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Old 07-19-2019, 02:29 PM
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Piracy in the Strait of Hormuz- who will shut it down?


Two ships have apparently been taken in what sounds like acts of piracy. Iran is apparently the responsible party. This is going to have to be stopped, but by whom? Will anyone trust the US as an ally with Trump in office? Can Europeans step into the role of 'policeman' without effective or reliable US support? Is this a chance for China to prove itself as ablue water power? For Russia to further confuse the issue? Someone could resolve the issue with great benefit to their international standing. Who will step up?
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:40 PM
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Perhaps the countries whose borders are on and around the Strait could take on the challenge?
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Old 07-19-2019, 02:43 PM
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All these questions and many others will be answered on the next episode of Soap.

Let's be honest. It "sounds like acts of piracy" because Iran did it. Did it sound like an act of piracy when the UK siezed a Iranian ship last week? Of course not.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:53 PM
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Will anyone trust the US as an ally with Trump in office?
Should anyone trust the US as an ally with Trump in office?
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:07 PM
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Two ships have apparently been taken in what sounds like acts of piracy. Iran is apparently the responsible party. This is going to have to be stopped, but by whom? Will anyone trust the US as an ally with Trump in office? Can Europeans step into the role of 'policeman' without effective or reliable US support? Is this a chance for China to prove itself as ablue water power? For Russia to further confuse the issue? Someone could resolve the issue with great benefit to their international standing. Who will step up?
Let's see. Can anyone trust the US as an ally, despite Trump being in charge? Yeah, I think as an ally, countries can trust the US no matter who is in charge. The question really is...can anyone trust the US, regardless of who is president, if they don't have a signed treaty ratified by Congress? Answer...not really. A change in administration can obviously have a large impact on whether we continue from one administration to another, especially if the issue signed by the president is contentious between political parties.

Next up, can the Europeans step in with the role of 'policeman'. That would be a no. Not happening. At this point, I think Europe is firmly on the fence and not going to take sides. Even if they wanted too, they simply don't have the force to project in the region to do much of anything useful.

China? They actually have more of a fleet, but still don't have the ability (or really desire) to project power into the region either. Russia? They are already stretched, plus they have no desire. You didn't mention India, but I think they COULD project power in the region...not sure they want too though. The US, sadly (or happily I guess depending on your perspective) is really the only country that can project real power across the globe and especially into that region. We are also the only power who really wants too, though honestly we don't need to anymore. That's really the rub...we don't rely as much on the region as we once did, so our motivation isn't what it once was.

The answer is, no one is going to step up to police the region except the US...and we might or might not going forward. I actually think the US is on a slow isolationist withdrawal from the world stage at this point. Assuming (as I do) that Trump is ousted in the next election, I seriously doubt whoever the Dems bring up is going to be that keen either on sustaining US power projection in the region. Simply put, it's not really as much our problem anymore to keep the oil flowing, at least from a purely isolationist 'what's good for the US' perspective (at least when you boil it down for Diplomacy for Idiots, as Trump et al have done). What will this mean with respect to Iran? Gods know. My WAG is that we are on a collision course for some sort of shooting event in the near future. We have an idiot at the helm, and they have some evil mother fuckers at their own helm, and both sides seem to actually WANT to shoot something (at least, factions on both sides do), so I think that's what will happen. After that, depending on what transpires, I think we'll see the US either bomb the crap out of Iran because they sunk our battleship, or the US fire some stuff, Iranian's die, and the US then withdraw from the region over the next decade, especially after Trump is out.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:23 PM
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There are efforts underway to build an international coalition to protect freedom of navigation through the Strait. A problem is that a lot of the gulf states prioritize ground and air forces heavily over naval forces. I've seen the joke that between their armies, air forces, and navies the navy gets fourth priority. Getting workable contributions assembled is probably going to take some effort. It probably won't be just them.

The UK has an ongoing navy presence there already. They announced sending an additional frigate and support ship earlier this week.

The efforts include getting Asian navies involved. They are the major users of middle east oil. Shipping through the strait is very important to their economies.

Japan is even looking at sending naval forces under their revised interpretation of self defense from a couple years ago. Two of the ships attacked last month were bound for Japan and one was Japanese flagged. One option I've seen floated is that they might increase their contribution to anti-piracy operations allowing the US (or presumably another contributor) to withdraw ships to beef up forces in the Strait.

India is a major user of gulf state oil. They already have two warships there to escort their tankers.

It looks like as of last week the US hasn't made a formal request for support from South Korea. They said they'd look at sending troops if asked. That's not yes. It's also not no. Once we get into the fall, North Korea's military typically assists with the harvest and then rolls into their winter training cycle. There might be some delay to not pull South Korean assets during their traditional busy season. That's strictly my own speculation.

I haven't seen anything about Singapore contributing or already operating on their own their. They are a major user of gulf oil. China is a big user of gulf oil...and complicated since they tend to align more with Iran but need shipping through the strait.

Nations are already making efforts to secure their own shipping. Talks trying to create a coalition are underway. Direct US naval forces involvement might be troublesome for some but a more hands mostly off ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and logistics support model might work. The US used a similar model in Libya; we weren't formally part of or in charge of the NATO mission. That mission involved a big US led effort to suppress Libyan air defenses first because NATO without the US just didn't have the capability without the US. A more hands off approach like the NATO piece of that mission can probably calm some nerves. Strong use of national restrictions placed on force contributions can address a lot of the other concerns about Trump's unpredictability.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:07 PM
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Let's see. Can anyone trust the US as an ally, despite Trump being in charge? Yeah, I think as an ally, countries can trust the US no matter who is in charge. The question really is...can anyone trust the US, regardless of who is president, if they don't have a signed treaty ratified by Congress? Answer...not really. A change in administration can obviously have a large impact on whether we continue from one administration to another, especially if the issue signed by the president is contentious between political parties.

Next up, can the Europeans step in with the role of 'policeman'. That would be a no. Not happening. At this point, I think Europe is firmly on the fence and not going to take sides. Even if they wanted too, they simply don't have the force to project in the region to do much of anything useful.

China? They actually have more of a fleet, but still don't have the ability (or really desire) to project power into the region either. Russia? They are already stretched, plus they have no desire. You didn't mention India, but I think they COULD project power in the region...not sure they want too though. The US, sadly (or happily I guess depending on your perspective) is really the only country that can project real power across the globe and especially into that region. We are also the only power who really wants too, though honestly we don't need to anymore. That's really the rub...we don't rely as much on the region as we once did, so our motivation isn't what it once was.

The answer is, no one is going to step up to police the region except the US...and we might or might not going forward. I actually think the US is on a slow isolationist withdrawal from the world stage at this point. Assuming (as I do) that Trump is ousted in the next election, I seriously doubt whoever the Dems bring up is going to be that keen either on sustaining US power projection in the region. Simply put, it's not really as much our problem anymore to keep the oil flowing, at least from a purely isolationist 'what's good for the US' perspective (at least when you boil it down for Diplomacy for Idiots, as Trump et al have done). What will this mean with respect to Iran? Gods know. My WAG is that we are on a collision course for some sort of shooting event in the near future. We have an idiot at the helm, and they have some evil mother fuckers at their own helm, and both sides seem to actually WANT to shoot something (at least, factions on both sides do), so I think that's what will happen. After that, depending on what transpires, I think we'll see the US either bomb the crap out of Iran because they sunk our battleship, or the US fire some stuff, Iranian's die, and the US then withdraw from the region over the next decade, especially after Trump is out.
The problem is the President is going to administer any agreements. And Trump has shown he can't be counted on to stand by agreements - even when he made them. Something new will pop into his head and he'll change his mind. So no policy can be made based on the premise that American support will be there when it's needed.

So people looking for a policy they can rely on have to look elsewhere. I don't think there's any power in the region that's strong enough to push Iran around. Places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are strong enough to fight Iran but they're not strong enough to overwhelm Iran. Iran's not going to back down to a threat that's only backed up by regional military power. If regional powers have to address this issue, it's going to be a prolonged and bloody war.

With all due respect to Europe, India, and Japan I don't think they have the strength to make Iran back down either. The only countries (besides us) that I think are powerful enough to force Iran to the negotiating table are China and Russia. And neither of them have the forces in the region. If the world community wants China or Russia to broker a deal, it's going to mean conceding local bases to one of them and letting them establish a military presence in the region. And that will be a huge diplomatic shift whose effects we'll dealing with for years - maybe decades.
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Old 07-20-2019, 01:58 AM
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Good short article summarizing what happened behind the scenes, leading up to this:

Gulf crisis: story began with UK's seizure of Iranian-flagged ship in Gibraltar
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:38 AM
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Good short article summarizing what happened behind the scenes, leading up to this:

Gulf crisis: story began with UK's seizure of Iranian-flagged ship in Gibraltar
And here is the money paragraph in that Guardian article:

Quote:
Yet there were some oddities to the British decision. Few previous shipments of oil to Syria have been impounded. The Spanish claim that the British acted under the instruction of the Americans. The Trump administration is trying to freeze all Iranian oil exports as part of its policy of maximum economic sanctions designed to force the Iranians to reopen talks on the nuclear deal signed in 2015.
As I pointed out on one of the other threads, it would be one thing if the US were simply trying to use its own power to sanction Iran directly. Certainly urging other countries like the UK and other EU states to participate in sanctions is fair game, but what the US has done is to threaten other countries' economies if they don't join the US in applying and enforcing a policy of maximum-pressure sanctions - sanctions which aren't merely intended to limit Iran's economic growth but are instead so extreme that the could sow the seeds of internal instability and unrest.

No country is going to simply sit by and let that happen if they have the means to apply their own form of pressure in response, and threatening ships that pass through Hormuz, effectively threatening to shut the strait entirely and all of the global trade passing through it, is the one card in the deck that Iran has to play, and they're going to play it. It doesn't matter whether it's "fair," or whether it is "provocative" or whether it is an "escalation" -- none of that matters. This is what Iran believes it can do to protect its vital national interests, and it's now up to the US and her allies to decide how far they want to go down this road in trying to change Iran's behavior, and it's up to them to ask whether this is really worth the trouble, or if perhaps there's another way out of this mess.

Last edited by asahi; 07-20-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:47 PM
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Reactivate the "New Jersey" and the "Iowa"? Now there's some gunboat diplomacy for you. Nothing like a bunch of 16" guns to get somebody's attention!

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Old 07-20-2019, 09:08 PM
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Maybe John Kerry and Obama would care to explain this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.ea33ad28c3f4

Treason? Only if we end up at war with Iran.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:13 PM
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Reactivate the "New Jersey" and the "Iowa"? Now there's some gunboat diplomacy for you. Nothing like a bunch of 16" guns to get somebody's attention!
Not sure if serious, but this would require tremendous manpower; one reason those battleships were decommissioned.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:17 PM
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Maybe John Kerry and Obama would care to explain this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.ea33ad28c3f4

Treason? Only if we end up at war with Iran.
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I thought we didn’t like Americans who colluded with our enemies.
When he says "we", I don't think he's being sincere.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:18 PM
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Not sure if serious, but this would require tremendous manpower; one reason those battleships were decommissioned.
Did you mean "human effort"?
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:24 PM
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Did you mean "human effort"?
ROFLMAO No, MAN-Power. There are no gendered spaces on board those ancient ships and womyn don't have the upper body strength to throw 90 lb. bags of powder for the big guns. Nor, can 90% of womyn, handle the recoil of the BoFors Anti-aircraft guns. Those ships required brawn mostly with, some brains in certain positions. Nice try to 'gender norm' though. How many womyn drafted in WWII ? LOL
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:27 PM
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Did you mean "human effort"?
BTW, quit trying to make the past change to suit your preference. Liberals attempt to redefine words and, worse yet; History to suit themselves.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:28 PM
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BTW, quit trying to make the past change to suit your preference. Liberals attempt to redefine words and, worse yet; History to suit themselves.
Whoosh!
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Old 07-20-2019, 11:01 PM
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Maybe John Kerry and Obama would care to explain this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.ea33ad28c3f4

Treason? Only if we end up at war with Iran.
I for one am shocked to discover that the Secretary of State was meeting with representatives of foreign governments.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:30 AM
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I for one am shocked to discover that the Secretary of State was meeting with representatives of foreign governments.
I hope you're sitting down for this one: Kerry is no longer Secretary of State.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:59 AM
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I hope you're sitting down for this one: Kerry is no longer Secretary of State.
My bad. The link is to a website with a pay wall. So I was only able to read the headline and see the picture. The reference to Obama made me think the story dated from when he was President.

So was Kerry wrong to hold meetings with Iranian officials as a private citizen? That could well be. I'll let the government figure out if any laws were broken. But now that I know that we're talking about something Kerry did as a private citizen in 2019, I have to ask what this has to do with Obama?
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:04 PM
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It doesn't matter whether it's "fair," or whether it is "provocative" or whether it is an "escalation" -- none of that matters.
Of course it matters whether a country is playing by the rules.

When the US broke international law to invade Iraq, we deserved every amount of distrust we took on because of doing something bad.

The idea that “I’m just sayin’, bad things are going to happen, whether or not it’s right” is something that comes out of the mouth of deplorables. It’s what the KKK says to threaten minorities. It’s what the mafia says to threaten civilians. It’s what MRA jerks tell women about sexual assault. Your off-the-charts hatred of Trump is putting you in association with the “might makes right” sort of philosophy that Trumpists, racists, criminals, and other horrible people embrace.

After all, this amoral attitude applies equally to Trump and his obnoxious advisers: “It doesn’t matter whether separating children at the border is right; it’s just going to happen.” “It doesn’t matter if we go to war because Trump watched too much Fox News one night, these are just things that are predictable and going to happen from time to time.”

I totally reject this embrace of “I’m just telling you the way it is and excusing immoral actions” that you have adopted. It’s a sickening argument that has no place in civilized society... or even the semi-civilized society we are dealing with at the moment.
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:35 PM
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Two ships have apparently been taken in what sounds like acts of piracy. Iran is apparently the responsible party. This is going to have to be stopped, but by whom? Will anyone trust the US as an ally with Trump in office? Can Europeans step into the role of 'policeman' without effective or reliable US support? Is this a chance for China to prove itself as ablue water power? For Russia to further confuse the issue? Someone could resolve the issue with great benefit to their international standing. Who will step up?
So the thing is, Iran is doing this because we're putting the screws to them. They're trying to demonstrate that if we put the screws to them, they can put the screws to us.

Iran isn't just attacking all shipping willy-nilly, are they? They aren't attacking Russian or Chinese or Indian ships, right? So why would the Russians or the Chinese or the Indians feel the need to send in the navy? Russia actually would love to see a shutdown of oil exports from the Persian Gulf, since that increases world oil prices, and Russia gets most of their cash from energy exports to Europe.

Calling this an act of piracy is a very silly way to describe the situation. This isn't piracy, this is an act directed by the Iranian government, in retaliation for the UK seizure. And why is there a sudden escalation? Because Trump decided there should be an escalation, because his Iran hawk advisers told him he should do it. So maybe Trump should stop trying to provoke a war with Iran? Just a thought.

It's one thing to impose sanctions on Iran. But the problem for the US is that for the last 40 years we haven't had any significant trade with Iran due to some small problems that happened back then. So we don't have any trade with Iran. So our brilliant idea is instead of sanctioning Iran, we sanction our allies who trade with Iran, to force them to stop trading with Iran. Imposing sanctions on our former allies is a super-great plan that will work perfectly, since trade wars are easy to win.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:05 PM
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So the thing is, Iran is doing this because we're putting the screws to them. They're trying to demonstrate that if we put the screws to them, they can put the screws to us.

Iran isn't just attacking all shipping willy-nilly, are they? They aren't attacking Russian or Chinese or Indian ships, right? So why would the Russians or the Chinese or the Indians feel the need to send in the navy? Russia actually would love to see a shutdown of oil exports from the Persian Gulf, since that increases world oil prices, and Russia gets most of their cash from energy exports to Europe.
Why do we feel the need to get involved in the Middle East? We have no significant history there. And oil from the region goes mostly to Asia and Europe; we get our oil from the Americas.

But the reality is that we want to be a leading power. We want the perks of other countries listening to us. And that means we need to pay the price, which is helping them with their problems.

If we fail to help them, other countries like China and Russia will see an opening. They'll step in and help resolve this crisis. And that will mean that the next time we ask our allies to do something, we might be told "We're going to check with Moscow and see how they feel. We'll get back to you."
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:44 PM
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And oil from the region goes mostly to Asia and Europe; we get our oil from the Americas.
Not quite right. We're getting 13% of our imports from Saudi Arabia and 7% from Iraq.

Quote:
During 2018, the United States of America imported US$163.1 billion worth of crude oil from a total 44 countries.

<snip>

Crude oil delivered to the US from Middle Eastern nations was valued at $36.5 billion in 2018 or 22.3% of America’s worldwide total.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:17 PM
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And oil from the region goes mostly to Asia and Europe; we get our oil from the Americas.
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Not quite right. We're getting 13% of our imports from Saudi Arabia and 7% from Iraq.
Also, if the Strait of Hormuz was blocked oil prices EVERYWHERE would skyrocket.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:43 PM
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Of course it matters whether a country is playing by the rules.

When the US broke international law to invade Iraq, we deserved every amount of distrust we took on because of doing something bad.

The idea that “I’m just sayin’, bad things are going to happen, whether or not it’s right” is something that comes out of the mouth of deplorables. It’s what the KKK says to threaten minorities. It’s what the mafia says to threaten civilians. It’s what MRA jerks tell women about sexual assault. Your off-the-charts hatred of Trump is putting you in association with the “might makes right” sort of philosophy that Trumpists, racists, criminals, and other horrible people embrace.

After all, this amoral attitude applies equally to Trump and his obnoxious advisers: “It doesn’t matter whether separating children at the border is right; it’s just going to happen.” “It doesn’t matter if we go to war because Trump watched too much Fox News one night, these are just things that are predictable and going to happen from time to time.”

I totally reject this embrace of “I’m just telling you the way it is and excusing immoral actions” that you have adopted. It’s a sickening argument that has no place in civilized society... or even the semi-civilized society we are dealing with at the moment.
. You honestly think the US is "playing by the rules" here? Why should all of us assume that the US/UK seizure of the Iranian ship wasn't a "bad things might happen" moment? The US strong arming the world into going along with their new plan is following the rules? Ok, what rule following path do you see available for the Iranians, outside of complete capitulation?

Last edited by CarnalK; 07-21-2019 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:31 PM
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. You honestly think the US is "playing by the rules" here? Why should all of us assume that the US/UK seizure of the Iranian ship wasn't a "bad things might happen" moment? The US strong arming the world into going along with their new plan is following the rules?
You have an unparalleled ability to read things into my posts things that I did not say and do not believe.

Hopefully soon, I should hope an entrepreneur like Elon Musk will devise a way to channel this untapped and unbounded predilection of yours to turn a generator fueled only by the vitriol that underlies these rhetorical leaps of understanding. Then all of these nonsensical barbs could effectuate some benefit, such as powering the lights of entire continents from pulling absurd conclusions from thin air.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:45 PM
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:06 PM
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I totally reject this embrace of “I’m just telling you the way it is and excusing immoral actions” that you have adopted. It’s a sickening argument that has no place in civilized society... or even the semi-civilized society we are dealing with at the moment.
I would be sympathetic to this argument if you could convince me that Trump, Pompeo, Bolton, and other hawks are interested in establishing a civilized society, or that the US's decision to impose sanctions on Iran (and any country that tries to do business with Iran) had anything to do with creating a more perfect and more civilized world.

Good luck trying to convince me of that, and I suspect the same is true of other posters and other people more generally.
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:17 PM
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I would be sympathetic to this argument if you could convince me that Trump, Pompeo, Bolton, and other hawks are interested in establishing a civilized society, or that the US's decision to impose sanctions on Iran (and any country that tries to do business with Iran) had anything to do with creating a more perfect and more civilized world.

Good luck trying to convince me of that, and I suspect the same is true of other posters and other people more generally.
Doesn’t matter. You seem to have this “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of deal going on. I urge you not to be so simplistic as “Trump sucks so I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Iran.”
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:51 PM
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Doesn’t matter. You seem to have this “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of deal going on. I urge you not to be so simplistic as “Trump sucks so I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Iran.”
Now you're just being silly and trying to tear apart arguments nobody's made.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:05 PM
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Now you're just being silly and trying to tear apart arguments nobody's made.
Did you not argue that right and wrong have no place in Iran defending its national interests? I can remind you of the post.

Strangely, the issue of right and wrong as it pertains to Trump are an obsession of yours.

I contend that if you wish to apply morality to this awful Trump Administration, and not apply it to the odious government of Iran, you are indeed giving one party a pass due to short sightedness.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:40 PM
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Did you not argue that right and wrong have no place in Iran defending its national interests? I can remind you of the post.

Strangely, the issue of right and wrong as it pertains to Trump are an obsession of yours.

I contend that if you wish to apply morality to this awful Trump Administration, and not apply it to the odious government of Iran, you are indeed giving one party a pass due to short sightedness.
Nope, not what I've argued, but keep trying to "win"
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:56 PM
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Not quite right. We're getting 13% of our imports from Saudi Arabia and 7% from Iraq.
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Also, if the Strait of Hormuz was blocked oil prices EVERYWHERE would skyrocket.
Okay, we obviously have some interests in the region. But my point is that we're not being asked to take the lead because the stakes are higher for us than they are for other countries. We're being asked to get involved because this is what world leaders are supposed to do.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:24 PM
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You have an unparalleled ability to read things into my posts things that I did not say and do not believe.

Hopefully soon, I should hope an entrepreneur like Elon Musk will devise a way to channel this untapped and unbounded predilection of yours to turn a generator fueled only by the vitriol that underlies these rhetorical leaps of understanding. Then all of these nonsensical barbs could effectuate some benefit, such as powering the lights of entire continents from pulling absurd conclusions from thin air.
What barbs have I thrown?
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:33 PM
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Ravenman, I am interested in your answer to this thought experiment, which puts you in the shoes of the Iranians. So, remember, in this exercise you are Iran.

1) You (Iran) spend several years negotiating with the international community and finally arrive at a landmark deal that means you won't develop nuclear weapons in return for the removal of economic sanctions, which have been going on for years and causing economic hardship in your country. The signatories to this deal are: Iran, the European Union, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States (NOTE: this wasn't a deal between the Iran and the U.S., it was a deal between Iran and the rest of the world).

2) You (Iran) are abiding by the terms of the deal, economic sanctions have been lifted, and it seems like everything has been resolved in a peaceful and civilized manner through diplomatic negotiation.

3) Trump reneges on the deal by pulling the United States out of it, imposes harsh economic sanctions on you (Iran) and tells other countries in the world that they can't do business with you (thus killing the deal you made with the rest of the world). Trump did this is for one or more of the following reasons: he doesn't like Obama, it was Obama's deal, so this is just another way in which Trump's been dismantling Obama's legacy achievements for reasons of personal spite; Trump intends to force you (Iran) to make a new deal in which you make more concessions, which may include abandoning support for fellow Shia peoples across the region; there are people in Trump's orbit, such as Bolton, who have openly stated their goal is the toppling of your (Iranian) regime.

So here is my question to you: what would you, as Iran, do next?

Your choices as I see it, are:

A) Capitulate to the United States, and make a new deal with them which forces you to make humiliating concessions (moreover, this is while almost the entire world thinks Trump and the U.S. are the provocateurs and in the wrong)?

B) Something else? If so, please explain what you would do.
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Old 07-21-2019, 11:44 PM
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I asked him the same question but he snipped it out when he quoted me in his reply. Suspect he doesn't want to flat out say capitulation is the only option.
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:38 AM
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I asked him the same question but he snipped it out when he quoted me in his reply. Suspect he doesn't want to flat out say capitulation is the only option.
He deliberately avoids questions and ignores rebuttals and keeps going back to: "So you're position is that Trump's an asshole, therefore you must support Iran."

He's done this repeatedly across two threads on this subject. Once? Okay maybe he didn't read the entirety of the post - it happens. But he does this again and again, so I get the sense he's not interested in having an honest discussion about this.

Last edited by asahi; 07-22-2019 at 06:38 AM.
  #39  
Old 07-22-2019, 07:35 AM
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A) Capitulate to the United States, and make a new deal with them which forces you to make humiliating concessions (moreover, this is while almost the entire world thinks Trump and the U.S. are the provocateurs and in the wrong)?

B) Something else? If so, please explain what you would do.
B. And there’s a huge range of options, which I haven’t thought out precisely but would probably be pursued in some sort of serial order (as opposed to all at once):

- propaganda campaign to show how many deaths the sanctions have resulted in
- negotiate special purpose vehicles with non-US countries to all them to evade sanctions
- diplomatically and politically isolate the US from my trading partners
- engage in corrupt trade practices with those countries (like how Huawei apparently has no problem doing deals in North Korea despite sanctions)
- renegotiate the deal excluding the US
- withdraw from the deal

If I was a cynical and evil person, then I would entice/threaten/force the US into a war to gain politics support at home. But I’m not, so I think that’s a terrible idea.

But from your post, it sounds like you think that Iran has two main options: capitulate, or violence. If you can, explain to me how you see violence making progress for Iran on sanctions. Putting holes in tankers and drones in the sea isn’t going to lead to Trump ending his pressure campaign, I think we can agree. As I see it, the attacks are probably just going to push Europe, Japan, and others ever so slightly toward the US, and away from Iran. Because, after all, it isn’t the US attacking Norwegian tankers. So walk me through your version of how Iran’s military provocations leads to Profit, because the ??? isn’t clear to me.

Also, let’s not kid ourselves that this is all about the nuclear sanctions. Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization is without a doubt part of the reason for Iran’s attacks. I’m not sure if it’s 20% of the reason, or 70%, but it sure is part of the issue.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:36 AM
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I urge you not to be so simplistic as “Trump sucks so I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Iran.”
It is simplistic, but you somehow got the gist of it wrong.

Trump hit Iran, and this is Iran hitting back.

As much as one might like to tell Iran that they're wrong, it is inescapable to put the primary blame on the party that hit first.

Iran had a deal and Trump broke it, with the intent of creating a situation exactly like this one. Who would you blame in this situation?
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:44 AM
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He deliberately avoids questions and ignores rebuttals and keeps going back to: "So you're position is that Trump's an asshole, therefore you must support Iran."
Actually, I think I answer a lot of questions. See above. Maybe not 100%, but if you have a non-rhetorical question I haven't answered, just post it again.

I don't "ignore" rebuttals. I disagree with them. Just because you write what you're thinking doesn't mean I'm obligated to agree with it. And may I suggest -- that if you say I haven't answered your question because I snipped out part of a longer post, I'm afraid I just don't have all the time in the world to respond to every point in every post, so I prioritize points that are of interest to me. I think every person on this message board does the same, so you can't blame me for that.
Quote:
He's done this repeatedly across two threads on this subject. Once? Okay maybe he didn't read the entirety of the post - it happens. But he does this again and again, so I get the sense he's not interested in having an honest discussion about this.
Actually I think I've contributed more substance to these discussions than either of you. CarnalK keeps insinuating that I'm in favor of Trump, and when I ask you questions, I get a lot of tap dancing.
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Nope, not what I've argued, but keep trying to "win"
I said you said right and wrong don't have any place in Iran defending it's national interests. You said it isn't what you argued. And yet you wrote:

Quote:
No country is going to simply sit by and let that happen if they have the means to apply their own form of pressure in response, and threatening ships that pass through Hormuz, effectively threatening to shut the strait entirely and all of the global trade passing through it, is the one card in the deck that Iran has to play, and they're going to play it. It doesn't matter whether it's "fair," or whether it is "provocative" or whether it is an "escalation" -- none of that matters. This is what Iran believes it can do to protect its vital national interests.....
  #42  
Old 07-22-2019, 07:50 AM
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It is simplistic, but you somehow got the gist of it wrong.

Trump hit Iran, and this is Iran hitting back.
Which is a stupid and reckless policy. It's reckless because it could lead to a US bombing campaign, costing Iranians their lives; and its stupid because I don't see a way that Iranian violence leads to a good outcome for them, whereas I see other policies that might, but Iran has chosen to cut off those paths.

Quote:
Iran had a deal and Trump broke it, with the intent of creating a situation exactly like this one. Who would you blame in this situation?
I blame Trump for a really stupid Iran policy and I blame Iran for resorting to violence. What I see as implicit in your question here -- and I believe is certainly part of asahi and CarnalK's arguments -- is that U.S. does A, so Iran does B. To the extent that the U.S. deliberates on whether it should do A, by all means we should have considered whether Iran will do B; in order to better determine whether A was worth it.

However, should A happen, that does not resolve Iran from the actual culpability of doing B. They have free will, and could choose other options (a few of which I've laid out from the top of my head). I'm criticizing arguments that the U.S. is responsible for what Iran chooses to do -- but I agree with arguments that the U.S. is stupid for doing A.

But again, there isn't one bad guy here.
  #43  
Old 07-22-2019, 08:24 AM
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Ravenman, I am interested in your answer to this thought experiment, which puts you in the shoes of the Iranians. So, remember, in this exercise you are Iran.

1) You (Iran) spend several years negotiating with the international community and finally arrive at a landmark deal that means you won't develop nuclear weapons in return for the removal of economic sanctions, which have been going on for years and causing economic hardship in your country. The signatories to this deal are: Iran, the European Union, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States (NOTE: this wasn't a deal between the Iran and the U.S., it was a deal between Iran and the rest of the world).

2) You (Iran) are abiding by the terms of the deal, economic sanctions have been lifted, and it seems like everything has been resolved in a peaceful and civilized manner through diplomatic negotiation.

3) Trump reneges on the deal by pulling the United States out of it, imposes harsh economic sanctions on you (Iran) and tells other countries in the world that they can't do business with you (thus killing the deal you made with the rest of the world). Trump did this is for one or more of the following reasons: he doesn't like Obama, it was Obama's deal, so this is just another way in which Trump's been dismantling Obama's legacy achievements for reasons of personal spite; Trump intends to force you (Iran) to make a new deal in which you make more concessions, which may include abandoning support for fellow Shia peoples across the region; there are people in Trump's orbit, such as Bolton, who have openly stated their goal is the toppling of your (Iranian) regime.

So here is my question to you: what would you, as Iran, do next?

Your choices as I see it, are:

A) Capitulate to the United States, and make a new deal with them which forces you to make humiliating concessions (moreover, this is while almost the entire world thinks Trump and the U.S. are the provocateurs and in the wrong)?

B) Something else? If so, please explain what you would do.
Well, I'm not Ravenman, but a few things on this. First off, you left some things out. I think the main US issue was with other activities Iran was doing, namely it's support of paramilitary/terrorist organizations in the region, it's activities in Syria and it's proxy war support in several regional nations. It wasn't really about the nuclear agreement.

Which brings up another aspect...this wasn't a signed treaty, it was basically an agreement that could (and obviously was) voided when the political tide changed in the US. Finally, while I've seen no evidence that Iran wasn't abiding by the very vertical scope of the agreement, as inspections were never complete it's hard to really say that with 100% certainty...there was some room for doubt, especially if one wanted to doubt. Personally, I think they WERE abiding by them, but I also concede that, as with Sadam, the opaque nature of the country and inherent secrecy means there is always room to doubt, even if there is no basis for it.

I want to state at this point that, all of the above being said, I think what Trump et al did was a mistake and I wouldn't have pulled us out of the agreement. There were other ways, if it was even necessary, to punish Iran over it's activities and we shouldn't have used the nuclear deal as a bargaining chip. I think that the main motivation for this was, really, that Obama did it and Trump wants to basically scrap everything Obama did. And his own hawks are cool with that as it plays into what they want as well.


All that said, you asked what Iran should have done once the US pulled out of the agreement. Since you are asking me and not the theocratic dictators in chief, I'll say that their best bet would have been to appeal to the EU to act as intermediary and to underscore they were the wronged party in this. They could do this with Russia and China and some of their other allies as well. Pretty much Trump unified basically everyone against the US on this one, and I think the Iranian's COULD have used that if they played their cards right. Of course, they just couldn't do that, because this was a golden opportunity for the hardline fundamentalists to regain their iron grip on the country. Most of them never wanted this deal anyway, and want to confront the US directly, so it plays into their hands...and they are running with it now. At any rate, that's what I would have done, had I been magically in charge and able to stifle the hardliners. I'd have used that diplomacy stuff, used relations built by the other signatories, but the investments many EU companies has put into Iran, and by the fact that the Americans have an idiot for a president who is simultaneously going after a lot of countries at once and so is really distracted. Instead, they are actually playing into Bolton et als hands, just like we played into their hardliners hands. I think had they played their cards right, they would have come out of this in a MUCH stronger position, perhaps with an actual treaty with the US as an end game, with stronger economic ties and perhaps the beginnings of really rejoining the world community.

Instead, they are push things hard enough that all it will take is someone fucking up on either side and we will have a shooting war in one of the biggest trade routes on the planet, and they are doing so with THE world hyperpower...who, as noted, has an idiot in charge. We are all dancing on a razor and could easily fall off any time, and while that would certainly hurt the world economy, and the US, the Iranian's are going to have a really bad day if it comes to open hostilities. I'm fairly sure the hardliners expect the US will just back down...kind of like Saddam thought. And look how well that worked out for everyone...
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Last edited by XT; 07-22-2019 at 08:29 AM.
  #44  
Old 07-22-2019, 08:29 AM
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Actually, I think I answer a lot of questions. See above. Maybe not 100%, but if you have a non-rhetorical question I haven't answered, just post it again.

I don't "ignore" rebuttals. I disagree with them. Just because you write what you're thinking doesn't mean I'm obligated to agree with it. And may I suggest -- that if you say I haven't answered your question because I snipped out part of a longer post, I'm afraid I just don't have all the time in the world to respond to every point in every post, so I prioritize points that are of interest to me. I think every person on this message board does the same, so you can't blame me for that.

Actually I think I've contributed more substance to these discussions than either of you. CarnalK keeps insinuating that I'm in favor of Trump, and when I ask you questions, I get a lot of tap dancing.
I said you said right and wrong don't have any place in Iran defending it's national interests. You said it isn't what you argued. And yet you wrote:
We're going around in circles and I'm not going to leave it to you to frame what I said. I think others in this thread can read it for themselves.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:43 AM
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It is simplistic, but you somehow got the gist of it wrong.

Trump hit Iran, and this is Iran hitting back.

As much as one might like to tell Iran that they're wrong, it is inescapable to put the primary blame on the party that hit first.

Iran had a deal and Trump broke it, with the intent of creating a situation exactly like this one. Who would you blame in this situation?
I think Ravenman wants you and others to focus strictly on the "piracy" and not the circumstances that surround it, not the circumstances that have placed Iran in the position in which they feel desperate.

"I've said that the US was wrong when we invaded Iraq"

Fine, we get that. But seriously, who gives a toss? Who cares if the US was morally wrong for invading Iraq -- we got it then, and we get that now. Not only was it morally wrong, but it was utterly fucking stupid, and the world is still dealing with the consequences of that invasion years later. I digress...

I don't know why it's so hard for people to understand that nobody on this or the other Iran thread (save one or two people perhaps) is necessarily defending Iran. We're not; we're saying that our behavior has consequences. Ravenman talks about breaking the rules ignoring the fact that Iran was playing by rules and the hawks in this administration decided that they were going to completely rewrite the rules. It's not worth even discussing what the rules are when the country that has more power than any on earth to write those rules, decided it can keep changing the rules until they put other countries at a distinct disadvantage. Talking about Iran not playing by the rules in this context is absurd.

As an American, I don't have any influence at all over what Iran does or doesn't do. I was hopeful that they would live up to their obligations under the 2015 framework and cease nuclear production and allow inspectors in their facilities. Turns out, they did exactly that! Now that this rogue administration has decided that it wants to completely rewrite the rules and impose newer and more onerous ones, I can only hope that Iran doesn't overreact, but I have no influence over what Iran's regime does. But as an American citizen and a regular participant in American democratic elections, I have at least some (albeit quite small) influence in terms of political discourse here. As others have pointed out, we can control us. So for that reason, I am much less concerned about Iran's behavior and much more concerned with ours.
  #46  
Old 07-22-2019, 09:04 AM
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Which is a stupid and reckless policy. It's reckless because it could lead to a US bombing campaign, costing Iranians their lives; and its stupid because I don't see a way that Iranian violence leads to a good outcome for them, whereas I see other policies that might, but Iran has chosen to cut off those paths.
I feel compelled to suggest that Iran did pursue a non-violent policy, and got screwed over by Trump. What sort of deal would YOU make with Trump?
Quote:
I blame Trump for a really stupid Iran policy and I blame Iran for resorting to violence. What I see as implicit in your question here -- and I believe is certainly part of asahi and CarnalK's arguments -- is that U.S. does A, so Iran does B. To the extent that the U.S. deliberates on whether it should do A, by all means we should have considered whether Iran will do B; in order to better determine whether A was worth it.
I'm going to suggest that Trump's guys did consider whether Iran would do B, and chose A with the intention of encouraging Iran to choose B. This is not some unintended consequence. Trump's policy isn't stupid*, it's malicious.


*I mean, it IS stupid, but the policy is working as intended.
  #47  
Old 07-22-2019, 09:28 AM
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I think Ravenman wants you and others to focus strictly on the "piracy" and not the circumstances that surround it, not the circumstances that have placed Iran in the position in which they feel desperate.
No, completely the opposite: I'm urging people to take a broader view of the crisis by bringing into the discussion issues like: the IRGC designation; the nonmilitary policy options open to Iran; how military action is probably boxing Iran into poor outcomes; how the foreign policy and domestic policy goals may be in conflict; etc. I'm quite explicitly trying to move the conversation beyond "But Trump did this thing first!!"

Quote:
Ravenman talks about breaking the rules ignoring the fact that Iran was playing by rules and the hawks in this administration decided that they were going to completely rewrite the rules.... Talking about Iran not playing by the rules in this context is absurd.
Oh yes, Iran WAS playing by the rules in the context of the agreement. Trump trashed the agreement, which is also allowed for by the rules, but was a really stupid thing to do. But in starting to attack tankers and drones, there is no conceivable universe where anyone can argue that Iran is now playing by the rules.
Acts of war not in self-defense of imminent harm are NOT playing by the rules, no matter which party is involved.

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I feel compelled to suggest that Iran did pursue a non-violent policy, and got screwed over by Trump. What sort of deal would YOU make with Trump?
I would see no point of Iran trying to make a deal with Trump at this point. That's part of the stupidity of Trump's Iran policy: he's shown his Administration to be worthless to talk to, who can't be trusted to carry out any deal in the name of the United States. That's why when I was asked a little earlier what non-military policies Iran could pursue, none of those included starting new talks with Trump.

Quote:
I'm going to suggest that Trump's guys did consider whether Iran would do B, and chose A with the intention of encouraging Iran to choose B. This is not some unintended consequence.
Oh, I totally agree that Bolton and Pompeo were likely thinking along these lines. But it is curious that Trump seems to be on a much different page. At this moment, I think Trump wants a big photo op with Khamenei far more than he wants to launch missiles at Iran. I would guess that Trump called off the airstrikes when he realized that he can't have a nice meeting in front of cameras with the world's leading antisemites if he bombs them first.
  #48  
Old 07-22-2019, 10:15 AM
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No, completely the opposite: I'm urging people to take a broader view of the crisis by bringing into the discussion issues like: the IRGC designation; the nonmilitary policy options open to Iran; how military action is probably boxing Iran into poor outcomes; how the foreign policy and domestic policy goals may be in conflict; etc. I'm quite explicitly trying to move the conversation beyond "But Trump did this thing first!!"
No, I'm not going to think about any of that because the obvious solution that we can choose is not to fuck with Iran in the first place -- that's the easy and obvious answer. Easier and more obvious than debating how Iran should behave when we've reneged on our word and tried to manipulate them. Keep in mind that our government is doing this in no small part because they assume that the American public will go along with it or not protest their actions, just like we did 16 years ago when we foolishly supported a war in Iraq (and by the way, making the same idiotic arguments that you are in this thread).

Some posters have pointed to Iran's regime lacking democratic mechanisms and therefore lacking legitimacy. In my mind, the relative absence of democracy in Iran may weaken the legitimacy of Iran when it comes to representing popular will, but it doesn't weaken their claims to sovereignty. Moreover, the fact that we have more democratic influence only obligates Americans to focus less on Iran's response and more on our own government's behavior. Iran's people have fewer options for expressing objections to their country's policies; in theory at least, we have more. I'm doing my part to let it be known that I am NOT okay with this, and it really doesn't matter how Iran responds or doesn't respond. Thinking that how Iran responds to a crisis we've arguably created is somehow just as important as how our government acts in our name is an egregious a case of "Whatboutism" if there ever was one. Sorry, I'm not playing along.
  #49  
Old 07-22-2019, 10:28 AM
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I think Ravenman wants you and others to focus strictly on the "piracy" and not the circumstances that surround it....
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
No, completely the opposite: I'm urging people to take a broader view of the crisis by bringing into the discussion issues like....
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Originally Posted by asahi View Post
No, I'm not going to think about any of that ....
Is anyone else reading this exchange and just laughing?
  #50  
Old 07-22-2019, 10:30 AM
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Is anyone else reading this exchange and just laughing?
Yeah, probably at the fact that you think you're "winning" by snipping.
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