Thursday, October 18, 2007

Putin, Ahmadinejad, Iran, Syria, Israel: Here We Go Again?

President Putin of Russia has been in the news quite a lot lately.


BBC (October 16, 2007) Putin said "peaceful nuclear activities must be allowed" and he said that force shouldn't figure into sorting out the issue of Iran and nuclear power. In a way, I can't argue with that: it would be nice if force wasn't necessary.

Yahoo! News (October 17, 2007): "During his trip, Putin made an unspecified proposal concerning Iran's nuclear program to the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported."

Pravda (October 18, 2007) says that "Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Putin had carried a 'special message' that included the nuclear issue in talks with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei," but that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says there were no proposals dealing with Iran's nuclear program. As president of Iran, my understanding is that Ahmadinejad answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: so in principle, there could be a deal that the Iranian president doesn't know about.

  • Russia supports Iran's 'peaceful' nuclear program
  • Russia made a "nuclear proposal" to Iran while Putin was in Tehran
  • There was "no nuclear proposal"
All this excitement shouldn't be a surprise: Putin's trip to Tehran for the big Caspian Nations get-together was the first time a Russian leader went to Iran, since Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt made the trip in 1943.


Yahoo (October 18, 2007) reports that Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in Moscow. He flew there today to talk with Russia's President Putin about about Iran's nuclear program - and probably "new arms deals — reportedly Iranian-funded — under which Moscow would supply Syria with advanced surface-to-air and anti-aircraft missiles that Russia has not previously sold to other countries."

My guess is that Syria would love to have that Russian-made high-tech air defense. Their nuclear program that doesn't exist obviously needs more protection. (see "No Radioactive Kimchi: Israel Blew Up a Syrian Reactor" and " 'The Jews Blew Up Our Reactor (Which Does Not Exist)' ")

I'm concerned about Putin's support of Iran and Syria. Not just because of what it could do to the 'Mid East peace process,' but what could happen if nuclear weapons got into the hands of a nation with Iran's policy toward Israel - and other infidels.

The World

President Bush, in a White House press conference, talked about Iran's nuclear program, Russia's statements about not using force, and what's at stake.

"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel" (not just one leader, but let that pass (see "'Hitler Was Right,' and Other Wisdom from Iran") "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush said."

"WWIII," or World War Three, may be overstating the possibilities, but I don't think so. Looking back to the 1930s, we had situations that aren't all that unlike what we have today.

The similarities aren't quite as dramatic in east Asia. On the other hand, Japanese efforts to re-write history about uncomfortable phenomena like the Rape of Nanking and the drafting of Korean (and at least one Australian "comfort women" suggest that the attitudes which launched Japan's invasions of Manchuria and China are still alive.

More to the point, Islamic terrorists in Malaysia and elsewhere in the east seem eager to help outfits like Al Qaeda.

Europe and the Middle East are another matter. People with a radical ideology are running a relatively powerful country. These radicals have said that the Jews were a big part of Europe's problem. European powers seem horrified at the possibility of war, and insist on approaching the problem with diplomacy, followed by more diplomacy.

I know a little about what was happening in Europe before Chancellor Hitler's Germany invaded Poland. At that point, even the wise heads of Europe recognized a real and present threat.

It would be great, if diplomacy and sweet reason solves the problems of the Middle East, and if Islamic fanatics can be gently persuaded to end their jihad.

I sincerely hope that we do not follow the wisdom of 1930s Europe, waiting to act until an ideologically-driven regime launches an attack that can't be rationalized away.

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.