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  • Defending Natalie Portman on Holocaust: Sometimes it can be subverted to fear-mongering
    • I think the key is having a functioning moral compass and a grasp of ethics combined with logic and reason. Add knowledge to that and then one is in a proper place to make judgments on issues like this. All too often in this country people are just uninformed about the Palestinian experience. All too often we see false comparisons to Nazis and communists thrown around without regard to historical facts. Sometimes one can take too fine an approach, however. Is it worse to be killed by a bullet fired up close or from a bomb dropped from 10,000 feet? In one of Robert Fisk's books he summed up the situation in the Middle East as, "There is no right and wrong, only wrong." There are so many horrors that are perpetrated and will be perpetrated we must not shy away from denouncing any that occur. We also must not use pejorative terms without evidence to characterize events that are much less than horrible. I think that is Portman's point and it is a good one.

  • Coal Industry Collapsing in Appalachia, leaving behind Blighted Landscape
    • What is so sad to me is how the people who live in these areas so identify with the companies that despoil the environment. They come to identify their success with that of the company, even thought the company doesn't give a rat's ass about them. The company is only out to destroy the environment in order to make a few owners super rich; they could care less about their employees or those living in the area. This is capitalism at its worth. I saw this first hand about 35 years ago when I applied for a position as a town manager in a small Colorado town that had a uranium mine as its largest employer. This was after 3 Mile Island. When asked, I advised the town council that they should seek to diversify their economic base and not count on the uranium mine for much future employment. They looked at me like I had told them to go home and shoot their mothers. And, of course, the nuclear power industry has greatly atrophied since, but the people dependent on those industries don't want to face what should have been obvious.

  • GOP Islamophobia: Scott Walker thinks there are only "a Handful" of "Reasonable Muslims"
    • Unfortunately there are very few reasonable Republicans left, and Scott Walker isn't one of them.

  • A CIA Eyewitness blows the Whistle on Bushie Torturers still Justifying Crimes
    • Early on during the Obama Administration, George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out that if Obama failed to act to bring known torturers to justice, he was guilty of a war crime. This is one of the darkest stains on his presidency. Failing to bring these criminals to justice almost insures that at some time in the future some US official will do this again. I wish some foreign court would bring war crimes charges against these evil people who are still running around free.

  • They're Baaack! Neoconservatives, Netanyahu, and the GOP set up US-Iran War of 2017
    • I did the looking for you. The book is The Persian Puzzle and Kenneth Pollack is the author; I misspelled his name originally.

    • If you read a history of Iran, you will find that those who took over the embassy were mostly students who were not directed by the government. In fact, after the Shah was overthrown there was an Iranian regime that the US tried to bargain with, but it was basically over taken by events and fell to internal forces. The take over of the embassy was not government directed. Pollak has written a book on Iran that covers this period well. I can't recall the book's name, but you can do some research and find it.

  • No, AP, Iran doesn't get to Inspect its own Nuclear Facilities under Deal
    • From the reporting leading up to the Iraq War, reporting on Israel in Gaza and now this, the US media have a lot to answer for. This case is not just careless reporting since the AP deliberately left out contradictory language from the document they quoted. While we don't want government regulation of the media, people need to do something demanding more accurate and unbiased reporting.

  • How many thousands US troops would GOP Hopefuls send to Iraq and Syria?
    • Plenty of money for war, just run up the deficit. For health care, fixing our infrastructure, etc., then the money isn't there and we HAVE to have a balanced budget. I thought everyone knew how this magically works.

    • And almost all Nike shoes, for which Nike pays its workers about 50 cents an hour so they can have 1000% or more markup on their shoes. If the capitalists had realized back then that they could so exploit those workers, the war never would have happened.

    • It seems kind of pointless to me to apply rational analysis to what are irrational opinions. You basically have to be delusional to give any credence to their views.

  • Why Partitioning Iraq is a Terrible Idea
    • Whether or not it is a good idea is immaterial as to whether or not partition will happen. Unfortunately, many former colonial states are constructs based on 19th Century European power politics. A number of other states were carved out as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Little to no thought was given to the indigenous peoples in these states, or the location of various natural resources. The result is that so many developing countries are artificial creations that have no "natural" nationhood. We have seen in Europe a number of states split apart--Yugoslavia, Czecholslovakia, and the former USSR. Many of these decisions, in the opinions of many, were not good ideas as regards to the viability of the successor states. But they happened anyway. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Iraq, it seems to me, is the most divided. Whether one likes it or not, whether it makes good sense or not, it looks like there is a 50/50 chance that it will happen. The total incompetence of the government in Baghdad certainly doesn't inspire confidence, especially if you are a Kurd or a Sunni.

  • Straws in the Wind: Obama has likely already won re: Iran Deal
    • There are a lot of spineless Democrats, but thanks to Nancy Pelosi, it looks like there will be enough Democrats backing the President to uphold a veto in the House. I see this as a time to see which Democrats have the courage to do what they know is right, or are they going to be remembered like those fools who voted in favor of the Iraq War.

  • Game of Groans: How focus on Trump Taunts hides GOP war on Middle Class, Workers
    • What is scary is that they fool so many people. I live in a senior community and it is frightening how many ignore or just don't know that the Republicans want to change/reduce both Social Security and Medicare. I saw a recent poll that asked people which party was better for the economy and which for foreign policy and pluralities picked the Republicans for both. I guess the Great Recession and the Iraq War are figments of the imagination. It's hard to be optimistic when you see things like this, or like Rand Paul who recently said that the reason for income inequality is that people in the US don't work hard enough, and some people actually believe that.

    • Speaking for Professor Cole, you are correct, but I'm sure he meant intellectual dwarves.

  • Obama Says Netanyahu’s Interference in American Politics “Unprecedented”
    • Critics seem to ignore the fact that there 5 other nations in addition to the US working on this deal and they were, in effect, acting on the behalf of the UN Security Council, which has endorsed the Agreement. Anyone who believes that this can just be jettisoned and a new deal negotiated or new sanctions imposed after this deal has been negotiated is living in a fantasyland and does not understand at all how international politics works. The alternative to this Agreement is no agreement. If there is no agreement, Iran will either seek a nuclear weapon or it won't. If it seeks a nuclear weapon after the US has repudiated this Agreement, no other country will follow the US in imposing new sanctions and the alternatives then will be to do nothing or to go to war. When President Reagan negotiated with the USSR on nuclear weapons, he did not try to get them to change any of their other policies. Critics either are just anti-Obama or else they cannot thing logically and analytically. If you do, it is clear that there is no better alternative available than this Agreement. Which is why critics never provide a realistic alternative.

    • If this was other than Israel against Obama, Republicans would be outraged that another country is intervening so clearly in US politics. Of course, the US has done that many times in other countries.

  • If Germany can get 27% of its Energy from Wind/Solar, why can't US?
    • As spyguy points out, the main problem is political will. Here in California we are getting close to that 27%; it's only a matter of time. Near where I live in Riverside County, California, large corporations are building huge warehouses for storing goods coming from the ports of Long Beach and LA prior to transshipment. These warehouses go up to 1 million square feet. I don't know why the government doesn't make approval of these projects contingent on them putting solar on their roofs. Solar and wind are now cost competitive with some small subsidies and the cost of solar keeps dropping. Certainly most of the West could be powered by solar.

  • Top Cringe Worthy Foreign Policy Moments in GOP Debate
    • This reminds me of the Reagan years when they actually talked about "winning" a nuclear war. One Administration official advised people to seek a culvert or build a slit trench if caught outside when the big one hit, as if that would help.If anything, they are more delusional now than even that.

    • I saw the results of a recent poll that found that majorities of Americans (around 37% to 31% for one and similar for another) believe that the Republican Party is better than the Democratic Party for the economy and for foreign policy. This country seems to have mass Alzheimers. Considering that the current crop of GOP contenders have practically the same policies as Bush that produced one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in US history and one of the greatest economic downturns in US history, it's hard to be hopeful about the electorate. I mean, how many disasters does a party have to be responsible for before people lose faith in it?

    • My brother-in-law, a conservative who thinks he knows everything, was telling us about a recent trip he took to London. "And there's this one section in London, it's like Little Tehran. All you hear is Arabic!" I didn't bother to point out that Iranians generally don't speak Arabic, but asked him if the people there were Shiite or Sunni? He gave me this what kind of stupid question is that look and said , "I don't know, it doesn't matter." This is the audience that the GOP hopefuls are appealing to. They will think that those answers cited by Professor Cole are spot on. It's the ignorant leading the uninformed. Or maybe vice versa.

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the single greatest acts of terrorism in human history?
    • This article, to me, is propaganda since it works from a conclusion backwards and presents only one side without any consideration of the other. One thing is that we will never know for sure because the role of the Emperor is still up for debate. After the surrender and before the occupation, the lord chamberlain for the
      Emperor burned many documents relating to the Emperor's involvement and his role in the government. It is now generally recognized that the picture of the Emperor as an apolitical figurehead was an invention by MacArthur in order to allow for an effective occupation. The reason this is important is that if, indeed, it was the emperor who was critical in the decision to surrender, then the outlook and analysis is much different than if he was a tool of the military. See the biography of Hirohito by Blix I believe is the author. Over the years i have gone back and forth on this issue myself and I don't see it as all one way or another. While the estimates of US casualties were definitely overblown, I have little doubt that the casualties on the Japanese side would have been at least as high, if not higher, for the Japanese in the case of invasion. One need only to look at what happened in Okinawa. On that island alone over 100,000 Japanese died, many via suicide. While i believe a blockade would have also been a viable option, I think the suffering of the Japanese people as a whole would have ultimately been greater. Finally, let's not forget the absolute horrors the Japanese visited upon the areas they conquered. In the Nanking massacre alone, they killed more civilians than died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. If it weren't for the Nazis, the Japanese in World War II would probably be considered the greatest war criminals of all time. And, unlike the Germans, they have resisted taking responsibility for many of their actions. While one wrong does not excuse another, this article is so one sided, that it needs to be put in context. I am not anti-Japanese, having spent two years there and I found the Japanese to be friendlier and kinder than the American service people there. But what they did during the war was inexcusable and barbaric and this author gives the impression that he wants to whitewash that.

    • Historiography shows that the Japanese were more concerned about the Russian entrance into the war. However, that in no way threatened the home islands. I have read quite a bit on this subject and have not seen evidence that the Russian action in Manchuria was bringing the Japanese to surrender. What it meant in practical terms is that they were going to lose the land war in China and Korea. Those troops wouldn't have figured in the defense of the home islands anyway since there was no more Japanese Navy or merchant marine to transport them.

    • Many historians have disagreed with Aperowitz. His is hardly the last word on the subject.

  • Obama: Opponents of Iran Deal are Warmongers
    • I find it mind boggling that so many political leaders seem to think we live in a uni-polar world where the US can impose its will whenever and wherever it wants. Delusion is particul;arly strong in US political discourse, especially among conservatives. What we should be doing is building an international system based on alliances where the US can maintain its leadership while no longer being the only or the strongest super power. The Iran Agreement should be the model for the US going forward; it is an absolute brilliant piece of diplomacy, among the greatest in US history.

    • I have a standing invitation on several websites for anyone to provide any instance where Senator Shumer has ever voted on an issue that was in opposition to the position of AIPAC. Doubt I will ever see one.

    • Love your analogy to Pickett's charge.

    • In the mid 1990's Halliburton traded with Iran in violation of the sanctions until caught. Their CEO at the time? Dick Cheney. Where the almighty dollar is involved, you can't even count on putative US corporations to go along with US policy.

    • One need only look at 55 years of sanctions by the US against Cuba to see how ineffective that is.

    • One of the many idiocies of the lunatic right is the assumption that any war with Iran would be a cake walk and that Iran would do nothing to fight back. Here's a very plausible scenario in case of a US attack/war on Iran. Iran mines the Straits of Hormuz, persuades Iraq to reduce the production of oil and then attacks Saudi oil fields. The damage to Western economies from this alone could run to tens of billions and cause a world wide depression. People accuse Iran of being a state sponsor of terrorism. With a US led war, wouldn't all the gloves come off so that Hezbollah would launch thousands of rockets at Israel and terrorist attacks mushroom all over the world? And this doesn't even begin to count the cost of a military engagement with Iran, which still has tens of thousand of religious fanatics willing to die combating the US. Here's something that Obama won't say because he cannot. Iran getting nuclear weapons would be preferable to having a war with Iran. And a point I keep raising. Where were the critics when North Korea got the bomb while Bush was President? Why didn't Bush do anything to stop them? Same reason, the cost would be prohibitive.

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • One needs to be careful when throwing around generalizations. You write, "US Foreign policy has never been for the cause of freedom, it always had a selfish motive. . .:" First of all, every nation should pursue policies that are in its best national interest. To do otherwise would mean that that country could lose it sovereignty or parts of it. A nation thus has to be selfish when it involves vital national interest. Secondly, your view of US foreign policy is very myopic. I think it can be persuasively argued that Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points were mostly to promote freedom. FDR and Churchill with the Atlantic Charter also is similar. The founding of the UN, likewise. There are many times the US has followed policies that are not necessarily for its specific benefit, but for a greater good. The intervention in Bosnia is a recent example. President Roosevelt's mediation in the Russo-Japanese War also fits this bill. I could cite many other examples. I can also cite many examples of the opposite, such as Dollar Diplomacy in Central America and most post WWII interventions. To be accurate, each instance must be examined and judged on its own particulars and merits. To do otherwise, and paint a broad brush stroke gives others the impression that those who do that are mindless ideologues.

    • Is it any coincidence that it was conservatives who pushed for a voluntary military while many liberals favor universal service? Having a professional, voluntary army is one of the things the founders warned us against. They feared Bonapartism, the general on horseback taking over the government. They didn't want a standing army, but a collection of state militias based on universal service which would provide defense in case of invasion. Instead we now see the military-industrial complex in full control of the GOP and most of the government.

  • Why Israelis have cut down 800,000 Palestinian Olive Trees
    • This is very similar to hunters being paid to slaughter the buffalo/bison on the Great Plains. The ostensible reason often given is to facilitate train travel across the plains. However, by destroying the bison, they were also destroying the main source of food and clothing for Plains Native Americans. The bison were brought to the brink of extinction in only a few years.

  • Top 5 Ways Obama's 'All of the Above' Politics led to Sanders & Trump
    • While Professor Cole is accurate in everything he writes here, there needs to be some caveats. In defense of Obama on #2 above, early on in his administration he got the auto companies to agree to changes in CAFE standards. Major changes, in fact, something that hadn't been done in about 20 years. That was the most significant environmental move of any president for a long time. His latest proposal on power plants and his pushing of alternate energy are also the most done by any president in those areas. His support of Arctic drilling is a black mark for sure. I suspect his basic silence on fracking is probably the price he felt he needed to pay for re-election. What we need to recognize about Obama is that he is an incrementalist who is still tied to parts of the establishment. If you compare any president to some idealized construct, they are going to be considered a failure. FDR approved internment of Japanese Americans. He didn't really care about the Wagner Act, just told the sponsors he would sign it, but didn't really push it. It was Eleanor who pushed for better treatment of African Americans, not so much FDR. His first Budget Director was a conservative deficit hawk and FDR at first supported him. There are a number of other weaknesses of FDR from a progressive standpoint and he was probably the most liberal president in history. Politics is the art of the possible and we need to remember that the GOP set out from the day he was inaugerated to oppose every thing Obama did. The Senate was filibuster proof for less than 6 months and there were over 400 bills passed by the House that never got a hearing in the Senate for that reason.

  • Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?
    • There is nothing more Byzantine than Middle East politics. You really need a program and a scorecard to keep track of all the shifting alliances.

    • While there are Sunni-Shia cleavages, in addition there are national power rivalries intertwining with this. Iran supported both Hezbollah and Hamas because of their opposition to Israel, but then the Syrian civil war muddied the waters, especially when Hezbollah and Hamas fighters went to opposite sides. On top of that you have both Saudi Arabia and Iran seeking to be the dominant power in the Gulf. It's a wonderful mess and politics like nowhaere else.

  • Top Six Signs ISIL/ Daesh is Doomed
    • Everything Professor Cole writes is immaterial, as is most of the comments here. Looking at this from a political science perspective, ISIS may not be doomed to failure, but its success is highly unlikely. Their success to date has not been a result of their strength, but of the abject failure and utter weakness of the regimes it has fought. Meanwhile, ISIS has been doing a great job of alienating much of the population it does control. To be successful, a regime must be seen as legitimate and effective. I don't think ISIS has been, nor likely to be seen in those ways. I was opposed to Obama's extension of the war against ISIS into Syria because I believe that Syria is such a can of worms we should stay out. The best bet is to contain ISIS and support the nation states in the area until ISIS collapses. Militarily, an armor regiment of US forces would probably be enough to defeat ISIS in open combat, but it is best that we not send combat troops. Thus, once local forces are properly equipped and, most importantly, well led, they can take care of the military threat ISIS poses.

  • Iran's Khamenei Praises Nuclear Deal, but slams US Foreign Policy
    • People tend to overlook the fact that often times a nation's leader has to speak to different audiences. If you go back and look at the pronouncements by Communist China in the late 60's and early 70';s, right up to the time of the normalization of relations with the US, Chinese rhetoric was much more threatening and harsh than Iranian rhetoric. I remember reading an eye opening book in the mid or late 60's comparing Soviet and Chinese foreign policy. The author pointed out that while Chinese rhetoric was much more bellicose, their actions were really more cautious than Soviet actions. Similarly, we need to look at actual Iranian actions more than listen to their rhetoric. The last time Iran attacked another country? You might have to go back to Xerxes; certainly more than 100 years.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
    • Here are some other pertinent issues. Why does even MSNBC mostly interview politicians or other journalists on this issue? They bring in Colonel Wilkerson who is a sensible voice, but even he is a Republican. How about someone like Professor Cole or Professor Bacevich? Why don't they talk to real foreign policy experts? As far as our allies and the deal, here's something that has gotton very little notice. The sanctions aren't effective without Russia and China and there is no deal without effective sanctions. So, it is really the position of Russia and China which drove this to fruition. Here's the important question. Why was Putin willing to cooperate on an Iran deal, which helps the US, but does not do that much for them, since they could trade with Iran and ignore the sanctions? I think upon reflection people should be amazed that we got Russia to go along at the same time that we are imposing sanctions on them over Ukraine. I cannot think of a similar situation in history. This is diplomacy of the highest order by Obama and his team. My guess is that we are holding back vis-a-vis the Ukraine in exchange for Russian cooperation on Iran. There has to be some quid pro quo and I think it is a smart choice by Obama to make such a trade-off.

  • Why does the Iraqi Army Keep Running Away from ISIL?
    • What makes you say that? Since the US saved them from Saddam they have been close allies of the US and they have opened up Kurdistan to private development.

    • They will fight fiercely to protect Kurdistan. They have no reason to fight for the Shiite government in Baghdad.

    • We've had success in training the militaries in Central and South America. Unfortunately, that training has most often led to the slaughter of ethnic minorities and civilians in the name of fighting terrorists and/or giving impetus to top officers to overthrow civilian governments in coups. They get all this US training and they think it qualifies them to run a country. They very rarely are.

    • If one thing should be obvious since WWII, it is that even major powers are very limited in how they can control and/or change events in other countries. For every successful outcome, there are probably ten unsuccessful ones. One's attitude, wishes, or hopes cannot change that.

    • For a government to be successful, especially in a developing country, the government must be seen by the populace to be legitimate and effective. It is obvious that in Iraq large parts of the population don't see the government as being either one of those things. Most governments are overthrown not because the opposition is strong, but because the existing government is so weak and not popular.

    • Guerrilla forces cannot beat tanks. Traditional guerrilla forces are best used in areas with a lot of cover where only small arms can be employed. The only downside of a tank in an urban environment is if the streets are too narrow for the tanks to maneuver in. Also, guerrilla warfare is usually fought by small groups using ambushes. What ISIS is doing is not traditional guerrilla warfare. War In The Shadows by Robert Asprey is a two volume history of guerrilla warfare and it provides what are the necessary conditions for successful guerrilla warfare and what you need to defeat it.

  • The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders
    • Gee, Bernie Sanders is not a perfect progressive. And who is? In following 50 years of politics, I have found only one person I totally agree with--myself and I have changed positions on issues over the years. Yes, Bernie is not very good vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine, but what national candidate is better? Which national candidate is better overall in foreign policy? My only concern about Bernie Sanders is that he could not win either the nomination and if he did, he couldn't win the election. Pol;itics is the art of the possible and the most important thing is that the Republicans don't win, or we will see another disaster domestically and/or in foreign policy within a few years after they take power.

  • US admits it has no Idea who it is Assassinating by Drone
    • Something I thought about and want to add is that mistakes in warfare are all too common. So-called friendly fire can be destructive. The Gulf War had a large number of incidents for the length of the conflict. 24% of the combat deaths in the Gulf War were due to "friendly fire." This is about the same percentage as civilian to militant deaths due to drone strikes. Also, almost as many coalition soldiers were killed by friendly fire and accidents combined as were killed by the Iraqis (190 compared to 189).

    • As someone who has read quite a bit of military history, I would like to present a contrarian and probably unpopular view. Since the mass warfare of WWI and later, civilian deaths, have often numbered even greater than combatant deaths. With the rise of air power, it rose exponentially. How many civilians were killed in the liberation of France? I don't know that we will ever know and it wasn't really that much of a concern. It certainly wasn't a concern about the number of German or Japanese civilians killed by the allies and even now it is given short shrift. Even during Vietnam I don't remember there being as much focus on civilian deaths as is the case now and the death toll then was pretty astounding. This is not to say we shouldn't be concerned about the issue and it is good that it does get more attention. But it needs to be put in perspective. Drone strikes are probably the best way at this time to minimize civilian casualties. Certainly in the areas they are used, the only real alternative that is better is to do nothing at all. Regular air strikes and ground troops are certainly more destructive. Remember the Pakistani Army attacks in the Northwest areas a few years back? I don't recall the numbers, but I'm sure it was magnitudes more deadly and destructive in both lives and property. As to the legality, that requires a longer monograph. While I think targeting US citizens is clearly illegal, attacks carried out against foreigners in the territory of another state, with the approval of that state, is likely legal. Despite the official fiction of denials, we all know that the drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen have been carried out with the approval of those governments (Yemen, now, of course, is another story).

  • Turning Point: 2015, the Year the World turned to Renewables and saved itself
    • One thing not mentioned in the article relative to developing countries is that use of fossil fuels requires a well developed infrastructure. You have to build a power plant and then power lines to the customers. You also have to deliver the fuel to the power plants. With solar power, all you need to do is to distribute solar panels and other system requirements and avoid all that other cost and time required to put in the infrastructure needed with fossil fuels. It's the ideal situation for villages in underdeveloped countries.

  • Netanyahu slips, Reveals reason for Opposition to Iran Deal
    • A lot of good points here to which I would like to add a few things. Perhaps one reason why Zarif isn't interviewed is that he would be an excellent spokesman in destroying the Israeli propaganda. Interestingly, Zarif went to San Francisco State for his B.A. and got a Phd. at University of Denver. Since they have an excellent school of international relations (Maedeline Albright's father taught there), I assume Zarif has his Phd. in that subject.
      Secondly, re progressive policies, Iran has certainly delivered more to its populace than has Egypt under its dictators, yet Israel had no problem entering into an agreement with Egypt, even after 3 conflicts between the two. Nor has Egypt's regressive dictatorship stopped the US from giving them billions in aid every year and maintaining a close friendship.
      Regarding Hezbollah, that organization exists solely because of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Iran had nothing to do with its creation and it did not exist until Israel had laid waste to Lebanon. Israel created the terrorism against itself through barbaric policies.
      Netanyahu is like an American neocon. He craves political power above all else, favors a permanent war economy and foreign policy and thinks nothing of impoverishing millions. He will lie in order to spread fear to gain support.

  • Do GOP Frontrunners have an Iran policy besides Sanctions and Bombs?
    • The American media seem to think that journalism consists of providing two sides to a story. If one side is made up of lies, well, see rule # 1--provide both sides of an argument and you have done your job.

    • China and Russia by themselves are enough to seriously undermine the sanctions. Since Russia is already under sanctions from the US and Europe, I'm sure they would love to have a vigorous trade with Iran and anyone else they can. Also, it has been reported that many of th3e advances for the Iranian nuclear program came via the Khan network. With the failure of negotiations, help from russia, China, and the Khan network, Iran could probably have a bomb within 6 to 12 months if they decided to go full speed ahead. So sanctions as a way to prevent development of a bomb just won't work. If they achieve a bomb anyway, then a lot of countries will probably figure that continuation of sanctions is meaningless.

  • Obama to Train 75,000 Solar Workers in 5 Yrs, Including Veterans
    • I have always suspected that Obama had a grand strategy and it is becoming more and more apparent. By committing to green energy you not only create jobs and help on climate change, you reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Once that is done, then we can begin an orderly withdrawal from the Middle East. Without oil, the Middle East has no strategic value to the US. If we are independent of their oil, then the area is not important to us. Withdrawal of US interest and influence would then reduce the threat of terrorism.

  • The von Moltke Fallacy and avoiding another World War, with Iran
    • I want to address a common misperception about diplomacy and agreements. The right wing has been pushing this myth that we can't do deals with nations we don't trust. This is nonsense. Could we trust China when Nixon established relations? After all, China had killed tens of thousands of Americans in the Korean War and had threatened the US repeatedly during the Vietnam War while being the main supplier of North Vietnam during the conflict? Could Israel trust Egypt and Sadat and vice versa after both countries had engaged in unprovoked wars against one another over the span of a half dozen years? And who knows what a nation's intentions are since they can change from one leader to another? The key to any successful agreement is arriving at an agreement that is in the national interest of the parties to the agreement. If it is their national interest, then trust is not an issue. Not only does Iran want the sanctions lifted, but it should be clear now that they want to join the community of nations. Terrorism can only get you so far and is a sign or weakness. I think their leadership has realized that a thriving economy, peace and patience are the best way to proceed. If Iran develops economically, their resources, population, and location will make them a regional power if they are patient.
      Finally, I want to address the issue of North Korea which conservatives use to show we can't enter into a workable agreement with Iran. About 10 days ago the Washington Post ran a good fact check on this issue. In short, the agreement was entered into with the Clinton Administration in 1995. In 2001, when Bush took over, shortly thereafter they accused North Korea of violating the agreement by covertly continuing work on a bomb. they said this was based on US intelligence. Considering that the same US intelligence said that there were definitely WMD's in Iraq, I think we shouldn't accept this charge at face value. The Bush Administration followed up this charge by cutting off shipments of fuel oil to North Korea, an important part of the agreement. North Korea followed by rejecting the agreement and beginning to work on a bomb full speed, which was completed in 2006. So, it was actually the Bush Administration which took the first concrete step which violated the agreement with North Korea.

    • That was the role we wanted them to play when the Shah was in power. It won't happen any time soon, but with a future moderation of the Iranian regime, a muted friendship is not out of the question. Iran will likely become a regional power whether we like it or not, best to adjust to it and see that our interests are aligned as much as possible. Barbara Slavin's book, Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies does a good job of showing how our two nations have come close to a rapprochemont over the last several decades. Robert Fisk is one of the best M.E. correspondents out there and anyone interested should read his books.

    • Israel engaged in a pre-emptive war in 1967 and in a war of aggression in 1956 and also attacked both Syria and Iraq at separate times in a pre-emptive way. We should not be surprised if they do it again.

  • Netanyahu on Iran Deal: threatens ‘survival of Israel’, ‘horrific war’
    • Today I was listening to a report from NBC correspondent Ann Curry and I thought I heard her say that after 9/11 Iran had offered to reduce its centrifuges to 100, but the Bush Administration wasn't interested. It is pretty well known that Iran made a number of feelers during the year after 9/11 toward normalizing relations but were ultimately rebuffed because of hardliners in the Administration. Coincidentally, one of the main Iranians involved in this effort was Zarif, who was the chief negotiator for Iran during these recent talks. Curry's reference was the first I heard about Iran offering to make adjustments to their nuclear program during the early 2000's. I spent about 30 to 45 minutes on Google, trying various search terms, but was unable to find anything about this. Does anyone know if what Curry said can be verified?

  • War with Iran, by the Numbers
    • Not only do the insane idiots pushing for war ignore costs that Professor Cole enumerates, they all assume that Iran will sit back and do nothing but wait for an invasion. Iran could easily mine the Straits of Hormuz, attack shipping, bomb Saudi oil fields and plunge the west into a deep depression. If they think terror attacks are bad now, how about if Iranian supporters like Hezbollah start widespread terror attacks? It will also inflame other terrorist groups. The unpleasant fact is that an Iranian bomb is actually not as bad as war with Iran would be. And only invasion and occupation would guarantee no bomb.

  • Obama goes to Congress on Syria as his International Support Collapses
    • A great analysis by Professor Cole,since it agrees with my thinking. I think it will be a close vote which will be determined if AIPAC takes a position on it. If they support, it will pass, if they oppose, it will fail. Neutral and it could go either way.

      I have read a lot of criticisms on Obama's policy on Syria,but the fact is that any number of criticisms can be leveled at any policy decisions made regarding this issue. Like most issues in the Middle East, there are no good choices, only bad, wrose, worse still, and worst of all and it isn't always easy to sort out which is which.So much of the criticism is over blown, IMO. It's clear to me what is intended--make it more painful to the regime in losses than anything gained by using poison gas. That's all that is intended, and that is all we can hope to do.

    • There are also serious questions as to whether the President is legally constrained by that resolution. Even when they have followed it, prior presidents have stated that they weren't required under the Constitution to follow it and I personally believe they are correct.

  • Top Ten Republican Myths on Benghazi that Justify Hillary Clinton's Anger
    • Thanks to Professor Cole for bringing up the CIA mission. This has been totally ignored by the press and I can't help but wonder if this didn't have a lot to do with what happened. For so many agents to have been there so close, many of them obviously ex-military, it indicates that a relatively major operation was in the works, probably with the approval of the Libyan government, such as it is.

      The criticism of the Republicans about the original reports is just politicking, plain and simple. It was years before it came out what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin and those at the scene didn't really know what they were firing on.

      What's is unusual about this attack is not that it happened. It's that it doesn't happen more often. Especially the mortar attack that is practically impossible to stop.

    • To imply that somehow we could control the Arab Spring shows a vast misunderstanding of how the world works. Syrian rebels have complained that the US has not supplied them and news reports indicate that their arms are coming mostly from the military bases they have overrun. What gang of 8? Most of what you write is pure speculation on your part.

  • Obama's Inaugural and the Danger of an Iran War
    • Sounds like you have read David Bergamini's book. Unfortunately, a lot of important archival material was destroyed by Japanese authorities before the US occupation. If you haven't read it, I suggest Blix's Hirohito biography.

    • Despite the caveats from Professor Cole, this is the most hopeful development in at least the last 12 years in US foreign policy. His remarks regarding Iran were especially heartening.

  • How Torture Misled the US into an Illegal War: What Zero Dark Thirty Really Leaves Out
    • Having a background in international relations and having been in military intelligence for a while, I knew almost immediately that the Bush campaign to invade Iraq was a load of crap. After his Cincinatti speech in October, 2002 when he first made the case for war, I told someone the next day that I had never heard a president give a speech so out of touch with reality. If anything, Professor Cole understates the stupidity, mendacity, and venality of the Bush administration and the ineffectiveness and immorality of torture. Space and time limits all I could say about this, but history is replete with the futility and inhumanity of torture. It is a crime under US law, a war crime, and a crime against humanity. Anything which does not condemn it, IMHO, loses all credibility and is worthless as a piece of opinion or argument.

  • UN Security Council Condemns Further Israeli Squatting on Palestinian Land, with Rogue State US Vetoing
    • To addition to the other comments, the Palestinians who left their homes were forced militarily or threatened by Iraeli authorities; they did not go of their own accord. This was confirmed by UN observers on the ground and a subsequent UN report. See Ch. VI of TYhe Arab Israeli Dilemma by Khouri,. Robert Fisk's The Thousand Year War (I think that's the titl;e since I can'[t find the book right now) among many sources. Read objective history instead of Israeli propaganda some times, you'll be better off for it.

    • Begin was the leader of the Stern gang that blew up a Jerusalem hotel and killed scores, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history up to that time. Plus Sharon was at least partially responsible for the massacres in the refugee camps of Chitala and Sabra. Many top Israeli leaders have had a lot of innocent blood on their hands.

  • Why our Hair is not on Fire about Cutting Emissions, and what to do about it (Giesen)
    • And reasons why things are worse than most people realize: synergism, feedback loops, and unintended consequences. Example of synergism--rising temperatures release methane from permafrost and methane is even a worse greenhouse gas than CO2 (20 times worse), increasing warming even more. Feedback loops--as more ice melts, less albedo effect speeding up warming, melting more ice, and so on. Unintended consequences--Climate change will most likely change deep sea currents affecting such things as the gulf stream, possibly bringing cooler, more unstable weather to places like the British Isles. These are just a few things we can consider likely, there may be other things even worse we can't even yet suspect.

  • How America is Filling up itself and the World With Guns
    • About 30 years ago I read a book about conventional arms sales and the US was #1 back then, but the USSR wasn't too far behind. With the demise of the USSR, we now have the field pretty much to ourselves. Selling weapons has become one of the major exports of the US, just as making weapons and other materials of war have become a major part of our domestic economy. What a sad commentary that making and selling arms is important to our economic growth.

  • Avoiding the Nightmarish "Four Degree World" of 2060: We must Act Now (Giesen)
    • I share the pessimism of many here. I think that it is likely that we will see a vast diminution of world population--i.e., billions of people dying. It could actually be much worse than that if and when vast quantities of methane are released into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost. We have already seen that deleterious effects have increased even faster than originally predicted. Meanwhile, the politicians fiddle while the poles thaw. On the plus side, the fabled Northwest Passage will become a permanent reality.

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