Monday, February 27, 2006
Barry Posen - The NYT Sicilian
Somedays I wonder why I bother with the New York Times. Barry Posen's column titled We Can Live With a Nuclear Iran only solidifies my opinion the NYT Op-Ed page is only fit to wrap fish.
I refer to him as the NYT Sicilian referencing a very funny character in The Princess Bride
His name is Vizzini. He's a Sicilian who is far and away the smartest man on the planet. Just ask him. To refresh your memory, I quote for you Vizzini's final exchange with Westley from the movie:
Vizzini: I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains.Vizzini then falls over dead, having been poisoned despite his oversized brain.
Westley: You're that smart?
Vizzini: Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?
Vizzini: Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me!
Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong - that's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha-ha, you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia", but only slightly less famous is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian, when *death* is on the line!". Hahahahahah!
Reading Mr. Posen's column today made me think of Vizzini. Mr. Posen states several times that a nuclear armed Iran creates a situation which can be dealt with. Says he:
A Middle Eastern arms race is a frightening thought, but it is improbable. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, among its neighbors, only Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey could conceivably muster the resources to follow suit.I don't know about you, but that concept just makes me feel better about the whole situation. NOT!
Iranian nuclear weapons could be put to three dangerous purposes: Iran could give them to terrorists; it could use them to blackmail other states; or it could engage in other kinds of aggressive behavior on the assumption that no one, not even the United States, would accept the risk of trying to invade a nuclear state or to destroy it from the air. The first two threats are improbable and the third is manageable. (Emphasis mine)Mr. Posen's argument is here fatally flawed. The Islamofacist Murdering Thugs in Mullah's robes masquerading as reasonable leaders are not concerned with the well being of their nation. They hate Israel, with the United States coming in a close second on their list of targets for the weapons they desire. They are not prone to rational thought. They see negotiation as little more than a stalling tactic until they have a nuclear shield to hide behind. In the Cold War, the Soviet Union could, for the most part, be counted on to act like a nation concerned with the future. I do not believe this could be expected of a nuclear armed Ayatollah.
Anyone who attacks the United States with nuclear weapons will be attacked with many, many more nuclear weapons. Israel almost certainly has the same policy. If a terrorist group used one of Iran's nuclear weapons, Iran would have to worry that the victim would discover the weapon's origin and visit a terrible revenge on Iran. No country is likely to turn the means to its own annihilation over to an uncontrolled entity.
Mr. Posen uses many multi-syllabic phrases in his attempt to show the power of his large brain and convince the reader Iran would act like any other reasonable nation. He finishes with this sentence:
But as we contemplate the actions, including war, that the United States and its allies might take to forestall a nuclear Iran, we need to coolly assess whether and how such a specter might be deterred and contained.Mr. Posen fails miserably in his attempt to assuage the concerns raised by a nuclear armed Islamofacist Murdering Thug regime in Iran. The only way do deal with such an unstable regime desiring to acquire the most destructive weapons known to man is to insure, by force if necessary, that such weapons never fall into their blood soaked hands.
Here endeth the lesson.