“Outside the Beltway” Radio – 17 February, 2010

I was on "Outside the Beltway" radio last night with James Joyner and Dave Schuler. This three sided conversation lasted an hour and covered a lot of ground.  If you want to hear this podcast, the link is below.


This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Intelligence, Interviews and Lectures, Iran, Pakistan. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to “Outside the Beltway” Radio – 17 February, 2010

  1. Andy says:

    I listened to the program earlier this morning and really enjoyed it. Of course, you, Dave Schuler and James Joyner are three of my favorite bloggers, so that’s not surprising.
    One aspect of Iran you didn’t discuss with respect to their nuclear program is the strategic effect on Iran’s regional neighbors, principally the Arab states. Most people seem to talk about Iranian nukes in terms of Israel or the US, but what about Egypt, Saudia Arabia, etc.?
    Like you and your hosts, I’m not so concerned about Iran attacking Israel or the US, but I am very concerned about the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the ME and how Arab countries would react to such a tremendous shift in the strategic balance of power. What is your view?

  2. Patrick Lang says:

    I think those who can will start spending more money on nuclear research.
    At the same time, some will hide behind the US, others will kowtow in Tehran.
    Some will do both. pl

  3. N. M. Salamon says:

    So be int! Mr. Lang:
    Enjoyed the program.
    One slight reservation, as an outsider to the USA, to look for the real enemies of the USA do not seek them in ME land, look lot closer to your residence K-Street [and its corruptive effects] and to NEW YORK’s famous WALL STREET/.
    These two entitites have cased more damage to the USA than even the collection of Iran, Iraq, Afganistan and Pakista [not forgetting Somalia, Chad etc] by wrecking the USA economy and extending the wreck to the OECD at least [with more backlash coming even from OECD – see Japan re USA forces, EU re supplying troops, etc Finally they have given China an almost Veto through the debt the USA owes them.
    SAD effect of these two collection of criminals.

  4. Patrick Lang says:

    This discussion was about foreign affairs. you are a bit of a broken record. pl

  5. J says:

    The ‘super-powers’ need to suck-it-up and realize that it’s in all their interests that the Mideast was established as a nuclear weapons free environment, which none of them have been making any attempts at. It’s long past time that postage stamp type nations (i.e. Israel, Iran) were not allowed to dictate policy. If they want to live and want their children and children’s children to live, they all need to give up their nuke weapons and nuke weapons aspirations. Else the super-powers step in and eradicate the problems – period. Sound cold? I don’t think so, as it’ll save many lives both current and future tense.
    One postage stamp nation (i.e. Israel) is not more important than the other nations of the Mideast and world at large.

  6. From Canada says:

    Col. Lang,
    At around the 30:00 minute mark of the discussion you mentioned that the Pakistani army is organized around regiments that are like tribes where the officers are related and inter-married. You also mentioned that you can relate to that because you came from that kind of set-up yourself. Could you please expand on that comment.
    Is nepotism a problem for the Pakistani army? Is it a problem for the US military?
    Thank you,
    From Canada

  7. Charles I says:

    Nice chat.
    There’s a brief yet detailed summary and analysis of Saudi nuclear policy, options, capabilities and constraints over at NTI from 2008 when Saudi/US civil nuclear co-operation negotiations were in the news. I believe that agreement went ahead.
    “Will Saudi Arabia Acquire Nuclear Weapons?
    Kate Amlin
    James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS)
    Monterey Institute of International Studies
    August 2008
    You may find speculation about Saudi funding of Iraqi and Pakistani nuclear programs since the inception of the Saudi nuclear program in 1975 at GlobalSecurity.org.
    “Saudi Arabia Special Weapons”
    They have the Mecca and the moola, though both Saudi and Iranian fatwas against the use of nuclear weapons are on record. . . .

  8. Patrick Lang says:

    Armies across the world and across history are generally run on the basis of some kind of nepotism. Long lasting institutions that amount to a lifetime commitment are inherently like that. I am sure that your own forces, however small, are the same way. Fathers, uncles, fathers in law, military academies, these all form patronage groups. General officers make their preferences known to promotion boards often i secret. Civilians often think that military people judge success or failure in a career by whether or not someone becomes a general. that us not generally so. That judgment is based on more subtle factors.
    What I meant in my comment is that I come from the system of “clan” loyalty that was the officer corps of the “old army.”
    You should not assume that such loyalties are are a bad thing. pl

  9. N. M. Salamon says:

    A Quesion, if I may:
    Regarding Grant F. Smith’s “Spy Trade” and within your knowledge [without reference to restricted info] how valid is his claim about Israels’ Spying etc.
    See at:

  10. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t give interviews for the ME press or comment on materials found there. pl

  11. Mary says:

    I really enjoyed that discussion, Colonel, and it helped me understand more clearly some of your recent Iran posts. I hope you do it again soon.

  12. Charles I says:

    I just heard an interesting 50 minutes with Ed Luttwak on CBC radio.
    He’s a scholar of Byzantium, and made the point that most great powers were founded by a few great families. Families with numerous sons able to spare a couple for war and conquest, and then rule and glory. That rule, glory and power necessarily entail armed conflict between families, tribes, states, until some type of MAD deterrent mode made direct war between the latter impractical.
    That war and jockeying for power are the natural order of things. That left to themselves, local warriors will fight themselves to exhaustion or satiety with hardly a deleterious effect on us, except that we make such a big deal of things. The nuclear cold war cleavages east and west confronted across the Arab/Israeli divide are moot. Ergo, concurring with J’s appraisal above, a “junior bureaucrat” should be assigned “the Levant”.
    That democracies cannot occupy existing actual countries like Iraq, or sanitize wastelands like Pastunistan to nation build to “success”. Japan and Germany being first reduced militarily and economically to the point where there was no state, all the fighters dead/beaten, are not apt current comparisons. That what we discuss as nation building can only be done by the natives, or at best the locals and neighbors.
    That the overwhelming majority of Arabs and Muslims are as opposed to the Deobandi Jihadis as we, and should be left to sort them out. That if we left them to it, few would be moved to 911 criminality, that intel, allies, proxies and drones can harrass the rest.
    All the commonsense stuff you repeat over and over and over that takes the wind out of my bleeding heart’s sails because its true and we have it so good here. I’d still send everybody else’s kids to Palestine if I thought it’d work. . .

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