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Total number of comments: 258 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:47)

Spyguy68

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  • Extremist Lieberman: Unified Palestinian-Israeli Party a threat to Israel as 'Jewish State'
    • The harsh reality is, if Israelis really want an all Jewish state, they are going to have to give up lots of land, water and cash to make it happen. Israel can not try to displace any more non-Jewish without either causing a massive war they will lose (and lose everything in the process) or become a large minority in a secular state.

      The situation in the area west of the Jordan river is actually fairly simple:

      - the land area is bounded - that is, it can not get any larger because Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt will not let it expand. While Israel might have been able to win militarily in the past, it can not longer do that. The countries around Israel are just as well equipped and have as many capable military leaders as Israel. Israel has no magic weapons (nukes don't count, because if Israel used their nukes, they would be committing suicide).

      - With a situation where two distinct groups want the same bounded land, there are ONLY THREE long term solutions.

      - DIVIDE the land such that both groups are only moderately unhappy. For this to happen today, Israel would need to have a civil war to forcibly remove over 500,000 Israelis from land that would need to go to the Arabs. Given the current leadership in Israel, this is almost impossible.

      - SHARE the land such that every human in the bounded space is equal. This is very doable, BUT . . . it would mean that there would be no "Jewish State." The state would be secular with no religious basis. All the religions would need to be relegated to non-political status.

      - Ethnic cleansing where one group drives the other group out of the bounded space. This is what the Israeli have been trying for almost 100 years, but they have now reached a brick wall. They can not longer quietly get away with it and any further attempts to ethically cleanse the area will simply lead to massive war, which the Israelis cannot win.

      The bottom line is the Israeli have simply hit the end of their ability to use force to achieve their goal because the Palestinians have nothing left to lose.

      The Israelis are in a terrible box of their own making and there are no easy nor pleasant solution to their self-created problem. BUT .... if they don't find an acceptable way to resolve it fairly quickly, the world is going to impose a solution on Israel that they will definitely will not like and the US will NOT be able to protect Israel.

      I get so frustrated with the blind arrogant hubris of Israelis. They appear to believe their own myths so strongly that they are totally blind to the real world and the lessons of history (including their own religious documents that REPEATEDLY warn about the sin of pride).

  • Obama, blindsided by Boehner, Snubs Netanyahu
    • The people of Israel are not going to like how this plays out over time. Bibi is vastly miss-reading the US population. Already less conservative republicans are coming to realize that the extremely conservative stuff they tried in the past will no longer work because they now have to actually deliver good government rather than rhetoric. The general population of the US is NOT as conservative as congress and as the Boomers die off and the population centers assert their control, the population will move to the left. All of the sub-groups that republicans rely on for power, including the racists, are declining.

      - The populations in the rural Midwest and south are decreasing due to lack of economic opportunity (it takes very few humans to make all the food the US needs).

      - the religious conservatives are decreasing because all religions are decreasing rapidly.

      - the boomers are dying off to be replaced by generally liberal younger generations.

      - The ratio of white voters to the entire population is decreasing.

      Then there is the reality that Americans are very anti-war right now and no matter how much Bibi tries to whip up more anti-Muslim racism, it will not over-ride the majority that do not want war.

      In the long term, this stunt will probably sour a lot of Americans on Israel and will lead to further problems and isolation for Israel.

      Bibi does NOT appear to understand (nor do many Israelis) that Congress has very little power when it comes to international issues. The congress critters can huff, puff and grandstand, but can actually do very little other than declare war and vote yes or no on treaties or ambassadors. And even when they reject treaties or ambassadors, the administration can continue to function, albeit at a lower level of functionality because of the many powers they have under the Constitution.

      It is unfortunate that no one in Israel appears to understand just how much Bibi is endangering the future of Israel - The HARSH REALITY that no one seems to understand is eventually the US is going to throw Israel under the bus and stunts like this just hasten that day. Over the last 230+ years, the US has thrown EVERY partner it has ever had under the bus when it was in the best interest of the American public and Israel will not be the exception. Bibi is betting Israel's future on a non-existent "love of Israel" in the US.

  • Poll: Americans support Obama on Negotiating with Iran
    • What Obama fails to mention is any interference by congress critters will cause most of the existing sanctions to disappear and the further sanctions the congress critters try to put in place will be ignored.

      Congress has ONLY three non-military weapons in their quiver:

      - Direct economic sanctions on Iran by the US - All the possible sanctions were put in place in 1979 and have proven to be ineffectual because of the ancient professions of smuggling and money laundering. There are no more direct sanctions the congress critters can put in place.

      - Third-party sanctions where the US tries to punish other countries for trading with Iran. These have somewhat worked over the last few years but are being ignored more and more every day because there is a huge profit to be made by trading with Iran. so as the existing sanctions disappear, any further third party sanctions will be ignored from the start and any attempts by congress critter to punish other countries will just boomerang on US companies. Many nations are looking for an excuse to cripple US companies so their local companies can thrive and further sanctions will simply give those countries a handy excuse. Very quickly Google, MS, IBM, HP and a whole bunch of US companies will be ready to strangle the congress critters.

      - Manipulate the global banking system and the US dollar. While this can make trade with Iran painful, it also highlights to the world, why the US dollar should not be the reserve currency and why the US should not be able to manipulate the banking network. China wants to get rid of the dollar reserve and create another global banking network that the US can not control and stunts like these just give China more leverage with the rest of the world to dump the US dollar.

      So the bottom line is the congress critters can not do anything real, but can give Iran and the rest of the world to ignore the US and increase trade with Iran.

      The "all powerful" US Congress is actually pretty impotent.

  • Netanyahu Imported by GOP to ensure Iran War
    • @Jack

      - Bibi definitely wants the US to go to war with Iran because his military has already told him it would be an unmitigated disaster for Israel to go to war with Iran. Any Israeli war on Iran would just get lots of Israeli killed and destroy the Israeli economy. Since Bibi wants to be "king" forever, he has to get someone else to pick a fight with Iran, so he can cheer-lead but not damage the Israeli economy too much.

      - Neocons do indeed fault Rummy for not having enough boots on the ground, but Rummy was constrained by the fact that he did not have any more boots to send. To get more boots on the ground, Rummy would have had to have congress restart conscription which would have stopped the war dead in its tracks.

      - Actually "modern" wars have the same constraints all wars have. (1) There is a limited amount of cannon fodder and when one side runs out, they lose. This is a big problem for the USA especially as the economy improves. Without conscription, the amount of cannon fodder is very low. (2) the amount of "stuff" that can be destroyed in the process is limited. Sure the US war production machine can produce a lot, but because of the way the US makes war toys (complex and expensive) the production is slow and costly. Note that Iran is different in that they have gone for "good enough" low cost technology and can make lots of "good enough" stuff for what it costs for one US aircraft. (3) wars cost money and all waring states eventually run out of money, even the USA. Whether the congress critters put the war "on the books" or hide the cost in fake bookkeeping, the actual cost of wars eventually sinks the state. Over the last last 10000 years more states have lost war because of lack of resources than for any other reason. Wars ALWAYS drain resources from a state causing the eventual collapse of the state.

      There can NOT be a perpetual war because the USA simply does not have the resources, especially with global political power and economic power shifting away form the USA. There is NOTHING the USA can do about the shift, but it can minimize the costs of the shift by spending its resources wisely (that is, internally rather than on war).

    • Although Mr. Cole can speak for himself, I thought you might like some help on correcting your basic (but huge) misunderstanding of history.

      - UN inspectors have total, complete and unrestrained access to EVERY nuclear facility in Iran. And just like the USA, Russia and China, Iran does restrict access to their NON-nuclear sites. There is NOTHING in anything Iran has signed that means they have to provide access to every place in Iran. Therefore you are FACTUALLY WRONG.

      - People draw lines all the time and then later change their minds. This is just part of being realistic about goal setting. Note that throughout history, people that "drew lines" and foolishly refused to re-think those lines when reality changed have proven to be losers. If you are saying that Obama should not have drawn lines, you would be correct, but to fault him for dealing with reality on a rational basis, you are FACTUALLY WRONG.

      - Whether Iran is in the "driver seat" remains to be negotiated, but keep in mind that Iran is just trying to protect their country from massive oppression by the USA. The USA is the historical "bad guy" here.

      - No one "controls" Yemen, not even the locals. While Iran may have some influence over some of the locals, it remains to be seen how the whole civil war plays out. What is highly probable is the US will have no influence in Yemen, which is what should happen Only people of Yemen and the surrounding countries should determine what structure the country takes.

      - As far as Iraq, can you please explain just how 10,000 (or even 50,000) US troops could have prevented Iraqi political leadership from being fools? and how the US troops could have prevented massive cowardliness of thousands of Iraq troops? and how US troops could actually do anything but try to keep themselves alive? Your rant about staying in Iraq is based on nothing but FICTION. As shown in Vietnam and many other wars the US has LOST, the US can not achieve what the locals can not (or will not) achieve. If the locals want to live under ISIL, there is absolutely NOTHING the US can do about that and trying just gets Americans killed for no good reason.

      You do NOT get to tell others how to live and they have every right to kill you for interfering.

      It is long past time for the US to shut up and sit down and let others sort out their lives however they want to.

      You may not like Iran, but you have no right to do anything but voice that opinion and then go away.

    • Bombing only works when your aircraft and cruise missiles can stay in the air and your carriers are still floating. Iran is currently making Chinese/Iranian engineered anti-aircraft systems (Bavar 373) that are equivalent to the newer Russian S-400/500 systems. These systems even find "stealth" aircraft. Not only that, but it is very probable that Iran has Chinese DF21D "carrier killers" that force US carriers to stay at least 800 miles from Iran forcing the aircraft to be refueled before they can even reach Iran, but well within the range of the Bavar 373/S-400. In addition to the Bavar 373, Iran has a second layer of medium range Raad anti-aircraft systems based on the Russian Buk (the system that shot down multiple aircraft over Ukraine). All in all, any pilots flying toward Iran have a very high probability of not making it home. BTW - Iran can build one heck of a lot of anti-aircraft missiles for the cost of ONE US Navy fighter, so they can easily afford to target two or three on each incoming aircraft, making it highly probable that none make it top their bomb run. BTW - all of the antiaircraft systems are portable and quickly set-up so the satellite photos will not be accurate. The bottom line is Iranian technology is just as good as US technology, but costs a whole lot less.

    • Per the US military own planning manual, for "hostile" areas they need to have one US soldier for every ten people they want to oppress over an extended period of time. For Iran that would men the US would need to have 7 MILLION US soldiers on the ground. There is the possibility that Iranians may be more subservient and the US could get by with ONLY 3.5 MILLION, but I suspect that Iranians don't do subservient very well. Note that all of the US military is less than 0.5 million, so there would need to be some sort of conscription.

    • Sorry, I did not mean to imply the missiles pointed at Israel are all in Iran. Per the IDF as reported in Jpost, Haaretz and Ynet, ther are a total of 100,000 missiles pointed at Israel from the areas surrounding Israel. I generally discount that number by 50% because it was published during budget negotiations.

    • Israel has no way to affect the Iranian civilian nuclear program (the CIA and Mossad have said there is no military program). Israel aircraft and missiles could do nothing more than make the Iranians angry.

      Even US B-52s dropping so-called "bunker busters" would do little damage to the Iranian civilian nuclear program. Note that only HEAVY bombers can lift the bunker busters - fighter bombers wouldn't even make it off the ground.

      THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "TACTICAL NUKES!"

      All nuclear bombs function in the same manner. they produce a thermonuclear explosion in the air above a target causing massive death and destruction from the blast, heat and radiation as well as sweeping tens of thousands of tons of radioactive dust particle into the upper atmosphere which will eventually rain down over the entire earth (INCLUDING the USA food production areas), contaminating every human on earth as well as all food production. There is a very good reason why ALL nations on earth stopped above ground nuclear blast testing - the global food contamination levels were increasing rapidly.

      Note also that current atmospheric modeling shows that nuking as few as FIVE medium to large cities could trigger nuclear winter where you will have the choice of whether to die of radiation poisoning, freezing to death or starvation because there would be no food production.

      Any person that advocates for any nuclear weapons is basically advocating for suicide.

    • Iran has over 25 MILLION military capable men and women who will kill every American that reaches their soil. The country would become one big kill zone for Americans. People that have to defend themselves against American invasions have learned a lot from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and the US military has run out of ways to avoid getting killed.

      It is important to note that Iran has been paranoid about a US invasion for over 35 years and has carefully prepared many deadly traps for the Americans.And since the US supplied Saddam with chemical weapons and no country would help Iran defend themselves against Saddam, Iranians have become super paranoid and redoubled their ability to defeat any invasion. Iran has completely re-thought the whole concept of war and found many ways to defeat the US (for a lot less than the US spends).

      The American public is NOT going to like this war or the results in the US (but it could ensure that no republican ever gets elected again).

    • Iran already has the capacity to make most of Israel a pile of rubble with just conventional HE (high explosives). Per the IDF, there are over 100,000 reasonably accurate HE missiles pointed at Israel right this minute. That is more than enough to end the Israeli economy. Note that Israeli anti-missile technology can only stop about 5% of that.

      Iran is playing a chess game where they will not be the first to strike, but will make life terrible for those that strike Iran. Not even the US veto in the UN will protect the US and Israel if either or both strike Iran - it will be the US and Israel against the other 7 billion people on earth.

      Any strike on Iran will NOT end well for the US and Israel - Iran is a lot stronger militarily than American and Israelis politicians give it credit for (on the other hand US and Israeli military leadership know just how dangerous Iran is and are working hard to rein in the politicians).

  • Obama to GOP: More Iran sanctions lead to War (& 7 other Foreign Policy points in SOTU)
    • Obama needs to be blunt with the American public and ask they point blank questions, like:

      - Do you want war with Iran which will gets lots of Americans and Iranians killed while wasting trillions of dollars?

      - Are you OK with Iran maybe winning?

      - Are you willing to see your sons and daughters die for Israel?

      Obama needs to make it very, very real for Americans what war with Iran will be like and force the GOP and Democratic war hawks to defend their position.

      That is, Obama needs to be much more aggressive with the war hawks (unfortunately, Obama has not shown any capacity to actually fight for what he believes - Oabma will flake out on this just like he has every other issue)

  • Is the NSA Responsible for N. Korea's Hack of Sony Pictures?
    • Any technology manager worth anything knows all too well to never use commercial encryption software because the probability that commercial encryption software has been compromised is close to 100%.

      The best encryption software to use is from the Open Source community where the source code is readily available and openly discussed. Any attempt to sneak in a "back door" is quickly discovered and eliminated.

      This is why all the governments on earth hate for non-governmental organizations to use open source encryption (but the governments themselves do use it to ensure their own secrets are kept secret). Once Google discovered that their private fibre links between data centers were being read by the NSA, they put very strict open source encryption in place to keep their data private.

      The best encryption software comes from outside the USA where people have a justifiable fear of their own governments - US companies trust the US government too much.

  • Israeli Squatters chop down 50 Olive Trees in Palestinian Village (800,000 since 1967)
    • Israelis are indeed "arrogant, entitled, abusive, selfish and controlling, and play the victim at every turn," as well as being delusionally paranoid, BUT . . .

      their days of getting away with all that are coming to an end due to global power shifts and simple demographics.

      - Power is shifting away from countries that are somewhat positive to neutral about Israel (currently the US and parts of Europe) to countries that are mildly to very anti-Israel. There is nothing Israel can do to change this fact and no amount of "charm offensive" will endear them to the newly powerful nations. For example, China only wants to strip-mine Israel for intellectual property and once they have turned Israel into an intellectual husk, they do not care what happens to Israel and if it can help them get resources from the Arabs, the Chinese will gladly help behind the scenes to make the lives of Israelis terrible (especially if there is a nice profit for the Chinese)..
      .
      - Supporters of Israel and the gullible that can be persuaded to believe Israel's myths, are rapidly dying off due to old age. The gullible include the Christian Zionist, whose churches are losing members at huge rates as their "true be;livers" die off and they can not get any of the under 40 crowd to listen. Multiple mega-churches in the US have already had to merge to survive.

      The bottom line is, although virtually no Israelis realize it, Israel's best days are behind it. As the US generation changes flow into the politics (it is happening, but mostly hidden by current events) and the US loses global power, there will come a day when the US not only will not protect Israel but will actively oppose Israel. And once Israel has lost the US, it will get that smirk knocked off their face.

      Israelis are NOT going to like their future and by the time they figure out 99% of the world is slightly;y to very negative toward Israel it will be too late to avoid the consequences of their behavior.

      I really wish Israelis would WAKE UP, but my experience with egotistical, arrogant bullies is they never wake up until they are brutally forced to.

  • Will the next Israeli Gov't be even more Far Right & Colonial?
    • From all appearances, most Israelis seem to be delusionally paranoid. That is, their world view is extremely distorted and full of irrational fear. If one looks at the range of Israeli media, there is no sane discussion about the real world and how Israel should interact with it.

      As a result, it is highly unlikely that any sane leadership is possible in Israel and Israel will continue on the path to their destruction

      The BASIC REALITY is:

      - Israel does not have a military advantage and can not continue to use force to get its way. The IDF can and will be humiliated and defeated if Israel keeps trying to use force. Remember that over the last 10000 years ALL armies have eventually suffered humiliating, total defeat - there is zero chance the IDF will be any different.

      - Basic game theory says Israel has ONLY three options going forward (1) DIVIDE the land and water fairly - Now TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to do without a massive civil war in Israel and the settlers have access to all the weapons the IDF has. (2) SHARE the land equally with every human a full citizen with full rights - This is what will most probably happen over the next few years - Israel will become a secular (non-religious) state with a slight Muslim majority - In other words, no longer Jewish. (3) A fight to the death between the Israelis and the Arabs - As I noted above the Arabs now have the ability to defeat the IDF and will do so if Israel tries to forcibly ethnically cleanse the area west of the Jordan River. Israel can no longer win a major war and once the population sees the IDF losing, over half the Israeli population will simply invoke their secondary citizenship and leave Israel. So if Israel wants to survive, it really has ONLY one long term option - SHARE.

      - Global demographics are against Israel - Most of the world population is under 40 and for them, Israel has been a major pain in the *ss their entire life. They have no emotional tie to Israel and often consider Israel to be a major global problem. This is just going to get much worse for Israel as the boomer population in the US and Europe dies off (currently at a rate of 2000+/day). Outside the US and EU, even the boomer population has neutral to negative feeling toward Israel. So, over the next 10 years as the generations change in the US and Europe, Israel is going to lose most of the support it currently has. Israelis will view this as the world becoming antisemitic when the reality is the guilt over the Holocaust will simply be disappearing and Israel will start to be treated like any other pain in the *ss country.

      - Global power is shifting back to China (For all but 200 years of the last 5000 years, China was a major regional power). As power shifts from the US to China, even if some Americans still support Israel, the US will not have the ability to help very much (and as I noted above, fewer and fewer Americans will even care to waste the power they have, to help Israel). Of course there is a lot of magical thinking in Israel that China will welcome Israel with open arms, which is completely void of any reality. Yes, China will be "friendly" to Israel for a while, but that is only so China can more easily strip-mine Israel for intellectual property. once Israel is a dry husk, China will simple throw it away. Israel has nothing that China can not easily duplicate and improve.. Best estimates are China graduates between 300000 and 500000 engineers per year. that is, every ten years, China graduates more engineers than Israel has in total population. And these engineers are no less intelligent than Israeli engineers.

      So the basic bottom line is unless Israel drastically changes its behavior, it very probably has a very bad future, BUT currently there does not appear to be anyone in Israel that understands this.

      As a result, Israel will continue on the path it is on, getting more and more paranoid and violent, until it finally loses everything.

      Of course, If israelis ever did understand how bad their behavior is and negotiated in good faith, after giving up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for their behavior for the last 100 years, they would find that working with the other nations of the ME, they could create a very nice iconic block that would be a viable trading partner with the rest of the world.

      I am not holding my breath.

  • UN General Assembly Demands Israel Mothball its Nuclear Arsenal
    • In the real world, Israel's nukes are worthless for anything but committing suicide.

      Who is Israel going to nuke that would not cause Israel to (1) contaminate its own people, water and food sources, (2) have an economic meltdown in Israel when brutal sanctions were applied, or (3) cause it to be nuked in return?

      If Israel nukes one of the close countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, West bank or the Egyptian Sinai) , the very nature of nuclear air bursts means they will contaminate and probably kill some of their own population.

      If Israel nukes further out, they will either be hitting a country with nuclear bomb capability (UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and possibly several others including Saudi Arabia) or will be contaminating a country with nuclear bomb capability (see above plus the USA).

      Yes, any nuclear weapon exploded in the ME or Europe will contaminate US food production within a week - you are going to really like that radioactive food.

      Then, there is the "slight" problem that current atmospheric models have shown that nuclear air bursts over as few as FIVE cities could easily trigger Nuclear Winter where most humans would have the "fun" choice of dying of radiation poisoning, freezing the death or starving to death.

      Israel can not ever use any of its nukes for the same reason the US, Russia and China can not use any of their nukes - it would be suicidal, and I do not believe that most Israelis are suicidal. no matter their past history (Masada).

      A note about Saudi Arabia - It has been verified that Saudi Arabia has purchased multiple Chinese DF-21 solid fuel (quick launch) medium range missiles with an accuracy of 30 meters. Supposedly the missiles are equipped with conventional HE warheads, BUT . . . it is possible to remove the conventional warheads and replace them with nuclear warheads (China does this). Then there are the un-verified (but very credible) reports that Saudi Arabia has paid AQ Khan of Pakistan to design and build nuclear warheads for the DF-21. Some of the reports indicate that at least one of the warheads is complete, but no one seems to know WHERE it is. It could very easily have been transported to Saudi Arabia without media knowledge. For these reason, I count Saudi Arabia as a nuclear nation. I find it ironic that Saudi Arabia simply used its wealth to BUY its way to being a nuclear nation whereas Iran still isn't because they used their wealth to try to build the infrastructure internally.

      But the bottom line is no one (not even Israel) can actually use nukes without committing suicide. Nukes are the ultimate non-playable bluff.

  • Iran-Iraq War 2.0? Iran Flies bombing Raids on Extremists in Iraq
    • FYI - From my technology perspective, I think the Iranians have the better war toys strategy because reliable, decently capable war toys technology is so cheap these days.

      I think the US and Israel are fools to spend a single more dime on the F-35, when the money being spent could be used to upgrade the avionics on existing aircraft much more efficiently.

      I think that a few years down the road, both countries will deeply regret the huge pile of money they wasted on the F-35.

      I do not want Israel to attack anyone nor for it to be attacked, but I can see where they are short changing their future by continuing with the F-35. As Iran has shown, the money would be better spent on anti-aircraft type systems and better defensive weapons.

      BUT . . . in these days of very inexpensive, reasonably accurate missiles, anti-missile systems are a waste of time and money. For every anti-missile that Israel can build, hundreds to thousands of attack missiles can be built. simple economics says that Israel can not win.

      As I have pointed out before, pretty much every nation on earth with the money and the will is equal to every other nation in terms of war toys and cannon fodder. It is no longer possible for wars to determine the outcome. That is, every situation MUST end in negotiation, not "victory."

    • Iraq has two major problems in its fight with ISIL:

      - lack of motivation by the Iraqi troops (although the threat to their families might change that).

      - Very poor military and political leadership (the same problem the US found in Vietnam and why North Vietnam eventually won after the US pulled out with its tail between its legs - invaders can't simply put good leadership in place, since good leadership will typically hate the invaders).

      Iran brings a much better military leadership to the situation and has a better ability than the US to improve the political leadership.

      The reality is Iraqi troops do ** NOT ** need anymore training but need much better leadership.

      Note that US military troops only get about 10 to 16 weeks of training (3 to 4 months) before being assigned to a combat group. Virtually all Iraqi troops have had much longer training periods and ISIL troops get much, much less training. With modern personal weapons (AK-47 or equivalent), not much basic training is needed. What the US teaches its troops is how to avoid ending up dead too quickly, whereas groups like ISIL just send the new cannon fodder right into battle where the quick learners survive and live to kill another day and the not so quick, end up dead to be replaced by more cannon fodder..

      This experience will help the Iranian military further improve their leadership, improve their ground forces and their air forces. Since Iran is NOT looking to control Iraq as an invader, it should also help improve the Iraqi military and leadership.

      Unfortunately for Bibi, this experience will make the Iranian military even better at defeating the IDF when Israel attacks. I wonder how long before the Israelis figure out Iran is NOT a nation they want to tangle with and learn to keep their mouths shut?

    • The F-4 was originally designed for carrier operations. As such, it is a darn rugged aircraft with a very reliable power-plant. Enough were made and sold world-wide there is still an OK parts supply. Since Iran has a good technical sector, it is not at all surprising that Iran has several hundred still in operation. Note that Iran has over 500 older, but reliable combat aircraft and three air tankers for inflight refueling. More than enough to attack ISIL.

      Note, for defense against US and/or Israeli attack, Iran plans to use its extensive and deadly multi-layer anti-aircraft network, not their older aircraft. Iran has long range S-400 equivalent anti-aircraft missiles, medium range hypersonic anti-aircraft missiles that are a hybrid of the best features of Russian, Chinese and Iranian design and short range MANPAD type missiles. Iran believes in the swarm technique of defense. That is, overload the defense features of the attackers and go for multiple possible kills. Iran has chosen to have lots of inexpensive, reliable and deadly missiles instead of using super high-tech stuff (which often fails in spectacular ways).

      "Fun fact" - during the Vietnam war, the USAF would try to recover all the F-4s that got shot down or damaged in any way and ship the pieces to Hill AFB in Utah. Every few months the technical crews at Hill would collect the pieces they needed to re-build an aircraft. After mixing and matching pieces, they would have a refurbished aircraft which would be test flown over the Utah desert then returned to the fleet with a new ID number (so the pilots would not know it was made from bits and pieces instead of the normal assembly line). The recycling helped keep the number of active aircraft in the range the war needed. The crew at Hill did a very good job and I do not know of any refurbished aircraft that had any structural failures (some did get shot down)..

  • Far-Right Israeli FM Lieberman: Offer Israeli Arabs Money to Move to [Non-Existent] Palestinian State
    • I find it ironic that Israel can not afford to sustain their military nor provide basic social services to non-settlers, yet somehow, it is going to come up with the money to convince Arabs to give up their homeland and move someplace they are not wanted. I can see the big IOU that Israel will try to give to the US to finance this little venture and also how few people will accept the "offer" (actually threat).

      My guess is Israelis are going to try every delusional fantasy they can come up with and fail miserably every time, before they finally hit the last brick wall and realize they can't have all the land and water and have to treat their neighbors better than they treat Jews.

      Unfortunately if they wait too long to try to get along with their neighbors, the Arabs will simply forcibly take back their land and water, driving all the Jews out of the mid east for another several thousand years.

      And before anyone pops up and says how the IDF can never be defeated, I would like to ask a simple question . . . over the last 10000 years how many armies have avoided complete, humiliating defeat? Hint: the number is zero. The IDF can and will be defeated if Israel does not figure out a way to get along with their neighbors.

  • Oil Price Fall: Saudi Arabia targets US Shale Oil, Iran, Iraq, Russia
    • Given the wealth of Saudi Arabia, they could easily have all internal energy usage to be non-petroleum well before 2030, BUT . . .

      Saudi Arabia has MAJOR social problems that will hold it back:

      - almost 60% of their human resources are not usable due to extreme religion. That is, almost none of the women nor the Shi'a men can have positions of leadership and contribution, thus wasting a huge part of their basic resources.

      - Many of the Sunni men have chosen to not actually participate in the economy, leaving most of the work to "hired hands." As a result, Saudi Arabia has not built a very big pool of capable, entrepreneurial leaders.

      If Saudi Arabia actually wanted to, it could easily build very large solar energy harvesting systems and use the energy to convert sea water into hydrogen which could be exported for use as portable energy. Or they could additionally invest in harvesting CO2 from the air and combining it with hydrogen and making artificial hydrocarbons. So far they are not doing anything major.

  • Iran: US War Hawks go on Offensive after Nuclear Energy Talk Deadlines are Postponed
    • There are several "slight" problems with a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran . .

      - Iran is a modern state with modern weapons, so the US will suffer major damage from any attack. It is very, very important to understand that Iran has been paranoid about a US invasion since 1979 and even more so after the US gave Saddam chemical WMDs during the Iraq war on Iran. As a result of that paranoia, Iran has carefully studied the US military weapons and tactics and set out to defeat the US at its own game. Iran has many layers of defense which will severely damage US attackers. An attack on Iran will cost the US a lot.

      - Iranians are substantially united in their support of the nuclear program and their resistance to US attacks. Unlike Iraq, which the British made up by lumping together three very diverse groups, Iran has been a mostly coherent nation state for thousands of years.

      The bottom line is attacking Iraq could very well completely end the USA empire, driving the US out of the ME and possibly most other parts of the globe as Americans recoil from the human and economic costs.

      As for Israel trying to grow their empire, that will unite the Sunni, Shi'a, Kurds, Persians and the rest of the ME like nothing else in the world.

      What Israel seems to be unable to understand is that every person on earth has access to the same personal weapons (AK-47 and equivalent) and the world is awash in "war toys" (missiles, etc.) equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. It is NOT 1967 any more and the war technology and information is vastly different these days. As such, Israel no longer has any conventional military advantage and if it uses WMDs, they will simply be committing suicide because the world will severely punish Israel for any use of WMD. Although Israelis like to think of themselves as powerful mega warriors, in reality Israel is a very small, almost powerless nation that can not survive if a majority of the world decides to punish it.

      While Israel will continue to rant and rave, in the end it is as powerless as the congress critters they own to actually do anything. More and more countries are seeing the Israeli oppression of Palestinians as more dangerous than Iran.

    • The simple reality is that eventually the Iranians are going to get so tired of the garbage from the US they will just tell the US "f*** it" and walk away. The Iranian government will tell their people they tried everything, but the Americans simply hate Iranians (and all the hate speech from congress critters just documents that very well). The Iranian government will then warn the population that the hatred is so strong in the US that an attack is very probable. At that point, the rest of the world will be scrambling to prevent war and will be very angry at the US and Israel. As the article notes, the existing third-party sanctions will disappear and congress critters will be even more angry at how impotent the US is.

      I think in the eyes of a significant part of the world, the US and Israel are the "bad guys" in this mess, not Iran.

      After the sanctions fall apart, congress critters will have no real options. War is extremely iffy and after initial heavy US losses, the American public will quickly lose any appetite for war, leaving congress critters far out on the limb.

      I think congress critters are going to soon find out just how powerless they are.

  • Top Five Washington Assumptions on Mideast that Are not True
    • REALITY, particularly long term rational thinking based on REALITY, is almost non-existent in most parts of the world.

      - Americans suffer from delusions of empires, while they fail at trying to keep the old British (ME), French (Vietnam & ME) and Spanish (Latin America) empires from completely de-colonizing and restructuring.

      - Israel is trying to replicate the failed colonial experiments of the old collapsed empires and can't figure out why the locals fiercely resist them. Israelis can not seem to understand that the locals have thousands of years of history and resent another bunch of European "crusader" invaders.

      - The Saudis may now understand they have made a "deal with the devil" by letting an extremely anti-human religious cult control the population, but they do not appear to know how to get rid of the religious nuts and move the country forward.

      And the list goes on with virtually no grouping of humans not suffering from massive delusions.

      A rational USA would tell most of the people on earth they are on their own and would return most of the US military might to the US.

  • Will GOP Congress block an Obama Iran Nuclear Deal?
    • In the long term it is to China's advantage to come up with an alternative to the US dollar. While China would like to control the base trading currency, they will settle for depriving the US of that power. It is important to remember that China's culture is over 5000 years old and they have had massive power for much of that time. They have learned a thing or two that the US has not even thought about yet, so it would be a mistake to discount China.

      As for money laundering, it simply makes all the US manipulation of the financial system worthless and ineffective.

      The bottom line I was trying to convey is while the congress critters can wastes hours of TV time spewing hot air, they will not be able to accomplish anything and some of the things they might try, would end up hurting the US far more than they will hurt Iran.

      basically the US has reached the limits of its power and life in Iran will get better each day no matter what the congress critters do short of war.

      While the congress critters can legally start a war anytime they want, the results of that war will very probably be extremely damaging to the US future.

    • While the congress critters keep rattling their paper sabre, in REALITY there is NOTHING they can do. The US has no other tools to use.

      - The US has already imposed all the direct sanctions it can on US and Iran trade, and Iran has successfully ignored them. Just this month, it was revealed that Iran successfully purchased four US made helicopters.

      - The US has already imposed all the third-party sanctions that other nations will allow and those sanctions are completely falling apart. Any attempt by congress to impose any further third-party sanctions will be met with very FIERCE opposition from every country on earth. Other countries will gleefully use congressional sanctions as an excuse to cripple US companies and remove them as competitors on the global stage (Hint: Germany is trying to cripple Google right now).

      - Money laundering is a hugely profitable business, so any attempt by congress critters to further restrict the global banking system will simply be ignored. Not only that but China wants to remove the US dollar as the global trading currency and any further meddling in global finance by the congress critters will just make China's job easier.

      The bottom line is the congress critters can rant and rave all they want and make all the threats they want, but their gun is out of bullets.

      I suspect that many in Iran realize the US has "shot its wad" and will bargain hard at the negotiating table. The US will NOT get anywhere close to what congress wants and the congress critters are going to have to swallow that bitter drink.

  • Two Different American Futures: With an Iran Deal & Without
    • Iran has been able to pull it off for several reasons:

      - Iran has a natural resource that earns them a nice profit to fund weapons development.

      - Iran has a highly educated population so they have the engineering talent to create new weapons and/or improve existing weapons. They have done such a good job of improving weapons that China has paid them for many of the improvements that Iranians have made to already good Chinese weapons.

      - Iran has completely re-though the concept of defensive weapons and developed a new tactical strategy that overwhelms the attacker with inexpensive but very reliable, deadly and accurate weapons. Wars simply cost Iran much less than the US. Iran gets much more "bang for the buck" than the US.

      - While the US spends trillions of dollars trying to create super weapons (and failing) Iran invests (a lot less) in improving what already works well.

      Now, no US blue water ship can get withing 500 miles of Iran without being in danger of being sunk. Nor can US aircraft fly over Iran without being in extreme danger of falling from the sky.

      The Iranian defensive weapons are formidable and deadly, which is why the US military has zero desire to attack Iran.

    • One slight "flaw" in Mr. Recknagel's article - The US has zero ability to keep the current third-party sanctions in place, let alone put any more in place.

      Right now the US is trying to pull three levers of power:

      - Direct US sanctions on Iran/US trade. These have been in place since 1979 and as the recent helicopter situation shows, are dubious at best.

      - Third-party sanctions where the US tries to keep other countries from trading with Iran. These are mostly gone by now and no more will be imposed because other nations gain more from trade with Iran than doing what the US wants. No matter how much the congress critters yell, they will simply be ignored.and if they try to punish other countries, the other countries will savagely punish US businesses like Google, HP, IBM, GE and the list goes on. The congress critters can NOT win this game.

      - Manipulation of the global finance system (SWIFT). This is being defeated by simple greed around the world since there is a very nice profit in laundering money for Iran. Also if the US goes any further, the US will just be helping China convince other countries to dump SWIFT and create a new banking system that the US can not control and abuse, while also conveniently for China, delegitimizing the US dollar.

      So the bottom line is if there is no agreement, there is nothing further the US can do besides lose another war in the middle east with massive loss of American lives and American wealth.

  • 3rd Possibility: Coming Civil War in West Bank/ Jerusalem?
    • I for one would be thrilled if the Israelis would wake up from their delusions and fairly negotiate with the Arabs. I do not want to see the destruction of Israel, BUT . . .

      I also know that based on 50000 years of human history that the path Israelis have CHOSEN (and they have a choice) is one that will lead to their destruction.

      In the long term, Israel can NOT win the game they are playing.

      If israelis really want to have a "Jewish" homeland that is "safe," it is very well documented what they will have to do . . .

      Give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for all their past actions.

      In other words, they will have to give up all their myths of superiority and their delusions and face the real world.

      The problem I see is the Israelis are so deep into their delusions, they will only spiral downward to the end.

    • Both aircraft and tanks are sitting ducks for modern weapons. The Iranians, Chinese and Russians have spent the last 50+ years coming up with many ways to make US and Israeli aircraft and tanks in to pieces of metal sculpture and all those weapons are readily available to all modern armies (they are a nice source of revenue for China and Russia).

      The bottom line, as I have tried to explain elsewhere, is the IDF is no where as "wonderful" as all he myths portray.

      There are very good technical reasons why the "powerful" US military LOST in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Arabs learned a lot from the US defeats and will cheerfully apply the lessons on the IDF.

      There are also very good reasons why Israel no longer controls southern Lebanon and it isn't because they felt an obligation to return the land to Lebanon, but because they got driven out militarily. There is also a good reason why Israel abandoned Gaza, staying was too costly militarily (this is why all those saying Israel should retake Gaza are just having delusions - the IDF leadership knows how high the cost would be and Israel can not tolerate the very high cost).

    • ECM does not work very well when the aircraft is targeted by a swarm of self controlled missiles (real cheap to do these days with Android Linux running on cheap ARM single board computers). basically the days of expensive, high-tech aircraft are numbered.

    • Any viable plan will have to destroy many Israeli myths and dreams, which is why Israelis fight so hard against any viable plan.

      Dreams die hard and only after every delusion has been forcibly stripped away.

    • Keep in mind the Jordanian military has all the same weapons as Israel and is equally as trained. The only problem Jordan will have is they share a warfare philosophy with Israel and the US (lots of expensive war toys), but Jordan just may have allies that have lots of inexpensive weapons.

      After Israel starts their next big war, they are going to discover that a lot has changed since 1967 and they are going to have many very, very bad surprises.

      BUT . . . I think the IDF leadership very well understand that they no longer have military superiority, which is why there are indications the IDF is trying to rein-in the politicians. The rhetoric from the IDF is vastly different from the political rhetoric.

    • Reportedly, over half the Jewish Israelis are dual nationals, holding two passports (mostly US, European and Russian) . Often these people continue to have financial assets in their "former" country, so even if they have to flee Israel in a hurry, they will have a second home and resources.

      Keep in mind that Christian conservatives (and all religions) are a rapidly declining part of the American population (that is one of the reasons they are so vocal - they resent losing power), so they will lose the power to hurt the US over time.

      The US is stubbornly trying to continue the UK, French and Spanish empires. Just as the US has lost the fight in Asia (remember Vietnam) and most of the rest of the world, it will eventually admit to losing the ME also and quit fighting the Arabs and the Persians.

    • There are no "magic" weapons. Israel has no "secret super-duper stuff." All weapons are based on science and the science is very well known to everyone on earth. You name any "magic" weapon you think Israel may have and I will explain the science that says you are full of sh*t.

      Every nation on earth that is willing to spend a little money, can buy weapon systems equivalent or better than anything Israel has or will ever have.

      This is the basic problem Israel has, it no longer has any weapon superiority and in fact because of their warfare philosophy, they are actually behind many of their potential opponents. Israel (and the US) still relies on every expensive high-tech war toys, BUT many others have figured out that hundreds to thousands of inexpensive but reasonably deadly weapons work even better.

      As for WMDs (nuclear biological and chemical), Israel does indeed have those in large quantities, BUT if they use any of them, they will be, at a minimum, committing economic suicide and quite probably actual suicide. Those types of weapons can not be contained to a single area, but will spread over the earth causing massive hatred for Israel that not even the US will be able to protect Israel from. So yes Israel could kill lots of humans (far more than the Nazi did), but it would lead to their destruction.

      A majority of the US supporters of Israel are boomers who are dying off at a rate of over 2000/day - that is just how life and demographics work. Also, the number of fundamentalist Christians is rapidly declining as generational power shifts younger. A huge majority of Americans under 40 do NOT support Israel. Just as the republicans have a large looming demographic problem, so does Israel. While the present congress is owned lock, stock and barrel by Israel that will not continue.

      basically Israel is on the wrong end of a large cannon that will soon ruin their day.

      Past is not prolog, but general lessons from the past can provide insight.

      - ALL empires die (including the Israeli one)

      - All armies suffer a final .humiliating defeat. In the last 50000 years exactly ZERO armies have avoided massive defeat. The IDF will suffer the same defeat eventually.

      - Other than the European invasion of North America, the invaders are ALWAYS driven out or assimilated and israelis are invaders.

      Take an unbiased, long term view of history and you will be able to see all the MAJOR mistakes the Israeli are making and why the many myths about Israel are all wrong.

    • While the leaders of Saudi Arabia do indeed like their "wine, women and song" more than they want war, there are lots of very low cost ways to make very expensive aircraft fall from the sky.

      The Russian S-300/400/500 long range (200 KM) missile systems are especially deadly, particularly when they are fired in swarms. That is, firing multiple missiles at each aircraft from multiple launch systems. Virtually no aircraft can escape a swarm. There are hundreds of surplus S-300 systems available because Russia is now deploying S-400 systems and early S-500 systems. In addition, there are the Chinese and Iranian re-engineering of the S-300 (HQ-15) which is equivalent to the S-400.

      Then there are the medium range missile systems like the Russian Buk (recently used to bring down multiple aircraft in Ukraine) and the Chinese HQ-16B (which may be even more deadly) and the Iranian Ra'ad .

      And finally there are MANPADS (human launched small, fast missiles).

      Basically the world is awash in very, very deadly anti-aircraft systems that many countries have purchased and deployed (including Jordan and Egypt). Iran is especially deadly because they have all three layers (S-400 equivalent long range systems, the medium range Ra'ad, and lots of MANPADS). This is why the IDF and the USAF have zero desire to fly over Iran.

      When a country couples the firepower with things like passive radar (large numbers of emitters spread over a large area with a separate large "billboard" receiver array), even "stealth" aircraft are extremely vulnerable.

      And the economics heavily favor the missile folks. For the cost of a single aircraft and pilot, thousands of anti-aircraft missiles can be built, so even if the aircraft avoids one missile there will be many more to blow the aircraft from the sky.

      In the world of very low cost, reasonably accurate missiles and drones, aircraft and carriers are a huge, huge waste of money.

    • I do not think the Israelis would be successful trying to ethnically cleanse the Arabs and in fact could very well lose the war they started.

      Israel is NOT as militarily capable as the myths say.

      The Arabs currently have more than enough war toys, cannon fodder and leadership capability to defeat Israel. The ONLY thing keeping a lid on is the current leadership in the ME prefers to enjoy the benefits of living the high-life to a messy war.

      Once the Arab body count got high enough west of the Jordan River, Israel would be in the fight of their life.

      And Israel can not really count on the US to protect it forever. I suspect that if the polling groups asked honest questions about Israel, the Israelis would NOT like the answers. Questions like . . . Are you willing to have your kids killed for Israel?

      Israelis can not grasp that a majority of their US supporters are dying off at the rate of over 2000/day.

      Israelis are making a BIG mistake if they think they can ethnically cleanse the Arabs without losing everything.

      Note also if they do succeed in "transferring " all the Arabs, that just means all of Israel would be a free-fire-zone for the hundreds of thousands of inexpensive, but reasonably accurate and destructive missiles the Arabs have. And it would not take long for Israel's 400 or so aircraft to fall from the sky.

      When Israel ignites the next war, they are NOT going to like the result because it is not going to go the way they imagine.

  • Should Iran and the US accept a Good, but not perfect Nuclear Deal?
    • The problem is Iran has already tried to do the "purchase" thing. Both France and Russia took their money and promptly did not deliver.

      Iran has been screwed on so many LEGAL transactions with other countries they now want to fully control their own energy production.

      Also during the Iraq attack on Iran, Iran also got screwed on weapons purchases - again multiple countries took their money and did not deliver. This is why Iran has built a very viable weapons industry.

      Given how many times Iran has tried to "do the right thing" and has gotten screwed, how can anyone blame then for not trusting the "west?"

    • Actually the sanctions are temporary and are falling apart as we speak because there is a nice profit in smuggling and money laundering.

      I used to be the customer care manager for a hardware company and was quite surprised one day many years ago to get a phone call from a person asking for some help on our product. The surprise was because we did not export our product to China. It took me several weeks and lots of digging to discover that many more than one of our products were also in China because the product was a very good solution for a specific situation and the Chinese customers had simply purchased the hardware through a front company in Asia and arranged for our product to "magically" appear in their business in China. Smuggling and money laundering has been going on for thousands of years, so why would anyone expect the US third-party sanctions to survive in the real world?

  • Saudi Arabia at the G20: Is it waging Econ War on Iran, Russia and N. Dakota?
    • While the average cost of most US production is now quite high, the average production costs in Russia and Iran are much less than the US and only slightly more than Saudi Arabia. As a result, only the high cost producers (US & Canadian shale oil, deep ocean drilling, etc.) are hurt by the probably short term decline in prices.

      Note also the decline in demand is caused by continuing global economic problems, such as massive inequality of wealth. If countries were to strip the wealthy of part of their wealth and infuse that wealth into the general population, overall economic activity (and therefore oil prices) would increase. Yes, socialism is good for everyone, including the wealthy.

  • Stealth Drone Proliferation: Iranians Reverse engineer captured US Spy Drone
    • If Americans are foolish enough to waste trillions of their wealth on war toys, why shouldn't the rest of the world just "borrow" the technology?

      BTW - given the physics, chemistry and other scientific limits, there are really few possible alternatives to the designs, so it is perfectly reasonable that even independent designs will be very similar to US designs.

    • Iran has a strong high-tech sector and the wealth to finance it, so many other technological advances should be anticipated. Note that Iran has an entirely different warfare philosophy than the US and Israel. Instead of very, very expensive aircraft and pilots and other very expensive offensive weapons, Iran has focused on having lots of inexpensive, but reasonably effective and deadly defensive weapons. Even this stealth drone is defensive as it will be used by Iran to know more about its opponents (US, Israel and Saudi Arabia), rather than an attack weapon. If the US, Israel and/or Saudi Arabia start a war with Iran, I suspect they will receive some very unpleasant surprises and heavy defeats. Iran has been extremely paranoid about a US invasion for over 35 years and has expended a LOT of resources to make that invasion as painful as possible for the US. I think US military leadership understands just how dangerous it would be to attack Iran, but US politicians are not listening.

  • Top 5 Disasters If GOP Senate derails Iran talks
    • As i noted above, virtually all the sanctions will be gone by the end of 2014 no matter what the congress critters do.

      Basic commerce theory documents that blockade running and money laundering are very profitable for everyone concerned, especially since Iran has a valuable thing to sell and a huge market of over 75 million.

    • First of all, there is no such thing as "tactical nukes."

      ALL nuclear weapons function the same way. The only very slight difference is whether the nuclear weapon destroys hundreds of thousands of hectares or millions of hectares. So any use of a nuclear weapons will be catastrophic and contaminate all the land down-wind of the explosion. BTW - After less than a week, due to global winds, the US west coast agriculture would be contaminated. Of course US troops in Afghanistan and Japan will be contaminated much sooner.

      While Israel does have "smallish" nuclear weapons mounted on sub launched cruise missiles, the flying range is less than 500 KM, so the subs would have to be close to Iran.

      Iran will not back down - they will take the nuke attack and use the global outrage to make the US impotent and severely punish Israel. Israel will be forced to disarm.

      Note that If Israel uses a nuclear weapon, it will be committing, at the very least, economic suicide, but quite possibly literal suicide. Down-wind of Iran are THREE nuclear powers, all of which have the delivery systems to nuke Israel in return. None of the three are afraid of the US and all three will be extremely angry having their populations contaminated by Israel.

      BTW - Here is a "fun fact" for you - Per the latest simulations, as few as FIVE nuclear air bursts over medium sized cities would very likely cause Nuclear Winter where all humans on earth would have the "fun" choice of whether to freeze to death or starve to death.

    • The blockade hurts Iran less every day - There is huge profit in the smuggling trade and the money laundering trade (has been for thousands of years). Basic economics says that the world will profit from US ego-driven stupidity. Granted the situation with Cuba not so much, but Iran has resources that the rest of the world wants, so there is a lot of profit.

    • Netanyahu may huff and puff, but he has already been told by the IDF leadership that any Israeli attack would be a big failure where Israel might lose over half the aircraft in the attack (Israel has less than 500 active combat aircraft) and once the IDF air capability was reduced, it would be vulnerable to attack itself. Note also that Israel has no heavy bomber capability so its bombs would be completely ineffective against Iran's hardened sites. Then there is the HUGE problem of using nuclear weapons which would probably cause, at a minimum, huge economic damage to Israel if not physical damage from retaliation. Netanyahu hates that he is actually impotent, but there is nothing he can do except incite the congress critters in hopes they will be extremely stupid and ignore the US military.

    • While the congress critters may want to punish Iran in a fit of false superiority, I suspect that they will just get their egos heavily bruised because Iran is actually in a much stronger position than it was several years ago.

      - Iran's military has a formidable array of defensive weapons, many improvements on Chinese and Russian designs. In addition, thanks to the US and ISIL, the Iranian military leadership has lots of actual combat experience. Any attack on Iran would be very deadly for the attackers. An attack that did not put millions of US soldiers on the ground, would just wound Iran and make it more fearsome. Remember that Iran has been driven by two strains of paranoia for over 35 years . . . (1) the US will invade to put their own puppet back in power and (2) they must be self-sufficient in weapons design and manufacturing so they have all the weapons they need to defeat the US. MOST US military leaders know that without a massive US draft and trillions of dollars of funding, war with Iran is a guaranteed loser and they want no part of it..

      - While Iran is not getting the optimal price for their oil, they are making very reasonable profits that allow them to finance their country. Given that smuggling and circumventing trade restrictions has been a human endeavor for many thousands of years, as time goes on the US embargoes (both direct since 1979 and indirect) become completely ineffective. By the end of 2014, no matter what congress critters do, most existing embargoes will be meaningless and any embargoes congress critters try to enact, will be ignored. There is far too much profit for everyone involved with Iran trade for anything congress critters do, to matter.

      - Even if the congress critters try to further manipulate the global banking system, they will be thwarted because there are large profits to be made by helping Iran launder their global financial transactions and giving everyone involved reasonable deny-ability.

      So, I expect congress critters to rant and rave about Iran for months, but in the end they will not be able to actually do a single thing - no real financial damage to Iran and no military attack because the rest of the world does not care what congress critters rant about. And because of US intransigence, Iran just may decide to build nukes to keep the US congress subdued. Note that Iran could have easily paid Pakistan for nukes (like the Saudis) but wanted to build all the expertise in the country.

  • Israel Econ. Minister's West Bank annexation plan a wake up call for the West
    • Israel has, at the most, another 20 years.

      The global conditions are rapidly going negative for Israel:

      - The US is losing power to Asia (who do not care one bit about Israel other than to strip-mine it for intellectual property).

      - Israel has lost (and will NEVER regain) military superiority. The world is awash in war toys equal to or better than anything Israel has or will ever have. There are no "magic" weapons. Also, the Persians have adopted a military philosophy of lots of inexpensive, but "good enough" weapons which easily trumps the Israeli (and US) philosophy of relatively small numbers of expensive high-tech stuff.

      - US supporters of Israel are a declining part of the US population. A large majority of the people born after the Vietnam war are neutral to negative about Israel and the older supporters are dying off (~2000/day).

      - The Arabs have had a "peace plan" on the table for over 10 years. Since it forces Israelis to give up most of their grand dreams (actually delusions), Israelis have chosen to ignore it.

      The bottom line is Israel can NOT win the next war and would be stupid to try (I think that most of the IDF leadership knows this reality, but NONE of the politicians appear to understand). Eventually, Israel will come under extreme economic stress due to isolation. As a result, the political leaders in Israel will eventually be forced to fall on their swords and make a deal with the Arabs which will make Israel give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for Israel's past actions.

      If Israelis were not so delusional, they would get a better deal today, but the political leaders are so craven and the population so delusional, the worse deal will not happen until all the dreams die.

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu Is a National Security Riskā€”And Washington Knows It
    • While Bibi is a SHORT TERM "winner," he has Israel on a LONG TERM losing path. Many coming shifts in global power and demographics are going to cause future Israelis a LOT of very painful and possibly deadly problems.

      - Israel is no longer militarily superior. The world is awash in war toys equal to or better than Israel has or will ever have. Also many nations have realized that thousands of inexpensive weapons, completely trumps a few high-tech, very expensive weapons. For example, when anti-aircraft missiles are both inexpensive and reasonably accurate (as they are today), shooting multiple missiles at one high tech aircraft ensures the high-tech aircraft ends up in a flame ball. The multiple anti-aircraft missiles simply overwhelm the very expensive pilot and the aircraft defense systems. Note that Israel has, at the most, less than 3000 anti-missile projectiles, which means that even with 100% effectiveness (impossible), there would still be 47,000 to 100,000 enemy missiles landing on Israel destroying infrastructure and causing panic (that 50,000 to 100,00 number is from the IDF!)

      - Global demographics are against Israel. Globally a lot of humans were born about the same time as Israel and for 20 years they were fed a high concentration of the Israeli myth BS that most absorbed without question. BUT that generation is dying off and being replaced by humans born after the Vietnam war and many other terrible events..These later humans have no emotional attachment to Israel, ZERO. The humans under 40 have a strong skepticism about Israel and many view it as a trouble maker. As these people gain political power, Israel will have a much rougher future, even in the US.

      - Global shift in power. After 200 years of European and US suppression of Asia, once again Asia is re-taking its place on the global stage (most people do not realize that China has been a global power for most of its 5000 years of existence). The only thing Asia cares about Israel is to strip-mine it for intellectual property and then throw away the dead husk. Over a few years, China graduates more engineers than Israel has total population and those engineers are just as smart as Israeli engineers.. With the shift in power from the US and Europe to Asia, Israel loses even more in the process because Asians have ZERO need for Israel.

      The bottom line can be summed up . . "friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate." Israel is losing friends and creating enemies such that its future is very questionable.

      A REAL LEADER in Israel would give up lots of land, water, cash (for compensation) and apologies for past behavior to put together a middle east economic block in partnership with the Arabs. The middle east has all the components to make a viable economic block similar to Europe, USA/Canada, Asia, etc:

      - Intellectual property capability in Israel and Iran

      - Wealth to fund development in Iran and Saudi Arabia and to a less extent Israel

      - Labor force throughout the region

      - Local consumers throughout the region. One of the things needed for a viable economic block is a robust local economy. Create products to sell in the region then export the surplus production for additional profit.

      Israelis need to understand that they are NOT a European country but a middle east country, just like Australians had to finally figure out that even though a majority of the population came from Europe, Australia is actually economically an Asian country.

      Short term thinking dominates in Israel and long term thinking is derided and delusion abounds.

    • Congress critters are easy to identify because they share many similar characteristics:

      - Extremely fearful of anything that moves, especially anything that would separate them from their luxurious lifestyle.

      - Complete lack of any capacity to think, let alone think rationally.

      - Herd mentality. That is, whatever BS they have been fed spreads throughout the herd almost immediately.

      - Lack of a BS detector -congress critters are unable to know when they are being buried in BS.

      - Belligerence - they always react to any perceived threat with extreme belligerence causing them to send their minions to die on their behalf.

      I wish I could say that congress critters are an evolutionary reaction to past congress occupants, but unfortunately 200 years of history shows that congress critters have been with us since day one. The only thing we can do is have a rational population that regularly severely punishes the most ugly of the congress critters.What has changed is the population has become much more irrational and un-thinking.

    • Bibi is going to be deeply disappointed with the congress critters on Iran. Other than declaring war on Iran, there is absolutely NOTHING the congress critters can do about Iran.

      (1) Direct sanctions on US/Iran trade were put in place in 1979 and are now totally worthless. There is nothing left that the congress critters can directly do to Iran.

      (2) Indirect, third-party sanctions on trade between other countries and Iran are falling apart and no matter what congress critter weep and wail about, the third-party sanctions will continue to disappear with no new ones put in place. Other countries just do NOT care what congress critters think. If congress critters try to enforce the third-party sanctions by punishing countries, the other countries will simply fiercely retaliate against US business interests. HP, Google, and a wide variety of US companies are extremely vulnerable to economic pressure. The big US companies will scream at congress critters when European, Middle East and Asian nations brutally retaliate.

      (3) Manipulation of the global banking system can not go any further without severely damaging the US dollar, especially when there is a nice profit in laundering money for Iran. Iran and its many trading partners have figured out ways around the US control of the SWIFT banking network since ALL countries deeply resent the US using a basic banking tool for political revenge. Right now, China is trying to get the rest of the world to drop the US dollar as the reserve currency and come up with a different way that avoids US control. The more the US tries to use the global banking system as a tool of political revenge, the better the Chinese proposal looks to an increasing number of countries. If the congress critters push any further, the rest of the world will simply build a banking system to compete with SWIFT that can not be controlled by the US. Once a sufficient number of countries move to the competing system, the US dollar is done for because for US companies to survive, they will need to move to the other banking system. US companies care more for high profits than anything congress critters want.

      (4) War - While, per the US Constitution, any congress critter can introduce a bill declaring war on Iran and a mere 67% of the congress critters can vote to do it over a POTUS veto, it is unlikely that any bill declaring war will be introduced and even if one were to reach the floor of the Senate and House, that it would not pass because American voters would skin alive any congress critter that voted for it. Americans are in no mood for a war, especially one that would be so devastating to the US economy. While the PR machines could try to convince the public that war with Iran would be"painless," I do not think the public would fall for it after the sad experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, this is why the congress critters are loath to have any vote about what to do with ISIL

      I think, in the end, the US will get the best deal it can with Iran, the congress critters will waste hours of talking head time on TV and Bibi will have to rant but do nothing, because the IDF leadership has already been told him the IDF can NOT do anything to Iran, only the US military has enough cannon fodder and war toys to waste in a needless war with Iran. Any Israeli attack on Iran would devastate the IDF and possibly cause Israel permanent harm or even end the state.

      Basically, Iran has checkmated Bibi and it is all over except the ineffective shouting.

      BTW - After Bibi loses the Iran fight, Israel will probably be in even worse shape vis-a-vis the US public. It appears that Israelis have not figured out (or do not want to believe) that, just like the republicans, have a demographic and age problem, so does Israel. As the boomers die off, Israel is losing support that no amount of PR can fix.

  • EU Foreign Affairs Head: A Palestinian State or Endless Conflict
    • The conflict will not be endless.

      Right now the Arabs have the capacity to destroy Israel, but the existing Arab "leaders" much prefer their luxurious lives to the deprivation of war, so they have kept a lid on the populations. BUT . . .

      Over time the de-colonization of the Arab counties will take place and the current leaders will be replaced by leaders that are more in tune with the populations.

      On top of that, Israelis have shown a remarkable inability to avoid doing the exact things that most inflame their opponents.

      As a result, eventually there will be a mid east war that will destroy Israel.

      At the end of the war, most Jewish people will have left the middle east and those that remain will simply live as a minority in Arab countries. There will be no massive attempt to "kill all the Jews." this is a Jewish paranoid delusion.

  • When will US admit Boots on Ground in Iraq (3000 Troops)?
    • There were three anglo-afghan wars (1843, 1879 & 1919) during which the Brits were only able to achieve partial control after the second war and suffered major losses in all three wars. All of which still begs the question, after a long history of people, INCLUDING the US colonials, of defeating supposedly much better military WITHOUT formal training, HOW exactly is US training going to make any difference against ISIL if the locals do not care enough to fight. Note that the Kurd are doing OK against ISIL even though they are severely handicapped by Turkey and are not getting adequate supplies from the US. The difference is the Kurds care about remaining independent. If Obama had any balls, he would strong arm Turkey big time to get the Kurds every modern weapon they wanted including short range missiles. Kurds will fight (without "training") whereas the Iraqi Shia and Sunni are wimps when it comes to fighting ISIL. Nothing the US can do will transplant a backbone into the Iraqis.

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