Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red line district (addendum)

Updated 9/28/2012
From Wide Asleep in America. And read his post!

Prime Minister Netanyahu drew his red line!

He drew it on his own personal copy of Iran's nuclear bomb design, produced by Acme Mass Destruction Products, Ltd., of Monument Valley, Arizona, and brought it into the United Nations General Assembly for show and tell, so we could see how serious the situation was.

If this reminds you of General Colin Powell at the United Nations, keep in mind that the general's pictures were of actually occurring objects that simply happened, as it turned out, not to be mobile biological weapons labs, although if any mobile biological weapons labs existed they would probably look quite a lot like that. Whereas Prime Minister Netanyahu's picture is of an obviously fictional object, because what he is trying to persuade us of is not the empirical truth but the moral truth, which is that people really need to pay more attention to him and that line is really red. Not green, or thin and blue, or what have you.
What I'm saying. If he'd just drawn a figurative red line, what kind of impact would that have? Not powerfull, in any case. Just full. Of it.

Update 9/28
If the world's not listening, then "effective" is hardly the word you want; if the world is laughing, as seems to be the case, that wasn't the effect the PM was aiming at. It certainly didn't convince anybody to take the "threat" more seriously, whether they took it seriously at all in the first place or not. However "gripped" Ari Fleischer may have personally felt.

More interesting is the Times reading, that
the substance of his speech suggested a softening of what had been a difficult dispute with the Obama administration on how to confront Iran over its nuclear program.
This by putting some praise for Obama into the speech (maybe not a big thing, but not that easy for Netanyahu to push past his lips), and by an interesting feature of that red line, which is that although it is drawn on the cartoon bomb, it can move around on the calendar, and has now slipped over to next April, so that we can stop worrying about his Iran attack coming before the election. Which I interpret to mean that in the famous September 11 phone call Netanyahu lost the game of chicken, and that is extremely good news.

(The Times also mentions by the bye that
Right now, Iran does not possess enough [medium-enriched] fuel to make a single weapon. In fact, its stockpile of it has declined in recent months, as it has converted some for the research reactor.
Although it is also noted that they've got at least six years' worth of fuel for the medical reactor at this point, so I have to admit that as an excuse it is starting to wear a little thin.)

The only really regrettable thing is the suffering of ordinary Iranian people under sanctions imposed to placate this fool and keep him from causing any greater damage. And there may be a big element of bluff there, too, as I have sometimes imagined. That is, the suffering of Iranians may be caused less by the sanctions than by Ahmedinejad's economic mismanagement. They certainly don't seem to be having much trouble selling oil; I heard somewhere that they are producing less oil than they can sell, in the hope of jacking up the price, but Dr. Google can't seem to find me a citation. Here, in any case, is some evidence:
Iranian supply fell by 50,000 bpd to 2.80 million bpd, matching July's rate, the survey found. Output in July was Iran's lowest since 1988, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Output from Iran is down sharply this year due to U.S. and European sanctions on the country over its nuclear program. The embargo bars EU insurance firms from covering Iran's exports, hindering imports by some non-EU buyers.

Some sources expected a small recovery in Iranian exports this month as some customers, including South Korea, returned. But some buyers say Iran's tanker fleet has been struggling to meet delivery schedules, slowing down exports.

"There is clearly a problem with the tanker issues and over the longer term it's probably going to get more and more difficult," said one industry source, who estimated Iranian exports in September were on a par with August's.

See what I mean? The authors of this don't, but this is a weird kind of embargo ("Sorry, we're fresh out—under embargo, so naturally the stuff is selling like hot, umm, springs").

It will be many decades, perhaps, before it's possible to cut through all this multilateral bluffing to find out what was in fact going on, but I think at that point it will become clear that Obama (or the team of Obama and Clinton) was as refined and ruthless a diplomatic maneuverer as Talleyrand, and that he has prevented some pretty awful things.

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