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"Let's take the debate over Iran, particularly two either/or choices that Republicans have dodged for their own convenience. For all their professed concern about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, they need to make some decisions. First, sanctioning Iranian oil exports -- not to mention rattling the sabers of a near-term attack -- raises the price of oil. Those who are loud proponents of sanctions should have the guts to say that higher prices at the pump are worth it. Also, please stop whining about President Obama's reset of US-Russian relations. The clearest payoff of the reset was a boost in Russian help in pressuring Iran. If keeping up pressure on Iran is important, then so was the reset."

I have always been a proponent of the old-fashioned guideline that politics stops at the water's edge. Sadly, it has increasingly been ignored rather than respected. The debates since the start of this century have demonstrated a clear and vibrant disagreement regarding American foreign policy, its' connection to domestic politics, and the increasing disconnect to reality that one group within the foreign policy community demonstrates (specifically, the neo-cons who have found their home within the GOP). It's one thing to have legitimate debates as to what our goals and interests are and what are the best ways to achieve them. It is another to ignore the facts in the world and to make pronouncements or policy proposals that ignore them for pure partisan domestic rhetoric. In the end, that will only make the job of whoever is elected in November that much harder.
With all due respect to my friend Rich Williamson, the Romney foreign policy surrogate who gave the below quote to Helene Cooper for her NYTimes piece yesterday on foreign policy surrogates: “The world is better off because Osama bin Laden is dead. The world is better off because Muammar Qaddafi is dead,” Mr. Williamson said in an interview. “But two deaths do not a foreign policy make.” To which the obvious response is that pithy quotes don't ma...
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I, personally, don't care about Iran. The people of that country are not evil and they don't hate Americans (US or those in other parts of the continent.)

If you want my opinion, I think the US should give Iran nukes. A few every year.

There are two possible scenarios that come from this action.

1. Iran sits on the nukes and stabilizes the region.
2. They try to nuke someone in the middle east and get nuked in return (MAD).

There would be a ridiculous and stupid assumption that these nukes would be used against US troops or even more remotely a US city. The US would destroy the entire nation of Iran if this happened, and why look upon the US as an enemy when it gives you nukes.
Last week, two of our very close friends came over for dinner. They are from Iran. They live and work here in Hawaii where they raised their two children who hold dual citizenship. There daughter is now working in DC with the federal government. When I expressed concern about the US going to war against Iran they made this clear:
It is highly unlikely that the US federal government would go to war with Iran. Why? 2 reasons. 1) History. The United States federal government has a long history of partnering with Iran... back to the time when the CIA (under Bush Senior's regime as head of CIA) put the Shah back in power and set up a government there - all covertly - i.e. without any sanctioned war act. AND 2) Present Day Relations! How do you think the US gets troops, supplies, etc. into Afghanistan? Oh there are other outlying countries that we hear about. What is NOT made public is that HUGE amounts of supplies are taken to Afghanistan via the ports of IRAN! It is a strategic place for the US to have access and there is an UNpublicized strategic relationship that US federal government considers vital and will not disrupt. So, for all the BS in the media of what we think is going on, the reality is that the US and Iran have a very close partnership. The moral to the story is... don't believe the media. Our media has been so censored here for so many years that Europeans and Middle Easterners find it humorous when we even try to have discussions on such topics as our own government's foreign relations because we are so thoroughly misinformed.
+Arleen Boyd I certainly appreciate your views, but there are some factual errors above. First of all, the U.S. helped put the Shah back in power in the 1950s, during the Eisenhower Administration when Allen Dulles was running the CIA, not Bush Sr. Bush Sr. at that time was in his early business career following his wartime service and had yet to enter politics. Secondly, while there was a lot of unofficial cooperation and coordination with Iran against the Taliban in the early years of the conflict in Afghanistan, such has become much less the case over the years and we are not sending any kind of sizable supplies through Iranian ports. We, meaning the U.S. and our NATO allies, are using the Central Asian republics and Pakistan as our main transit routes.

Certainly Iran has great strategic value and it would be to the benefit of both states to reduce tensions and let the natural friendship between the peoples of both our countries to flourish. Here's hoping saner heads on both sides allow this to happen.
+Alex Grossman it was the CIA under Bush Senior's tenure that set up and trained the SAVAK, which was the Shah's secret police service that tortured their own citizens when they would peacefully demonstrate against the government. Furthermore, the United States is and has been using the ports of Iran to a great extent to supply our forces in the region. It is going on now. My friends go back "home" regularly and have relatives and friends closely involved with said operations. I do apologize for not being more clear as to what Bush's exact involvement was in my earlier comment.
+Arleen Boyd The SAVAK was established in the 1950s, shortly after the Mosaddeq coup which restored power to the Shah and was supported mainly through the CIA. While the team that supported and provided assistance to the Shah creating SAVAK was principally CIA, the man who was mainly responsible for training the first SAVAK personnel was Maj Gen. Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf, father of Gen Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the U.S. forces in the war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. A very good book on this period is Countercoup, written by Kermit Roosevelt, who was heavily involved in the events. The first edition of the book was censored after publication because of some material that was mistakenly allowed to be included. Copies of that first edition are hard to come by. It's also useful to note that views on Mosaddeq were more nuanced than is commonly believed. CIA under Truman wanted to keep him in power and the CIA station chief in Teheran was so opposed to action that he resigned his post.
+Arleen Boyd With regard to Iranian ports, again the U.S. is not using them. The main port in question that would be suitable for this is Chah Bahar. While Chah Bahar would be fantastic if the U.S. and Iran could work out their issues, Chah Bahar is being developed primarily in cooperation with India with the intention of providing links to Afghanistan and Central Asia and is being done to counter the U.S. sanctions and welcome Indian influence as a counter-weight to the U.S. The port is also being developed as an alternative to a trade route that was to go through Pakistan, but that route is threatened by tensions between India and Pakistan. I'm sure this development and construction could be misconstrued as supplies for U.S. and NATO forces, but they are actually Indian in nature and are for developing and building trade routes, railways, and roads to benefit Iran and India.
+Alex Grossman I obviously have not read the book Countercoup, nor do I subscribe to the reports you are getting your information from. What I can tell you is from my 1st hand conversations with people who were there.

When I was 17, as a college freshman in 1977, my boyfriend (form '77 to '79), was was here as an international student studying engineering - from Iran. He and his cousins and friends had a complex internationally tied system of communication set up via a series of Ham Radios with which they communicated to Iran. Their information was 1st & 2nd hand and included recordings broadcasted and relayed. I was allowed to sit in on more than a dozen of sessions, my boyfriend, Esmail would interpret for me. They also received by mail to commercial mail boxes (for they dared not use their own names and addresses) information, clippings, photos, and various "proofs" of atrocities and documentation of involvement. I have never publicly shared what all I saw and heard from all of this. In that I must get ready for an appointment, I do not have the time right now to share. Honestly, most people don't want to know... it includes acts so vial they are unspeakable. It involves the covert operations of the US CIA under Bush's term as DIA. Hell, I'd probably put myself on some kind of watch list. Not that care. If you really want to know, I will share at another time. Oh, decades later I had conversations with another dear friend who has been with the NSA for decades and conceded knowledge of what I was shared with me. Again, I caution to be leery of what is portrayed publicly.
Bush Senior was simply continuing what had been American policy vis-a-vis Iran since the 1950s. Please note that by the time you were in college, Bush was no longer DCI, so whatever actions the CIA was involved with in the years leading up to the Iranian revolution, they were done under the supervision of the Carter Administration.
+Alex Grossman Alex, this is not on point, but I wonder if you know: was there ever any study done of any kind of collaboration or quid pro quo between Reagan and Iran? It was just so weird that the American hostages were released on the day of Reagan entering office. I haven't found anything in any books (Iran/Contra of course, but that's different (I assume, and you know that does. ;'))
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