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1 Bob Levin  Oct 13, 2010 7:00:28pm

I’m glad you post these, because Rubin writes a reasonable argument. So I hope you don’t take it the wrong way if I begin to take issue with Mr. Rubin.

I think his main problem is that he places too much weight on superficial political posturing. Countries do not make decisions according to this posturing. It is show, and frequently a show without substance behind it.

Iran is only a player in the world because it has been trying to develop nuclear weapons, and after stuxnet, that milestone may not come to be. It is only reasonable then, that Iran’s leader make a show of strength—not because he is strong, but because his only source of power is now rendered useless. He shows he is strong precisely because his reality is that he is weak.

Before President Bush invaded Iraq, Lebanon was a colony of Syria. And Syria is a satellite of Iran. But what does Iran have to offer? Here is where Rubin makes his errors, not placing enough emphasis on real raw materials, real natural resources, real technological development—the very things on which countries do base decisions.

Iran has nothing to offer Syria. Not even defense in case Israel attacks. The only thing that Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran can do is surreptitiously build an arsenal, and take Israel by surprise. There are no counter-publicity stunts that the US or any country can do in response. The most effective response is espionage, development of new technology, and now, the ability to disable enemy technology. If the US, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the Saudis can pull this off, it won’t be public.

The most effective tactics that President Obama can employ must be secret.

The key to this threatening alliance is that they have nothing to offer the world in terms of natural resources (Iran has fuel), food, or technology. Syria has been living off of Lebanon’s tourism industry for years, and that might be drying up. So this alliance can get headlines, but it can’t get wealth, and without deadly weapons, they would all be on the cusp of what used to be called Third World Nationhood.

The West can offer them a chance for prosperity if they stop rattling their swords. And there is no need to make a speech about this every week.

2 Michael Orion Powell  Oct 13, 2010 7:14:30pm
Who Do You Think Is Winning in the Middle East?


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