“A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine” etc.





"..And Thou Beside Me In the Wilderness."  Omar Khayyam was always an odd Persian but I think he would have serious problems living with many of his present countrymen.  He was a scientist and mathematician as well as a poet, but his skepticism would not have been appreciated in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What are we to make of Iran’s nuclear intentions and capabilities?  Courtesy of my Alexandria neighbor, John E. Pike and the "Daily Telegraph" we have the materials shown above.

Shahab-6?  10,000 kilometers in range?  "Two to three years" to weaponization?"  If this is true, then Iran would hold English cities at risk.  When?  No one really knows how long that would take.  Three years?  Five years" Ten years?  Nobody knows really?  The Mullahs probably do not know.

Would they use the weapons?  This is actually rather unimportant.  As a consequence of Iranian nuclear weapons, the playing field would be leveled to a remarkable degree.  T. Friedman would begin to be right about something in his vision of the future.  Could we still crush Iran?  Certainly, but it would probably not come to that.  Rather, we would experience a marked diminution of US influence and leverage in the region, and an upsurge in the general willingness of crazies around the world to believe that we are weaker.  A perception of weakness on the part of one’s enemies is a dangerous thing.  Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other "emerging" countries would feel encouraged or threatened (choose your term) into taking similar paths.  Would this danger drive these countries further into our arms?  It is impossible to say, but with my usual pessimism I fear the worst.

Obviously, diplomacy and persuasion should be played out to the end, but the reactions of the Iranian government thus far are not encouraging.

People will say that this is all "cooked up" by the neocons and Bushies.  I do not think that is true.

Pat Lang

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16 Responses to “A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine” etc.

  1. Bob Randolph says:

    Pat, I am not sure that I can make out where you are going on Iran.
    This administration has gotten us into a pickle with Iran. The administration has accelerated Iran’s path towards nuclear weaponry with bellicose language and the imprudent and inadvisably counterproductive removal of the one counter-weight to Iran (Saddamite Iraq) in the region.
    Our bellicosity has been matched by equal, if not greater bellicosity, and the decision of Iran’s electorate to put Ahmadinejad into power. The Iranian political establishment must feel that they would be betraying their duties to their country if they didn’t pursue nuclear weapons given the hostility of the US and Israel and the example of North Korea which teaches that it is only the threat of nuclear retaliation that keeps it enemies at bay.
    It is not surprising that Iran is not cowering in the sands. We have already demonstrated our weakness, and it is no longer a perception, by our failures to crush the insurgency in Iraq and the re-surgency in Afghanistan. Iran knows that the American public has little stomach for further adventures given the administration’s incompetence and failure to bring closure in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you say “it would not come to that”, I read you as perhaps preparing for a “marked dimunition of US leverage and influence in region.”

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I am an intelligence guy. I tell you what the situation is, then you decide what you want to do about it. pl

  3. Bob Randolph says:

    Pat, I thought “intelligence guys” also tell policy makers about the probable consequences of the policy alternatives facing them; that seems not to have been done by Tenet and the other intelligence guys advising the Bush administration on Iraq.
    Keep up the good work with this excellent blog.

  4. Patrick Henry says:

    I agree that Events in Iran are not being “Cooked Up” by this Administration..
    Irans Actions and policys Speak for themself..They have chosen thier Own Path..with its Consequences and HISTORICAL
    Just as George W. Bush and his Administartion has..
    I think he Main Role of the United States in all this has been to Continue to Fuel the Decades long Hatred and Resentment of Muslims and Radical Muslim Clerics and Ji Hadists for Both the United States..Israel and Non Muslim Cultures..because w are being forced to Respond and Take sides..
    That Great Conflict is Now a Historic Event..and Reaching its Conclusion..Just as the conflicts and confrontations of other times did..with all the Great Passion..and Emotion and Persuasion..and War and loss of Life..
    NO Religion should ever Teach Hatred..Killing or War..Great Religions Teach PEACE..Tolerance and Regard for Human Life..
    GOD does not Command MURDER.Men DO..
    I do not Believe that IRAN will develope the Atomic bomb or be allowed to..Other Nations will interve one way or the Other..Either by WAR or Persuasion..
    The Secret Agreements..Concessions and Alliances and Influences
    are Worth watching..and will determine the outcome..
    Perhaps even Persuasions and Agreements for Other Nations to also give up thier Nuclear weapons as a Compromise..
    Who Knows..The Playing Field is Being Set..
    These are remarkable Times..

  5. Duck of Death says:

    I am not an intelligence guy. I do, however, consider myself an intelligent guy, possessing a BS and an analytical mind. All I have read and heard suggest that Iran is holding a pretty strong hand. I have heard a lot about Iran’s capacity to retaliate if they are attacked. I understand that they can single handedly send oil prices skyrocketing and can cause significant disruption w/ regards to shipping oil through the Straights of Hormuz. I’m wondering what your opinion of these things are…how much pain are we going to feel if we, or Israel, hits Iran?

  6. jonst says:

    Here is story that includes the claim that Iran is 5-10 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon. This should by no means be seen as reason for underestimating the danger. But nor is it helpful, to the extent it is being done, to overestimate it. And domestic political conerns here in the States, are starting to trump everything. The Bush Admin has fear,and very little else. That is NOT to imply there are things not to be fearful of. But we all need to recall that it is Bush we are dealing with.

  7. ckrantz says:

    I see two options. Either we live with a nuclear Iran and a diminished US influence in the region or we change the regime. A limited Osiraq style attack would probably meet just as fierce response as a fullscale assault. Unfortunately I wonder if the Bush administration has the political skills to manage a large regional conflict with global effects. Much easier to do as little as possible and wait for the next administration.

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “Myself when young did eagerly frequent
    Saint and scholar and heard great argument
    About it and about
    But evermore went out
    The same door where in I went!
    Rubaaya IX (or something)
    Alan Farell

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Fair point.
    I will watch this develop before I unburden myself. pl

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I think that this will spin itself out until these particular folk are gone. The next guys will have a bigger problem. pl

  11. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Ainsi soit-il. pl

  12. W. Patrick Lang says:

    “He shoulda armed hisself.”
    A lot of pain. Once things start going down hill, they keep going unless you stop them. I heard someone on a program about the Little Big Horn say that it all fell apart at the end. Well, no shit! It always does if the slide continues. pl

  13. Folley says:

    How about we help them develop “peaceful” enrichment program? I know it wouldn’t be all “peaceful”. Howeve, there would at least be the potential of learning what is going on and potentially strengthening our diplomacy stance with Iran and others. If you just resist the development, you increase their push back against you and do little to impede their progress

  14. ked says:

    “I think that this will spin itself out until these particular folk are gone.”
    “it all fell apart at the end… It always does if the slide continues.
    As it nears the end of its term, I fear this Admin will accelerate its spinning and sliding and falling. The outcomes will be painful, difficult to moderate & even more difficult to rectify. A dreadful course, yet nothing is to be done.

  15. Duck of Death says:

    Thanx for the reply and FYI, I never could forgive Little Bill for what he did to Ned.
    I’ve had a sinking feeling for the last few years in regards to this nation’s future. I’m a Roman History nut, and right now I think I’m feeling the same way many Romans(western empire) must have felt circa 350 AD…the feeling that something had past, never to be regained. Can this economy survive $10 a gallon? What happens if OPEC or any sizable portion of the oil producing world decides to accept Euros for purchase of oil? If these things happen, and it seems likely that it would as a result of a strike on Iran, we’re done. The only reason our economy fuctions at all is because the Chinese and Saudis float our economy with the huge amount of dollars that they hold. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic…anyone wanna try and cheer me up?

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