"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has unveiled Iran's first domestically-built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an 'ambassador of death' to the country's enemies.This carrier drone is impressive. On the other hand, Iran has had the X-55 LACM in its arsenal for years. (GlobalSecurity.org) That cruse missile has a range of 3,000 kilometers, or about 1,864 miles. America's comparatively safe from an attack using the X-55 LACM. Southern Russia? Not so much. I've written about that before.
"The 4m-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missiles and will have a range of 620 miles, according to a state TV report - but not far enough to reach arch-enemy Israel.
" 'The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship,' Mr Ahmadinejad said at the inauguration ceremony in Tehran...."
Middle East: Where Pre-Industrial Cultures Face the Information AgeI've made the point before, that many people in the Middle East had been out of the loop for centuries - millennia in some cases. After the fall of the Persian and Roman Empires, with a few relatively brief exceptions, events in the rest of the world went on without troubling customs which had been old when Abraham moved out of Ur.
Then people in Europe and North America developed technologies that required petroleum. Lots of petroleum. Suddenly outsiders came, bringing strange new ideas with them.
The old-school cultures of the Middle East might have weathered that, but a few decades ago the Information Age started. I've managed to adjust to a world where I can communicate with people on the other side of the world: but I'm an American, and my ancestors had already gotten used to changing technologies.
It's not just technology, although today's infotech is affecting folks in the Middle East.
Again, my ancestors came from Europe and settled in America: where they learned how to deal with other folks who didn't have exactly the same set of cultural preferences. Without killing them.
I have some sympathy for the old-school folks, who were dragged from a comfortably insulated society of burqas and honor killings to a world of bikinis, beer and dog food commercials. It must be a terribly unsettling experience.
Andy Capp, Iran, and Nuclear WeaponsThere's an old Andy Capp comic strip, where a police officer is repeating what Mr. Capp told him: something like 'I thought he was going to hit me, so I hit him back first.'
That's funny, I think.
That's not, as a rule, a philosophy which I think should be applied to international diplomacy.
It'd be nice if Iran really did use their new robot bomber strictly as a deterrent. Then they might feel a little safer from the Jews and the Great Satan America.
My concern is that they'll decide that someone in range of their various short-, medium-, and long-range weapons is a threat; or is insufficiently Islamic, or whatever: and have a shot at killing some of the offending parties.
From what shows up in the news from time to time, my guess is that I'm not the only one with that sort of concern.
Can America 'hit him back first?'
In strictly practical terms: probably. Almost certainly, in fact. And then there would be cries (self?) righteous indignation from most of the national governments whose bacon we kept from frying. Unless there wasn't much of Iran left, there would probably be attacks against everyone and anyone within reach.
Not a good situation.
The alternative isn't too pleasant to contemplate, either: but there's the chance that the Ayatollahs will finally mismanage their government into oblivion, and let someone else have a crack at running the country.
Stranger things have happened.
- "U.A.E. Ambassador and Iran: One Insane Speech Too Many?"
(July 7, 2010)
- "Obama, Iran, Missiles, Europe, and 'What the heck did they tell him?' "
(September 17, 2009)
- "Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program: Oops, Let's Look at That Again"
(October 16, 2009)
- "Iran's Nuclear Program, Israel, Iraq, America, Bush and Obama: Simple? Not!"
(January 11, 2009)
- "Iranian Nukes, Israeli Attack, Diplomacy, and Common Sense"
(June 21, 2008)
- "Russian Official Declares First-Strike Nuke Policy: Why?"
(January 19, 2008)
- "Nuclear War in the Middle East: Messy, Lethal, and Brief"
(December 24, 2007)
- "Iran president unveils drone bomber"
Press Association (August 22, 2010)
- "Iran unveils drone aircraft to counter 'aggressors' "
Reuters (August 22, 2010)