Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 19, 2011

The Iran Sanctions Become A Self Inflicted Wound

It is amazing how ridiculous the new Israel induced "western" sanctions on Iran are evolving now:

The United States, its European allies and key Arab states are intensifying talks on how to maintain stability in the global energy markets in case of a formal embargo on Iran’s oil exports and its central bank, The Wall Street Journal reported late Sunday.
US and European officials have indicated they are seeking assurances from major oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, to increase exports to the European Union and Asian nations if tighter sanctions on Tehran’s energy exports and central bank are enforced in the coming months, the Journal report said.

There is unlikely to be enough oil available to replace Iranian output. The Saudi's November production was an all time record 10 million barrels per day. It is doubtful that they and others can produce more than they currently do.

But it is also unlikely that Iran will not be able to find customers to buy its oil. Despite sanctions against Iran the total produced amount of oil will therefore stay the same, but the customers will change and that can well lead to a widening of the conflict.

Iran will of course continue to sell oil to China, India and whoever else will ignore under the U.S. diktat to not buy Iranian oil. Those buyers will have a good negotiation position and will get their oil cheaper. It will also make them more dependent on Iran which may well mean that they will be more hostile to any attempt to further squeeze Iran at the UN or elsewhere.

Those "western" countries that will move away from Iranian oil will have to pay higher prices as the possible sources for their purchase will be reduced. This will put more pressure on their economies none of which are in good shape. With less flexibility will also come a higher risk should some event, like an explosion at Saudi facilities, reduce the production available to them.

In total the markets will be more nervous and the risk premium included in oil prices will go up. Iran and the other Persian Gulf countries will make more money. Everyone else will have to pay more for oil with the price increase for the "west" likely much higher than for the "east". This while the "west" is in economic trouble and the "east" is still expanding.

It will be the most stupid self inflicted wound world policy has seen for a while. All this because a tiny racist west-Asian country that wants to stay at the top in its wider area demands, through its U.S. lobby, that a twelve times bigger country a thousand miles away from it must be hindered in its further economic and technological development.

Posted by b on December 19, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Permalink


They are Europe Sanctions not Iran sanctions. How stupid of the U.S.! How cowardly of the EU!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 1:26:35 PM | 1

This will surely deepen the Depression and have the effect of further increasing political tensions. We are witnessing an amazing failure and a lapse of reason by US and EU leaders, while the world awaits further economic shocks.

Posted by: Copeland | Dec 19, 2011 2:01:30 PM | 2

Re-iterating the obvious, these political moves against Iran are basically senseless. Ending Iran's fully-observed and IAEA-approved uranium conversion operation -- IAEA: "no diversion" -- is completely irrelevant to any alleged Iranian nuke program, regarding which there is absolutely no evidence. The U.S. is even on record for affirming Iran's right to a peaceful nuclear program, which was in fact initiated years ago with U.S. assistance under the "atoms for peace" program. Look here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 2:20:54 PM | 3

i have my doubts, so it will be interesting to watch and see what happens. if india and china are getting oil cheaper from iran, then you've got fewer "dollars" chasing petrol in the markets. NATO countries may have to use other sources, but those other sources will see less competition unless demand were to somehow dramatically increase in india/china.

now, other forces are at work, such as iran performing military exercises to close the straight of hormuz. that seems to me the more likely mechanism to drive up uncertainty/prices, which has the added benefit of allowing iran to still get a decent return on it's oil as it sells at discount, and punishing NATO citizens at the same time.

unrelated, i happened to come across the helium article off google the other day, which got me to doing a lot more googling on helium. and it's very interesting that helium doesn't like sticking around in the earth's crust. no, it's a sign of radioactive decay. and yes, iran does have it's own uranium mines, but the huge reserve of helium they found makes me wonder if iran's true uranium reserves aren't also huge. and perhaps our government knows this from surveys made a long time ago when relations were more friendly.

Posted by: Proton Soup | Dec 19, 2011 2:40:37 PM | 4

@PS -- iran's true uranium reserves
Which also might serve to explain the presence of the infamous U.S. drone in remote northeastern Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 3:07:20 PM | 5

Apparently this is how things roll now. When policy is predicated exclusively on affectation, ideology, and hubris, as opposed to efficacy. How else do you kill a million people, sully your international reputation, and piss away a trillion dollars to replace a secular anti-Iranian dictator with sectarian Iran friendly dictator - and call it a smashing success.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 19, 2011 3:30:54 PM | 6

There are two central narratives that presume the Iranian state is likely to collapse under the pressure of sanctions and/or threats of war. In Adib-Moghaddam’s opinion, both are flawed:

“The argument that Iran is economically isolated does not hold.”

According to the most recent United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report, “Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Iran hit a new record in 2010 and surpassed 3.6 billion dollars despite sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.”

“This does not mean that there are no serious economic problems in the country…It means that there is another side to the Iran story that is subdued for ideological reasons. Ultimately, the US and to a lesser extent the European Union are disqualifying themselves from the Iranian market during a period of intense economic calamity. China and Russia say ‘thank you’.”

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell

Posted by: DakotabornKansan | Dec 19, 2011 4:04:25 PM | 7

The "international community" is desperate to bring Iran into its sphere of influence. This period of depression may be the last period of slack in energy markets before peak oil really starts to get serious. When that happens, any attack or embargo on Iran would drive prices to catastrophic levels. And so, militarists want to strike now, while energy markets are somewhat weak.

Short of sitting down to negotiate, this may be the Washington's last chance to put Iran under the US' liberalized energy trading system. If it fails, oil and gas will flow to India and China by pipeline, not by sea under US military "protection." Deals will be negotiated in Yuan and Rupees, a severe blow to the dollar. And the US will have no say in who gets to develop and pump the product.

Sad to say, negotiating with Iran is inconceivable to Washington, a clear indication of their insufferable arrogance.

Posted by: JohnH | Dec 19, 2011 4:47:19 PM | 8

"international community" = U.S., U.K., France and Germany, AKA neocolonialists
"others" = BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), Japan (major Iran oil importer, recently refused to stop Iranian oil imports), Non-Aligned Movement, 115 nations, most of Iran's neighbors, countries in Africa and South America.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 5:33:36 PM | 9

Yes, Iran will sell oil and gas. Perhaps in somewhat reduced quantities. Oil and gas are fungible and the Zionist axis can't sink every ship or bomb every pipeline worldwide. Will NATO board Chinese ships exiting the Persian Gulf? And would China continue to buy US debt under that scenario?

China also could nationalize Western manufacturing plants and redirect output to the local market under a massive redistribution paradigm similar to the $5,000 auto purchase rebates that they recently had.

However, I would like to know on what basis b doubts the Saudi ability to utilize its spare production capacity. I thought that it had at least 1,000,000 bbl/day of idle capacity, or over 11,000,000 bbl/day total capacity.

Within a year or so Western oil production could replace the Iranian production given the tar sands development and the Baken tight oil and gas as well as US and Mexican shale potential. We would then see the West utilizing oil that costs +- $80/bbl to produce while China would have access to Iranian oil that costs under $10/bbl to produce.

Under this scenario US and Western economic preeminence would rapidly fade and at the same time the Western consumer cost of manufactured goods (formerly produced in China) would skyrocket.

All as a self flagellation for the US' inability to provide a way to countervail an Iranian retaliation with conventional missiles against a Zionist axis attack on Iran.

Posted by: Aletho News | Dec 19, 2011 7:01:05 PM | 10

some people seem eager for a showdown between the "West" and the rest of the world (especially China, of course), but the rest of the world doesn't seem to share this desire

China and Iran, in particular, play their cards with great care, using regional diplomacy, pointing at global fall-outs of conflict, etc, and being very careful not to escalate

all waiting for the West to progressively weaken itself under the strain of its ignorant and greedy ruling class

of course, Libya's lesson is clear to all: never disarm in front of westerners; the sad truth is that we know only the language of force

Posted by: claudio | Dec 19, 2011 7:48:03 PM | 11

Well, today Secty of Defense Panetta announced that the US will never allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. (CBS Evening News should have video up soon.)

And everything is on the table. Everything including, per an answer to Scott Paley's questions, military action. Paley did not ask if it meant nuclear attacks on Iran...iirc.

Obama has also said everything is on the table. Oh, how well he's picked up phrasing from his predecessor, BushBoy.

Panetta must be seen to be as gung ho as his boss. Amazingly, his predecessor was able to be far less sanguine about the Iraq War than his bosses, Bush/Cheney -- and he went out with glowing accolades.

Panetta Panderer? Nah. Few accolades on his leaving this post.

I was wondering why the US is doubling down on the threats to Iran just now. Because North Korea is in the news again? And they claim their nukes give them national security?

I think the US leadership has gone mad, a collective madness.

Posted by: jawbone | Dec 19, 2011 7:57:01 PM | 12

Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!

Yet again another strategic disaster in the Middle East.

Shades of WMD Iraq 2003!

“"You know what I really fear? ... It's another Iraq coming. It's war propaganda going on." – Ron Paul, during the Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa on 12/15.

More Ron Paul:

“We’ve been at war in Iran for a lot longer than ’79. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the Shah, and the reaction—the blowback—came in 1979. It’s been going on and on because we just don’t mind our own business. That’s our problem.”

“To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk. Yeah, there are some radicals. But they don’t come here to kill us because we’re free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? I mean, that’s absurd. If you think that is the reason, we have no chance of winning this. They come here and they explicitly explain it to us. The CIA has explained it to us. They said they come here and want to do us harm because we’re bombing them. Why do we have to bomb so many countries?”

And who is truly nuts?

Posted by: DakotabornKansan | Dec 19, 2011 8:23:59 PM | 13

It's hard to decipher this chest-thumping

after all, many in the intelligence community believe Iran is *not* preparing nuclear weapons, and anyways aren't eager to start a war against it, so Panetta's assertions may well be part of a little political-electoral theatre

for sure, Obama won't go to war without a new NIE that clearly states that Iran is producing a nuclear bomb (maybe he really wanted it, but as b said some time ago, couldn't manage to build a case for it - again, Obama might well have faked his intentions, who knows for real?) and after the IAEA dud I doubt that the intelligence services will take responsibility for something of that sort

of course, as jawbone says, "the US leadership has gone mad, a collective madness", so anything may happen; in particular, there is a clear case of "repetition compulsion"

this is why I believe this war-mongering is really dangerous, because sooner or later, at the current trends, a Us president will literally have no choice but to declare war at Iran

Posted by: claudio | Dec 19, 2011 8:30:49 PM | 14

Japan refuses to stop Iranian oil imports
(AFP) – 5 hours ago

Obviously if Japan has tired of the Team Amerika bullshit, India will not be far behind. China was never in the cards to begin with, which means that all this is nothing more than the huffing and puffing of Cowboy Desperado.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Dec 19, 2011 8:40:04 PM | 15

jawbone 12

Madness is rare in individuals but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Dec 19, 2011 8:44:20 PM | 16

@ 16 - Japan has not "tired of the Team Amerika bullshit," so much as it just desperately needs energy wherever it can get it - they just lost a Major part of their energy supply with the Nuke-meltdown/Tsunami (call-it-what-you-will)

So they really don't have a lot of time for the niceities of international 'diplomacy', and keeping their NWO-overlords happy, when it comes to securing energy . . . (a bit too much like pre-WW2 for my liking to be honest)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:13:22 PM | 17

'@16' should actually be '@15'

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:14:51 PM | 18

@AllRonPaul supporters - while I LUV the RP 'non-interventionist' Foreign-policy, he also has a 'non-interventionist' health-care policy, aand a 'non-interventionist' Social-Welfare policy and a 'non-interventionist' education policy and 'non-interventionist' [insert-any-Gov't-program-that-might-spread-wealth-to-poor-people] policy.

The reason I mention this is that RP seems to be the only person espousing a Foreign Policy that the vast majoprity of 'Librulls' and 'Progressives' and 'Conservatives' (real-ones) could agree on. If Us voters vote on Foreign Policy alone, then a lot of those voters are going to be mighty peeved when they realise just what they voted for - just like many of those that voted for Obama are now.

Personally I suspect that Obama was chosen for a few different reasons - 'Progressive-tards' and 'Lib-tards' were conned into voting for him because he was . . . let's just say 'Non White', and pretended that he was 'Anti-War' and the Muslim World was slightly conned (by amongst other things, his inaguration speech and his so-called 'Cairo-speech') into believing he might be somewhat Anti-War ( a laughable conception for a US President, I know) - but his first act as Prez was to escalate the War in Pakistan, and his second act was to Massively Bail-out Wall St (his largest financial supporters) so at the end pf the day it is hard for me to come to any other conclusion other than that Obama was the right man at the right time for the Powers that be to con all the disaffected into voting for their guy.

Is it possible that Ron Paul is destined to also play the same role as Obama (the Obomber) wittingly or unwittingly, in the up-comming elections?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:32:35 PM | 19

Iran would not be simply another disaster in the Middle East. Iran has submarines and cruise missiles, and they can do serious damage like sinking ships and killing lots of US sailors. And they could do more, together with their Iraqi and Syria allies, plus Hamas and Hezbollah, and ballistic missiles, and then there are Russia and China . . .

And Obama? June 4, 2008: Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama vowed Wednesday he would work to "eliminate" the threat posed by Iran to security in the Middle East and around the globe. "There's no greater threat to Israel or to the peace and stability of the region than Iran," he told the powerful pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC).

And Panetta, the first Democratic SecDef in what, fifteen years? An empty suit. We pine for Republican Gates.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 9:47:25 PM | 20

@ 10 - Aletho News - "Under this scenario US and Western economic preeminence would rapidly fade and at the same time the Western consumer cost of manufactured goods (formerly produced in China) would skyrocket."

Ain't that just the logical extrension of the current 'Globalisation' paradigm? and if it is, then who's in control? Certainly off-shored Multi-National-Corps would have no problem if their plan were to replace the 'Western Consumer' with the 'Chinese (or Asain) Consumer'?

Wreck Western society under the guise of 'punishing' Iran? What better way to slip such a goal under the radar than to pretend that it is the silly 'unintended consequence' of some Pro-Zionist/Neo-Con 'folly'

That way the Global Corps get to blame it all on 'de Juice' when the Western-street-mob decides it has had enough

(Just theorising)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:48:18 PM | 21

I was astounded that I found myself agreeing with Sir James Goldsmith - but there you go: I'll take sense whereever I find it, left or right

Sir James Goldsmith - on Charlie Rose Nov 1984

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:51:01 PM | 22

"And Panetta, the first Democratic SecDef in what, fifteen years? An empty suit. We pine for Republican Gates."

yep - so the pendulum swings back to the other side - just as the-Powers-that-be require it to, in order to maintain the illusion of 'Democratic Choice' in what is in reality an oligarchical society

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 9:54:28 PM | 23

Hu Bris:
I would think that Ron Paul's philosophy and policy would not be to eliminate those programs, but to do so on the Federal level, returning the funds to the states to do as they will with them, be it spending on those same programs or what have you. How this will work in practice I do not know. But I would think that anything is better than this business as usual. Paul seems to be the only candidate that actually has any independence, and so that alone is worth your vote if you are concerned about your country's having been kidnapped by a cabal.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Dec 19, 2011 9:57:27 PM | 24

@Unknown Unknowns - I hope you're right, for the sake of the US people in general, but I really think you might benefit by going back and paying CLOSE attention to what RP actually has said on these matters - the devil really IS in the detail

"or what have you" - yep - if I were a US citizen, it's that "or what have you" that would REALLY worry me -

"But I would think that anything is better than this business as usual." - yep - maybe THAT is what the PTB are counting on - that the voters from all sides are sick of Business as usual and RP offers a foreign policy that is NOT (on the surface at least) 'Business as usual' - BUT what he also offers (and what many might miss) is that he essentually offers a Grover Norquist vision of Gov't where he hopes to
""shrink government down to the point where it can be strangled in a bathtub"

Many of the people that might support RP in his Foreign Policy aims might not even be aware of his Grover-Norquist-type aims

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 10:08:46 PM | 25

"Paul seems to be the only candidate that actually has any independence"

yeah - he SEEMS that way - but prior to his election, for many of the (now VERY dissappointed) people that voted for him, the Obomber SEEMED to be Anti-War, SEEMED to be Pro-working-stiff. and look how THAT worked out . . . . .

If you have not yet looked at the Sir James Goldsmith video-link I posted earlier, then pleasde do - he speaks a LOT of sense.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 10:21:19 PM | 26

What Goldsmith points out, very very clearly, is that, (originally at least) Gov't was suppossed to be a buffer between rapacious-Capital and the Working-Stiff - So-Called 'Democratic Government' is 'suppossed' to be a method of reigning-in the worst excesses of the Robber-Barons - and as any fool can now see, Gov't in Western Society has been completely subverted by Captial - and that includes the electorl-xlasses (pols like Paul)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 10:26:56 PM | 27

'electorl-xlasses' = electoral-classes

Posted by: Hu Bris | Dec 19, 2011 10:27:37 PM | 28

@ #21

Hu Bris,

That's an interesting take there in #21. It does not hurt to explore every angle. However the particular scenario I was trying to paint was one of a breakdown in the relations between Western corporations and the Chinese government.

Attempting to bar Chinese trade with Iran would no doubt be viewed as a hostile act.

At this point I am still leaning toward the view that the demands for a full trade embargo on Iran are bluster but the brinksmanship is getting intense so the scenarios must be contemplated.

Posted by: Aletho News | Dec 19, 2011 10:41:56 PM | 29

Well, personally, Paul gets my vote. There is a lot he espouses that I disagree with. BUT, foreign policy IS the issue of the day. PERIOD.

Domestic policies, under Ron Paul, might just end up being a mess, and far from what I would like to see as a liberal.

Thing is, I'm not so enthused about being incinerated in a flash of light, either. And if you are paying attention to these fucking right wing lunatics, then surely you must realize that Ron Paul is the only one that understands the danger our sabre rattling and interventionist policies pose to our security.

I can live with a few domestic policies that don't meet my approval. I can even live with a collapsed economy. But I CANNOT live under a mushroom cloud, and these fucking wackjobs in the Republican line-up are batshit crazy, and trigger happy.

Why vote for Paul over Obama? Because Obama is feeding us the same warmongering SHIT that these assholes like Perry and Bachman are. The delivery might be different, more "measured", but its the same crap. Obama is a mewling coward, politically. He inevitably caves in, no matter the issue, when faced with stiff opposition. If the spineless prick gets a second term, we'll just get more domestic policy equivications and cowardice, and he'll continue to escalate hostilities against Iran. At least with Paul, we know what we'd be getting. Can you say the same about this posturing piece of shit fraud Obama?

What other politician is standing before us and telling us THE TRUTH about blowback, and warning us about that that we already know, THAT THESE WEASELS IN DC ARE LYING US INTO ANOTHER WAR?

Paul's the real deal. The rest of these candidates are just the same old brand of shyster lying elitist human excrement thats been smelling up our capital for far too long now.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 19, 2011 10:46:43 PM | 30

Regarding Ron Paul, this is still a (nominal) democracy, not a dictatorship. The facts currently are that a U.S. president has a lot of leeway in foreign policy, and a lot less in domestic policy. Either way there are checks and balances.

Bottom line: Ron Paul is eminently sensible in his foreign policy views, and currently none other is.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 10:57:23 PM | 31

I wouldn't normally recommend you read Victor Davis Hanson, but I think you might enjoy this.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 11:08:11 PM | 32

Hu Bris #26,

Obama didn't seem that way at all to anyone paying attention to his legislative record. Yes he pretended to be antiwar, but voted for funding for the Iraq war every time it came up for a senate vote. During the debate, he refused to rule out a military option against Iran, he CAMPAIGNED on escalating the Afghan war and on attacking Pakistan (even McCain made fun of him.) He pretended to be a constitutional scholar but voted to reauthorize the patriot act.

And of course, when it came time to bail out the banks, Obama proved to be money well spent by banking lobby.

Looking behind his campaign, you will note the prevelance of bankers among his donors.

Obama NEVER came anywhere near the public opposition to war that Ron Paul espouses **repeatedly** and in the most hostile of environments. Ron Paul's 24 year legislative record backs up his anti-war sentiments every time. (though he did authorize the use of force in 2001 against Afghanistan) His defense of civil liberties is equally consistent even when unpopular. Obama has no 99-1 votes in the senate. Ron Paul has numerous 400-1 votes in congress.

Also, you will notice that banks are not rushing to donate money to the Paul campaign. That is not by accident. His opposition to the federal reserve and corporate bailouts, is not the sign of a man who wants to concentrate wealth in the smallest possible circle.

Of course, you are correct that we can't be certain what Paul would actually do once president. But he has a public record light years ahead of Obama's was in 2008.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 19, 2011 11:20:01 PM | 33

PoA # 30,

I hope you live in an open primary state. If not, please consider holding your nose and re-registering as a Republican, at least for a day. That's what I did in Nevada to vote for Paul back in 2008. Will do so again Feb 4.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 19, 2011 11:27:21 PM | 34

Guess who had the goods on Obama back in the Spring of '08?

Black Agenda Report, May 7, 2008
Running to the Right: Barack Obama and the DLC Strategy

DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama's campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.
When he does speak, it won't be good news. Republicans are sure to escalate their demands, insisting that Barack Obama denounce a list of black and progressive organizations, activities, beliefs and individuals to retain his share of their base. And as long as Obama is wedded to the DLC strategy, he will eagerly comply.

If there was an actual mass-based progressive movement in the US, operating on the ground and independent of political parties and campaigns, it might have a prayer of holding Barack Obama accountable. But there isn't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 19, 2011 11:45:09 PM | 35

Obama promised to wage all these wars during his campaign. You just had to listen to his speeches given to AIPAC or read his website. The only anti-war promises he made were simplistic soundbites given with less specificity than the pledges he made to AIPAC. Of course the soundbites were what the media broadcast.

Deadlines for registering Republican to vote in many state primaries are coming up soon. There is no point in not doing so because there is no action in the Democratic primaries anyhow.

Posted by: Aletho News | Dec 19, 2011 11:50:00 PM | 36

yeah, no 36, Obama was as vague as possible in general, but very specific on his policy. if you were able to close your eyes to the projected image to filter out the spoken policy, you knew what would come.

I guess the point of the sanctions is to keep Iran from obtaining high end technology. US and Europe combined might still be able to do just that. Iran is far from isolated, however, Turkey, India, China, Pakistan, Russia are not just business partners, but competitors, so they would be weary to have a strongman in their neighbourhood.
they all share ethnic conflicts across their borders, Turkey, China and Russia have been acting as colonial powers themselves, India, Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia compete with different allies in Afghanistan.

the joke is that the US shares Iran's political partners (and enemies) in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the wrestling match really is, if the US can win big by regime change in Iran, or if Iran can inherit the power the US seems to lose in the region.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 20, 2011 2:00:27 AM | 37

Panetta's interview today on CBS is a must-read, precisely because he is dropping hints (for the first time?) that the USA is willing to live with an Iran that possesses all the *capabilities* to build nukes, so long as the Iranian leadership refrains from taking the last step of actually assembling the warhead.

That's quite a walk-back from the standard US position that Iran Must Stop All Enrichment Until The USA Gets The All-Clear From Israel.

Posted by: Johnboy | Dec 20, 2011 2:34:21 AM | 38

I suspect earth's magnetic field polarity switchs a dozen times long before Israel gives an all-clear about Iran :)

Posted by: rototo | Dec 20, 2011 8:45:12 AM | 39

Last night a robo call came in and said that Oboma stinks and we should have voted for Hillary,so there is movement out there,albeit a terrible one on the Democrat side.
And Victor Davis Hanson lost me when he said Obomba appeased Iran,but his contention that Obomba isn't as smart as some think,obviously has merit,though Hasnson might have the same affliction.

Posted by: richard horton | Dec 20, 2011 9:07:30 AM | 40

By the way,any vote for any other candidate than Dr.Paul will kill US,and I mean that.We are on the edge of disaster,our economy on the rocks of neoliberal disaster,and every alleged protective acronym of government has turned into a corporate gold mine,and every one has failed almost completely to do its protective task.From the EPA,to DEC,to FDA,to FEMA et al are tax dollar money bombs for thieves.
Today the enemy has turned its eyes to him,and from ignoring him, they are going on the offensive with decade old claims of anti-gay and anti minority claims.Was that Gandhi quote that they ignore you,then fight you,and then you win, apropo?(not sure exactly the quote)

Posted by: richard horton | Dec 20, 2011 9:17:42 AM | 41

After the NDAA, PIPA and SOPA acts, Ron's got my vote. I don't agree with him on every issue, but we need someone who is rabid about civil liberties to balance out the rabid authoritarians pushing through these contemptible spit-in-your face pieces of domestic legislation.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 20, 2011 9:46:55 AM | 42

OMG, are we all Pauliacs on this bus?

I have never voted R in my life but if Paul is on the ticket, any ticket, I will vote for him. The PTB are working furiously to ignore him. They may not succeed this time and more ominous threats will probably be made to Ron Paul....perhaps threatening his children as I doubt there is anything they could do to scare him directly.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 20, 2011 11:07:55 AM | 43

Dan: is that what happened to Perot? I always wondered why he just pulled out all of a sudden.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Dec 20, 2011 11:34:35 AM | 44

that is what he said happened. it may have been face saving...

Perot had already spent a lot of money and wasn't moving up in the polls. his choice for VP was ill advised. he was already paranoid and may have really believed that something bad was going to happen to his daughter. who knows?

he did endorse baby Bush for president a few years later. perhaps it was to get forgiveness from papa Bush who was probably defeated by Clinton because of Perot being in the race.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 20, 2011 2:03:38 PM | 45

@19 - Hu Bris

i think that a President has the most power to control Foreign Policy, while those other items are largely a concern for the Congress. if there's anything i truly feel jilted by Obama on, it's the lack of open governance. and maybe that is even beyond his power, but it seems like he didn't even try.

so yeah, i'm very comfortable with a vote for RP based on FP alone.

Posted by: Proton Soup | Dec 20, 2011 2:32:13 PM | 46

Thanks for the info Dan. I was all ears.

Posted by: Unknown Unknowns | Dec 21, 2011 12:40:19 AM | 47

China's future energy security lies through Iran. Iran is number 2 in natural gas reserves, after Russia, and I think with the onset of constrained oil production and availability, natural gas will be as important to the next 40 years as oil was to the last 40. Russia has a large market for its gas in Europe, and Europe then has the stability of an assured supply for its vast energy needs. I think China is the natural market for the Iranian gas, and China similarly benefiting from that relationship. So, an attack on Iran is also an attack on China's future.

Posted by: Kevin_B | Dec 21, 2011 12:58:29 PM | 48

The US can easily boycott Iranian Oil/Gas as it does not use it. Spain , Portugal, Greece, Italy would be the main losers. They are also vulnerable to US pressure. Germany will try to stay on side to be respectably one day and britain is a fully bought up poodle. China / India will be most grateful to the US. Is that what the US wanted?.

Posted by: boindub | Dec 22, 2011 10:54:15 AM | 49

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