Monthly Archives: July 2008

All the Hysteria That’s Fit to Print?

Benny Morris’s manic rant is further evidence that the New York Times op-ed page, like the New York Post’s, is willing to believe anything its told about ‘Mad Mullahs’ Continue reading

Posted in A Skeptical Read | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Why John Bolton is Right on Iran


Armageddon Man is unhappy with his President

Guest Column: Dr. Gary Sick
As usual, John Bolton is absolutely right. His policy prescriptions may be reckless to the point of foolishness (“When in doubt, bomb!”), but his understanding of what is happening in Washington policy (as outlined in his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday) is unerringly accurate.

While much of the world was hyper-ventilating over the possibility that the United States (and maybe Israel) were getting ready to launch a new war against Iran, Bolton was looking at the realities and concluding that far from bombing the US was preparing to do a deal with Iran. He had noticed that over the past two years the US had completely reversed its position that originally opposed European talks with Iran. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Columns, Situation Report | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Behind the ‘Phony War’ on Iran

This from my new op ed in the National:

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s rocketeers – helped by its Photoshop mujahideen – managed last week to set off a wave of hysteria by test-firing four medium-range missiles to underscore its capacity to retaliate against any US-Israeli air strikes. (Well, three actually, the photo retouching was needed to disguise the failure to launch of the fourth.) But the hysteria seemed more like going through the motions of pre-existing agendas than a sign of impending combat.

The piece touches on what I believe is the significant debate in Washington, which is not that usually reported pitting those who actually want to attack Iran against those who want to pursue diplomacy; instead, it is being fought between those who believe diplomacy will only succeed if the Iranians believe they’re facing a real military threat, and those who believe that creating that such a belief would retard rather than enhance diplomacy and risk unintended escalation.

In other words, all Bush’s talk about the military option remaining “on the table” is an increasingly transparent bluff. But the real diplomacy will begin only after a new U.S. president is seated.
Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

The Wrong Questions on Iran – Again

Neither Sy Hersh’s reports of stepped up proxy warfare nor the tit for tat saber-rattling (Israeli practice mass long-distance bombing raids and Iranian medium-range missile testing) suggest that anything has changed in the basic equation that says neither Israel nor the U.S. will attack Iran.

Besides the backlash that the U.S. military isn’t prepared to risk by initiating a new war of aggression in the Middle East; besides the fact that the U.S. economy could not absorb the shock of oil shooting past $200 a barrel; besides the difficulties in eliminating a nuclear infrastructure dispersed in hardened facilities, no all of which may be known; there is a simple truth: It’s already too late. The objective, remember, according to Bush, was to prevent Iran mastering the “know-how” to make weapons-grade material. The bad news, then, is that Iran has already mastered that know-how, and it can’t be reversed by bombing. Time for some grownup diplomacy then, eh? Continue reading

Posted in Situation Report | Tagged , , | 25 Comments