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04/11/2006

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nykrindc

Not that I disagree with your conclusion, given the premise you state. But given our negotiations with Iran over Iraq, can't this brinkmanship be seen as more of a negotiating tool to get the Iranians to come over a little more. The negotiations (given that we've never had them before) are the carrot, Bush's threat to stop any Iranian nuke (by any means necessary) is the stick. That is, the message being sent to Iran is not so much, we're coming (though Ahmedinejad might perceive it that way, given his objectives) but rather "Let's talk, figure out how to stabilize Iraq, continue the big bang accross the Middle East, and get Iran back into our good graces," in a very Thomas Barnett plan to reconnect Iran to globalization, and through it secure India, and China and partners in globalization's Core.

Not that that IS what is happening, but I'm just saying...

tim fong

This is a good summary of the madman strategy,and I've linked to you. I'd argue that even if Bush is trying to pull off a bluff, the consequences aren't worth it. We don't live in the 1970s and today nuclear weapons technology is much easier to obtain. Even if the US is bluffing, we're still providing an incentive to non-nuclear countries to obtain the bomb because they feel threatened by the US.

Especially after we gave the Indians a pass on their violation of the NPT, we won't have a leg to stand on when other countries (Brazil, Taiwan, Venezuala...list goes on) decide they need their own nuclear capability as well. Last thing I remember though, the Brazilians are pushing ahead with a nuclear program again.

bp32

Good post. I wrote up a little something on the Madman Theory in relation to the Iran-US standoff back in February (http://duckofminerva.blogspot.com/2006/02/on-madmen-and-credibility.html). I think US credibility has taken a major hit as a result of Iraq--the little that might have been gained immediately after the invasion in terms of convincing adversaries of our willingness to use force has been eaten up by the loss of material capabilities and political capital (which is why Iran can afford to be so openly obstinate IMO). If Bush was trying to use a madman strategy I don’t think he would be so measured in his comments—even though military plans have been leaked that include the tactical nuclear option. Given the political firestorm at home and less pressing nature of Iran’s program in the eyes of the public as a whole in the US I don’t believe Bush will be able to project the level of insanity necessary for such a strategy to work—given that, I don’t think he will try. It will just be more of the standard coercive diplomacy w/out the feigned irrationality. At least, that is what I think this morning…:)

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