This week, the action is overseas

This week is a good time for a brief reminder that the most important decisions in the world aren’t always made in Washington, D.C.

As I write this, the governments of the two countries (currently) at the center of Europe’s fiscal-financial-political-currency crisis appear to be up for grabs. Greek politicians are still negotiating the appointment of a new prime minister and formation of a new cabinet. Only after they do so will European leaders decide whether to fork over billions more in bailout funds — which in turn will help determine whether, or maybe just how quickly, markets around the world jump back on the roller coaster.

And if Greece is a stone plopped into the world economy, with ripple effects far beyond itself, Italy is a relative boulder set to make an even bigger splash. Silvio Berlusconi, the man who Italians, in their wisdom, have given political life after political life during the past two decades, is trying to hang onto power. My friend Alberto Mingardi explains that Berlusconi has “talk[ed] bold and acted soft” in his four stints as premier, leaving the country without the reforms he promised and which it needs to avoid fiscal collapse — and possibly send the world economy into a tailspin. (France, which has an even bigger economy than Italy’s, is once again aiming to cut billions from its budget to keep from being next in line.)

And, if the world economy survives all that, it may face the prospect of a full-blown Israeli-Iranian war. After years of playing down the Iranian nuclear threat when the “cowboy” George Bush was in the White House, suddenly international bureaucrats are getting nervous about Tehran’s ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency is to issue its latest report on Iran’s nuclear program tomorrow, and there’s been rampant speculation about what will happen next. But there’s an apparent consensus that the report will make clear that Iran is building a bomb. Israeli officials have said publicly they cannot tolerate an Iranian bomb, and Turkey, the Saudis and other Gulf nations are scarcely less blunt about the consequences of Tehran having nukes. It will be virtually impossible for the United States to sit on the sidelines if war breaks out across the Middle East.

For the U.S., the only thing worse than bearing the burden of being the leading nation in the world may be watching other nations set the path we have to navigate.

– By Kyle Wingfield

44 comments Add your comment

jt

November 8th, 2011
8:54 am

Centralized banks and international bureaucrats.
.
Ron Paul has the answer.

jconservative

November 8th, 2011
9:05 am

In other words, isolationism is history.

But then isolationism has been history for decades. Yet we continue to need reminders, as we tend to act like the sun rises and sets on the USA.

Someone will need to explain why Iran with nuclear weapons is that much worse than North Korea or Pakistan with nuclear weapons.

And now Herman Cain is telling us that China is seeking nuclear capability. The nuclear world is getting as crowded as the people world.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 8th, 2011
9:15 am

Israel will do the difficult work Obozo is too cowardly to take on.

Karl Marx

November 8th, 2011
9:15 am

“Someone will need to explain why Iran with nuclear weapons is that much worse than North Korea or Pakistan with nuclear weapons.”

It isn’t any worse than Hitler would have been if he had attained them. I think everyone forgets MAD has been and still is the only deterrent. All Reagan’s star wars plan was to insure we could exercise the MAD doctrine. BTW China, Red China already has nuclear weapons. They have had then for decades now.

Speaking of MAD it only works with an adversary who isn’t, “mad”. Think about that for a little while.

Bart Abel

November 8th, 2011
9:28 am

RE: “After years of playing down the Iranian nuclear threat…”
———————————————————-
This comment is, of course, criticism of President Obama’s Iran policy.

Personally, I don’t believe that recognizing the disaster that would arise out of a neocon-driven war with Iran (see Jay Bookman’s column this morning) falls under the category of “playing down the Iranian nuclear threat.” The neocons were wrong about how to handle Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, and also under Bush, Iran. So, there’s no reason to be listening to them when it comes to foreign policy. McCain is still singing “…bomb bomb Iran”. I don’t know what the answers are, but I know that they should come from people who are a hell of a lot smarter than these guys. On most foreign policy issues, to the neocon’s disgust, Obama has shown himself to be adept. Maybe the guys who screwed up could learn a little from the so-called novice.

Bottom line. Regardless of what one thinks of Obama’s Iran policy, nobody has or is downplaying the Iranian nuclear threat.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 8th, 2011
9:31 am

Bottom line, Obozo is doing nothing about the Iranian nuclear threat.

Back Seater

November 8th, 2011
9:31 am

Take note, this could be us in a couple of years if we continue on the spend, spend , spend road of the left.
Lack of tax increases didn’t cause it, but lack of control over spending is.

ragnar danneskjold

November 8th, 2011
9:35 am

I am with friend “Lil’ Barry Bailout” above, the big news is Chauncey’s “trash talk” of Israel, to use Drudge’s colorful phrase.

RPaul

November 8th, 2011
9:37 am

No, the action is RIGHT HERE at home. Mr. Cain needs to be a little bit more forthcoming on these sexual allegation issues.

According to him, woman #1 is lying, woman #2 is lying, woman #3 is lying, woman #4 is lying…. I don’t believe it !!! You and his other C0n supporters can bring up all the excuses you want…

If Cain had been a Democrat, you would have been writing about this story at least twice a day, especially after the news conference yesterday. You can try to digress from the story all you want to, but DO YOU REALLY THINK it is gonna go away anytime soon?

Kyle Wingfield

November 8th, 2011
9:41 am

No, Bart, that comment was, of course, exactly what it said: A criticism of the reports from various bureaucracies during the Bush years, purposefully understating Iran’s progress, only to be followed now with the inevitable, “Holy cow, they really are going to have a bomb!”

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
9:42 am

Rpaul….Seriouly? You believe that with everything going on in the world today that Herman Cain is the focus of the global community? WOW…Clueless!

Kyle Wingfield

November 8th, 2011
9:43 am

RPaul: Did you even bother to read what I wrote “after the news conference yesterday”? In the end, whether the allegations are true or not, whether Cain becomes the nominee or not, the president from Jan. 20, 2013, to Jan. 20, 2017, is going to have much of his agenda shaped by what happens in Europe and the Middle East during the next few months, and as soon as this week. It behooves us to pay attention.

Don't Tread

November 8th, 2011
10:00 am

“suddenly international bureaucrats are getting nervous about Tehran’s ambitions”

Really? Iran has been pursuing a nuclear weapons program for what, about a decade now, right under their noses! Now it’s a problem??

The time to stop it with sanctions, etc. was years ago. And sanctions don’t work unless everyone adheres to them. China and Russia routinely ignore sanctions.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Dont Tread…so you are saying now that Tehran has them that we should keep our backs turned. This is going to get really ugly.

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
10:04 am

I’m with jconservative. I don’t think Iranians want to end human civilization. They are going to get the bomb regardless of what we do. They just want attention.

If I’m a citizen of Greece, I’d want to vote on it. My options are:

1. Vote for Austerity and know that we will live with no money into the forseeable future.
2. Reject Austerity. The bondholders aren’t likely to recover the 50% writedown currently negotiated, and will likely be forced to take a bigger loss. Let the banks default, crash the stock market, and be back on my feet in a couple of years like every other country that has defaulted before me.

I’d be thinking, Why should the citizens of Greece have to go through all of that when no other countries do? The banks knew the risks they were taking. What’s up with moral hazard?

Kyle Wingfield

November 8th, 2011
10:13 am

JF: “I don’t think Iranians want to end human civilization. They are going to get the bomb regardless of what we do. They just want attention.”

And if you lived in Israel, and heard Iranians leaders speak constantly about wiping your country off the map, would you still be willing to chalk it up to attention-seeking?

And if the people in Israel decide they can’t just chalk it up to that, do you think we will sit by neutrally? Not “should sit”; “will sit.”

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
10:15 am

JF….I agree but we cant be sure. They have said if they get the technology that Israel would be demolished….can we be sure?

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
10:22 am

Did you guys see the OWS thugs conflicting with police and knocking the one officer off of his bike? PATHETIC!!! Come on Obama keep supporting these criminals and see what happens in November!!

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 8th, 2011
10:22 am

During our President Bush’s presidency, the global Eurotrash, Democrats, and other America-haters had to deny Iran’s growing nuclear capability because Bush was raising the alarm. For the America-haters, it was that whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing.

@@

November 8th, 2011
10:26 am

A criticism of the reports from various bureaucracies during the Bush years, purposefully understating Iran’s progress, only to be followed now with the inevitable, “Holy cow, they really are going to have a bomb!”

Should’ve listened to Cheney.

Purely speculation on my part, but would Iran’s proxies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon been AS capable without Iran’s support?

When Ehud Barak, Israel’s dove turns hawk, you can bet something is afoot.

Asked whether Israel needs the approval of the United States to launch an attack on Iran, the defense minister said that Israel appreciates and respects the United States and that Washington stands with Israel in many different ways, but that at the end of the day, “Israel is a sovereign state.”

The government has been working for years at showing the world that the problem of a nuclear-armed Iran is one that affects the whole world, not just Israel. But Israel is responsible for her own safety and protecting herself, Barak said.

How many of his supporters are aware of Obama’s plans to bolster our military presence in the Persian Gulf…withdraw them from Iraq to be deployed elsewhere?

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The Obama administration plans to bolster the American military presence in the Persian Gulf after it withdraws the remaining troops from Iraq this year, according to officials and diplomats. That repositioning could include new combat forces in Kuwait able to respond to a collapse of security in Iraq or a military confrontation with Iran.

As things stand now, Kuwait is saying “No thanks.” Negotiations continue.

We shall see.

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
10:28 am

Kyle & UGA,

They can attack Israel now. Why haven’t they? The repurcussions will likely be the same either way. In fact, they are worse if they drop a nuke. After seeing them drop a nuke, every country in the world will turn on them. Using convential weapons, we might not even get involved, and just tell them to knock it off for concessions.

Iran believes that having a nuke will give them a seat at the big boy table. They know that detonating one will be the end of their regime. They have NO allies at that point. They would need a large arsenal, intercontinental capacity, and the desire to end human civilization in order to detonate a nuke. They know there is no endgame scenario in which they win by detonating a nuke.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
10:34 am

JF….they have no allies??? Really? Ever hear of Russia or China?

CJ

November 8th, 2011
10:36 am

I wish that anybody who recommends that the U.S. take preemptive military action against Iran would game the thing out and explain what the realistic long-term costs and impact would be. The people who are advocating for military action in Iran are the same people who told us that going to Iraq would be cheap and easy, relatively speaking. I suspect that if what they’re advocating for Iran is realistically gamed out, they’re likely to find that their solutions would be just as costly and disastrous as their misbegotten efforts in Iraq.

Kyle Wingfield

November 8th, 2011
10:39 am

JF: “They know there is no endgame scenario in which they win by detonating a nuke.”

You’re assuming rationality on their part. You’re assuming their goals are political or economic. Those were good assumptions with the Soviets. I’m not sure they hold up with the mullahs.

Also this: “After seeing them drop a nuke…”

When you live in Atlanta, or Paris, “seeing them drop a nuke” might be an abstract thing to discuss. When you live in Tel Aviv, not so much. Why haven’t they attacked Iran yet? My somewhat-informed hunch is that they believe there’s still time to have more evidence with which to convince the international community something needs to happen, before Iran passes the point of no return. Either that, or they no longer think they can do it alone, and thus need help — and, to get it, the aforementioned evidence.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
10:46 am

CJ….I actually think Iraq was HUGELY successful! Who said anything about taking military action against Iran. I do support strong sanctions and supporting Israel in their actions.

Karl Marx

November 8th, 2011
10:50 am

Kyle, Mr. McNamara,

No Iran and the weard beards there don’t want to attack Israel, however they do want Israel to attack them. That way they can kill two birds with one stone. This way they can play the victim and further isolate Israel. I think we should let Iran join the club. Then the Russians introduce them to the expensive little game we have been playing and we will have a new target for the polaris missles subs to watch.

Jack

November 8th, 2011
11:11 am

The Iranians are crazy enough to set off a nuke without worrying about consequences.

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
11:13 am

UGA 1999,

China and Russia would no longer be their allies if they dropped a nuke. Dropping a nuke is akin to child molestation. You don’t have any friends after you do it.

Kyle,

I was asking why Iran hasn’t attacked Israel yet. They don’t need a nuke to start a war, but its always a precondition for some reason. Its just a smoke screen. They really want attention.

Mullahs, Russians, whoever, people are people. Everyone wants power and everyone wants to protect their families.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
11:16 am

JF….again you may be right. But we cannot be sure. They have talked themselves into a corner and they want to see if the world will call their bluff.

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
11:19 am

“The Iranians are crazy enough to set off a nuke without worrying about consequences.”

Of course they are Jack. Because every Iranian citizen has an IQ below 70 and is a suicide bomber. Iranians aren’t barbarians. Tehran is a city of 14M people with Universities and skyscrapers just like Atlanta. Grow up.

CJ

November 8th, 2011
11:21 am

UGA 1999: “Who said anything about taking military action against Iran.

National Review: “The only way for President Obama to salvage any particle of integrity is to do now what Bush should have done in 2008 and Obama should have done in 2009 — take out the nukes by military action.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/282457/about-2007-nie-mona-charen

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
11:25 am

JF….You are right, Iranians are not barbarians. However the Iranian people are not in control of their government.

Kyle Wingfield

November 8th, 2011
11:26 am

JF: “Mullahs, Russians, whoever, people are people. Everyone wants power and everyone wants to protect their families.”

Right. That’s why there’s no such thing as suicide bombers.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
11:26 am

CJ….we will not take out the nukes but I think Israel will and we will support them.

Terrence

November 8th, 2011
11:29 am

McNamara, this is how Iran protects their family.

http://iranrevolution.wordpress.com/revolution-martyrs/

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
11:37 am

Kyle,

There were 44 suicide bombers in Iraq in 2010 out of 30 million people. America has more murderers and rapist as a percentage. Does that mean that we are a nation of murderers and rapist?

I never said that there aren’t crazy people, because there are. They, however, are the exception and not the rule. We don’t base assumptions on .0001% of the population, do we?

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
11:38 am

JF….you are seriously comparing the crime rate in America to the radicals in the middle east? Wow, you really do need help!

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
12:00 pm

UGA 1999,

I thought Kyle’s comment was nonsensical, so I replied in kind.

Most people in the middle east are not radicals. Where you live doesn’t really reflect your personal beliefs. 45% of the people in America disagree with Obama, but live here. Its the same way in Iran.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
12:03 pm

JF….I agree but we have to live with the global comments made by Obama. The Iranian people are not bad people but their leadership is aweful. You have to understand this.

JF McNamara

November 8th, 2011
12:37 pm

I do agree that their leadership is awful (from our perspective), but the people have a way of being heard in times of crisis (as dropping a nuke certainly would be). I doubt it would get the far though.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
1:29 pm

JF…..Being heard in times of crisis? In a true democracy, yes. However the people of Iran do not have that option.

UGA 1999

November 8th, 2011
1:55 pm

Hey Kyle…can you do me a favor and slap Jay Bookman and tell him that we DID NOT lose the war in Iraq!

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

November 8th, 2011
4:03 pm

“UN says Iran is working on nuclear arms”
———–

Our President Bush told us this years ago.

Democrats, blinded by hatred, had to deny this as part of their election strategy.

Americans, on the other hand, believed our President.

Hillbilly D

November 8th, 2011
5:07 pm

If my neighbor was always talking about annihalating me and wiping me off the face of the Earth, I’d do whatever I though was necessary to see that that didn’t happen and not much care what anybody else thought.