Foreign Policy

Escalation Breeds Escalation, in Iran and Beyond

Washington's dangerous reliance on military intervention does not serve American interests, increase our security, or put us on a path to peace.

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The assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force, begins a new decade of American foreign policy by perversely recommiting us to the errors of the old one. With Soleimani's death, President Donald Trump capped months of uncertainty in U.S.-Iranian relations with a lurch toward war.

Iran's face-saving missile strikes on Tuesday had no casualties, and Trump appears to be wisely taking this as an offramp from open conflict. But it's only a matter of time before we again start hearing the war drums calling for regime change in Iran. Escalation breeds escalation. "IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!" Trump tweeted Monday morning, but his short-sighted tactics make it more likely that Iran—to say nothing of other adversarial states, such as North Korea—will seek a nuclear deterrent.

This paradox is not unique to this administration. Washington's bipartisan military-first approach to foreign affairs broadcasts to bad actors worldwide that U.S. intervention is always at hand and that a nuclear arsenal is the only sure deterrence against it.

North Korea has affirmed this logic explicitly. "History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasure sword for frustrating outsiders' aggression," a state-run media editorial declared in January 2016. Neither Iraq's Saddam Hussein nor Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, both deposed and killed with U.S. involvement, could "escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations of nuclear development and giving up undeclared programs of their own accord," the editorial continued. North Korea's Kim Jong-un is visibly determined not to follow in their footsteps.

For all its imperfections, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—better known as the "Iran deal"—presented an opportunity to break this pattern. Unfortunately, that opportunity is gone following Trump's withdrawal from the agreement in 2018. After the Soleimani strike, Tehran announced its own exit from the plan and, with that, its intent to proceed with nuclear research and development at will.

Before Trump left the JCPOA, independent observers repeatedly verified Iran's compliance. As recently as this past fall, with halting but sometimes promising talks between Washington and Tehran underway, Iran's initial steps away from compliance were not a sprint toward nuclear warheads so much as a lunge for leverage at the negotiating table.

That lunge was part of a broader foray into provocation, which in turn was Iran's response to the administration's "maximum pressure." That reckless Trump policy consists of leaving the nuclear deal, reinstating harsh sanctions that the agreement had repealed, and expanding the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, including stationing thousands of American forces to defend Iran's regional rival, Saudi Arabia, and keeping troops in Iraq "to watch" neighboring Iran.

Such pressure, the White House assured us, would force Iran to come begging for relief at any cost. It failed.

Far from humbling Iran, maximum pressure multiplied the political capital of Iranian hardliners and pushed us closer to open conflict. It raised the specter of direct U.S. military intervention and, with it, the nagging perception that nuclear weapons are the single reliable guarantee against it. Even if Iran does not build a nuclear arsenal, the last year has more than demonstrated that Tehran will not passively defer to Washington's coercion, the Soleimani strike included.

Whether we are now "at war" with Iran is impossible to say. In another time, one nation taking credit for bombing another nation's high-ranking military official—however dastardly his record—would unquestionably be an act of war. But Washington has long since abandoned old constraints of conflict; wars don't formally begin anymore, and they certainly never end.

The most probable outcome is that Washington will sleepwalk into a new theater in what I suspect historians will record as Washington's multi-front Hundred Years' War of the Greater Middle East. But it may not be too late to change course, to learn the lesson that escalation breeds escalation, and to apply that lesson both here and elsewhere. Even the most powerful nation on earth cannot act without regard for cost and consequence. Constantly threaten conflict with simplistic shows of "strength," and conflict is what you'll eventually get.

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  1. Escalation Breeds Escalation

    “Hate ceases by love. This is an ancient truth.”

    1. “The assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani”

      Immediately de instant rates this article is bullshit. No assassination took place.

      “it’s only a matter of time before we again start hearing the war drums calling for regime change in Iran”

      As opposed to what? An actual war? Appeasement?

      “the “Iran deal”—presented an opportunity to break this pattern”

      It didn’t. Not even a little.

      This article is shit. Written by an idiot, who should be given no conservation. Reason is decadowning on stupid by publishing this garbage. Which is almost indistinguishable from the progtard pablum puked up by WaPo, HuffPo, etc..

      1. Yes, the Iran deal just made the threat of regional war more likely, as Iran used the cash flow to build their proxy armies through Iraq and Syria, push arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, expand Hezbollah’s presence in Syria, try to install a puppet gov’t in Iraq, fund and arm the Houthi rebels to reignite the civil war in Yemen, push development of long-range ballistic missiles. Soleimani was in charge of all of this. Iran even had a term for this — they declared they were building an “Axis of Resistance.”

        What the Trump administration has done since the withdrawal from the JCPOA is slowly and surely try to cripple and destroy Iran’s proxies and their grip on the region.

        The editorial is just a lot of platitudes and little substance.

        The Iran deal turned out to be nothing short of appeasement, which is because Iran was in no mood to “break the pattern.” They saw the Iran deal and the civil war Syria as a golden opportunity for them to create Iranian hegemony in the region and push out the US.

        There were previous windows of opportunity where relations between the US and Iran could have mellowed, namely right after 9/11 when Khatami was President, but GWB squandered that opportunity. Then, it was gone. That was then, and this is now.

        1. Don’t forget the part where Iran never upheld their end of the deal. They had no intention of ever stopping their nuke program, but realized they could hoodwink Obama into believing it while getting him to finance the rest of their fuckery in the region.

          But hey, maybe we just didn’t do appeasement hard enough. Maybe twice as many pallets of cash will get a different result.

        2. There were previous windows of opportunity where relations between the US and Iran could have mellowed, namely right after 9/11 when Khatami was President, but GWB squandered that opportunity. Then, it was gone. That was then, and this is now.

          ^ This.

          1. Um, how about the Green Revolution, that failed largely because Iran was seemingly the only MENA dictatorship the Obama Administration didn’t want to topple? We could be dealing with the Shah 2.0, but nooooooooo.

            Absolutely no reason such a resourceful people as the Persians should be handcuffed to this regressive, medieval ideology.

            1. Yes Iranian people are not the problem. Quite the opposite in my experience. Iran was a very tolerant place through most of its history until the Islamic revolution.

              It is for them to change it. Time and again history shows the folly of outside interference. It is how they got here actually when we installed the Shah. It was probably wise for us to stay out of any direct influence of the green revolution.

          2. Because the President of Iran is totally not a puppet of the mullahs who have to approve him running for office in the first place…

            1. And Reason thinks Irani’s so awesome. Apparently their own only pic athletes don’t quite agree…..

              https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2020/01/12/report-irans-only-female-olympic-medalist-defects-netherlands/

              I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who have been playing with me for years. They took me wherever they wanted. Whatever they said I wore. Every sentence they ordered I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me.”

              This is the regime that the Democrats support over Donald Trump.

    2. Love trumps hate!

      No war!*

      *When it’s not my guy in power.

      1. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do

        …….. Read More

    3. “Hate ceases by love. This is an ancient truth.”

      True! The only way that the endless cycle of violence is broken, is if someone has the BALLS to absorb a blow, and NOT strike back!

      But then the endless armies of on-line chicken-shit chicken hawk armchair generals will call you wussies and pussies! Dick-measuring contests outrank prospects for peace and prosperity! And so it goes…

      1. Then show everyone here some love, and stop posting

      2. “The only way that the endless cycle of violence is broken, is if someone has the BALLS to absorb a blow, and NOT strike back!”

        This is only true, if the guy doing the striking decides to stop doing it after successfully throwing a blow to someone not hitting back.

        The problem with Kristian’s article, is it ignores the difference between what Trump did, compared to the Bushes, Clinton and Obama. It’s not “a new decade of American foreign policy by perversely recommiting [sic] us to the errors of the old one”. Trump killed an Iranian General in Iraq, who was responsible for a lot of American deaths, and possibly even more Iranian protestor killings, going after the leadership instead of building up an army there, invading and rebuilding the country. From a libertarian point of view, I appreciate Trump taking the war to the leadership waging it against us, instead of just killing conscripts.

        Iran didn’t seriously hit back, shot themselves in the foot shooting down a commercial plane, and what Trump demonstrated is peace through strength. The Iranian leaders know, they may be next, so are being quiet for now.

      3. “The only way that the endless cycle of violence is broken, is if someone has the BALLS to absorb a blow, and NOT strike back!”

        Sure, as long as you’re fighting decent people who are adherents to Marquess of Queensberry rules.
        On planet Earth however, your lack of action will invite ever stronger blows until your opponents goal is achieved.

        1. I can see the truths in the above 2 responses. BUT, one can hit back, AND make it clear that one does NOT desire more “endless cycle of violence”! Trump SAYS this, but OTHER things he says and does, make the Iranian people MORE fearful (not less fearful) of the USA over-doing on the war-mongering. As a people threatened with possible invasion (OK, granted that you have a shit-headed government), are you more willing to invite humane and ethical invaders, or out-and-out barbarian invaders?

          http://www.heimsath.com/sacred-space-holy-place/japanese-temple-bell-a-forgotten-symbol-of-reconciliation
          “In the years after the war, the US State Department arranged for the return of all the historic temple bells.”

          This is an example of being generous to former (or conquered) enemies. It leads to long-term peace… Other peoples learn that Americans are NOT total barbarians, and can be trusted! They might NOT fight back so much, if the USA finds NO other, better choices, than to invade!

          What does Trump do? Do ANY of the following serve to quell the “war spirit”?

          Separate moms and babies, throw babies in wire cages, defend and consort with war criminals, threaten enemy cultural sites, violate agreements that are in place that say the USA will NOT hinder access of foreign diplomats to the UN, and threaten nations (like Iraq) that might want to pass laws barring USA soldiers, with retaliatory trade embargoes and-or tariff wars… Lock up access to a Syrian oil field, thereby feeding suspicions that the USA “just wants to steal your oil”… These are all pro-war, pro-fear, and not pro-peace stances and actions!

          1. I understand your concerns, Sqrlsy, and I confess to being very afraid of what might come from this escalation. However, the passive road that Bush and Obama took wasn’t working. Just a few days before, there were taunts from Khomeni that we couldn’t do anything despite Iran committing open acts of war by coordinating attacks on our embassies.

            De-escalation would work if we thought that they genuinely didn’t want to fight and were just angry. However, that was not the case here. Iran is hoping to become the dominant power in the middle east by beating out America. Solemani was in a war zone, in a country he did not have authorization to be in, actively leading troops against us. This was not an assassination, but a legitimate act of war.

            1. Thanks for your thoughts, Ben!

              War and bellicose acts are ALWAYS a gamble… Will the enemy back down? I sure hope so! But we just never know… “Fog of war” per von Clausewitz… Kinda like our personal lives! Take a wild guess, and hope for the best!

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_of_war

          2. “Separate moms and babies, throw babies in wire cages, defend and consort with war criminals, threaten enemy cultural sites, violate agreements that are in place that say the USA will NOT hinder access of foreign diplomats to the UN, and threaten nations (like Iraq) that might want to pass laws barring USA soldiers, with retaliatory trade embargoes and-or tariff wars… Lock up access to a Syrian oil field, thereby feeding suspicions that the USA “just wants to steal your oil”… These are all pro-war, pro-fear, and not pro-peace stances and actions!”

            But enough about Barack Obama and the Regressive Left.

      4. Trump is doing that.

        Terrorist goober masterminds assault on US Embassy.
        US takes out terrorist goober.
        Iran then attacks US bases.
        US…does nothing.

        1. Hell, after shooting down that airliner, there are huge public protests against the mullahs in Iran. They’re demanding the current leaders step down. Trump took to Twitter to provide a statement of comfort and support for the Iranian people.

          https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/president-trump-issues-statement-of-support-in-persian-to-protesting-iranians/

      5. True! The only way that the endless cycle of violence is broken, is if someone has the BALLS to absorb a blow, and NOT strike back!

        You mean like what just happened with their missile strike, after which Trump did not, in fact, strike back?

        1. Yes, this is an example of “not striking back”, and is commendable!

          On the other hand, this was NOT an American plane, and (to my knowledge) there were NO Americans on board! To even THINK about thinking about “striking back”, in a case like this, if a frightening sample of “mission creep”… All injustices everywhere, are the business of America, in certain mentalities.

          1. Leave it to a disengenuous shitbag like you to turn Iran shooting down a commercial airliner into an excuse to wag your finger at America.

          2. The only one who seems obsessed with the idea of retaliation is you.

          3. The plane wasn’t American.
            The bases they shot other missiles at are

      6. “GUYYYYYYYYS, we have to just let the Islamofascists do whatever they want so they’ll be our friends!”

        No. Fuck you, Chickenshit:

    4. “Never ever fight back, because escalation is bad, m’kay?”

      The Left always picks appeasement of foreign countries over fighting back, fearful of the immediate fuss that fighting back might cause, while ignoring the long term benefits of changing foreign behavior by changing the costs and benefits of *their* actions.

      Escalation of bad behavior occurs when there is a lack of deterrence against it.

  2. PEACE THRU SUPERIOR FIREPOWER

    1. Sidewinder means never having to say you’re sorry…

      1. Not even to the civilians and soldiers killed by military belligerence?

        The United States might regret making North Korea a model.

        1. Yes, it the US tries to stop such belligerence, that comes from people like you Arty.

          And we would never make NK a model. Not nearly sexy or photogenic enough. Now SK………. oh yeah.

        2. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
          January.10.2020 at 2:05 pm
          “The United States might regret making North Korea a model.”

          I’m sure our asshole bigot thinks that means something to someone

        3. “Not even to the civilians and soldiers killed by military belligerence?”

          Maybe they should just do what you do with Islamofascist terrorism and blame the victims,

      1. What a blast!

    2. … and a credible will to use that superior firepower.

      Overwhelming firepower deters no one if they don’t believe you have the will to use it.

  3. “Washington’s bipartisan military-first approach to foreign affairs broadcasts to bad actors worldwide that U.S. intervention is always at hand and that a nuclear arsenal is the only sure deterrence against it.”

    Actually, they are delusional if they think a nuclear arsenal is a sure deterrence against US intervention.

    Only one nation has actually used nuclear weapons in war. At the time, the global nuclear inventory stood at 2 devices. We used both of them.

    1. Do you suppose our calculus about that decision changes if Japan could’ve retaliated against us or our allies with a nuclear strike of their own?

      It’s easy to drop nukes when you’re the only one who has them. This is why the Cold War lasted as long as it did, Mutually Assured Destruction.

      1. It’s easy to drop nukes when you’re the only one who has them. This is why the Cold War lasted as long as it did, Mutually Assured Destruction.

        Any nation that attempts a nuclear strike against the US would likely see itself turned into a single, very large smoldering crater. Why would they do that?

        1. Because people are irrational? Butt-loads of people commit suicide every day. That’s not “rational” by anyone’s standards. 3.5 billion years of evolution has programmed every living thing to try to survive and reproduce. Yet here we are, committing suicide. National suicide, international suicide, global suicide of the human race is quite clearly “on the table”. The shame (or at least, a prominent shame) of it is, we’d take boat-loads of innocent species with us. That hasn’t stopped us in the past, that you can see, as we dragged other species into our stupid wars! Horses, dogs, and elephants come into mind… They had NIX to do with our stupid politics and wars, yet they died awfully, for our sins!

          1. Hey speaking of suicide Hihn, you should try it.

            1. Libertarians for suicide… How’s that working for you?

              Hey James Earl Jones,
              I see you’re pimping for the Evil One yet AGAIN! So… HOW MANY people, so far, have you persuaded to commit suicide? Have ANY of these suicides brought you ANY long-lasting happiness, yet? If not, then WHY don’t you give UP your evil ways?
              I really don’t care one way or the other, if you or anyone else believes that the Evil One is “real”, or metaphorical. “Machs nix” to me. What I WOULD like for you, and others, to understand, is that by obeying the “spirit of the Evil One” (whether “real”, or not), you make the Evil One real… Just like obeying (or praying to) the Spirit of Peace and Love, makes it real! Whether it is “real”, or not! Because it is VERY difficult (actually impossible) for me to go off and stab my neighbor in the back, needlessly, immediately after having SINCERELY prayed for peace!
              On the flip side… By lusting for others (who think “wrong” thoughts, in Your Exalted View) to commit suicide, your spread hatred, destruction, and self-destruction. You’re PROUD of that?
              Next time you’re “channeling” the Evil One in Your Self-Esteemed Mind, and dreaming up new-and-improved ways to encourage people to kill themselves, I would like for you to ask the Evil One the same simple question that I just asked you: Have ANY of the suicides that you have solicited and enabled, brought you ANY long-lasting happiness? We already KNOW that the answer is NO! An excellent working definition of evil is “the unquenchable thirst”! So why not give UP on your FAR-worse-than-useless, EVIL quests?

              Evil James Earl Jones! Is THAT how you want to be remembered, after the worms start crawling through your rotting flesh? Or your cremated ashes are thrown in the dump?

              Read this book… It might help you!

              M. Scott Peck, the People of the Lie
              https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684848597/reasonmagazinea-20/

              1. Suicide is very libertarian. The ultimate act of self agency.

                Show your libertarian bone fires, and kill yourself Squirrely. I would then be forced to ad it you are a real libertarian if you do.

                1. Shitsy for libertarians for suicide! At the next gathering, Shitsy will bring poisoned Kool-Aid for everyone! Still TBD at this time: Will Shitsy summon the Spirit of Jimmy Jones at this gathering, or perhaps the Spirit of the Evil One Itself?

                  It is clear to see already, that Shitsy has been drinking the metaphorical Kool-Aid. I sure hope and pray that Shitsy doesn’t literally drink the poisoned Kool-Aid as well! Because I treasure all conscious human life… Even EVIL human life, because even EVIL people can change their minds!

                  Change you mind, and turn away from evil, Shitsy… Because it WILL bite you in the behind, if you don’t!

                  1. You’re absolutely worthless, sqrlsy.
                    Go back to screaming at people on the street corner, and at least minimize the people you annoy

                    1. You find talking people out of promoting suicide, to be more annoying than people who encourage suicide? That’s WORSE than useless, it is siding with evil! Nardless Nadless joins libertarians for suicide… Drinking the metaphorical Kool Aid, making toasts to Shitsy! Lay off the Kool Aid, Nadless! It’s NOT good for you!

                    2. Squirrelly, I’m only promoting it for you, and a few select others. Deep down you know I’m right. Also, bring your own damn Kool Aid.

                    3. Shitsy, drinking Shitsy Kool-Aid in a spiraling vortex of darkness, cannot or will not see the Light… It’s a VERY sad song! Kinda like this…

                      He’s a real Kool-Aid Man,
                      Sitting in his Kool-Aid Land,
                      Playing with his Kool-Aid Gland,
                      Has no thoughts that help the people,
                      He wants to turn them all to sheeple!
                      On the sheeple, his Master would feast,
                      Master? A disaster! Just the nastiest Beast!
                      Kool-Aid man, please listen,
                      You don’t know, what you’re missin’,
                      Kool-Aid man, better thoughts are at hand,
                      The Beast, to LEAVE, you must COMMAND!

                      A helpful book is to be found here: M. Scott Peck, Glimpses of the Devil
                      https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1439167265/reasonmagazinea-20/

              2. “Libertarians for suicide… How’s that working for you?”

                Better than your, “Libertarians for genocidal Islamofascist caliphates that vow nuclear holocaust” charade?

                1. Anyone who encourages a little bit less effort on the constant war-mongering front, favors the enemy?

                  The Swiss have NOT taken military sides with ANY nation for the last several hundred years! Therefore, they are not WITH us, they are AGAINST us!!! Surely as night follows day!!!

                  I am expecting Trump to target their cultural monuments, threaten Swiss access to worldwide trade and banking, deny their diplomats access to the UN headquarters in NYC, and side with USA war criminals killing Swiss civilians, any day now! And Trumpistas everywhere, will cheer Him on! As Trump makes holey Swiss cheese out of civilized expectations of USA standards of behaviour!

                  1. You obviously didn’t read the article I linked below about the Swiss working as our diplomatic intermediary with Iran

                    1. “Diplomatic intermediary” BY ITS VERY DEFINITION means NOT taking sides!!! If they are on “our side”, then they are NOT qualified for the job! WHY do you think that the Swiss (and not the North Koreans, the Venezuelans, the British, or the Australians) were picked for this?

                      But all of these war-mongering commenters here, willy-nilly, accuse ANYONE of NOT “being on our side” (being on the side of extremely bellicose American war-mongering, such as threatening cultural sites), of “being on the side of the mullahs”. So the Swiss, by not taking our side, are on the side of the mullahs.

                      You are obvious either blatantly dishonest, or deliberately moronic.

                      USA will lose many allies if the over-the-top bellicosity doesn’t stop.

                      https://www.businessinsider.com/uk-abandoning-trump-iran-us-withdraw-leadership-world-qassem-soleiman2020-1
                      The UK is abandoning its alliance with Trump as the United States ‘withdraws from its leadership around the world’

          2. “Because people are irrational?”

            For countries like NK and Iran to have any kind of nuclear deterrence against US intervention, you have to assume that their leadership is completely irrational while at the same time assuming that US leadership will be perfectly rational forever.

            1. Not forever. Eventually technological advance will provide impenetrable force fields.

              1. Impenetrable force fields like the ones that keep any semblance of sanity, decency, benevolence, “the sweet voice of reason”, or common sense, from penetrating through your thick skull?

                1. No, the kind that keep all that stupid contained in your empty little head jackass.

              2. Those only work until the dilithium crystals wear out or crack.

                Always wondered why they didn’t just leave shields up all the time.

            2. Not sure about NK, but Iran, loathsome as its theocracy is, isn’t irrational.

          3. So your idea about how we should make the US safer is to appease and finance suicidal dictators. Good to know.

            1. To engage in “free trade” with someone is NOT the same as to “finance” them!

              Excluding only the remotest hermits on the planet, we are ALL trading with each other! Else, I am “financing” you! Please stop using MY money to “finance” the promotion of endless non-stop escalation and warmongering!

              1. China uses. Ones from trade to increase the owner of their military, and becomes steadily more belligerent to its neighbors.

              2. Sending Iran $150 billion dollars and allowing their repeated terrorism attacks to go without response, however, is appeasement. And that’s what the Obama administration did and what you try to defend.

                You want “free trade” with a nation that attacks our shipping fleet, kills our trading partners, finances terrorists, and is a sworn enemy. Do you also have a desire to engage in free trade with a mugger as he shoves his blade into your belly?

                And, yes, you progressive ignoramuses should stop using my money for your authoritarian visions.

                (And who are you kidding SQRLSY One? You don’t pay any money to the US government anyway.)

                1. “Sending Iran $150 billion dollars…”

                  Sending BACK, what was THEIR money! What are we here, libertarians for theft? I understand, Iranian funds were frozen after they falsely imprisoned our diplomats, which was a way-nasty thing for them to do… About 40 years ago! 2 generations ago! Keeping grudges forever, as well as theft… Is this the libertarian path to peace, perhaps?

                  1. That money never belonged to those mullahs you stupid asshole. It belonged to the previous regime and those connected with it.

                    You really are with the terrorists.

                    1. So we should have waited till the Shah of Iran was back in power, to give the money back? (The Shah is dead, LONG dead).

                      If someone steals all your money, and then, in the future, Bernie Sanders is POTUS, you want them to wait till the Trumptatorship is back in power, before giving you your money back? After Trump is dead, you just want them to HOLD your money, right?

                      Shitsy logic knows no end!

                    2. The Shah has a grandson.
                      Regardless, there was never a contract with the theocracy, and that theocracy owes billions of dollars in legal damages

                    3. According to greedy lawyers everywhere, EVERYONE owes EVERYONE billions of dollars!

      2. How could Japan have retaliated? With ICBMs not existing, and their Navy in ruins, and every island between Okinawa and Santa Catalina in our hands?

        1. The same way they planned to deliver the plague bombs:

          During the last months of the war, Ishii was preparing for a long-distance attack on the United States with biological weapons. This operation, codenamed “Cherry Blossoms at Night”, called for the use of airplanes to spread plague in San Diego at night. The plan was finalized on March 26, 1945. Five of the new I-400-class long-range submarines were to be sent across the Pacific Ocean, each carrying three Aichi M6A Seiran aircraft loaded with plague-infected fleas. The submarines were to surface and launch the aircraft towards the target, either to drop the plague via balloon bombs, or to crash in enemy territory. Either way, the plague would then infect and kill thousands of people in the area. The mission was extremely risky for the pilots and submariners, likely a one-way kamikaze mission.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cherry_Blossoms_at_Night

          1. Because the US had never experience bubonic plague before. Especially in the American Southwest, where it exists to this day. Oh, and because US living conditions were similar to the subsistence level agrarian peasants that the IJA had used bugs against in China. And the US totally didn’t have broad-spectrum insecticides like DDT, nor liberally used them.

            In other words, it would have worked about as well as their attempts to start forest fires with incendiary carrying balloons.

            1. You beat me to it.

              Yeah, plague fleas worked in China for the Japanese because China’s pre-industrial society didn’t control vermin so vectors for plague introduction were rampant. That wasn’t the case in San Diego.

              Although if they had just waited 70 years, San Francisco and Los Angeles would be excellent targets for it now.

              1. Although if they had just waited 70 years, San Francisco and Los Angeles would be excellent targets for it now.

                Typhus! They recently had a typhus outbreak! The sort of disease you read about in histories of the Eastern Front during WW2, between armies living in the dirt. Not in what should be jewel-like cities in the greatest technological civilization in human history.

                It’s impossible to overstate just how badly leadership over the last 30 or so years has harmed California.

                1. Socialism destroys everything. The real problem is that once the idiots of California flee everything, one of the first things many of them do is vote to bring California’s policies to their new homes and turn it into another California.

        2. That’s why I posed it as a hypothetical: IF they could have retaliated in kind.

          They obviously couldn’t and we knew that, if the situation had been different we may (or may not) have made different decisions.

          As 1789 points out below, I think we still would’ve done it because invading those islands would’ve been horrific for everyone involved, but if a counterstrike was possible it definitely would’ve been a consideration for US leadership at the time.

        3. If they had a nuclear device, plant it within a submarine. Send submarine near a port. If they can actually get in, great. If not, it detonates underwater and we get the fallout headache from Shot Baker in Crossroads. The one that contaminated Bikini Lagoon so bad, remote control boats were needed for two weeks afterwards to survey the radiation hot spots.

          Of course, you need a nuclear device in order to do that.

          1. How America Planned to ‘Sink’ Imperial Japan’s Navy: Nuclear Weapons?

            Another fun what if. If Japan had only 1 nuke and could have got it to the center of a 500 ship US Fleet it might have slowed down the US Navy a bit. By 1945, the US Navy consisted of:

            Battleships 23 (all types)
            Fleet Carrier 28
            Escort Carrier 71
            Cruiser 72 (all types)
            Destroyer 377 (all types)
            Frigate 361
            Submarine 232
            Amphibious Warfare 2,547 (including small craft)

            1. The IJN wouldn’t be going counterforce with a weapon like that, strictly countervalue. Unless they could find and hit the main anchorage for an invasion fleet while it was forming up. Whatever replaced Ulitihi, for example.

              Your list has an immense number of ships. And fewer admirals back then to steer them than the USN has today, IIRC.

              It is absolutely amazing what American industry was able to create on two fronts during that period.

              1. Nearly simultaneous landings in Normandy and Saipan, for example. But people assume that’s an argument for central planning. Hint; we don’t want to be fighting a constant war, even if Eastasia did exist.

          2. “If they had a nuclear device, plant it within a submarine.”

            Why waste a submarine? Put it on a cargo ship. I think there was a Clancy book about that.

            1. And a Ben Affleck movie
              Sum of All Fears?
              I think in the book it was Arab terrorists. This was of course changed to Russians in the movie, because Russia is evil and Islam means peace, and white supremacists something something…

              1. Just like the first thing Obama said after every terrorist attack that killed Americans, the most important thing is to shut the fuck up you bigoted Americans and stop hate criming Muslims

      3. Small nations like NK or Iran will never have enough nukes to pursue a MAD strategy against the US.

        MAD only works between two nations with roughly equal resources.

        The idea of some small nation having a couple of nukes being an absolute deterrent against US intervention is absurd.

        1. NK can hit Seoul, they only need 1 bomb for that and we’d do an awful lot to avoid that situation.

          1. Technically, NK cant hit Seoul with conventional artillery and rockets. No nukes needed to level that city.

            I would say Seoul is a city that is written off by South Korean and American planners if war breaks out.

            1. They have bunkers for traditional artillery fire. Not perfect, but it’d save a lot of people. I don’t know how radiation proof those bunkers are.

              And yes, they’d write it off AFTER fighting broke out. They wouldn’t write it off BEFORE, which is why it kind of works like MAD. We care about it, so we aren’t go to take actions that jeopardize it. Once the shooting starts all bets are off.

          2. If they exercised that option, NK would be wiped off the face of the earth. Why would any totalitarian dictator do that?

        2. Disagree. Ten or so nuclear devices are sufficient to cause enough chaos to deter the US from regime change. One detonation in a US city, of even a modest fission device, would be the largest public health catastrophe in US history, next to the Spanish Flu pandemic. It would be the largest acute catastrophe ever.

          I don’t think a market crash would be unexpected afterwards. I’m not sure the country would stay together. 10 devices? We’d be in deep shit. True, the aggressor country would be a Dale Chihuly masterpiece, but that would be cold comfort.

          Why else do you think the US has taken gigantic pains to not invade Pakistan (we can discuss why the Bin Laden raid isn’t an exception to this) in the GWOT, despite them being the sanctuary, supplier, and guiding force behind most of the antigovernment militias and the Taliban?

          For most small rogue nations like North Korea, Iran, or Pakistan (though they aren’t small), the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. The US is absolutely deterred from making wholesale changes to their leadership. Though not so great that the leadership thinks they’re going to die hideously anyway, so why not take some of the Great Satan Imperialist Dogs with them?

          1. Correct.
            I mean, look at the chaos and significant changes 9/11 wrought.
            Keep the damage the same but make it a nuke, and the effect increases exponentially.
            Nationwide panic

            1. One interesting thing about 9/11 is that is really did only impact Manhattan. It would take a lot more to knock the USA out of a fight.

              Plus most cities are not military targets. You need over 100 nukes to get every silo, airfield, nuke bunker, and naval base in the USA. Even still we have SSBNs that you cannot get. Russia and the USA are so vast, a first strike “win” is impossible.

              “Nationwide panic” would quickly turn to nationwide rally toward common defense. It happened after sneak attack at Pearl Harbor. It happened after 9-11.

          2. “Though not so great that the leadership thinks they’re going to die hideously anyway, so why not take some of the Great Satan Imperialist Dogs with them?”

            And that’s what worries me most about Iran.
            Call me prejudiced, but martyrdom is a thing in Islam, and there’s an extensive history of suicide bombing there.

            1. “Call me prejudiced, but martyrdom is a thing in Islam, and there’s an extensive history of suicide bombing there.”

              Yeah, but not by the mullahs, usually. The key question as I see it for the mullahs is: if we lose power, do we and our families die hideously? Expanding on that: What happens to us? Are we going to be allowed to go into exile somewhere, or are some of us going to be allowed to? Or are the mobs going to rip us limb from limb? The examples of Khadafy, Pinochet, and Hussein are not helpful here.

              Suicide bombers are usually brainwashed losers or people who’ve suffered recent losses (Chechen war widows were a bit of a plague in Russia during and just after their wars in Chechnya.). They usually aren’t people with options. Exceptions exist, like some of the 9/11 guys, but that’s usually who ends up riding a bomb. It’s not the shotcallers.

              I was really thinking of it in terms of Kim Jong-Un, where I think the mob really would rip Fat Boy and all his concubines into little strips. If you’re going to go out in a hideous manner, do what you can to forestall it, and then when that doesn’t work, pull the plug on the whole damned thing.

              For Iran, the best course is to make sure they don’t get anything that could cause a Götterdämmerung in the West. If that’s out, explain the facts of life to them: they can’t let any of their new toys escape (and the US will offer to help them with things like PALs and other surety systems), they still aren’t immune from things like an internal coup or complete collapse like the fall of the Soviet Union, and any use of their new toys means total annihilation. I’m sure versions of that chat have been had in India and Pakistan.

              1. OT, but this is the Kim’s greatest concern:
                “…The key question as I see it for the mullahs is: if we lose power, do we and our families die hideously? Expanding on that: What happens to us? Are we going to be allowed to go into exile somewhere, or are some of us going to be allowed to? Or are the mobs going to rip us limb from limb?…”

                You got that tiger by the tail, it’s damned dangerous letting go after you’ve poked it in the ribs for that long.

                1. Oops; should have read a bit farther. You got it.

          3. Pakistan is unlikely to have long range ICBMs. Pakistan certainly has short and medium range ICBMs and tactical nukes. Evidently, Pakistan also is militarily prepared to survive a first strike and launch a second strike from mobile launchers and secret sites.

            North Korea is likely to be in this same situation. Hawaii might be within range but doubtful that even Western USA is within range.

            I saw something where a strategy of getting nukes into low orbit and then dropping them into the atmosphere to increase range. This could be defeated by anti-satellite missiles and ramming inconsequential US satellites into the foreign nuke (main point is the USA would have time to plan a counter).

            1. Interesting read:
              Pakistan as having, “the world’s fastest-growing nuclear stockpile.

              Taliban-linked groups have successfully attacked tightly guarded government and military targets in the country. Militants carried out small-scale attacks outside the Minhas (Kamra) Air Force Base in 2007, 2008, and 2009 but Pakistani officials repeatedly deny that the base is used to store nuclear weapons. Al-Qaeda’s Abu Yahya al-Libi had also called for attacks on Pakistani nuclear facilities.

              Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace plan was a major assistance to Pakistan and India. Of course, having friendly nuke powers at the belly of the USSR was another strategy that has caused problem after the Cold War. China helped Pakistan develop nukes but India and Pakistan are threat to China too.

            2. In a world with commercial air freight, and a very high tolerance for risk of losing the payload entirely, you don’t need ICBMs to make a first strike on a Western country.

              I wonder just how good NNST’s remote sensing goodies are, and I hope they have something on an air platform or satellite than can pick up a signature from a nascent, hidden thermonuclear weapon.

              North Korea’s capabilities are a bit unknown, to be kind. My thought, reading people like Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, is that they have a few primitive 2-stage thermonuclear weapons, which may not be convertible to a missile-deliverable form. They have some mobile liquid-fueled IRBMs, maybe ICBMs. Think Scud, but with a 1500-2500 mile range. The problem with that is that you can have any two of liquid propellant, long range, and roadmobile, but you can’t generally have all three, and they don’t have solid rocket motors for mobile ICBMs yet. Further, solid rocket motors for ICBMs, that can take rough handling (like getting shaken in the back of a truck going cross country) are tough to make. I haven’t seen them test a missile with one of those yet.

              Your orbital scheme is known as FOBS, and was banned by treaty in 1972. It’s salient feature is the ability to come in from a direction the enemy isn’t expecting.

          4. Ten or so nuclear devices are sufficient to cause enough chaos to deter the US from regime change.

            Common sense should deter the US from regime change.

            I’m not sure the country would stay together.

            That might, of course, be an unexpected benefit.

        3. I might be enough to go all Rob Misek on Israel though.

        4. “Absolute deterrent”
          No
          Enough of deterrent still works

      4. The USA still would have dropped the 2 nukes that we had on Japan because
        (1) We had more being built
        (2) The USA was trying to prevent at least 1 million Allied soldiers dying with invasion of Japan Islands.

        Even if Japan had a nuke or two the nukes of the time were not powerful enough to cause more than 100,000 casualties in the USA. So still worth it because the longer Japan was in the war the greater chance they would have the capability to cause more deaths.

    2. We had a bombing schedule that stretched far beyond 2.

    3. Pretty sure it was Obama’s takedown of Qaddafi that broadcast to the entire world that only nukes are a deterrent

      1. Remember Hillary cackling, “We came, we saw, he died.”?

        Kim and the Iranian Mullahs damn sure do.

    4. …technically, the worldwide inventory was three. We had one more ready to go.

  4. Two words in and you’ve already put off a good chunk of the audience you’re trying to convince.

    1. Breeds? I could see a significant number of commenters here getting offended over the insensitive use of that word… It’s like Reason doesn’t even care about inequality of sexual opportunity.

        1. Yea, I personally don’t really care about calling it an assassination.
          Assassination isn’t necessarily illegitimate

    2. Reason isn’t trying to convince an audience, they’re trying to gaslight some, but mostly give progressives a “non-partisan, libertarian” source they can point people to in passing

  5. The assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, LIE.
    as·sas·si·nate
    /əˈsasnˌāt/
    verb
    murder (an important person) in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons.

    Killings for military reasons are not assassinations. Reinhard Heydrich was not assassinated.

    1. Ass*hat*i*nate:
      verb
      the intentional misuse of a word to make an absurd point seem less absurd. examples found at Reason.com under Soave and Binion

    2. Also, since Solemani was in a country illegally, actively commanding troops, he was a legitimate military target, unlike the embassies filled with unarmed diplomats he was targeting.

  6. First, they harassed our fleet with speedboats.

    Well, not first, there was the Embassy takeover and Hostages, the 40 years of terror sponsored thru Hezbollah, etc, but you get the idea.

    Next, they seized one of our boats and humiliated the crew in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

    Next, they started seizing oil tankers. Then, they attacked Saudi Oil facilities with drones. Then, they shot down one of our surveillance drones.

    We did nothing, because the POTUS Said any loss of life would be disproportionate.

    Then they attacked a base in Iraq with rockets, killing an American. So we blew up their militia bases.

    Then they attacked our embassy in Iraq, our sovereign soil.

    So we took out the guy responsible for everything since the initial Tehran embassy attack (that he also took part in)

    And we are the ones escalating.

    1. The United States responding to decades of provocation is always escalation. Muslims are entitled to slaughter the Big Satan like pigs. Any attempt to prevent them from doing so is a bloodthirsty yanqui aggression.

      1. Wow….Did Reverend Arthur L Kirkland change his name or something….?

        1. Smack your sarcasm detector a few times to unstick it, _XY.

          1. Yeah, I overdid that one, didn’t I? Consider it smacked. 🙂

    2. America won’t defeat Iran without escalating.

      1. America is not trying to defeat Iran.

        1. America is pretty happy with the status quo, as long as not too many Americans get killed or injured, and oil prices are reasonably low and stable. As was the case in North Korea, I don’t see America lifting a finger should Iran pursue nuclear weapons development.

          1. Yes, Democrats have ensured that. Especially Barack Obama. The Traitor King’s enduring gift to the world.

            1. Clinton and Bush helped give North Korea nukes or at least the ability to refine Uranium.

              1. Yes, their blundering certainly has accelerated that process.

            2. Democrats are our true enemy. They’ve been at war with us for more than 200 years.

                1. Save your fighting spirit for your fellow Americans.

                  1. Correcting your erroneous knowledge of history isn’t exactly fighting

                    1. Just keep hating Democrats. That’s easy enough. Leave the fighting to those with the stomach for it.

                    2. Just
                      So
                      Desperate

                    3. The modern democrat party is perhaps the greatest force for evil in the world. The current clown car of candidates and their Marxism is proof.

          2. “…As was the case in North Korea, I don’t see America lifting a finger should Iran pursue nuclear weapons development.”

            We’re familiar with the ‘value’ of your opinions:
            mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
            “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

    3. ” they attacked a base in Iraq with rockets”

      They attacked several bases with rockets, but didn’t cause an American death until the 10th or 11th time over the last 2 months

    4. The only reason we have anything to do with iran is to preserve Israel’s regional hegemony and support those saudi barbarians. We shouldn’t have soldiers anywhere near there in the first place.

    5. Huh? Our sovereign soil? Enough with useless wars. Tulsi 2020!!

  7. Before Trump left the JCPOA, independent observers repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance LIE

    Evidence that Iran Violated the Nuclear Deal Since Day One?

    1. They violated it while it was being negotiated, while it was being ratified, and every day since

  8. The evidence for compliance is a Reuters article repeating the IAEA words. And ignoring others including the IAEA who have said Iran has barred them from military sites. And ignoring Iran’s own statements that it can restart its weapons program within days.

    1. Accidental flag announced

      Fn pop up vids

      And yes, the IAEA was invested in Iran appearing compliant. They were not compliant

      1. “As I have said many times, I believe the JCPOA represents a significant gain for verification. The IAEA now has the world’s most robust verification regime in place in Iran. We have had access to all the locations that we needed to visit.

        Our inspection work has doubled since 2013. IAEA inspectors now spend 3,000 calendar days per year on the ground in Iran. We have installed some 2,000 tamper-proof seals on nuclear material and equipment.

        We have carried out more than 60 complementary accesses and visited more than 190 buildings since JCPOA Implementation Day.

        We collect and analyse hundreds of thousands of images captured daily by our sophisticated surveillance cameras in Iran – about half of the total number of such images that we collect throughout the world.

        We collect over one million pieces of open source information each month.

        All of our activities are supported by state-of-the-art technology, including data collecting and processing systems. Our current verification capability is much stronger than it has ever been.

        As of today, I can state that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments. It is essential that Iran continues to do so. If the JCPOA were to fail, it would be a great loss for nuclear verification and for multilateralism.”
        -IAEA Director General Amato

        Look at the language and presentation.
        It’s not a scientific review or report, it’s a sales pitch
        http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/iaea-director-generals-introductory-remarks-at-press-conference

        1. Yup. Iran uses a look at the monkey strategy.

          While the IAEA is looking at the monkey, Iran works in secret to build nukes.

          Israel has great intel in the Middle East and they have been revealing violations by Iran.

          1. They didn’t even need to work that hard.
            IAEA wants to find compliance, it finds compliance, then sells it.
            Global socialism isn’t about getting results, it’s about convincing people they need results and there’s only one way to get them.
            And once people give global socialists power, that’s all that matters.
            Obama’s entire presidency was based on this

  9. Trump is a liar. Pompeo is a liar. I don’t trust a word they said.

    1. Luckily unreason, Lefties, and The Me are BIGGER liars, so I will go with Trump for now.

    2. We know, and you gobble up everything you read at Salon and Huffpo too.
      Are you Shikha by any chance?

  10. Hmm, who was it that violated ‘ the old constraints of conflict’?
    You know, by attacking embassies and seizing diplomats as hostages. And creating a Secret Police Force to run their foreign terror militias. That is why they are known as a Star Sponsor of Terror, they actually have an Org chart for their illegal State Terror arm.

    Here’s the thing, the fact that he was Not part of the regular Iranian Military is of some great importance, because countries do not assassinate other countries military leadership. They don’t assassinate other countries government officials, they don’t mess with ambassadors or other countries embassies. That is all sacrosanct to preserve international order, even among sworn enemies. At the heights of the Cold War, it would have been unthinkable for either side to violate the others civilian or military leadership, or violate diplomatic immunity or the sanctity of embassies on foreign soil.

    Being a part of a regular military means the soldiers wear uniforms, and don’t hide amongst civillian populations, and don’t target civilians. They don’t command militias in other countries that exist to kill civilians, and create civillian casualties by hiding behind friendly populations. It’s the basic rules of War that predate the Geneva Convention.

    You know who does regularly try to assassinate other countries leaders, military officers, and diplomats? And carry out military terror attacks on civilian populations? The Quds Force…..it’s kinda why they exist. It’s why they are illegal,and Iran is labeled by everyone as a State Sponsor of a Terror. No one anywhere cares that we killed this ‘military leader’, other than the regime that flaunted every international law already.

    1. At the heights of the Cold War, it would have been unthinkable for either side to violate the others civilian or military leadership, or violate diplomatic immunity or the sanctity of embassies on foreign soil.

      I dunno. It’s always been par for the course when dealing with Islamic terror groups, Shia or Sunni. General Dozier, USMC Colonel Higgins, Ambassador Cleo Noel in Khartoum, Ambassador Dubs in Kabul. Ambassador Stevens, of course.

      No respect. And in a part of the world where you think it would have sunk in about what happens when you screw with ambassadors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_conquest_of_Khwarezmia

  11. “Whether we are now “at war” with Iran is impossible to say”

    Impossible is a strong word.

    1. Perfectly possible. We are not at war with anyone, because the legislature has not approved a declaration of war.

      We are however, engaged in military conflicts in several places, somewhat approved by wishy-washy legislation using weasel words that can be interpreted as desired by the executive and the legislative branches as needed by current politics.

      1. I approve of the above message!

        However, be informed that “If you’re not with us, you are with the terrorists!”

        The Swiss have NOT taken military sides with ANY nation for the last several hundred years! Therefore, they are not WITH us, they are AGAINST us!!! Surely as night follows day!!!

        I am expecting Trump to target their cultural monuments, threaten Swiss access to worldwide trade and banking, deny their diplomats access to the UN headquarters in NYC, and side with USA war criminals killing Swiss civilians, any day now! And Trumpistas everywhere, will cheer Him on! As Trump makes holey Swiss cheese out of civilized expectations of USA standards of behaviour!

  12. Escalation breeds escalation, which is why after the Solemani strike, the Iranians . . . de-escalated?

    Seriously, there’s plenty of perfectly good arguments that the US needs to pull out of the Middle East.

    But only people who are total idiots, or perhaps who are deliberately trying to discredit the withdrawal position by saying idiotic things, would double down on the narrative that the Soleimani strike was a “lurch towards war” now, after the dust has settled. Rational, intelligent people adjust their beliefs in the face of empirical evidence.

    1. Yeah, it may have looked like escalation initially, but Iran even officially stated they’re done retaliating. Leaders of both countries have said they don’t want escalation and don’t want war.

      Trump got it right, period. He killed an Iranian military leader to let them know the constant needling in the region is unacceptable, and the Iranians backed down as a result. Trump won. The TDS folks hate to admit it, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

      1. He killed a terrorist, not a military leader.

        The IRGC is not their regular military, and the Quds Force exists only to do internationally illegal things

      2. I believe you are mistaken = …but Iran even officially stated they’re done retaliating.

        The Ayatollah has explicitly stated their retaliation is not over.

        1. Different Iranian officials have been saying different things. Counter to its portrayal in Western media, Iran is not a top-down dictatorship. It has a crazy-complicated octopus-hydra of a government where the different limbs don’t really coordinate or even talk to one another.

          1. The only one that matters is the guy at the top. And he isn’t done yet.

            1. Yea he is.
              If he wasn’t convinced before, I think shooting the Ukrainian plane down seals the deal.
              Don’t think they do anything beyond nuisance for quite a while

              1. Hope you are right and that I am wrong, Nardz.

    2. Add Bonnie to the Reason B Team, with Bitchski, Boehm, Binion, and the other buffoons

      1. WTF is it with the letter B and Reason? A crop of birdbrains.

        1. Welch and Suderman are as idiotic as any of them.
          Robby just wrote an article saying it’s our fault Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner full of Canadians.
          The progressive rot is pretty much the entire staff

          1. Robby gets daily threats from woke witch hunters journalists. His “both sides” arguments are usually self-preservation so I have some sympathy.

            But Welch and Suderman? Fuck those demagogic propagandists.

            1. Soave is batting around .100, but he’s leading the team in average

            2. When progtards threaten me, I tell them to fuck off and double Down. Every single progtard is a weak hippie pussy at their core. And I will be damned if I ever knuckle under to their kind.

    3. Rational, intelligent people

      Well, there’s your problem.

    4. “Escalation breeds escalation, which is why after the Solemani strike, the Iranians . . . de-escalated?”

      Well, they did shoot down an airliner with no connection to the US whatsoever, so maybe our newest pearl-clutcher has some fantasy regarding that.

  13. By the way, Gadaffi’s death didn’t quite make it impossible to convince people to give up their nuclear programs. No, what made it impossible was that Obama and Clinton continued to have political careers afterward. If they had been impeached, removed, and barred from holding future office for their acts, then it could have restored international trust in the US.

    Instead, everyone who supported their campaigns in 2012 and 2016 sent the message that the only safety from the US is building nuclear arms.

    1. “sent the message that the only safety from the US is building nuclear arms.”

      That works for Russia and China. The idea that it works for relatively small nations like NK or Iran is pure delusion.

      1. Full-scale MAD doesn’t, no.

        But you don’t need to be able to do full-scale MAD to deter the sort of “humanitarian” airstrike campaign that took out Gadaffi. Even a tiny chance that a Libyan nuke could get through and hit an Italian city would have been enough to deter NATO from that sort of shit; nobody cared enough about Libyan civilian lives to risk that.

        1. Exactly this.

          You don’t have to have enough nukes to turn all of North America into a sheet of glass to deter us from fucking with you. One or two within range of certain targets is all it takes.

          This is why our adventurism bites us in the ass. We have targets all over the globe at this point, it gives leverage to parties that wouldn’t otherwise have leverage.

          1. Yeah, what was that God awful movie with one of the more truthful lines about nukes ever: “I don’t fear the group that wants to acquire thousands of nukes. I fear the group that only wants one.”

    2. Our lack of action in Ukraine under Obama only further ruined our credibility on the subject.

      We convinced them to end their nuclear program back in the 90s with the assurance that if the Russians ever came knocking we had their back. They upheld their end of the deal, Russia annexed Crimea and we did exactly fuckall about it.

      Why anyone would listen to us about denuclearization after that is beyond me. Our promises in regards to foreign policy aren’t worth the paper they’re written on and the rest of the world knows it.

      1. You sell it short.
        We convinced them to give up nukes, then ignored them while pushing NATO to their borders, until we orchestrated a coup that gave power to half of the country to try to ethnically cleanse the other half.

  14. >>assassination

    countless lives saved.

  15. Far from humbling Iran, maximum pressure multiplied the political capital of Iranian hardliners and pushed us closer to open conflict. It raised the specter of direct U.S. military intervention

    I see still peddling the WaPo and NYT party line.

    Past administrations used a mix of appeasement, nation building, and regime change strategies. That moved us closer to open conflict. The past few years of escalating Iranian actions against the US and allies shows that. In actual fact, the drone strike moved us away from open conflict because it actually hurt the regime.

    maximum pressure multiplied the political capital of Iranian hardliners

    And here your preferences are revealed again: you think our security requires regime change in Iran. In actual fact, from our security perspective, a bunch of greedy, totalitarian hardliners running Iran is probably better than whatever socialist democracy would likely replace it. But the simple fact is that it is neither our business nor under our control how Iran is governed.

  16. Escalation Breeds Escalation

    That explains all the Nazis running around this country after we won WWII. I didn’t even realize there were actual Nazis in this country until Antifa went around punching them. Maybe if Antifa hadn’t started punching Nazis, we wouldn’t be overrun with them.

  17. The most probable outcome is that Washington will sleepwalk into a new theater in what I suspect historians will record as Washington’s multi-front Hundred Years’ War of the Greater Middle East.

    I doubt it. I think the reaction is going to be to get out of Iraq. Which will also then force us out of Syria. Congress won’t have the balls to keep up their constitutional responsibility for long – but my guess is they will manage it for a few months. In large part because Trump appears to be so obviously sleepwalking into a mess. Regardless, once that door closes, it’s closed. There is no ‘war with Iran’ from the south or east – and obviously not from the north.

    And yeah – that also means there ain’t no ‘deal’ with Iran. The JCPOA is dead. Long live the Shiite nukes. The Obama deal may have been bad. But it’s funny that it led to a ‘here hold my beer’ Presidency.

    1. This is such a stupid take, jfree.
      Your analytical skills have been completely shattered by Suleimani’s death.
      You’re approaching sqrlsy level

        1. Do you really think posting media hot takes helps your case?

          1. I mean, you and they were assuring us world war 3 was imminent only last week.
            It’s ok to be wrong.
            Refusing to learn from being wrong is just not a good way to respond to it.

        2. JFree
          January.10.2020 at 7:37 pm
          “Thanks to Donald Trump, Iran Quickly Could Build a Nuclear Weapon”

          Thanks to JFree, the world will be full of more bullshit.

        3. Obama’s “deal” made Iran nukes more likely, because it gave up on deterrence, sent more than $100 billion to Iran, and allowed their economy to recover. It was based on the false premise that diplomacy, trade, and appeasement would prevent a nuke.

          Trump’s intervention made an Iran nuke less likely because it actually hurt the Iran dictatorship; hopefully, it will be followed up by more economic sanctions.

          1. “It was based on the false premise that diplomacy, trade, and appeasement would prevent a nuke.”

            I don’t know if I’d even go that far.
            It was based on the idea that those things would delay a nuke, but mostly that Obama could bask in the glow of a significant “accomplishment” for his legacy.
            And, without getting conspiratorial here, Obama’s treatment of Iran was… weird.
            It’s the ONLY mid east country he doesn’t stir up revolt in, in fact ignores it?
            Just incompetence that leads his every move to benefit Iran?

            1. I agree with your assessment of Obama’s motivations. I’m just saying that Obama propaganda for justifying his selfish, bad deal was that diplomacy, trade, and appeasement would result in permanent improvements.

  18. With Soleimani’s death, President Donald Trump capped months of uncertainty in U.S.-Iranian relations with a lurch toward war.

    This is fairly obviously not true.

    Escalation Breeds Escalation

    No one has yet described how killing one person is an escalation from killing hundreds. It’s revealing how supposed “Reason”-ers simply assume their conclusion through word choice instead of supporting it rationally.

    1. ““Reason”-ers simply assume their conclusion through word choice instead of supporting it rationally.”

      Some of them don’t even say freedom fries. Homicide bombing is another expression our objectively pro Islamist Democrats refuse to use.

      1. Some of them don’t even say freedom fries.

        Your whining is backwards. It’s the assumption that the label proves the argument even though the label is obviously false.

        1. “Your whining is backwards.”

          Not whining; he’s stupid enough to think that makes sense to someone.

        2. That is ridiculous. My whining is frontwards, just as it always is. I call it freedom whining.

          1. Not whining; he’s stupid enough to think that makes sense to someone.

            1. Yawn. Try harder and you may get a spam flag.

              1. Why do these idiots think *yawn* makes a counterpoint. Yawning is as much a fear response as an indicator of boredom or sleepiness.

                1. Yawn is the appropriate response to uninteresting comments which don’t merit a spam flag. I would have given a spam flag if Sevo was more insulting.

  19. Polly to Tommie Shelby: “kill, kill, kill, why do you kill so much Tommy”? Tommie: “It’s the only way to get their attention.”

  20. Oh, look , Reason hired another moron.

    1. Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

      So I discussed your awesome talents with some dear personal friends on the Reason staff… Accordingly…

      Reason staff has asked me to convey the following message to you:

      Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

      Obviously, you are a silver-tongued orator, and you also know how to translate your spectacular talents to the written word! We at Reason have need for writers like you, who have near-magical persuasive powers, without having to write at great, tedious length, or resorting to boring facts and citations.

      At Reason, we pay above-market-band salaries to permanent staff, or above-market-band per-word-based fees to freelancers, at your choice. To both permanent staff, and to free-lancers, we provide excellent health, dental, and vision benefits. We also provide FREE unlimited access to nubile young groupies, although we do firmly stipulate that persuasion, not coercion, MUST be applied when taking advantage of said nubile young groupies.

      Please send your resume, and another sample of your writings, along with your salary or fee demands, to ReasonNeedsBrilliantlyPersuasiveWriters@Reason.com .

      Thank You! -Reason Staff

      1. Mary’s copypasta always sucks.

  21. What does appeasement breed?

      1. Oh?
        What exactly was appeased in that case?

        1. Trump acceded to several of North Korea’s long term demands, such as putting a stop to military exercises. There are others that you might find if you look into it. You shouldn’t need me to help you.

          1. Ok, military exercises.
            That’s one per year.
            What else?

            1. “What else?”

              They met. A one on one meeting between US and North Korean heads was a long time demand by North Koreans which previous presidents had refused to grant, fearing that it would confer undue legitimacy on the North Korean regime. You must remember before Trump, Americans insisted that any negotiations would take place in a multilateral setting with South Korea, Japan and other countries participating.

              This is not ancient history. You shouldn’t need my help. Maybe you could read more or ask someone more knowledgeable about Korean politics.

              1. So meeting with someone and putting military demonstrations on hold, while maintaining sanctions, is appeasement?
                Lol
                You used to be better at this, but you’re too desperate these days

                1. Appeasement is acceding to another’s demands. Trump did exactly that on the two issues you were asking about. Previous presidents had refused to halt military exercises or meet one on one with North Korean leaders. But please don’t take his appeasing North Korea as weakness. Trump wanted to take a gamble at solving the Korean issues, and some concessions were inevitable. The previous reluctance to meeting and cancelling exercises were largely due to symbolic considerations and the US lost nothing material in the concessions.

                  1. And Kim stopped missile tests.
                    Your efforts are futile

                    1. Appease works sometimes. Not surprisingly.

          2. mtrueman
            January.10.2020 at 6:47 pm
            “…There are others that you might find if you look into it. You shouldn’t need me to help you.”

            IOWs, there are no others, you pathetic piece of shit? And the one you claimed was not as you term it.
            You.
            Are.
            Full.
            Of.
            Shit.

      2. An idiotic post from a bullshitter; see the bullshitter’s post.
        Stuff it up your ass trueman; your head needs company.

          1. You realize no one gives a shit about your flagging people for calling you on your bullshit, right, bullshitter?
            You might avoid seeing me calling you on your bullshit, but no one else is affected by your scumbag efforts.
            Fuck off, you pathetic piece of shit.

              1. Screaming “Spammer!” at normal posts is considered spamming, so I flagged you as well.

    1. It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
      To puff and look important and to say: —
      “Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
      We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

      And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
      But we’ve proved it again and again,
      That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
      You never get rid of the Dane.

      It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
      For fear they should succumb and go astray;
      So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
      You will find it better policy to say: —

      “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
      No matter how trifling the cost;
      For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
      And the nation that pays it is lost!”
      – Kipling

  22. In another time, one nation taking credit for bombing another nation’s high-ranking military official—however dastardly his record—would unquestionably be an act of war.

    Please.

    Suleimani is not Franz Ferdinand. Not even close.

    I can’t even really think of a way to make it analogous, but maybe if some separatist group of Uzbeks from NW Iran assassinated Khamenei and then the US pledged to defend the Uzbeks against the subsequent Iranian crackdown, it would be somewhat analogous, but still not at all making the point Bonnie is trying to make?

    The act of war was Suleimani being in Iraq meeting with leaders of terrorist militias.


    1. The act of war was Suleimani being in Iraq meeting with leaders of terrorist militias.

      This. The fact they also attacked an embassy is also usually cause for war, and last I checked we didn’t attack our own embassy.

      If this was really the start of some WW3, one might rightly think that Iran instigated it themselves. Apparently, America is the only group that be blamed for anything since we’re the only rational adult in the room. That seems to be their logic. Thus, when we are attacked by children we’re expected to just take it and turn the other cheek because they really don’t know any better.

      I notice that various Iranian embassies in the U.S. remain unexploded, as well. Oh, right, there aren’t any because of Iran’s track record of attacking our embassies. This is so par for the course for them than it’s almost unremarkable. I notice that even after Obama sent them a bunch of cash, thus materially aiding an enemy of the United States which is usually considered treason, we still didn’t get an embassy in Iran nor did they open one here.

      Curious, one might think.

  23. wow, Reason found yet another intellectually lightweight writer to discuss foreign policy…good for them

  24. Factoid: “Gen. Qassem Soleimani was assassinated.”

    Reason: “We object”

    Factoid: “Assassin is Arabic for hashish-eater.”

    Reason: “We approve”

  25. //Far from humbling Iran, maximum pressure multiplied the political capital of Iranian hardliners and pushed us closer to open conflict.//

    Enough with the obtuse hypothetical considerations. We have the facts before us, exactly as they unfolded. There was no escalation. A global war did not eventuate. In short, Trump’s decision was the right decision, with none of the imagine catastrophic consequences.

    “Oh, but it could have happened.”

    No, it couldn’t have. And, it didn’t. We are not, and never were, on the brink of a war. It wasn’t even close.

    Stop with the stupid.

    1. If you’re one of the mullahs, as much as you might mourn Soleimani’s death, it might not be entirely so unwelcome as one might think. Your interests right now probably lie in stabilization of the regional political gains you’ve made under Bush, Obama and Trump. You want to get your military forces a little less extended, get your economy moving a little more robustly, and quell some of the public dissatisfaction. Soleimani, though, was an obstacle to that goal. As a power base within the Iranian government, his position and power stemmed from his ability to be a thorn in the side of the Great Satan, from being a force for destabilization. As long as he was around, any sort of accommodation or settlement was off the table. With him at room temperature, some sort of arrangement might be reachable with the U.S. If Trump really wants a stop to these endless wars, it probably makes sense for the mullahs to give him one on mutually viable terms.

      1. Some people have speculated that Soleimani was a deliberate sacrifice. Not sure I agree, but the theory is interesting.

      2. Are you just saying that Iran didn’t mind so much? Or are you suggesting it was a coordinated effort between them and the U.S.?

        1. I think it’s more “silver lining”
          Suleimani’s death opens the way for a more realistic path forward

  26. Maybe it’s a budgetary thing, but Reason’s foreign policy writers sound an awful lot like earnest college journalists, or maybe high school Model UN participants. I mean, seriously: But it’s only a matter of time before we again start hearing the war drums calling for regime change in Iran. Again? The next time I hear someone of any significance calling for war with Iran to effect regime change will be the first time.

    1. She’s a Koch tool.

    2. It’s funny you say that. That’s what went through my head reading Soave earlier. Sounds like stuff I heard in my poli. sci and to a lesser extent history classes in university.

      I must profess and admit I’m under whelmed.

  27. The logic behind this piece is puzzling. Apparently I’m supposed to believe (1) that the U.S. has a longstanding “bipartisan military-first approach to foreign affairs,” (2) that foreign “bad actors” know that “U.S. intervention is always at hand and that a nuclear arsenal is the only sure deterrence against it,” (3) that, nevertheless, Iran was totally sincere when it claimed it didn’t want nuclear weapons, even after seeing what happened to Saddam and Ghadafi, but (4) the Soleimani strike is somehow the straw that broke the camel’s back, causing the Iranians to “proceed with nuclear research and development at will.” A less credulous analyst might express a little more curiosity about those “imperfections” in the Iran deal, rather than simply dismissing them while waxing poetic about the “opportunity” presented by the deal.

    1. Global socialists gonna global socialist

    2. “The logic behind this piece is puzzling.”

      I agree that Iran may not proceed with nuclear research as a result of recent events, as I (and many others) have speculated. Perhaps Iran would do better putting scarce resources into cyber warfare. I suspect the nuclear program is more about national pride and sovereignty than a serious military program. They are certainly not afraid to broadcast their intentions to ramp up refining, yet I imagine the real work – cyber warfare – remains cloaked in secrecy.

  28. This is one of those areas where a blind adherence to libertarian principles starts to fall apart if not leavened with a healthy dose of pragmatism. Kind of like ‘open borders.’

    Preventing escalation is a good principle, but assumes all actors are reasonable people acting in enlightened self-interest. Sometimes, that just isn’t true. Sometimes other countries are the equivalent of the guy on PCP that just keeps coming after you and you need to find a way to smack him down even though it means in a couple years his sons will come after you in revenge. Sometimes there is no perfect solution, only good enough to work for now.

    1. If you cannot predict every single future event, in succession, and account for how those eventualities will be met and handled, do nothing. That is the libertarian way. The true libertarian is, therefore, the party of perpetual paralysis, plagued with indecision. Without a clear line of sight into the future, it is best to run away; and if there is nowhere to run, it is best to pay your stalker to leave.

      “Your money or your life!” said the robber, to which the libertarian replied, “How about both?”

      1. “An armed society is a polite society”
        Robert Heinlein

        I think most libertarians would agree with that. Libertarians tend to be more aware of individual responsibility for self defense than most since we are distrustful of the state to provide it.

        Libertarians agree with national defense as well. There are real threats out there. I not not think most of our wars and conflicts have been due to real threats to national security although they get promoted that way. Often they make things worse as in Iraq and Libya.

        Iran is bad. The real question is what to do about it. It is not a question of justice it is one of strategy based on self-interest.

        1. //Libertarians agree with national defense as well.//

          Do they? I find the concept of national defense quite difficult to square with the general predisposition of libertarians toward open borders and freedom of movement. The number of times I’ve heard libertarians say “a border is just an imaginary line” is too many to count. What is national defense, after all, without a nation and without a border?

          1. That brand of ‘libertarian’ is made up entirely of fools and utopianists, so it’s probably best to just ignore them since they sound much like John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ song, which was of course a homage to communist utopian ideals.

            The ‘No Borders’ brand of Libertarian are barely removed from one-world-order Progressives. You’ll note the only places without meaningful borders are states within a Republic, which is how you end up with ‘exporting freedom’ via military force. e.g. if we invaded Mexico and annexed them, well that southern border suddenly becomes meaningless. We’d be wise to note that every border has two sides, yet so-called no borders libertarians can never really clarify how you make Mexico stop guarding their side of the border.

            Apparently East and West Berlin never existed.

            The irony of someone being a ‘libertarian’ while mirroring NeoCon arguments never gets old. Realistic pragmatism never enters their heads.

          2. You have to square that with the basic premises of libertarian thought.

            Remember that libertarianism is primarily concerned with individual rights and small government. States and nations do not have rights and do not grant rights. You are born with those. They have limited powers granted by us as autonomous individuals.

            Such an arrangement will never be perfect as you and I will disagree about where to draw the line. So there is and never will be a unified platform of where libertarians stand on particular issues. There are however more or less agreements about the basic principles we draw from.

            Indeed borders are nothing but lines on a map. They change all the time. That is a historical fact not a basis to argue a position on immigration. There are other issues there which are a matter of principle as well as differing views of consequences and where one stands in respect to those. So it is a hot button issue here.

            It should not be conflated with military defense as it is not a military issue.

            1. Well said. When it comes to national defense there isn’t a unified “libertarian” position.

              I think we can all agree that killing this Iranian terrorist wasn’t immoral. The real question is, was it wise?

              At this point I’m still not sure, but I’m starting to be less and less worried about it really having major ramifications.

              I don’t think there’s anything not libertarian about it though, even if a popular position amongst libertarians is non interventionalism. But that’s not an absolute tenant of libertarianism as a political philosophy.

            2. “Indeed borders are nothing but lines on a map. They change all the time. That is a historical fact not a basis to argue a position on immigration”

              Open borders works for hunter-gatherer societies.
              Not so much when civilization develops.
              The same is true prior to Man.
              Migratory animals don’t have territory, but resident species very much do, and they enforce the boundaries of that territory fiercely.
              When your philosophical position begins contradicting fundamental truths of nature, it reveals a flaw not in nature but in your philosophy.


              1. When your philosophical position begins contradicting fundamental truths of nature, it reveals a flaw not in nature but in your philosophy.

                Essentially this.

                A world without borders simply means a world ruled as one.

                Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

                1. Right.
                  Global Socialism.

                  1. More like global totalitarianism, the quote at the end of my last comment being a quote from good ol’ Italian Benito.

                    I’d have to note that his quote is pretty exactly the modern progressive take on global governance though. What passes for ‘socialism’ these days is really just a kinder word for totalitarian. Turns out that word has some negative connotations, whereas ‘socialism’ is better received by a certain group of useful idiots.

                    Same as it ever was.

                2. “A world without borders simply means a world ruled as one.“

                  I think it depends on what people mean by open borders. It means different things to different people.

                  To me I think most people mean unrestricted or near unrestricted movement of goods, services, and people across national borders.

                  So if I go to work and live in Vietnam then I am subject to Vietnamese law. A Jamaican doing the same here is subject to American law.

                  As we have it now there are many restrictions, quotas and so on making it difficult to simply go, fill out a few forms or whatever and do that. There is a Byzantine system which is expensive and takes years and a professional lawyer to navigate often.

                  I would prefer a much simpler system as I have proposed before which should be no more difficult than a getting a drivers license and would result in a renewable permit for some period of time and allow the individual to live and work in the US. You could eliminate all of the different visas and just have this and perhaps tourist visas which do not involve work permits.

                  If there is convincing evidence of significant negative consequences then we could talk about limiting the number issued.

                  Is that open borders? Close to it I think.

                  1. 30 million illegal residents, and you say “convincing evidence of significant negative consequences then we could talk”
                    Fuck off

            3. Immigration and taxation are all about those arbitrary lines. And they are also inseparably linked. Less government means less of either.

              Which is also why today’s open borders crowd is so laughable. Our current level of nanny/welfare state making open borders fiscal suicide.

    2. “but assumes all actors are reasonable people acting in enlightened self-interest.”

      Escalation also assumes the escalator has the resolve to step beyond with more than threats and bluff. This resolve is lacking in the country today. It’s evident in the comments. If America has wandered into a PCP neighborhood, the best advice is to turn around and go back home. PCP is not something America needs.

      1. “…This resolve is lacking in the country today…”

        “[T]he country” is mistakenly posted as singular; it seems to be lacking in both countries. Perhaps that terrorist wasn’t as well liked as is claimed.
        But don’t rely on trueman to support any of his bullshit.

        1. Escalation works if you are prepared to go beyond bluff and bluster. If you’re not, as America is today, escalation will lead to trouble. Dead Americans, the last thing we want.

  29. “Escalation Breeds Escalation, in Iran and Beyond”

    Show us where Trump touched you.

    1. “He bad-touched my emotional control and now it isn’t working anymore” – t. Bonnie Kristian

  30. Okay, Chamberlain, appease away! See how unprepared you are when you let someone else escalate for years and not respond in kind. Also, I offer you a Trudeau quote that, despite (potentially) being fake, is very truthy.

    “If you kill your enemies, they win.”

    1. “Okay, Chamberlain, appease away! ”

      If you want to make peace with your enemy yet lack the resolve to inflict a military defeat, then appeasement will be necessary.

  31. What is the point of sending billions in aid to Israel if we’re just going to swoop in and do their dirty work anyway? Other than boosting the stock price of defense contractors

  32. The fact that I continue to wrestle with is that since American interventionism became the norm, the world has been the most peaceful ever in the history of humankind. Whether this is just a coincidence, whether it would’ve been more peaceful, or whether it would have been more violent, I don’t know (nor probably ever will). But this is an interesting fact that can’t be ignored.

    1. You mean the lame duck tool of the Iranian regime who was forced to resign because he is the tool of the Iranian regime?

      1. Of course that’s who jeff means.
        Leftists implicitly trust anyone who’s hostile to the US

  33. From Amazon:

    Bonnie Kristian is a theological and political writer with a national following. She has columns and bylines at publications including The Week, Rare, Time Magazine, CNN, Relevant Magazine, Politico, The Hill, and The American Conservative. Bonnie is active in teaching roles in her church, a Mennonite community where she leads a study group and speaks regularly at Sunday services. She graduated from Bethel Seminary with a Master of Arts in Christian Thought, a theological studies degree with special emphasis on engaging culture with the gospel. Bonnie lives with her husband, two dogs, and two guinea pigs in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She keeps busy running, gardening, and fixing up her 100-year-old house.

    You know what I’m not seeing in this bio? Any experience, education, or expertise that gives Mrs. Kristian any credibility whatsoever on the subjects of geopolitics, Middle Eastern history, or military to support her supposition that Trump’s approach won’t work. She basically just offered a shallow history and an “analysis” comprised of a rehash of Democratic talking points about how the Iran deal totally would have worked if only mean old Donald Trump hadn’t thrown it out…while ignoring that Iran hasn’t been an honest partner in negotiations at any point in the last 40 years.

    But she works for some left-libertarian defense “think-tank” run by some guy who runs a Super PAC (and also has no relevant experience, education, or expertise), so I guess that means we should just accept her argument as gospel truth.

    What’s the matter, Reason? Couldn’t find anyone who’d actually worked in the Middle East to parrot the Koch Party line?

    1. Wow, nice find.

      Not that my own credentials are any better, but I’m not the one writing foreign policy pieces for the flagship of free market libertarianism either.

      Michael Young used to write here, and had extensive knowledge of the MidEast. He still around?

      1. Last article Michael Young wrote for Reason was in 2014. Here’s his Reason bio, by the way:

        “Michael Young is a contributing editor at Reason. He is a senior editor at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and editor of Diwan, Carnegie’s Middle East blog.

        Previously, he was opinion editor, as well as a columnist, for the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon. He writes a biweekly commentary for the National (Abu Dhabi) and is author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle. The book was selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of its ten notable books of 2010, and won the Silver Prize in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s book prize competition of 2010.

        His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times and numerous other publications. Young regularly discusses the Middle East on a variety of radio and television networks, including CNN, Fox News Channel, the BBC, NPR, Radio Netherlands International, the Voice of America, and Radio France International.

        He is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.”

        And here is Bonnie Kristian’s Reason bio:

        “Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities and contributing editor at The Week. Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Relevant Magazine, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.”

        As well as her personal website bio:

        “Bonnie Kristian is an experienced journalist skilled in compelling opinion writing, concise news delivery, and meticulous editing.

        As a contributing editor at The Week, Bonnie writes feature articles on foreign policy, religion, criminal justice, urbanism, civil liberties, electoral politics, and more. As a fellow at Defense Priorities, her op-eds have been published at outlets including USA Today, Defense One, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Politico, Time, Reason, National Interest, and The American Conservative. Bonnie’s first book, A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today, was published with an imprint of Hachette Book Group in 2018. A graduate of Bethel Seminary, she lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and twin sons.”

        Basically, they replaced the person who had real-world experience and education with a blogger who lives on a farm in Minnesota whose expertise is that she got some articles published. And that’s their foreign policy analysis.

        The paychecks at Reason must really suck.

      2. Here is Michael Young’s take (posted at the Carnegie Middle East Center) where he gives a much more nuanced and balanced take on the killing of Soleimani and what it means going forward for the U.S. and Iran.

        Then again, Young actually focuses on the Middle East and spends a lot of time there (he lives in Beirut), which is what journalists used to do if they wanted to be seen as experts on Middle Eastern policy. Because it’s difficult to get any understanding of a foreign culture or the goings-on of their governments if you’ve never interacted with them in any way and don’t pay attention to their day-to-day. Now you can just start a blog from your home in the middle of nowhere and regurgitate the opinions of other writers who don’t know any more than you do.

        https://carnegie-mec.org/diwan/80690

        1. A thousand thank yous for the link. I thought the guy had died.

          Time to read the Carnegie folks a bit.

          Again, thanks for the link. Made sifting through these comments worthwhile.

        2. Yes, thanks for the link.

          “The urgency to hit back hard will be especially important at a moment when domestic displeasure with Iran’s regime has never been greater. This has been due primarily to the economic impact of U.S.-imposed sanctions and accusations from many Iranians that their leadership is devoting valuable resources to regional affairs at the expense of its own population. Therefore, by striking hard against the Americans and their partners in the Gulf or Israel, the regime will aim to send a signal at home that the Islamic Republic will not be intimidated into curtailing its regional agenda”

          Then it appears Iran is intimidated, and will have to be open to negotiating its regional agenda

  34. I really have a hard time understanding the American attitude towards Iran. I think we have propped them up as a bigger threat than they really are and in doing so made them more dangerous. The JCPOA was a start at working to improve relations and leaving that agreement was primarily a knock at President Obama. The petty need to get back at President Obama has escalated tensions in the region far above what is necessary. How many people died in Vietnam and yet we trade with them today. You don’t have to make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies. We need to get over Iran and move on.

    1. Agreed! Sad to say, “war is the health of the State!” If not war with Iran, then WHO will the war-boners defend us from? War on un-authorized blowing upon cheap plastic flutes just MIGHT do the trick!

      To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

    2. Interesting I was just reading an article about how Vietnam is one of the hot new destinations for American expats.

    3. Except, mod, you’re operating from a position of blind faith and historical ignorance.
      The JCPOA was a joke, never complied with by the Iranians, and provided the means for Iran to build up its military and nuclear infrastructure. Best case, in a fantasy world where everybody involved 100% complies with the JCPOA, Iran gets nuclear weapons in 10 years.
      But I’m guessing you’re one of those who doesn’t care about such an outcome, even as you pretend to oppose proliferation.
      Prove me wrong

      1. Your wrong because the Trump Administration in 2017 verified to Congress that the Iranians were complying with the terms of the JCPOA. Yes the Iranians could go back to production of nuclear weapons in 10 years, but that is 10 years to work with the Iranians to bring them into the fold with other nations. To convince them they need not develop nuclear weapons. We are less than 5 year from the start of the JCPOA, but its gone now and we are worse off than when we started.

        1. The Iranians were enriching uranium to higher levels than the agreement allowed, were producing and procuring more heavy water than the agreement allowed, were using more advanced centrifuges than the agreement allowed, and lied about there nuclear weapons research (which was exposed via Israeli espionage).

          “Although many Trump officials opposed the April certification — and this decision to certify appeared to irritate President Trump — State Department careerists succeeded in convincing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to agree to certify anyway.”
          http://www.nationalreview.com/2017/07/iran-nuclear-deal-noncompliance/

          “Yes the Iranians could go back to production of nuclear weapons in 10 years, but that is 10 years to work with the Iranians to bring them into the fold with other nations. To convince them they need not develop nuclear weapons.”
          This is ridiculously naive sentiment, and requires ignoring both history and human nature. It didn’t work with North Korea, but it was going to work with Iran?
          How were you planning on convincing them of this?

          The deal did nothing to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, nor effectively slow them down. If Iran can up and produce nuclear weapons in a few months now, they could do the same under the JCPOA.
          The only thing that’s different now than it was under Obama’s appeasement is that Iran has fewer resources to expend in martial pursuit, an unhappier populace to deal with, and less time.
          Iran wouldn’t have been lashing out frantically if they were in a good spot.

          1. State Department careerist. Yes the people who work day to day looking at the data and making decision based on that data. Trump was irritated because it was President Obama agreement and that was enough for him to want it gone.

            Also your citing the National Review and there was never any war they were not ready to advocate for. So here a suggestion, keep your subscription to National Review and add a subscription to Mother Jones. Fill in with a few middle of the road news papers and journals. Get a complete view of the problem.

            1. “…Trump was irritated because it was President Obama agreement and that was enough for him to want it gone…”

              There are treatments available for you.

            2. You don’t even mention their non compliance.
              National Review isn’t the only source, if you ever decide to pull your head out of the sand

          2. The most important thing to understand about the Iranian/Libyan/NK viewpoint is that these countries know they don’t exist under normal, free circumstances. NK is a relic of a war it lost, its dreams of unified, Communist Korea dashed. The people are ethnically Korean and they want to be one again, to live freely, to work and prosper (and maybe to get some revenge on the ruling parties that exploit them currently). Iran was an anti-American fluke that, unlike Vietnam, failed to reform after accomplishing its more universal goals. It is not the natural state of Iran to be a theocratic, third world shithole and the millions of Iranians around the world serve as a reminder of Iran’s secular heritage. Libya scared the shit out of every unnatural government arrangement. It is no surprise that regime change and anarchy there scared these governments into protecting themselves with nuclear weapons.

            They all know that their tickets have been punched. They all lost before they started playing. The question is if the ruling parties can go down with any dignity and as we’re seeing with NK (and hopefully soon from Iran), graceful liberalization and eventual abdication is possible.

    4. Moderation4ever
      January.10.2020 at 5:53 pm
      “I really have a hard time understanding the American attitude towards Iran.”

      If you are expecting a surprised face, you will be disappointed.

  35. Wow. It looks like Iran has escalated already by killing 50 of their own at this guy’s funeral:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-middle-east-51015795

    I wonder if the U.S. will get blamed for this too.

  36. Thank goodness Hunter Biden isn’t in Iran – we’d have yet another federal impeachment sh#t-show for sure.

    1. At least he is good with a rifle hehe

  37. This Leftist journalist has no understanding of the Messianic goals to take over Islam with Shia’ Islam.

    Her view completely ignores Iran’s religious imperatives and creates a gross oversimplification.

    She has apparently no idea that the Shi’a and Sunni have been at war for 1400 years.

    Sanjosemike (no longer in CA)

    1. The part about the war is under appreciated and misunderstood by the vast majority of contemporary writers who cover the region. You can’t separate the issues of the day without keeping a keen focus on that particular arc of history.

      They approach things from a long-view perspective whereas journalists in the West cover it like teenagers with attention deficit disorder. Which is why so many of these takes miss their mark and sound so sophomoric to readers who have an above average grasp of the issues.

      The only places where you have a fighting chance to get deeper perspectives is in conservative publications for obvious reasons. Conservatives tend to observe and keep history in mind when they cover issues.

      I have no idea what’s going with Reason but on immigration and foreign policy they’ve left me, personally, wanting.

      Too often I get the ‘high school smart alec’ feel from them and they seem to have let Trump get to their heads.

      I could be wrong.

  38. Protests started up in Iran again.
    “Chants in videos seen on social media by the newspaper included “Death to liars!”, “Death to the dictator!” and “You have no shame.””
    http://www.newsweek.com/protests-tehran-harsh-revenge-iranians-military-jet-ukraine-1481637

    When will the anti-Trumpers and corporate media admit we were right?

    1. Thing is nobody knows what will happen. The whole region is a tinderbox. I have no idea if the assassination will result in a better or worse situation in the near or long term or have any effect at all. Bit early in the game to call it victory.

      The guy sure deserved it.

      The last time the Iranians rose up in the streets brought us the mullahs. Who knows what the next would look like. Didn’t work out so well in Syria either. Never seems to around there.

      In any case we need to disengage from the region militarily. Should not be our problem. Bush made the greatest strategic blunder in American history and we are never going to fix it.

      1. “Bush made the greatest strategic blunder in American history”

        Bush didn’t bomb Qaddafi or enter World War I, so no.

        “Thing is nobody knows what will happen. The whole region is a tinderbox. I have no idea if the assassination will result in a better or worse situation in the near or long term or have any effect at all. Bit early in the game to call it victory.”

        Sure. But you have over a week’s worth of threads you can go through and see which of us have been accurate in our assessments and forecasts, and which have been whining and getting things wrong.

        1. Well any top 5 list is going to be debatable.

          Some protests in Iran but don’t know if it matters. They have those all the time. They sure screwed up royally. Any mileage they could have gotten out of this is gone.

          1. “Some protests in Iran but don’t know if it matters. They have those all the time”

            You’re just making that up, unless you restrict “all the time” to the last couple months.
            It ain’t like the US. 1500+ people were just killed for doing what you claim is “routine”.
            They’re calling for Khamenei’s ouster. They’re using the downed plane as an excuse to restart their demonstrations against a government they blame for wasting their resources on nuclear weapons pursuit and foreign adventurism.
            And they’re doing that because the economy is in shambles.
            The Iranian regime can’t hold out indefinitely. They’ll have to adjust their ambitions.
            That’s the point of the whole “maximum pressure” approach

            1. The people protesting in Iran are even more badass than the protesters in Hong Kong. They know that 1,500 of their compatriots were recently killed for doing exactly what they are doing right now. And they are doing it anyway.

              1. Yup.
                And they’re crowding to the side to avoid stepping on the US and Israeli flags painted on the Iranian streets.
                It’s quite a scene, and it’s coming to a head.

        2. This might all have a silver lining. Maybe both sides now will see just how fucking serious this is and where it could have got to. Perhaps Iran will stop acting like assholes and we can get our troops home. Same with Afghanistan. Its over.

          I don’t see why our own people are not marching in the streets demanding an end to it. The times they are a changin’ I guess but in a different direction.

          If that happens Trump gets a star in my book.

          1. Silver lining, intent – what’s the difference?
            Feel free to organize a march any time you wish

          2. This might all have a silver lining. Maybe both sides now will see just how fucking serious this is and where it could have got to. Perhaps Iran will stop acting like assholes and we can get our troops home. Same with Afghanistan. Its over.

            That’s what Trump was elected for. If Democrats would just stop inventing peegates, maybe he could get on with it. I mean, even if you don’t like the man, at least let him do his job.

            1. His job is to get that accomplished with the government he has not the one he wants just like any other president.

              1. Well, that’s just a silly take. Dude calls on the opposition to stop being irrational and your response is to say that it is his job to get it done with the irrational people?

                Kinda hard to do that…. you know… because of the irrational part.

                You could negotiate in reasonably good faith with Pelosi. But Schiff? Schumer? Ocasio-Cortez? Please.

                1. Kinda hard is the job he signed up for. Really hard. Just like the rest of them.

                  I pay the government not the other way.

                  You got an easy one?

            2. Besides the one thing he does not need congress for is to order a troop withdrawal.

              1. I’ll point you to his draw-down in Syria. The reaction from the loyal opposition was not what you would call supportive. I’ll add that in support of my comment above about being rational.

                1. He just moved from one location in Syria to another to allow Turkey and Russia to secure the border and move out the Kurdish fighters there.

                  Our involvement in Syria is small which is a good thing. As I said I would like to see our military end direct involvement in the region. Perhaps keep the navy base in Bahrain and an airfield in the area. We are wasting resources in Afghanistan and should disengage militarily in Iraq and Syria.

                  At this point we are doing more harm than good.

                  1. You should run for president then.
                    You’re going to have to show a hell of a lot more competence and charisma than you have here, though.
                    Constant whining doesn’t get the job done

  39. “Whether we are now “at war” with Iran is impossible to say.”

    It’s quite possible to say it. We’re not in a war in Iran. We weren’t in a war with them when they funded proxy war against us. Both countries know an official state actions will not be taken kindly by their people. But Iran has more to lose.

    People fear escalation from Iran because it’s easy to think of them as a rogue state that can do whatever they want. But Iran (unlike North Korea) isn’t immune from the wrath of their people, as we’re seeing from current protests and the ones that hit them last year. And whereas the west wouldn’t dare sanction China despite all of THEIR atrocities, Iran is a different story. They have little value to anyone outside of ME and sanctions are already on them.

    So again, what escalation? Iran purposely telegraphed their missile specifically to avoid casualties. They’re in more of a sticky situation than we are, because they had to deal with public unrest just last year. If they kill a foreign official who’s NOT American and try to blame Trump (along with their liberal western allies), advantage goes to Trump.

    And yet here we are, giving the Iranians undue agency and the upper hand. Iran can’t actually go to WW3, but the progs who cry out warnings about WW3 and eulogizing Solemani actually do their work for them.

    1. Iran, like many others is at war with us, even though we are not at war with them.

      Al Qaeda declared war against the US over and over again for many years before 9-11. Then the US finally declared war on them.

      It might be advantageous with your base to declare war on the US. It is never advantageous for the US to declare war on you.

  40. I’m gonna ignore everything else and ask one simple question about your basic premise.

    Exactly how is responding to the killing of many US citizens by IED’s and rocket attacks and other attacks with the killing of one man an “escalation”?

    For a reference point, I’ll note that just a few weeks ago the “loyal opposition” was railing against Trump for failing to act when he called of a strike against an Iranian defense installation in response to a drone of ours being shot down. He called it off because killing maybe 500 enlisted men was a bridge too far for him. He deemed it disproportionate.

    Now the numbers are entirely reversed. One of theirs in response to hundreds of ours. But the one happens to be a member of the ruling class. So that one is the escalation. Not the storming and destruction of our Embassy. Or rocket attacks on our enlisted personnel. No… just the one Iranian dude seems to count.

    And I’ll point you to the results, lest you doubt that analysis. Iran clearly views the matter as displeasing, but within the realm of rational responses. And they have moved away from directly confronting US assets.

      1. Iran has few options.
        They can’t hit us, their own people are fed up with them, and the downed plane has the rest of the world (excepting US leftists) unable to offer them moral support.
        The Iraqi militias are still shooting off a few rockets (most recently a half dozen at a base with no US soldiers present), but it’s no more than a nuisance – and with the elimination of Suleimani, I don’t know how much direct control Tehran has over them. I’m beginning to suspect Mahdi has something to do with it.
        They’re almost begging for negotiations at this point, and Trump is playing it well.
        Give it a few days to see where the protests go, since there is the slight possibility Khamenei actually steps down, and hit the tables when the situation becomes clearer.
        Trump is determined to prevent Iran from getting nukes, so the negotiations are going to be much tougher for them than with the treasonous Kerry (technically, John Kerry’s behavior with regard to Iran since Trump was elected has been treasonous – I’d like to see a jury determine that) the last time.

  41. Iran has a great deal of value outside the ME. China and Russia both have a lot of interest in Iran.

    Iran has geostrategic importance. From Iran you control the straits through which an enormous amount of oil and other things pass. It is also rich in oil and other resources. Control Iran and you have control of a big chunk of the worlds economy.

    Look at a map and you can see why it is so important. It is a bridge.

    It is a large country with a growing educated class.

    Why do you think Russia sells them weapons? Why do Russia and China support them in the UN?

    Our issues with Iran are a continuation of the Cold War if you look at history.

    There are lots of reasons to value Iran.

    1. It goes back to “the Great Game” between the Brits and Russia starting in the 18th century.
      We have to be careful, because the Brits do very much want us to go to war with Russia

      1. And British intel is a bunch of evil, lying Fabians

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