Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Post #398 - Quiz, continued

[Quiz begins on Post #396]

3. The first place where demonstrations were held bemoaning the 9/11 attacks was:

A. New York City
B. Tehran
C. London
D. Berlin
E. None of the above

Yes, it was Tehran. Which actually shouldn't surprise us. Every poll and every anecdotal report from some of the 500 or so Americans who have been to Iran over the past few years, and my own experience, all show that Iranians -- even now -- continue to have friendly feelings and admiration for the American people. Somehow, they manage to make a distinction between us, the people, and the policies of our government under several presidents from 1979 to the present. Do we make the same kind of distinction -- or do we tend to demonize "those people" -- whether they are Russian, Vietnamese or Iranian?

There are now about 600,000 blogs in Persian on the internet -- incredible! The problem? Almost no one in this country reads Persian. Even our State Department has virtually no real Iran experts; its expertise has degraded every year since 1980, when we ceased having diplomatic relations.

Fouad Ajami, a professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said of the Tehran hostage era:

“Iran was America's 'laboratory' in the region... But societies have mysteries of their own; we hadn't really known our Persian friends....At its core, this was a Persian drama, the pain of a society of pride and hurt, the attempt of a people of high learning long in the crosswinds of mightier powers – Russia, Britain, America – to find their footing in the world... Into this Persian struggle, there wandered Jimmy Carter... Carter had promised a moral foreign policy. In his inaugural address, he had proclaimed his commitment to the cause of human rights. Iran emerged as the brutal test case of this moralism. As a revolution of many discontents gathered fury, the Carter administration appeared uncertain of its aims. Human rights pulled in one direction, strategic necessity the opposite way. It was even hard for American officials to divine the depth of Iran's crisis. [The CIA reported] to Carter, as late as August 1978, that Iran was “not in a revolutionary or even pre-revolutionary situation." (I was in Iran then, and I could have told them they were wrong, but no one asked me.)

4. Countries which have inspections under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty include:

A. United States
B. Pakistan
C. Israel
D. Iran
E. India
F. All of the above

E - Iran. The US is a "have" nation under the NPT and thus not required to have inspections. The others are not parties to the treaty at all. As recently as last year, Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that they do not have a bomb, haven't wanted to get one, and do not intend to do so in the future. Furthermore, an official Islamic fatwa has been issued saying that it would be "un-Islamic." Do I think they are making plans to make a bomb -- just in case? Yes. But who wouldn't, as threatened as they are?

Ray Takeyh wrote, "From Tehran's perspective, the prospect of a radical Sunni regime coming to power in Pakistan with its finger on the nuclear button is nearly an existential threat." Dr. Yitzhak Ravid, former head of military studies at the Israeli Armament Devt. Authority, said, “exaggerated analyses of the Iranian threat capability played straight into Tehran's hands, and aided Iran's attempt to frighten Israelis.” Ravid said: "...the Iranian regime was struggling to produce a first generation-type nuclear bomb..." He argued that the Iranians faced a major challenge in attempting to fit such a bomb onto a missile that could carry the weight of a nuclear warhead to Israel. The analyst noted that an image of an Iranian 'missile' test, widely circulated around the Israeli media, were actually images of rockets, not missiles. "'Never in human history has more than one Shihab missile been successfully test fired," Ravid said. "And the Shihabs themselves are very limited. They are actually a scud-sized missile." Uzi Rubin, head of ballistic missile research for the Ministry of Defense said: "The Iranians are almost frantic in volunteering information about their weapons capabilities, sometimes to the point of incredibility… they mean to impress..." Dr. Martin van Creveld is an Israeli military strategist and professor of military history. In an interview in 2007, van Crefeld said: "We Israelis have what it takes to deter an Iranian attack. And I think we are in no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons. And it works beautifully: Thanks to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from U.S. and Germany."

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