why the US wants war with Iran (NRR)
edub 715 Posts
edited May 2006 in Strut Central
source AnalysisThe last gasp of the dollar; Iran bourse set to open shortlyBy Mike WhitneyOnline Journal Contributing WriterMay 8, 2006, 00:17"Everybody knows the real reason for American belligerence is not the Iranian nuclear program, but the decision to launch an oil bourse where oil will be traded in euros instead of US dollars. . . . The oil market will break the dominance of the dollar and lead to a decline of global American hegemony." Igor Panarin, Russian political scientist.Overnight the story of Iran???s proposed oil bourse has slipped into the mainstream press exposing the real reason behind Washington???s hostility towards Tehran. Up to this point, analysts have brushed aside the importance of the upcoming oil-exchange as a "Leftist-Internet" conspiracy theory unworthy of further consideration. Now, the Associated Press has clarified the issue showing that an Iran oil bourse "could lead central bankers around the world to convert some of their dollar reserves into euros, possibly causing a decline in the dollar???s value". ("Iran wants Oil Market in Euros", Globe and Mail)Currently, the world is drowning in dollars, even a small movement could trigger a massive recession in the United States. There???s nothing remotely "conspiratorial" about this. It is simply a matter of supply and demand. If the oil bourse creates less demand for the dollar, the value of the dollar will sink accordingly; pushing energy, housing, food and other prices higher.Oil has been linked to the dollar since the 1970s when OPEC agreed to denominate it exclusively in dollars. This provided the US a virtual monopoly which has allowed it to run huge account deficits without fear of crippling interest rate hikes. As Bill O??? Grady of A.G.Edwards said, "If OPEC decided they didn???t want dollars anymore, it would be the end of American hegemony by signaling the end to the dollar as the sole reserve currency.""If the dollar lost its status as the world???s reserve currency, that would force the United States to fund its massive account deficit by running a trade surplus, which would increase inflationary pressures." (Associated Press)There???s no prospect of the US running a trade surplus anytime soon. Bush has savaged the manufacturing sector outsourcing over 3 million jobs and shutting down plants across the country. His short-sighted "free trade" policies and enormous tax cuts for the rich ensure that Americans will be left to face skyrocketing energy costs and a hyper-inflationary greenback. There???s no way we can retool fast enough to "manufacture our way" out of the quagmire of red ink.Currently, the national debt is a whopping $8.4 trillion with an equally harrowing $800 billion trade deficit. (7percent of GDP) The ever-increasing demand for the greenback in the oil trade is the only thing that has kept the dollar from freefalling to earth. Even a small conversion to euros will erode the dollar???s value and could precipitate a sell-off.Presently, oil is sold exclusively on the London Petroleum Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange both owned by American investors. If the bourse opens, central banks around the world will reduce their stockpiles of dollars to maintain a portion of their currency in euros. This is the logical step for Europe which buys 70 percent of Iran???s oil. It is also the reasonable choice for Russia which sells two-thirds of its oil to Europe but (amazingly) continues to denominate those transactions in dollars.Washington has succeeded in maintaining its monopoly by propping up the many corrupt and repressive regimes in the Gulf States. The prudent choice for Saudi Arabia would be to move away from the debt-ridden dollar and enhance its earnings with the stronger euro. Regrettably, Uncle Sam has a gun to their heads. They understand that such a transition would invite the same response that Saddam got six months after he converted to euros and was removed through "shock and awe".Regardless, of the outcome, the profligate spending, budget-busting tax cuts, and the shocking increase in the money supply (the Fed has doubled the money supply in one decade) has the greenback headed for the dumpster. Already, China and Japan (who hold an accumulated $1.7 trillion in US securities and currency) are gradually moving away from the dollar towards the euro (although the Fed has blocked the public from knowing the extent of the damage by abandoning the M-3 publication of inflows) The European Central Bank (ECB) and Japan???s central bank are frantically trying to conceal the probability of a dollar collapse by issuing carefully worded statements to allay public fears while they to prepare for an "orderly" retreat.But, it won???t be "orderly". The dollar has lost 5 percent against the euro since April and is quickly headed south. The Iran bourse could be the final jolt that pushes the greenback over the edge. This is the bitter lesson for those who choose to ignore economic fundamentals and build their house on sand. Paul Volcker anticipated this scenario in a speech last year when he said that account imbalances were as great as he had ever seen and predicted "a 75 percent chance of a dollar crash in the next five years".Volcker is right, but economic advisor, Peter Grandich summarized it even better when he opined, "The only one who doesn???t know the US dollar is dead is the US dollar."Prepare the requiem. Copyright ?? 1998-2006 Online JournalEmail Online Journal Editor
I don't think much will happen until, ooh, next election cycle?
PS: could someone please hold Nancy Pelosi next to a very powerful magnet?
google news is your friend
true. I've heard similar arguments made on a couple of NPR shows but I doubt the US wants war with anyone right now. They just want to maintain their postion as a world power.
Bush has changed his tune on oil as of late, I'm guessing he's starting to realize we aren't going to that large reserve in Iraq.
If a war is going to be fought (and god I hope it isn't) It's going to be over nuclear power with a underlying tone of religious superiority
how about we fight a war for a truly noble cause for a change?
oh, I dunno, maybe to end genocide in Darfur?
I don't know about y'all but I sure wish I could trust the current administration (or that the world could trust the current administration) to actually use our military might for the purely selfless defense of a suffering people...
has there been a thread on this? there was one on "Starvation in Africa" decrying the West's complacency in the face of atrocity on the African continent. And there's been plenty of Iraq threads....
yeah? and from which side, pray tell, would the religious superiority be coming from?
quoted from the first paragraph:
We foolishly moved resources from Afganastan to Iraq 3 years ago. The current pro-west democratic goverment in Afganastan will be gone in 2 years time. Either opium funded war lords, or the Taliban will seize power.
Currently we are bogged down in Iraq. We established in the Rumsfeldisaliar thread that this administration believes what it says, despite reality. Perhaps Bush and Rumsfeld beleive "the new democratic Iraq's police force can replace US troops by this fall". If that were true then we could move our resources to attaking Iran. Of course we could no more win a war in Iran than we can in Iraq.
If we do decide to attack Iran I suggest we replace Rumsfeld with a secretary of state who belives in the Powell Doctorine. I don't support a war with Iran, but the only way to win is to bomb Iran into submission before sending in US troops. A strategy that Rumsfeld has rejected.
interesting choice of words...
IMO the religious rights influence has made us seem like an evil Christian nation to outsiders. I'm fairly positive the idea of Allah and God has been spoken about quite a bit in the same breath as the words "fighting our enemies".
I thnk this creates a public perception of religious war. Maybe I'm wrong but I certaily feel that the word terrorist has been very closely tied to Islam over the last 2 decades, this potential war would surely have the words "terrorist", "freedom" and "God" invoked at some point
you obviously don't have family in Iran.
yeah conspiracy theories like this are a dime a dozen.
in case you haven't noticed, the US can do whatever the hell it wants on a global level... even ignore decisions made by the united nations.
granted there may be some holes in the economic logic of the referenced article (i'm not sure, i don't know enough about the currency valuation of the oil markets) but to assume that this is just a lizard conspiracy theory may be short sighted.
I apologize for sounding so bellicose.
I don't have family in Iran.
I do not want the US to go to war with Iran.
When (or should I say if) the US goes to war with Iran I would rather see another Balkan type war than another Iraq type war. I think the Powell Doctrine is what separates the success of one from the failure of the other. Every point in the PD was followed in the Balkans. All were rejected in Iraq. Rumsfeld hates the PD.
I will go find the Powell Doctrines and post them.
that's a good point. the NY Times ran an article today on the 500,000-strong Iranian exile community of LA and their feelings regarding military intervention v. less aggressive regime change options. Apparently some of them are down to bomb, but many of them aren't:
May 9, 2006 Tuesday
Exiles in 'Tehrangeles' Are Split On How U.S. Should Sway Iran[/b]
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
LOS ANGELES, May 3
With neon signs in Persian decorating the window of the Woodland Hills Market -- ''Kabob'' glowing in bright red, ''Iranian Market'' in pea green -- this corner grocery store could just as well be in Tehran as in the heart of ''Tehrangeles,'' as Iranians everywhere call their largest exile community.
Products labeled in Persian and English reflect the dual identity of most customers, who find themselves particularly torn these days, wanting change in Iran but dreading what further sanctions or military action would do to Iranians.
''I love my country, but I hate these mullahs,'' said Houshang Samandi, a television director for an Iranian satellite channel whose life in Los Angeles remains so completely Iranian that after 14 years he still asks a fellow exile to translate the word ''sanctions.''
''Sanctions will only harm the ordinary people,'' Mr. Samandi said. ''If there is a military attack, they will be killing my people. But if they don't attack, the mullahs will never leave.''
The debate over whether the United States could better influence events in Tehran by using diplomacy or by flexing its muscle, taking military action to try to knock out the Islamic republic's growing nuclear program, rages with particular ferocity in this city as well as in academic exile circles across the country.
After weeks of heated arguments, a distinct split has emerged. A majority oppose any military attack, convinced that it would only cement the mullahs in power and repeat the chaos in Iraq on a far bloodier scale. Some people in this group push a more subtle approach that they hope will collapse the government from within, while fretting aloud that subtle diplomacy has become something of a lost art in Washington.
''The Iranians see the failure of the Bush government in Iraq, so they can see for themselves that this is not the solution,'' said Homa Sarshar, a freelance journalist and the founder of a center that collects oral histories of Iran's once thriving Jewish community. ''Trying to promote democracy would be better than spending money on an invasion or another war.''
Some Iranian exiles relish the thought of any military attack. But they tend to be those who lost property in the revolution or aging members of the ancien regime who describe themselves without irony as de Gaulles awaiting a triumphant return.
The exile community of at least 500,000 has carved out a distinctive subculture here. At the Encino Town Center, two of six movie screens show Iranian movies, while young adults pack a nearby cafe, called the Spot in English and Buddies in Persian, smoking water pipes long into the night.
''Regime change would make an attack unnecessary, but I'm not sure there is time to organize an effective nationwide opposition to this regime in such a short period,'' said Faryar Nikbakht, a businessman shopping at the Ketab Bookshop. American hostility toward the mullahs means that Iran is one of the few countries in the Muslim world where many in the general population like the United States. Some exiles say an attack would most likely destroy this support.
''The place that the Americans hold in the minds of the Iranians right now couldn't be bought with millions of dollars of propaganda,'' said Shahram Homayoun, an Iranian journalist who runs Channel 1 television, one of about 25 satellite stations beamed toward Iran, from above a dentist's office.
Mr. Homayoun, like many exiles, imagines treating Iran rather like South Africa in the apartheid fight, banning it from all international organizations, embargoing its sports teams, barring its officials from traveling in the West and seizing the rulers' assets abroad.
Those exiles would even like to see Iranian oil embargoed, an extremely unlikely prospect in view of prices for crude oil.
The nuclear crisis has prompted many exiles to urge Washington to work harder to harness Iranians' widespread frustrations so they will force their government to change. The exile critics reject the Iraq model of trying to forge sidelined exiles into a government.
Reza Pahlavi, the 45-year-old son of the deposed shah, commands little more than nostalgia. The best organized opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen, garners some support in the United States Congress but is seen by many Iranians as an Islamic-Marxist cult.
The intellectual heart of those pushing for change from within is the Hoover Institution at Stanford, where Prof. Abbas Milani, head of the Iranian studies program, along with Michael McFaul and Larry Diamond, experts on the collapse of Communism and building democracies, direct the Iran Democracy Project. They want a new United States foreign policy built around engaging Tehran, with just enough diplomatic relations to create a platform to support the beleaguered reform movement in the country.
''The more they beat the drums of war here, the more Ahmadinejad can shut down the democratic movement,'' Professor Milani said, referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He proposes forceful speeches by American leaders that repeatedly call for democracy in Iran and the lifting of most United States economic sanctions so that the government can no longer blame them for its disastrous economic policies.
He also wants independent radio and television stations dedicated to beaming serious news and discussion into Iran. Other means of influence would include establishing some American diplomatic presence in Tehran, much like the interests section in Havana, basically used to speak out in support of dissidents.
Supporters of the Iran Democracy Project say the United States, by playing the role of a distant, yet supportive and vocal uncle, could galvanize the younger generation in Iran to widen the fissures in the government and change the country.
More than 60 percent of the 70 million Iranians are younger than 35, and they often seethe at the lack of economic opportunity and personal freedom.
''I think the youth of Iran will do that job,'' said Hamid R. Moghadam, 49, an Iranian-American businessman in San Francisco who helps finance the Iran Democracy Project. ''You don't need the Marines in there.''
Is a vital national security interest threatened?
Do we have a clear attainable objective?
Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
Is the action supported by the American people?
Do we have genuine broad international support?
I just pulled this off of Wikipidea. I notice that my point about overwhelming force is not on here.
Still these are good to study. As anyone can see none of these were followed in Iraq. Rumsfeld and Neo-cons have replaced the Powell Doctrine with a new philosphy that V can articulate but comes down to America Is Infalliable.
1) U.S. intelligence on Iraq is pretty crappy. In fact, it parallels pretty closely with Iraq. Bascially we have hardly any spies within the country and almost all of our inforation comes from U.N. inspectors.
2) Iran is said to be about 5 years away from getting anywhere close to a bomb.
3) I've read that even a bombing raid would have minimal impact upon Iran's nuclear program because they've spread out their sites throughout the country.
4) We're bogged down in Iraq and have neither the manpower nor the will for another big invasion right now.
5) An attack on Iran would probably not go without retaliation. With 135,000 U.S. troops next door in Iraq and many Iraqi Shiite allies, plus the Persian Gulf right there, it probably wouldn't be pretty.
6) Any kind of attack would have a negative impact upon the U.S. economy because oil prices are already sky rocketing. Even a bombing raid would probably push speculation on the oil markets up and jack up the price of gas.
As for #2 - How long it takes to build a nuclear bomb is hard pinpoint. It comes down to resources. Scientist, engineers, computing capacity, money, raw materials and on and on. I think what most people are saying now is that Iran's demonstrated ability to enrich uranium leaves them 5 years away from having enough weapons grade material for one bomb. In other words, they are 5 years out from having enough enriched uranium for a bomb. There are still other hurdles before a bomb can be made.
As for 3 - Enrichment is occurring in only one location. I think.
this seems off the mark from what I've heard. "anywhere close"? I'd say they're already "anywhere close" relative to other countries in the world. I mean, they have nuclear sites already under construction
without advocating a military campaign, I would suggest that in any case, what's important is not how long until they are actually pointing operational, nuclear-tipped ICBMs at us.
the relevant number is how long until they have achieved the capacity to make their own weapons on their own without our being able to stop them. estimates place that date as soon as 10 months from now.
I like this dude.
Almost any 1st or 2nd world country can make a nuclear bomb. Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Holland, Canada, Nigeria....
When the US and the UN decided not to punish Pakistan and India (not to mention Israel and South Africa) for making bombs the flood gates were opened.
Iran's neighbors are denuclearized so it's no surprise they want one.
It is a very scary trend that moves the nuclear clock closer to midnight. We have survived 50+ years of a nuclear world and we need to hope that determent and diplomacy will continue to keep the lid on.
I heard a couple nuclear experts on various shows talk about Iran's capability vis a vis their centrifuges which are needed to enrich uranium to begin the process of building a nuclear bomb. Most of them all said about 5 years away. Of course, this is just an estimate, but it's what I've heard. There might be other numbers out there.
As far as missiles go, they can hardly hit Israel right now with any kind of accuracy.
I would say that 10 months number is crap.
if you insist on discrediting other people's statements/sources, I suggest you back up your own statements with a credible source.
like I said the ten months figure is the most extreme (e.g. "...estimates place that number as soon as[/b] ..."). you seem to insinuate that the 10 months figure came from the Israelis. fair enough. I will admit that they have an interest in dealing with this threat sooner than the US does (they are, after all, more immediately threatened). but I would also suggest that Israel may just have the best Western intelligence on Iran.
and again, I question your 5 year figure: is that 5 yrs from actually holding a functional nuclear bomb in their hands? or we have five years to deal with this before it's even a threat (i.e. before they have the know-how and resources and diplomacy can no longer work)?
the deterrence thing is a good point. the follwoing article argues that Iran may well acwuire the bomb. The Iran hawks must then show that deterrence is futile if they want to make a case for war.
by Peter Beinart
Thetorically, at least, the debate over military action against Iran is starting to look like a rout. In recent weeks, three opinion magazines--the centrist Atlantic, the liberal American Prospect, and the neoconservative Weekly Standard--have all published articles on the subject. The Atlantic article, by James Fallows, ends with this categorical statement: "Realism about Iran starts by throwing out any plans to bomb." The Prospect story, by Matthew Yglesias, begins like this: "Should we go to war with Iran? The short answer is 'no.' The long answer is 'hell no.'" Not exactly subtle.
Then there's the Standard. Its cover shows Uncle Sam peering at a globe that looks like a bomb. The text asks, to bomb, or not to bomb? A question mark! The Standard defines the hawkish pole in American foreign policy debates. It proposed militarily overthrowing Saddam Hussein three years before September 11. If it's not sure that military action against Iran is a good idea, who is?
The ambivalence would be easier to understand if the Standard believed there were nonmilitary ways to prevent Tehran from getting a nuke. But its lead essay disposes of that possibility in the fifth paragraph. "The diplomatic process," writes the American Enterprise Institute's Reuel Marc Gerecht, "no matter how hard the Europeans and the Americans may try, is coming to a close." America's choices are military action or an Iranian bomb.
And here's what Gerecht--a prominent hawk writing in America's most famously hawkish magazine--says about the military option: "The reasons not to bomb are many, and some are pretty compelling." Iranian-sponsored retaliation in Afghanistan and Iraq, he suggests, might cripple U.S. efforts in those countries (though it also might not). If the United States bombed Iran's facilities once, he adds, it would have to do so again and again, and consider using, "at a minimum, special-operations forces," "until [Iran] stopped" trying to get a nuke. How long would such a war last? "[M]any years, perhaps a decade or more."
"All of this is frightening," Gerecht concedes. But then, having spent 90 percent of his essay describing an invasion's potential horrors, he pivots in the final paragraphs and says that, if Iran gave a dirty bomb to Al Qaeda or attacked a U.S. embassy, that would be worse. "It is best that such men not have nukes, and that we do everything in our power, including preventive military strikes, to stop this from happening," he writes. "Given the Islamic Republic's dark history, the burden of proof ought to be on those who favor accommodating a nuclear Iran."
Huh? Surely, as a general rule, the burden of proof should be on those wishing to launch a war--except, perhaps, in response to a direct attack. That burden can sometimes be met, but there's something a little sinister about suggesting that it should rest with those who don't want to go to war--especially since Gerecht himself has just catalogued the ramifications that a conflict with Iran could bring.
In this particular case, the burden of proof is this: Hawks must show that, if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it cannot be deterred from using it or transferring it to terrorists. That standard shouldn't make doves rest too easy. It's too glib simply to declare that deterrence "worked" during the cold war. As John Lewis Gaddis notes in The Cold War: A New History, deterrence came very close to failing--not merely in the Cuban missile crisis, but during the Korean war as well. In the cold war's terrifying first decade and a half, using nuclear weapons was far from unthinkable--not only in Moscow and Beijing, but also in Washington. Doves need a theory explaining why the circumstances that allowed deterrence to unexpectedly succeed between Washington and Moscow and Washington and Beijing (and, for that matter, Moscow and Beijing) would also hold between Tehran and Washington and Tehran and Jerusalem (and, for that matter, Tehran and Islamabad). And, if doves skip this deterrence debate--staking their case on America's ability to prevent Iran from getting a bomb in the first place--they will be making a big mistake. Diplomacy is worth trying, but we shouldn't kid ourselves: It will probably fail. Russia and China won't wield sticks. And the United States and Europe have no carrots that Iranians (including Iranian nationalists who loathe the regime) want as much as they want the bomb. If doves don't argue for deterrence now, they will find themselves in an intellectually precarious position down the road, when America's options come down to deterrence and war.
But, if doves have intellectual work to do, it is nothing compared with the burden on hawks. Gerecht dismisses deterrence against Iran in three breezy sentences--and on that basis proposes a war he admits could last a decade. That's pathetic. As shaky as deterrence was in the 1950s and early '60s, it grew stronger, and leaders of radically different ideological and cultural stripes increasingly avoided the nuclear brink. Whether President Bush wants to admit it or not, the United States is relying on deterrence even today against North Korea, as isolated and nutty a state as exists on the face of the earth. If hawks want to argue that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are fundamentally more irrational than Nikita Khrushchev, Mao Zedong, and Kim Jong Il, they will have to do better than vague allusions to "the Islamic Republic's dark history." (For all his obscene Holocaust references, Ahmadinejad has still not said anything as menacing as Khrushchev, who, in a 1958 meeting with Hubert Humphrey, circled Minneapolis on a map and told him that, as a favor, he'd spare Humphrey's hometown when Armageddon came.) Where is the evidence, in the 25 years since Iran's mullahs came to power, that threats of military retaliation don't affect their behavior? Where is the evidence that they seek martyrdom so fervently that they would risk the one thing that most regimes value above all else: survival? To be sure, Iran is a longtime sponsor of the murderous Hezbollah. But is there any reason to believe, from what we know of their relationship, that Iran's leaders would give it control of their most precious military possession? And, if the mullahs are so eager to launch nuclear weapons against Israel, why haven't they launched the chemical and biological weapons they already have?
There may be good answers to these questions. But, so far, the hawks aren't providing them. So far, in fact, they are barely even convincing themselves.
Peter Beinart is editor-at-large at The New Republic.