Saturday, September 14, 2002

Good Q&A by Hesiod today on the concept of Iraq being deterrable. Here's one example:

6.Do you not believe that even the threat of nuclear retaliation is not a great deterrent to Saddam Hussein? If the answer is yes then how do you explain his deliberate attacks against the homeland of a nuclear capable state (Israel)?

Yes. I believe the threat of nuclear retaliation IS a great deterrent to Saddam Hussein. The reason he attacked Israel without fear was because he knew that his attacks were only conventional. Had he hit Israel with, say, a nuclear weapon, he'd be dead now.

The Gulf war example proves my point, and refutes yours. He was deterred in that war. We have uncontrovertable proof that he's deterrable. Tested under actual war conditions. No wargame in a neocon think tank could ever simulate that.
By all means, go read it for yourselves- it nicely summarizes why Saddam is deterrable.

As for the Bush speech, I tend to agree with Josh Marshall's interpretation... Powell seems to have had some influence, and it would appear that the Bush administration isn't quite ready to give up multilateralism entirely, no matter how much the Pax Americana crowd are panting for it. The big questions now are...

...whether Bush will wait for the Security Council to act (which is likely, as he would torpedo his credibility if he called them to action and then ignored them),

...whether the Security Council will act (which is also likely),

...whether that action will include the authorization of military force to ensure that the Iraqi government plays ball (somewhat less likely, but the U.S. is going to be set on it and most of the major players won't object as it would call their own actions into question),

...whether Iraq lets the inspectors in (as of yesterday, the answer appears to be "yes", at least according to this statement by one Iraqi ambassador (it's the Indian one, which means he's probably lower on the totem pole but he's also less likely to be playing silly games than, say, the American one),

...whether the U.S. is willing to settle for disarmament and give up "regime change", and that's the biggest and most important question of all for pretty much everybody involved. It's also the hardest to answer, because it pits the WMD argument against all those geo-strategic "let's take over Iraq for our own gain" goals, and those latter goals simply can't survive without the WMD question to shield them from internal and foreign criticism.

Personally, I don't really have any objections to a U.N. sponsored inspection regime backed by force; it reinforces the necessity of international consensus, checks attempts by the American right to construct a hegemony of convenience, and ensures that the dangerous doctrine of preemptive warfare that could lead to open warfare across half the globe is nipped in the bud. I don't know whether the neo-cons would accept it, though, as their holy war would be nipped in the bud as well. They'd have to go back to the real war on terrorism, and that ain't going so well.

No comments:

Post a Comment