More War and Politics

Saturday, January 21, 2006
You know what they say, if you can't beat them, join them.

It seems that Senator Evan Bayh has decided he will beat Hillary to the punch and go to the right of Bush on Iran by introducing legislation calling for sweeping sactions against Iran:

"We have wasted valuable time, diverted resources and ignored this problem at our peril." Mr. Bayh says noting that he supports a ban on gasoline sales to Iran and other economic punishments. "No one wants to forestall the need to use military force more than I do, but if we are to do we must act now".

You know foreigners think they can divide this country and every now and then they succeed but sometimes when push comes to shove our politicians are united by the desire to win elections.

Iran offers the Democrats an oppurtunity to look tough, after their fractured and often times humiliating response to Iraq and the difficulties encountered there.

The mullahs are mistaken if they think they can play Democrats against Republicans, at least at this stage of the game. Very few Democrats want to be seen pandering to these guys. Democrats remember the Iranian mullahs... they are the ones who ruined Jimmy Carter and took our embassy and held our people. And Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton want everyone to know, they are not Jimmy Carter.

The question is will the Democats remember that in the morning when cold light of dawn breaks on the very real possibility of another war?

Will any of us?


David Thomson said...

This is excellent news. However, are Senators Evan Bayh and Hillary Clinton willing to strongly declare that American military action is a possibility? The Bush administration is unambiguously saying it publicly. What about the Democrats? This is the true test.

Peter UK said...

It might be good to get signed and dated affidavits setting out their support now,because it is odds on they will flop flop later when the going gets tough.

flenser said...

Bayh's resolution calls on the Bush administration to work with the international community and the United Nations Security Council to enact a series of economic, political and diplomatic sanctions designed to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons without necessitating the use of military force. Sanctions in Bayh's resolution include:

"We should never have arrived at this juncture," Senator Bayh said. "During his State of the Union speech in 2002, President Bush famously called Iran part of the 'Axis of Evil,' but then followed that up by ignoring and then largely deferring management of this crisis to the Europeans. This approach has certainly been damaging to our national security."

The thing is that they are NOT to Bush's right. Bayh and Clinton are both demanding that the matter be resolved by the UN through sanctions. I'm sure they both know quite well that the UN is very unlikely to impose sanctions and that even if they do, they won't work.

This looks like a repeat of the Democratic position in 2003 - 2003. They are insisting that the US not act "unilaterally", but instead work with the "world community".

They should not be allowed to spin this as being more concerned about Iraq than Bush is.

I'd guess that they are expecting strikes on Iran's nuclear installations and are already setting themselves up to claim that such strikes would be unnecessary if only the WH had practiced better diplomacy.

terrye said...


I think they want to have it both ways, they want to the UN route and at the same time appear they are prepared to go all the way. They want to look as if they are going to the right of Bush. If the Iranians believe that it could be helpful.

But are they really just playing with rhetoric here? I don't know, but people like Evan Bayh are walking a tight rope. I have lived in Indiana for many years and I can honestly say that Bayh did not govern like a liberal when he was at the State House in Indianapolis. He went to the left when he got to DC however.

I do think that this kind of rhetoric is intended to make people view certain Democrats as more centrist on national security.

So far even the Bush administration is saying they prefer diplomacy. Could it be that there will be a coming together here between some Democrats and the Bushies?

Hell if I know. It would have been a lot more impressive however if we had seen this call for sanctions against Iran coming from Bayh two years ago. No point in complaining about Bush being slow when he was not doing or saying anything different himself.

flenser said...


Could it be that there will be a coming together here between some Democrats and the Bushies?

No, I don't see how that can happen. The "certain Democrats" are now engaged in blasting the WH for not doing the things which the WH has in fact been doing for the last few years - working with the Europeans and the UN to try to resolve the Iranian problem. They remain "to the left" of the WH on this issue.

The logjam here is the UN and the Europeans, not the WH. And I'm quite sure Bayh is aware of that. But for base political reasons he is pretending that the UN has not acted because the WH has not prompted it to do so.

What the Democrats should be doing about now, if they possessed a shred of honesty, is admitting that their precious "international community" is incapable of dealing with any serious problems, and proposing ways of getting things done which do not depend on achieving an unattainable "international consensus".

Barry Dauphin said...

...largely deferring management of this crisis to the Europeans.


I mean REALLY. The Dems need to get their own late night shows. They're funnier than Letterman. After all the "going it alone" and "unilateralism" and "work with our allies" rhetoric, we are now being treated to this!

flenser said...

See Bayh's senate statement on this here .

terrye said...


Oh yeah, it is damned if you do...damned if you don't.

But keep in mind, Kerry [who is a complete idiot] came within 3 points of Bush..a guy like Evan Bayh might have a real shot at the White House.

terrye said...


Thanks for the link.

It just amazes me that the Iranians have all that oil, but buy gasoline. Then it again it amazes me that they have all that oil and still lose 40,000 people in an earthquake. So much for infrastructure.

flenser said...

Having hamstrung the Bush administration to the best of their ability for the past several years, the Democratic party is now demanding to know why it has not taken prompt action to solve all the worlds problems.

And this is from the supposed "centerists", not the lunatic fringe.

terrye said...


This is politics and I think the Democrats are very much aware of the fact that the Europeans and the international community have not been able to get the job done. In fact I think they are aware of the fact that the job might not get done at all.

I think the Democrats just want it to look as if they are being forceful so that if and when military action takes place they can hide behind the "Last resort" position.

Keep in mind that not all Democrats are alike.

Sometimes I think that if the base of each party could go after the nation's enemies and problems with the same single minded ferocity they go after each other the whole country would be better off.

terrye said...


I voted for Bush and I still support him, but the problems that kept him from going after Iran are complicated and they don't all have a D behind their names.

I wish Clinton had dealt with them, but then again I think if Reagan had seen this coming he might have dealt with them himself. But he did not.

flenser said...

I think the Democrats just want it to look as if they are being forceful so that if and when military action takes place they can hide behind the "Last resort" position.

To put it mildly, that is a charitable description. The Democrats made all of these same noises back in 2002, and it was not a prelude to them backing US action in Iraq. It was so that when action was taken the Democrats could complain that it would not have been neccessary if only more UN sanctions and negotiations had been tried, that Bush "rushed to war".

You seem to see Bayh as taking a serious and aggressive position on Iran here, and the newspaper headlines give that impression. But if you look at the text of what he is actually saying, it's the same thing Kerry was saying a couple of years ago.

I think you are allowng your desire to see the Democrats regain their sanity to skew your thinking on this. This story does not show Bayh taking a hawkish-centerist stance, it shows him adapting the Kerry-Dean-MoveOn position.

I will see Bayh and the rest of the Democratic leadership as having come to their senses when they acknowlege that their preferred approach to solving international crises does not work. Plenty of the membership of the party can see that, including you. But the message has not filtered up to the top yet and I'm doubtful that it will.

Buddy Larsen said...

Haven't read the speeches, but would be surprised if they didn't contain plenty of caveat.

flenser said...

Lest terrye think that I am picking on Democrats, I think that Hagel is also a nincompoop. See the bottom of the link I gave above for details.

And some Democrats can speak of this issue without it turning into an orgy of Bush-bashing. See Tom Lantos here . (Ht Roger Simon.)

Lantos remarks are an example of what I would prefer to see coming from the Democratic party. Not an attempt to position himself to look good whatever happens, just a sober assessment of the situation and some good faith recommendations for what he thinks should be done.

This is what a responsible oppostion party would look like.

Buddy Larsen said...

Here's a very fine Noonan piece on this very topic (good comments, too!).

Says, Pubs better get themselves back to Main Street.

Buddy Larsen said...

This is an equally important piece, over on the WSJ site:

Buddy Larsen said...

...fascinating detail from the Noonan piece (which BTW brings up the latest Hollywood propaganda doc "Why We Fight"), the famous Eisenhower farewell warning about the military-industrial complex, was actually worded "congressional-military-industrial" complex--but the press inexplicably ignored the first word (or, a third of the message).

terrye said...


I don't think you are picking on anyone. [except maybe poor little me, sniff]... I am just pointing out that the Bush administration has not exactly ask Congress for a declaration of war against Iran. In other words Bush and Bayh are very close to being on the same page right now. Like it or not. The difference is we know Bush will turn the page if he has remains to be seen if any of the Democrats can do that. But Bayh wants that big job and it would be a mistake to think he can't go right, after all the man was a very successful Governor in a very conservative state. If he ran here today he would beat the socks off the Republican Mitch Daniels.

And I don't think it realistic to ask politicians to admit they were wrong about something like that. It ain't gonna happen in any either party.

It never does.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

The whole embargo nonsense never works. It's what people say when they want to force another party to do something but don't have the will to fight an actual war.

Consider. Why would an embargo hurt the mullahs? It would hurt the people of Iran, who are already in economic dire straits in many cases. I will guarantee that sad stories about the nefarious effects of the embargo will trickle out of Iran into the press. Do-gooder orgnizations full of well-meaning Europeans and Canadians will send team members to Iran to very publicly help the poor by way of castigating the United States for its nefarious policies.

Iran has or is building pipelines to China. An embargo is likely to hurt the West more than the Mullahs. Expect the price of gasoline to go to $5/gallon. Expect politicians and the press to blame Bush and "Big Oil" for heartlessly allowing gasoline to go so high without raising taxes on the rich. Expect Hillary and Bayh to dodge this issue entirely, probably by being the first to pass legislation to nationalize the oil companies.

Can you honestly name a single occurrence in which an embargo caused a change of behavior by an antagonistic state? What did it do against Castro? It's just an excuse for his supporters in this country and Europe to explain his failures.

Embargoes are the cowardly approach to war. They never work and they hurt our cause. THey're the first refuge of the weenie politicians.

terrye said...


I also have my doubts about an embargo or sanctions. How can we forget the Food for Oil scam.

I think the idea is just too stress the government... but of course to do that you have to hurt the poor bastard in the street. But this is a dictatorship, so do they care? Perhaps the idea is to let the people of Iran know that if you do not take these people out, you all will suffer. The hope being this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

If gas goes to $5 I will be in big trouble. And I doubt if I am all that unusual. It would really hurt our economy.

In fact that could create a recession and in the long run that would hurt the Iranians as much as the embargo.

The Oil Crisis was a pretty good example of that. Prices went up and then down, then went up and then crashed again. They were down for some time too.

Sometimes I wonder if it is all some kind of high stakes poker game the purpose of which is to see who folds.

Too bad we can't just ignore them.

That sounds better all the damn time. I guess that is what they were counting on.

But if going after them is too hawkish and if an embargo is counter productive...what choices are there? It would seem to me that a coup might be the best solution.

As for being the first refuge of weenie politicians, I think that is why the Bush administration put the Europeans out front on this.

Peter UK said...

The Europeans were put on point for a few reasons.One,if the US had lead and failed it would have devolved down to the Europeans,the next step in this case is the US.
Secondly,it is doubtful that the Mullahs would have openly done business with the US,which is after all the Great Satan,further Iran sees itself as the regional superpower,so she has to cock a snook at the US.
It is also easier to play Good Cop Bad Cop with a third party,also the US is now ina position to say that diplomatic means have been exhausted by our European Allies,remembering that France and Germany are the only two countries on the planet which the current Democrats recognise.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


You're usually pretty good at facing reality. Reality is this: there isn't going to be a coup or revolution by the Iranian people. That never happens. Never ever. Look at Cuba. Look at Vietnam. Look at North Korea. Look at Iraq.

This chimera of believing embargo will cause revolution goes back hundreds of years yet we never seem to learn.

That was the forlorn hope the British had in fighting the French during the Revolution. It's why they landed a force at Toulon, an incident which served merely for Napoleon to make a name for himself. We all know how well that plan worked. It took the gritty realism of a hard-fighting general named the Duke of Wellington, a general who was willing to sacrifice thousands of his soldiers, to win the war. It always does.

terrye said...


Yes I am pretty good at facing reality and if I remember correctly 25 years ago the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire..and where are they today? Along with a lot of Eastern European dictators? We did not attack them either... we bankrupted them.

I said the best outcome would be a coup. I don't know if it will happen or not but the mullahs were not elected to power either, they got there in one of those it never happens revolutions.

Anyhow, so far you have said embargoes are for weenies, an attack is too hawkish and so I guess that just leaves the mullahs going nuclear.

So do the Israelis just bend over and kiss their asses good bye in this brave new world of hard cold reality? Along with God knows who else? Or do we all just face reality and hope for the best?

MeaninglessHotAir said...

...where are they today? ... We did not attack them either... we bankrupted them.

Correct. But we're not going to bankrupt the Iranians. The issue between us, unlike with the Communists, is not an issue of what the real rules of economics are. The issue is what the religious basis of society should be. We suffer under the illusion that our society has no religious basis and they know better.

The Iranians are sitting on a black-gold mine. An embargo will hurt us--particularly, as you have said, the poor people--will hurt the Europeans, but won't hurt the Mullahs a bit. They've got lots of new agreements with China, surreptitiously signed while the Western media was going crazy over non-issues like Plame-gate. They will sell all the oil to China they want, and China will draw out negotiations on sanctions in the Security Council endlessly.

Revolutions do occur, but they are rare events in human affairs, and only happen in general when you've had an entrenched
but weak ancien regime. They don't happen when you've got hot new true believers running things, as in Iran. And they don't happen because of external embargoes. Those just make people mad. Hostile acts by the Western powers will redound internally to the credit of the Mullahs.

As you may know, I believe elections are largely a sham, even in democratic countries like our own. Why am I only given a choice between the rich and the superrich for my candidates, between a Bush and a Clinton, year after weary year? Where's the "democracy"?

Yep, I think we kid ourselves about our options. We talk all the time about how we're the "superpower" until we get to the point where we actually believe such nonsense. Both "left" and "right". Our choices are three: 1) embargo, 2) war, 3) nothing.

I'm not willing to have my sons killed to stop the mullahs from getting the bomb. I'm not willing to die myself to stop the mullahs from getting the bomb. I strongly oppose "optional" wars. Wars can only be entered into morally, in my opinion, if they are done as a last resort.

China has the bomb and is hostile. Ditto with Russia and France. Pakistan and India have the bomb. It's just a matter of time till any number of countries get it. We can't stop it, and we might as well quit pretending.

Buddy Larsen said...

MHA, can't agree re/ 'not a dime's worth of difference' between the parties. For example, look at this current mess--Putin has become the swing player, and he won't be our friend unless he has to. putin, in turn, and the whole regression of Russia, is directly traceable to the USSR collapsing at the front end of two terms of Clintonism. our main transition man was none other than Al Gore, with his 'Chernomyrdin Commission'.

However, prime minister Adrian Nastase of Romania says to look only forward (scroll a tad down).

terrye said...


I don't know if we can bankrupt them or not but if they really want to join the 21st century they would be better off refining their own damn gas than getting the bomb. I think our threats of embargo are a warning against their threats to shut off oil.

I do understand your reasoning. I know I am sick of thinking about war. I don't want one more young person to die if it can be avoided. Not one. But I think that people are afraid of the rhetoric of the Iranians. Skittish is the word that comes to mind.

Have you ever read the book Reading Lolita in Tehran?

I can't think of the author's name right now [early onset Alzheimers] but she made the point that a lot of people felt buyer's remorse for the revolution but did not seem to know what to do about it.

I have read that over half the population in Iran is too young to remember the Shah. And that heroin addiction is very high. The young are bored and are beginning to turn from Islam. Who knows, maybe in a generation we will be dealing with entirely different people.

I was reading a report on the history of oil production and it said that between 1990 and 1997 oil consumption increased 6.2 million barrels and Asia accounted for all but 300,000. But then it slowed down and now it is climbing again.

But you know what? You never know what might happen. Cold fusion or something else like it might change the whole debate.

After all in 1905 who would have imagined this scenario?

Buddy Larsen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buddy Larsen said...

Oops, I meant this, the James Egan update email and links.

Peter UK said...

Perhaps an examination of other revolutionary cultures might give an indication of how to deal with Iran?
There seems tp be distinct stages:- Generak discontent with a weak but oppresive regime - The emergence of a strong ideology which offers an alternative - generally the revolutionary country or its controling power is involved in an external war.
The revolution resultsa in the usurping group taking some of the levers of power - This is followed by the bloodiest stage of consolidation and elimination of any oppositio - There is invariably apower struggle to establish which subgroups of the revolutionary paries become dominant - Having secured power and the old national borders the revolutionary creed is proselytised,the revolutionary nation has the confidence to embark on expansionist wars ,attempts to destabilse regimes with opposing ideologies takes place.
The question is where is Iran up to?

Buddy Larsen said...

Keep your eye on Nepal, too. The gasket between India & China. All we can get from the area is labels like "Maoist Guerillas" and "Royalist forces". Wonder what's actually happening. PRC subversion springs most readily to mind. Tibet-style.

Meanwhile, FoxNews this morning is exposing "Sugar Frosted Flakes".

Peter UK said...

One subtle difference Buddy,the Ghurkas of Nepal are not like the Tibetans.

Buddy Larsen said...

Good point, but moot, if it's Ghurka-on-Ghurka.

Peter UK said...

Yes but Tibet was Chinese on Tibetan,how the Gurkas would take to the rape and massacre of the Chinese bears some thinking about.
Ghurkas themselves are reluctant to talk about it,an aquaintance of mine,a former Sergeant in the Ghurka Regiment,is very circumspect if others of his people are about.

Buddy Larsen said...

Some odd features, India has embargoed weapons to the Nepalese gov't, which procures now from PRC, in order to fight 'Maoists'.

But, what we see in the west as a little dust-ip has 12,000 KIA in just the last several years. Serious business--the gov't is fighting for its life.