October 24, 2007


Actually, Iran is not so tough (Martin van Creveld, October 24, 2007, International Herald Tribune)

Judging by its behavior, Iran's leadership is in a panic. It has good reason to be. Over a month has passed since Israel successfully attacked an alleged Syrian nuclear installation, proving that the Russian built anti-aircraft defenses, which Iran too has bought, are vulnerable.

Behind Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stands George W. Bush. Four years ago, Bush took on Iran's neighbor to the west and demolished it to the point where it may never rise again. Both men have repeatedly signaled their determination to prevent Iran from going nuclear, using force if necessary. They may very well carry out their threats.

Should they do so, Iran will have little to put in their way. Though rich in oil, Iran is a third-world country with a population of 70 million and a per capita income of $2,440.

Madness as method (Maureen Dowd, October 24, 2007, NY Times)
President Nixon and Henry Kissinger liked to use madness as a method. In 1969, Nixon told Kissinger to caution the Soviet ambassador that Nixon was "out of control" on Indochina, and could do something drastic.

Three months earlier, as Anthony Summers wrote in "The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon," "Kissinger had sent that very same message by proxy when he instructed Len Garment, about to leave on a trip to Moscow, to give the Soviets 'the impression that Nixon is somewhat "crazy" - immensely intelligent, well organized and experienced to be sure, but at moments of stress or personal challenge unpredictable and capable of the bloodiest brutality.' Garment carried out the mission, telling a senior Brezhnev adviser that Nixon was 'a dramatically disjointed personality more than a little paranoid when necessary, a cold-hearted butcher.' " All of which, his aides later reflected, was kind of true.

Cheney seems to enjoy giving the impression that he is loony enough to pull off an attack on Iran before leaving office - even if he has to do it alone, like Slim Pickens riding the bomb down in "Dr. Strangelove" to the sentimental tune of "We'll Meet Again."

Fortunately W and Dick Cheney are serious men and recognize their foe's weakness. Had Nixon and Kissinger been likewise the Cold War would have ended 30 years earlier.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 24, 2007 2:23 PM

If Maureen Dowd knows one thing, it's crazy, you gotta give her that.

No way to sneak any of that fake crazy by her.

Posted by: Benny at October 24, 2007 3:07 PM

1) "Cold-hearted butcher"--that's what we need!

Du-ce, Du-ce, Du-ce.

2) For some reason, Dowd expresses a real understanding of strategic deterrrence, perhaps for the reason Benny suggests. For deterrrence to work, the other side must believe that you both capable and unpredictable.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 24, 2007 3:53 PM

I mourn the death of TimesSelect, the firewall that kept MoDo safely off the Internet for years.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 24, 2007 4:24 PM

It's funny, as I read the recent New Yorker piece by Sy Hersh on Iran (just tonight), I wondered how much the administration was laughing about all the characterizations of Cheney as a rabid loon.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 24, 2007 8:41 PM

A "rabid loon?" Big time! My kind of guy.

Posted by: Genecis at October 25, 2007 7:20 AM