of war when our own country was attacked by Japan, which pushed us into the largest war in human history, over an embargo.
  #265  
Old 07-03-2019, 07:24 AM
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If Trump plays his cards right, he can be known as the POTUS who let North Korea AND Iran develop nuclear weapons.
  #266  
Old 07-03-2019, 07:47 AM
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If Trump plays his cards right, he can be known as the POTUS who let North Korea AND Iran develop nuclear weapons.
I think that will ultimately be his legacy, which puts him in political alignment with some of the idiotic vagabonding anti-American pseudo-intellects I used to occasionally run into in hostels when I was traveling the globe trying to find myself in my wayward youth. "Ye know, mate, maybe the best solution for global peace is for all countries to have nukes."
  #267  
Old 07-03-2019, 10:56 AM
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Well, this will be a good follow-up to your last sentence, asahi: Putin signs bill suspending participation in nuclear treaty
Quote:
Putin’s decree released on Wednesday formalizes Russia’s departure from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with the United States following Washington’s withdrawal from the pact.

The U.S. gave notice of its intention to withdraw from the INF in February, setting the stage for it to terminate in six months unless Moscow returns to compliance. Russia has denied any breaches, and accused the U.S. of violating the pact. Moscow followed Washington’s example in February, also suspending its obligations under the treaty.

Putin has warned the U.S. against deploying new missiles in Europe, saying that Russia will retaliate by fielding new fast weapons that will take just as little time to reach their targets.
So thanks to the US, the nuclear arms race is back on.
  #268  
Old 07-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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If Trump plays his cards right, he can be known as the POTUS who let North Korea AND Iran develop nuclear weapons.
Is there some kind of ANTI- Nobel Peace Prize?
  #269  
Old 07-03-2019, 11:04 AM
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Now is not the time to take our American eyes off of the important issues facing us. Do you know that there are Central Americans who are coming across our southern border to find employment by American companies picking our vegetables?
  #270  
Old 07-03-2019, 11:34 AM
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Is there some kind of ANTI- Nobel Peace Prize?
We could make one. I propose the "LeBon Warmonger Prize" as a name. We can shorten it to LeBon Warmonger in popular media and refer to winners that way, i.e. LeBon Warmonger Donald Trump, etc. Once the brand is established, I'd expect "LeBon" to even get dropped occasionally, especially in casual conversation.
  #271  
Old 07-04-2019, 06:30 PM
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Iranian supertanker stopped in Gibraltar at the request of the US. Now Spain is maybe mad at the UK.
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Authorities in Gibraltar said they intercepted an Iranian supertanker Thursday that was believed to be breaching European Union sanctions by carrying a shipment of Tehran’s crude oil to war-ravaged Syria.

A senior Spanish official said the operation was requested by the United States. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency called the incident “an illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker.”

Gibraltar port and law enforcement agencies, assisted by Britain’s Royal Marines, boarded the Grace 1 early Thursday, authorities on the British overseas territory at the tip of Spain said in a statement.
Quote:
Spain’s caretaker foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said the tanker was stopped by British authorities after a request from the United States.
Quote:
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton tweeted that the ship’s seizure was “excellent news.”
Quote:
In Madrid, Borrell told reporters that Spain was assessing the implications of the operation because the detention took place in waters it considers its own.

Britain insists Gibraltar is part of the United Kingdom but Spain argues that it is not, and the tanker operation risks offending the Spanish.

“We’re looking into how this (operation) affects our sovereignty,” said Borrell, who was nominated earlier this week to become the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Stellar foreign policy and deft diplomacy are not this administrations strong points IMO.
  #272  
Old 07-05-2019, 05:58 AM
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To be fair, Spain is mad at the UK about everything regarding Gibraltar. Regardless of the validity of any particular complaint, this is just their latest excuse to raise the subject.
  #273  
Old 07-05-2019, 10:35 AM
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Acknowledged, but this particular exacerbation's root cause is the US so it's noteworthy IMO.

I'm guessing that even tho he's retired his words carry weight in Iranian society and that's why we're hearing about
Quote:
A former leader of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Friday that the Islamic Republic should consider seizing a British oil tanker in response to authorities detaining an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.

The comments by Mohsen Rezaei came amid heightened tensions over Iran’s unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with Western powers, which the U.S. withdrew from last year.

“If England does not release the Iranian oil tanker, the duty ... (of Iran) is to respond and seize one English oil tanker,” he said in a tweet.
Quote:
Rezaei led the Guard during Iran’s 1980s “Tanker War” in the Persian Gulf targeting the oil trade of the U.S. and its Arab allies.
  #274  
Old 07-05-2019, 04:27 PM
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Acknowledged, but this particular exacerbation's root cause is the US so it's noteworthy IMO.

I'm guessing that even tho he's retired his words carry weight in Iranian society and that's why we're hearing about
Ravenman wrote about escalation earlier and I disagreed with some of what he wrote; however, perhaps one area where I would agree is that generally speaking, yes, he's correct in arguing that Iran also has a responsibility to avoid war if and where they can do so without laying prostrate and sacrificing their sovereignty.

I think it's understandable that Iran perceives the US as a danger to its regime, which is not to say that I like their regime or agree with their responses to date, only that I understand some of them. With that disclaimer out of the way, the most important obligation Iran has is to offer the US (i.e. Trump) a face-saving way back to the negotiating table. I expect a certain amount of trash talk, but on the side they should be making it clear that they're willing to de-escalate if the US is willing to do so in kind.

I've already expressed my fears about our administration. My fear with Iran is that they will assume that Trump will offer no concessions and seek to humiliate Trump, which would be a grave mistake on their part, IMO. On the reverse side of that coin, I hope that if/when Iran does offer diplomacy, Trump's diplomatic team can recognize that overture when they see it. I'm not at all confident that they can. To the Trump hammer, everything looks like a nail that's sticking out.
  #275  
Old 07-05-2019, 06:03 PM
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My fear with Iran is that they will assume that Trump will offer no concessions and seek to humiliate Trump, which would be a grave mistake on their part, IMO.
If I'm gauging this correctly, Iran will not seek to humiliate Trump unless he opens the door for it unwittingly, and even then I think they'll show restraint at this point. Poking is gonna happen, but not provoking. They are going to be very low-key simmer about this until they have a weapon assembled; then they'll just tell Trump to go fuck himself, IMO. And I think they'll have a nuclear weapon assembled before the end of the year.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 07-05-2019 at 06:04 PM.
  #276  
Old 07-06-2019, 06:34 AM
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Here we go.
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A top aide to Iran’s supreme leader says the Islamic Republic is ready to enrich uranium beyond the level set by Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal, just ahead of a deadline it set Sunday for Europe to offer new terms to the accord.

A video message by Ali Akbar Velayati included him saying that “Americans directly and Europeans indirectly violated the deal,” part of Tehran’s hardening tone with Europe. European parties to the deal have yet to offer a way for Iran to avoid the sweeping economic sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump since he pulled the U.S. out of the accord a year ago, especially those targeting its crucial oil sales.
Quote:
In the video, available Saturday on a website for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Velayati said that increasing enrichment closers to weapons-grade levels was “unanimously agreed upon by every component of the establishment.”

“We will show reaction exponentially as much as they violate it. We reduce our commitments as much as they reduce it,” said Velayati, Khamenei’s adviser on international affairs. “If they go back to fulfilling their commitments, we will do so as well.”
Quote:
It remains unclear to what level Iran will choose to up its uranium enrichment. However, Velayati in his remarks made reference to 5% enrichment.

“For Bushehr nuclear reactor we need 5% of enrichment and it is a completely peaceful goal,” he said. Bushehr, Iran’s only nuclear power plant, is now running on imported fuel from Russia that’s closely monitored by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.
This part kind of cracked me up:
Quote:
The U.S. said its ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Jackie Wolcott, had requested a special meeting of the IAEA to discuss its “latest, concerning report on the Iran regime’s nuclear program.” That meeting is planned for Wednesday.

Iran’s diplomatic mission to Vienna, where the IAEA is based, called the U.S. move “a sad irony” as America had unilaterally withdrawn from the deal a year ago.
  #277  
Old 07-06-2019, 07:33 AM
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Here we go.This part kind of cracked me up:
I think that going forward, Iran's position will be that it will keep the enriched uranium and whatever else it has developed since the end of sanctions and the negotiating point will be that it will cease to go forward if Trump is willing to negotiate and get back to the framework. But it's not going backwards -- this is exactly what North Korea has done with Trump. Just as Korea is not going to de-nuke itself, Iran is not going to reverse and go back to where things were with Obama. I think American negotiators - not just in Trump's administration but in others as well - seem to fundamentally not understand how this kind of negotiation process works.

In short, the diplomatic lesson for us is this: When you fuck someone on a deal, there's a consequence for it.
  #278  
Old 07-06-2019, 07:35 AM
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I agree Iran will not step backwards. They might step back, but not backwards.
  #279  
Old 07-06-2019, 08:06 AM
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Trump isn't the only American president who has tried to overplay the military strength card in handling foreign adversaries, but he has overplayed it more than any other in recent memory. Not a coincidence that the guy whispering in Trump's ear (Bolton) was part of the second worst offending administration in this regard (GW Bush).

When you take away diplomacy and use coercion as your primary negotiating tool, then adversaries respond hyper-defensively. You can't use military diplomacy unless you're either bringing a diplomatic component to accompany military force to the table (which is what Obama did with Iran and Bill Clinton did with North Korea), or unless you can live with the consequences of militarism (GWB didn't do so well).

What Trump's administration may be starting to reckon with is that while Iran's position is desperate, they're not going to play the waiting game. They're not going to just wait it out and get weaker in the process; they're in a position to cause a royal mess and they're going to start doing just that unless we back off. In a war with Iran, what's certain is that Iran would probably make the global economy suffer. What's less certain is when their regime would fall. And even if it falls, the economic disruption could (and probably would) last long after the regime is vanquished. This is what probably just dawned on John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. Or maybe it didn't, but someone in the White House dared to ask the right kinds of questions and they didn't have the answer.

Last edited by asahi; 07-06-2019 at 08:09 AM.
  #280  
Old 07-06-2019, 05:21 PM
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Macron trying to work a miracle:
Quote:
Macron’s office said in a statement that the French leader spoke for more than an hour Saturday with Iranian President Hassan Rohani amid a standoff between Tehran and the U.S.

Macron expressed “strong concern about new weakening” of the 2015 accord aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He said he would “explore between now and July 15 resumed dialogue among all parties.” The statement didn’t elaborate.
  #281  
Old 07-06-2019, 05:46 PM
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I may turn out to be wrong, but I suspect Macron is wasting his time. Trump's administration doesn't do multilateral treaties; they go mano-a-mano. It's that approach that got us into this mess to begin with. I don't see them using a framework to get us out. I don't think their team even understands what a framework is, or how it works.
  #282  
Old 07-17-2019, 04:08 PM
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Politico:
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Donald Trump has long trashed the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement as “the worst deal ever,” a “disaster” that didn’t cover nearly enough of the Islamist-led country’s nefarious behavior.

In recent weeks, however, the president has indicated that the Barack Obama-era deal might not be so bad after all.
...
At times, analysts and former officials say, it sounds like Trump wants to strike a deal that essentially mirrors the agreement that his White House predecessor inked — even if he’d never be willing to admit it. Iranian officials seem willing to egg him on, saying they’ll talk so long as Trump lifts the sanctions he’s imposed on them and returns to the 2015 Iran deal. And as European ministers warn that the existing deal is nearly extinct, Trump may feel like he is backed into a corner and running out of options.
...
Several European officials express astonishment at the audacity of the Trump administration demanding that Iran adhere to the deal when the U.S. the one who breached the agreement in the first place. Some said they were not surprised that Iran may have taken actions in the Persian Gulf as payback for the U.S. abandonment of the deal.

Europeans “know that the original sin causing the current escalation in the Gulf is the U.S. violation of the Iran nuclear deal,” said Nathalie Tocci, an adviser to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
...
Blanc, the Obama administration official, said what Trump seems to want is a grand show, the type that he’s gotten in his one-on-one meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
  #283  
Old 07-18-2019, 12:18 AM
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Whatever the president wants to do, it's very unlikely that Iran will give up whatever enriched uranium it has developed and whatever advances it makes between now and the next deal. When one side (Side A, let's call it) breaks an agreement, Side B has no incentive to return back to the same place. Iran may be willing to go back to a framework that's similar to the one it had before, but it won't be the same. Iran will want more security guarantees.
  #284  
Old 07-18-2019, 08:18 AM
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Trump is bringing to this issue the same deal making skill that bankrupted casinos.
  #285  
Old 07-18-2019, 09:27 AM
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Trump is bringing to this issue the same deal making skill that bankrupted casinos.
As terrible as Trump's approach to foreign policy is, pulling out of the Iran deal was a mainstream Republican position. It's likely that only Trump was actually dumb enough to carry through on that particular campaign promise, but I think this falls into general Republican bad ideas and not solely Trump's.
  #286  
Old 07-18-2019, 09:32 AM
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As terrible as Trump's approach to foreign policy is, pulling out of the Iran deal was a mainstream Republican position. It's likely that only Trump was actually dumb enough to carry through on that particular campaign promise, but I think this falls into general Republican bad ideas and not solely Trump's.
Agreed, but what's uniquely Trump is that he is rendered our diplomatic apparatus impotent, virtually non-existent. He has a cabinet full of impulsive militaristic conspiracy theorists. We're just fortunate that Donald Trump likes to play tough guy on television and likes surrounding himself with warriors and generals but doesn't seem particularly interested in starting another war -- at least he's got that going for him.
  #287  
Old 07-18-2019, 09:45 AM
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. . . We're just fortunate that Donald Trump . . . doesn't seem particularly interested in starting another war -- at least he's got that going for him.
Until Fox and accomplices tell him 'If you don't ever carry out your threat, people will think you're chickenshit and Iran/NK/Venezuela/et al will call your bluff. NOW is the time to launch!'
  #288  
Old 07-18-2019, 11:13 AM
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Until Fox and accomplices tell him 'If you don't ever carry out your threat, people will think you're chickenshit and Iran/NK/Venezuela/et al will call your bluff. NOW is the time to launch!'
Yep, Fox and Friends could amplify Bolton, or vice versa.
  #289  
Old 07-18-2019, 04:04 PM
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The US evens the downed drone count at 1 apiece.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 07-18-2019 at 04:04 PM.
  #290  
Old 07-19-2019, 08:29 AM
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When I posted this, I thought I should have noted that the AP story only said "Trump said". Sure enough, Iran is denying Trump's account, and they say they have video to back up their version of events.
Quote:
Iran said Friday it can provide images that disprove President Donald Trump’s statement that a U.S. warship destroyed an Iranian drone near the Persian Gulf after it threatened the ship. The incident marked a new escalation of tensions between the countries, less than a month after Iran downed an American drone in the same waterway and Trump came close to retaliating with a military strike.

The Iranian military said all its drones had returned safely to their bases and denied there was any confrontation with a U.S. vessel the previous day.

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” tweeted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.
  #291  
Old 07-19-2019, 08:35 AM
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I guess we'll just have to rely on Trump's well earned notorious credibility for this one, huh?
  #292  
Old 07-19-2019, 10:37 AM
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And in other Iran-US news, we have this:

Quote:
Iran has offered a deal with the US in which it would formally and permanently accept enhanced inspections of its nuclear programme, in return for the permanent lifting of US sanctions.

The offer was made by the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on a visit to New York. But it is unlikely to be warmly received by the Trump administration, which is currently demanding Iran make a range of sweeping concessions, including cessation of uranium enrichment and support for proxies and allies in the region.

Zarif insisted, however, that his offer was “a substantial move”.

“It’s not about photo ops. We are interested in substance,” he told reporters at the Iranian mission to the UN in New York on Thursday. “There are other substantial moves that can be made.”

He said: “If they [the Trump administration] are putting their money where their mouth is, they are going to do it. They don’t need a photo op. They don’t need a two-page document with a big signature.”

I have to give this guy credit: I honestly can't tell if he's making a sincere offer to the US, or just trolling Trump with his lines about "photo ops" and "big signatures".

If this offer were real, I'd likely support it, but when he's tweaking Trump like that, I pretty much assume Trump will turn it down flat.
  #293  
Old 07-19-2019, 11:02 AM
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I guess we'll just have to rely on Trump's well earned notorious credibility for this one, huh?
It's extremely sad when Iran is beginning to have more credibility than the POTUS.
  #294  
Old 07-19-2019, 11:07 AM
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I have to give this guy credit: I honestly can't tell if he's making a sincere offer to the US, or just trolling Trump with his lines about "photo ops" and "big signatures".
Both. He knows Trump won't take it but in the unlikely event he does, they get "permanent" sanctions removal (which would be carte blanche for all sorts of things).
  #295  
Old 07-19-2019, 12:28 PM
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As Bo and I have talked about before, it doesn't matter if the President suddenly decides that he now thinks that Obama's agreement wasn't so bad after all. Iran's not going back to 2015; they're not going to let the US break an agreement without a consequence.

See, contrary to the testosterone-driven brain trust on the right wing believe, this is also why diplomacy isn't for sissies; diplomacy can actually strengthen your political position. We have virtually no - zero - diplomatic game plan. The entire "plan" was to use sanctions to crush Iran's regime. We clearly did this without thinking about what would happen if they started putting the pressure back on us. Iran has definitely thought a lot more about how this ends, and they've considered hostile outcomes, non-hostile outcomes, and probably gamed out a few scenarios in between. We're making shit up as we go along.

So - much - winning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmnOJSUkjrA
  #296  
Old 07-26-2019, 02:37 PM
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I dunno that they're talking to each other, but Iran and NKorea are making similar moves: US officials: Iran test-launched a medium-range missile
Quote:
Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile inside its borders, U.S. officials said Friday, defying Trump administration demands that it curtail the weapon program and demonstrating its intent to further push back against U.S. sanctions.
Ridiculously-named Hogan Gidley confirmed that the US strategy is to slowly strangle Iran:
Quote:
“You’ve seen their economy teetering on the verge of collapse for a while now. And when they’re backed into a corner, they’re acting out,” said spokesman Hogan Gidley, who also said President Donald Trump wants to begin conversations with Iran’s leaders.
Someone who knows what they're talking about weighed in, too:
Quote:
Behnam Ben Taleblu, an expert on Iranian defense at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Shahab-3 is a liquid-fueled, medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.

“The Shahab-3 is the backbone of Iran’s class of medium-range ballistic missiles,” he said, adding that Iranian news outlets have previously called it one of the country’s “Israel-hitting” missiles.

It is derived from a North Korean missile called the Nodong-A and can fly 1,150 to 2,000 kilometers, or up to 1,242 miles, depending on the variant.

“Iran’s continued flight-testing has both political and military applications, functioning as a show of resolve against foreign adversaries and to improve the overall reliability of its missile force, which is the largest in the Middle East,” he said. “As Iran continues to escalate in response to the maximum-pressure campaign, Washington should expect more missile launches.”
  #297  
Old 08-01-2019, 02:03 AM
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Trump decides that making this a personal thing is the way to go, apparently; too bad for Trump that he and those around him are fucking idiots, I guess:
Quote:
In a notice sent to Congress, the State Department said it had extended for 90 days waivers that permit European, Russian and Chinese companies to conduct civilian-nuclear cooperation at several Iranian sites. The waivers, which were due to expire on Thursday, had been the subject of heated internal debate with Iran hawks opposed to their extension but others arguing that more time was needed to allow companies to wind down their operations.

The State Department announced the decision in a statement that sought to portray the step as an extension of restrictions on civilian-nuclear cooperation rather than a renewal of sanctions waivers that allow the work in the first place.

“The action today will help preserve oversight of Iran’s civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Well, that sounds relatively normal, if inexplicable. What comes next, tho, remains firmly in the "dumb as hell" category; an explanation of just how stupid this is comes at the end of this quote:
Quote:
At the same time, the administration announced that it had imposed financial sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as part of its escalating campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. The highly unusual action of penalizing the top diplomat of another nation comes a month after Trump signed an executive order placing sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Those sanctions are largely symbolic as U.S. officials said Zarif’s travels to New York for official U.N. business will not be inhibited, in accordance with America’s international obligations, and the fact that he has little financial interest in American jurisdictions.

In response to that announcement, Zarif tweeted, “It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran.”
Smooooooooth move, Team Trump. Now you've got them right where you want them!
  #298  
Old 08-15-2019, 06:22 PM
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Well, Trump failed again, this time hilariously.
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The British overseas territory of Gibraltar released a seized Iranian supertanker Thursday over last-minute objections from the U.S., potentially easing tensions between London and Tehran, which still holds a British-flagged vessel.
Grace 1 is free to go; these aren't the droids they're looking for.
Quote:
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the U.S. could still begin a new legal procedure for seizing the Grace 1, but that provisions under the European Union’s sanctions regulations were ending Thursday after the Iranian government assured him in writing that the ship will not send its 2.1 million barrels of crude to a sanctioned entity in Syria.

Reacting to the developments, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the U.S. of trying to “steal our property on the high seas.”

“Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its #EconomicTerrorism — including depriving cancer patients of medicine — the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas,” Zarif tweeted, calling the Trump administration’s moves a “piracy attempt.”
That's right: Trump's diplomacy once again ceded the high ground to an adversary. I'm not sure, but I think he might be close to 100% with this move; is anyone keeping track?
Quote:
It was not clear whether the Grace 1 would sail away immediately; nor was it known what the Trump’s administration strategy was. The U.S. Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 08-15-2019 at 06:23 PM.
  #299  
Old 08-15-2019, 07:36 PM
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You didn't quote this part:

Quote:
Gibraltar said it had “solid documentary evidence” that the vessel was bound for Syria when it was detained on July 4, but that the political fallout had prompted talks with Iranian officials in London.
Quote:
The EU has endorsed U.N. sanctions against Syria and has imposed a broad range of its own restrictions against Assad’s government and its supporters. The restrictions include an oil embargo, limits on certain type of investments and a freeze of Syria’s central bank’s assets in the EU, among others.
Quote:
Resolving the tanker dispute would help Britain’s Johnson focus on domestic issues as he works to complete Britain’s exit from the EU and prepare for anticipated national elections in the next few months.
You are really presenting a one sided analysis of this mess, mainly quoting an Iranian official and his take on this situation. Seriously, I'm not sure how this is such a huge loss for Trump or the US, or such a huge win for the Iranians. It seems to have been done for political expediency in the UK, but in the broader cluster fuck it's fairly meaningless except it MIGHT make the Iranians less likely to seize UK shipping. Which they have been doing. From the perspective of the US, however, it seems Trump et al ARE getting other nations to comply with his assinine push, and Iran is being squeezed.

Tell me, what part of this do you see as a win for Iran (as a whole, not that this isn't a big win for the fundamentalist theocrat faction in charge)? What do you see as a loss for Trump? I'm really curious how this is playing out in your head, as to me it looks like Trump is winning this one. Just delaying that tanker was a 'win' for Trump et al. Hell, atm, Trump seems to be getting his cake and eating it too, as he's done all this and the price of oil STILL hasn't really risen, nor has there been any adverse affect, in the US at least which is all Trump cares about, at that pump. Politically, it doesn't seem to have done anything to him either, as Iran is, frankly, a sideshow compared to what's happening with China.
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That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 08-15-2019 at 07:38 PM.
  #300  
Old 08-15-2019, 08:32 PM
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Tell me, what part of this do you see as a win for Iran (as a whole, not that this isn't a big win for the fundamentalist theocrat faction in charge)? .
Not so much a win for Iran as it is simply a demonstration that the United States is becoming increasingly irrelevant on the world stage. Britain and Iran negotiated, Britain made a concession for internal political reasons, and the wishes of the United States were simply ignored.

While other countries enter into trade agreements, diplomatic discussions and other things that countries with actual functioning governments do, the US will just continue to ramble around from one crazy presidential tweet to the next, and be ignored.

The US is now the crazy relative at Thanksgiving dinner, who comes to the table with his underpants on his head, and tells everyone to look out for "those people". Everyone just looks the other way and continues to pass the potatoes.
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