Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Iran, International Nuclear Inspectors, and Russian Submarines

Iran's in the news again, or still. In a way, it's the same story we've been reading for years: U.N. inspectors aren't allowed to see sites involved in Iran's nuclear program.

International Inspectors and Business as Usual

This time, the Ayatollahs didn't want outsiders to see a "key military site." Can't say that I blame them, in a way. Iran's been insisting that its nuclear program doesn't involve weapons: or maybe that there is no nuclear program. Or that there is, and it's strictly for curing the sick and benevolent purposes like that.

Facts have a way of getting in the way of 'official' versions of reality. Whoever is running Iran at the moment probably realizes that international diplomacy will be easier, if the foreigners know as little as possible about what's actually happening in Iran.

There's nothing unusual about the situation, in a way. Iran's been giving Saudi Arabia stiff competition, in terms of making Islamic government look like a bad idea: and has been, ever since 1979. Sudan's rulers are serious contenders in that race: and that's another topic.

Russia, Submarines, and Cold War Stuff

I think one of the harder lessons for many folks to learn is that things change. Like the Cold War. When, from one point of view, the world was a battleground for a fairly simple confrontation:
  • 'The good guys' - America
    • Mom
    • Apple pie
    • The flag
  • 'The bad guys' - Russia Soviet Union and China
    • Slavery
    • Ugly clothes
    • Yellow peril
I'm oversimplifying the situation, of course. Another, equally-goofy, way of looking at the Cold War era was to see the world as divided between the oppressed proletariat and capitalistic warmongers.

Folks in Russia finally got tired of living in a workers' paradise, and China's leaders may be reevaluating their economic philosophies - yet more topics.

The point is, this isn't the late 20th century.

I think another hard lesson is that not everything is about 'me,' or 'us.' Take Russia's navy getting back in the habit of having submarines with ballistic missiles patrolling international waters. I've run into the opinion that it's intended as a response to - or provocation of - the American government.

Maybe that's true: but it occurs to me that Russian leaders may have something besides 'Yankee imperialism' on their minds this time. Iran's uncomfortably close to Russia, may start building nuclear weapons soon, and might reasonably be seen as a threat. Those submarines might be intended as a sort of reminder to the Ayatollahs that actions have consequences.

Which gets me back to Iran, a nuclear weapons program that we're supposed to believe doesn't exist, and one of today's less calming situations.

Religious Crazies with Nuclear Missiles?

I sincerely hope that Iran's goofy president doesn't represent what most of the Ayatollahs really think is true. There's some reason to believe that - yet again more topics:I don't think that today's world is 'the Cold War all over again.' Crossing out 'commies,' and writing in 'Muslims,' doesn't make sense. Neither does trying to apply the other alternatively-sane worldview I outlined earlier.

Like they say, 'it's complicated.'

One of my concerns is that Iran's leadership has been doing a very good job of looking like ideologues with control issues. Convictions of 'foreign spies' reminds me of the 'good old days' of the HUAC in this country: and political correctness a few decades after that.

I'm about as sure as I can be that all Muslims are not on the same page as the Ayatollahs, or Al Qaeda, or Sudan's touchy rulers.

But I'm very concerned that Iran's leadership might decide that it's time to smite the unbeliever - with nuclear weapons. Russia's immediate neighbors - and parts of Europe - could experience massive, sudden, urban renewal if that happens.

I'm not concerned because I think Muslims, or religious people in general, are likely to kill folks they don't like. It's because I think Iran's Ayatollahs may be to Islam what the KKK was to Christianity: a dangerous bunch of folks with a distorted set of beliefs.

Here's what got me started:
"Iran nuclear row: UN inspectors barred from Iran site"
BBC News (February 21, 2012)

"The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has stopped a team of inspectors from visiting a key military site.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says no deal was been reached on inspecting the Parchin site, south of Tehran, despite 'intensive efforts'.

"The inspectors had sought to clarify the 'possible military dimensions' of Iran's nuclear programme...."

"Iran Would Consider Pre-emptive Strike on Its Enemies, Fars Says"
Caroline Alexander, Business Week (February 21, 2012)

"Iran would consider taking pre-emptive action in response to threats, an Iranian military commander said, according to the state-run Fars news agency.

" 'We will no more wait to see enemy action against us,' Fars quoted Mohammad Hejazi, deputy head of the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces for Logistic and Industrial Research, as saying in an interview...."

"Russian SSBNs to Resume Patrols in International Waters in June 2012"
Naval Today (February 7, 2012)

"Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines will resume patrols in international waters in June 2012, said Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky.

" 'On June 1 or a bit later, we will resume permanent patrols of nuclear strategic submarines in the World Ocean', said Vysotsky on Feb 3 at Navy command briefing...."

Somewhat-related posts:
In the news:
  • "Iran"
    World Factbook, CIA (last updated February 8, 2012)
  • "Saudi Arabia"
    World Factbook, CIA (last updated February 8, 2012)


Brigid said...

Missing an ending single quote: "reminds me of the 'good old days of the HUAC in this country"

Are you sure it's past tense? "what the KKK was to Christianity"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Iran Nuclear Threat Fake said...

Though you might want to see this

The talk of a threat from Iran is fake and is about control for the global elite and their oil

Brian H. Gill said...

Anonymous Iran Nuclear Threat Fake,

You could be right.

Everyone else, I'm a tad dubious about conspiracy theories and tales of hidden 'truths.' I've posted about one of the more interesting examples in another blog:

"Nuclear Weapons, Space Aliens, Conspiracy Theories, and Getting a Grip"
(September 24, 2010)

Brian H. Gill said...


Found, fixed, and thanks!

About the KKK - No, I'm not sure. But the most recent data of which I am confident is well over two decades old. I doubt that today's KKK has changed its basic philosophies, but large-scale violent activity may not be part of the current iteration of the group. Individuals connected with the KKK - that's another topic.

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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.