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August 14, 2006



The problem Michael is that "we"'ve spent the last few years doing almost anything we could think of to shore up the popularity of Iran's hardliners.

Michael Tanji

I did say "if" right? ;-)


dan, the rational, sensible part of me agrees with you. The intuitive, pattern matching part is scared shitless - everything that is happening matches the pattern for the Iraq War and indicates that the batshit crazy division have neither learned anything or expect enough pushback to stop them.


"no one bar the hard-core neocons want to do this"

At this risk of repeating myself, these are the people calling the shots.


Hope you're wrong, but...
- Seymour Hersh is very well informed and his forecasts have been proven true most of the time,
- The US, British and Israeli leaders are cut off from reality and are far beyond rationality (they can't even admit that Lebanon and Iraq are complete failures). Every logical and rational arguments like the ones I can read above are irrelevant (no matter how true they can be in the real world). Psychology is the only relevant factor now, and the disturbed minds of our rulers leads us all to global warfare.

In a previous post you advised the Israelis to hire GG experts as consultants. This won't happen. But the iranians have for sure hired Hezbollah consultants and the Lebanese and Iraki wars are going to be the Spanish war of our time.

The only way out your black scenario is, in my view, a quick, Hezbollah like, Iranian victory, and the fall of the Pentagon before all hell break lose (not very likely).

It may be that the western states won't have time to turn into dictatorships : no more oil, huge economic depression, a deep lack of legitimacy and a total lack of beliefs and values may lead them to a quick collapse because of a shift to primary loyalties (chicanos and gangs in the US, african immigrants and regionalism in Europe ?)

In the end, in this troubled times, we have always been, and will always be, surprised (nobody anticipated Lebanon war and its outcome).

PS: I don't see Russia and China in your picture, what about them ?


Michael Tanji:

"A question I have not seen anyone else ask: all things being equal, if we did Iran “right” – call it the Shinseki approach – would the outcome be different than Iraq?"

If I am not mistaken, the Shinseki approach required several hundred thousand troops to take over Iraq, a country of 25M people with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions. Iran is a country of 68M people made mostly of Shia Persian, and unlike Iraq it is the religious/ethnic/linguistic group that rules. Where in the world is the US going to get the 1 to 2 million soldiers it would need, and at what human cost would a national resistance/insurgent movement be fought?


I mean in Iran it is the majority group that rules.


The real problem is that the true believers are probably capable of falling into an Iranian war in the way that JR suggests. Start with an air war, which the US *can* do.

That doesn't work, so maybe now some special ops, support some local discontents, provide arms, advisors ... we all know the pattern. At some stage all hell breaks loose. Without ever really intending to be in a ground war, there they are. Whoops.

Steve Kimbrough

Am sympathetic with the thrust of the original post, but it's a bit vague (at least for me). Details matter. Someone has to finance and suppy the guerrillas, even if it's much cheaper than the Western militaries. Or will the war be short? Probably not. I'm prepared to believe that the US and any friends it has are in big trouble, but let's be more specific. How would we advise Iran & Co., and in some detail?

Also, the China card. If general war breaks out, the US will likely stop petroleum production in Iran, which may then block export or even production in the Gulf. Not good. Foreseeing this and estimating that costly conflict is inevitable, perhaps China will play the financial card. Stop buying US Treasuries or threaten to. With $800 billion on hand, if China calculates that losing it is preferable to extended economic disruption, China could wreak havoc with the US economy.

Josh Koenig

I think you over-estimate the power of GGs to extend their reach beyond the region once the chaos really sweeps in.

There may be a short period in which we seem more cellular activity in the West, but I think that if this type of scenario plays out, once the existing order begins to collapse, GG energy will become much more regionally focused. I don't see any reason to expect that a new wave of home-grown GGs is on the way. It seems much more likely that as western powers are forced by reality to disengage from the middle east, western-based GGs will focus on the expanded opportunities to serve their primary loyalties in the region.

The only way we could maintain a real presense would be a wholesale draft. Won't work.

Unlike prior to WWI, there's no great reserve of military might waiting to be unleashed. The world's only superpower is already at the limit, and none of the other outside actors have much ability and even less interest in contributing.

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