Rubio’s Israel Litmus Test For An Iran Nuclear Deal Is Foolish And Unrealistic

Conditioning an Iranian nuclear deal on recognition of Israel is foolish, unrealistic, and very bad diplomacy.

Iran Nukes

Marco Rubio is joining several of his fellow Republicans, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. in demanding that any deal with Iran regarding its nuclear program include the Islamic Republic’s recognition of Israel:

In his Monday night interview with Sean Hannity, Florida Senator Marco Rubio became the first Republican presidential candidate to demand a concession from Iran that’s as politically resonant at home as it is untenable in Tehran.

“There should have been a clear recognition on their part that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state,” Rubio said, of Iran’s concessions in negotiations.

“And that has to be a precondition?” asked Fox News’s Hannity. “But in the middle of negotiations, if they’re saying the destruction of Israel is nonnegotiable, is that—should that be a deal killer?”

Oh, absolutely,” said Rubio, “because again, this is a country that’s made clear that they want to destroy a strong ally of the United States.”

As noted, Rubio’s position mirrors that of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said earlier this month that, in addition to addressing what he claims to be the deficiencies in the deal announced at the end of the latest round of ‘P5 Plus 1’ negotiations in Switzerland, any deal with Iran must be contingent on recognition of the State of Israel. Several days later in an interview with National Public Radio, President Obama rejected the Prime Minister’s demand, saying that making a deal contingent on such an event would be akin to demanding a change in the fundamental nature of the Islamic Republic before we would even talk to them. As he went on to say in that interview, such a demand completely misses the entire point of the negotiations in Switzerland, which are solely concerned with finding a peaceful resolution to the international disagreements over Iran’s nuclear research program and the possibility it could lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Although the President didn’t say this directly, it’s also rather obvious that making any deal contingent on recognition of Israel would likely do real damage to the international coalition that the United States has managed to put together that drive the talks in Switzerland. As it is, that coalition is precarious at best given that it includes Russia and China, and that even European allies such as Germany and the United Kingdom have expressed the desire to see at least some of the international sanctions lessened if Tehran agreed to forgo additional research that would lead to development of nuclear weapons. Adding the Rubio/Netanyahu caveat to the deal would likely put the international coalition at risk, and that could lead to the collapse of the international sanctions regime that has brought Iran to the table to begin with.

Daniel Larison adds this:

Netanyahu’s recent statement that Iran should be made to recognize Israel’s “right to exist” as part of any deal came under harsh criticism from a former head of the Mossad because it was such an absurdly excessive demand. The version that Rubio supports is even more ridiculous. It would be requiring a kind of recognition of Israel that goes beyond what Israel’s neighbors have done when they signed treatieswith Israel. Officially defining Israel as a “Jewish state” in law is one of the controversial things Netanyahu tried to do last year that contributed to the break-up of his last coalition. In other words, Iran hawks want Iran to recognize Israel in a way that Israel does not officially use.

The new demand is irrelevant because it has nothing to do with the nuclear issue, but more to the point Israel isn’t a party to the negotiations. Insisting that Iran recognize a state that isn’t involved in the negotiations is nonsensical. This is especially true when everyone understands in advance that it is a demand that no Iranian negotiator could accept.

That last part is really the important point, of course. These negotiations have from the beginning been concerned with a single topic, Iran’s nuclear program and how to hammer out a deal between the Islamic Republic and the world’s major powers that would result in some agreement that could ensure that Iran doesn’t violate its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that it agreed to many years ago and thus allow the international community to life the sanctions that have been imposed against Tehran over the nuclear program. None of the other issues regarding Iran and its relationship with the West have ever been on the table, and it’s entirely unlikely that the talks would have ever gone forward if we had insisted that the y deal with issues other than the nuclear program. Not only because it would have been unlikely that Iran would have come to the table if negotiations had the kind of conditions that Rubio is talking about, but also because it’s unlikely that we would have been able to keep the international coalition that made the negotiations possible together. Finally, as Larison notes above, Israel is not a party to the negotiations in Switzerland, placing requirements on a deal that concern a country that isn’t even at the table is, to say the least, highly unusual diplomacy and not a strategy that one adopts if one honestly wants the negotiations to succeed.

Notwithstanding these points, Rubio’s rhetoric here is likely to go over very well inside the Republican Party, which in recent years has become more reflexively pro-Israel than it has ever been. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, who is up for re-election in 2016, has already come out in favor of the idea himself and, as David Weigel notes, Rubio jumping on board is likely to push others in the GOP to join him, especially other candidates for President. Well, most of them maybe, because at least one of Rubio’s opponents for the Republican nomination, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, disagrees with his demand for a ‘recognition of Israel’ litmus test to any nuclear deal:

On April 5, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that any deal to end or minimize Iran’s nuclear program should require the Islamic republic to recognize the state of Israel. Since then, Fox News host Sean Hannity has been asking Republican candidates for president if they agreed. Yesterday, Florida senator Marco Rubio had been adamant that Netanyahu was right. Last week, Paul seemed to be ready to demand recognition of Israel as a precondition.

“Should there be some prerequisite?” Hannity asked Paul. “Should they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist? Should they stop funding…”

Paul interjected with a “yes.” When Hannity finished his second question—about whether Iran needed to stop funding “terror”—Paul gave another “yes.”

Today, in a short interview with Bloomberg News, Paul was more circumspect about whether recognizing Israel should be a prerequisite for any Iran deal.

“Obviously we want every country in the Middle East to recognize Israel, or not to cause aggression against other countries,” Paul said. “I think there’s only two that do—Jordan, and Egypt. I think that should always be a goal, but I don’t know whether it would work on this, or kill the deal. I guess we’ll be having that discussion. I do think that the biggest thing that’s making the deal difficult for people to accept is that the Iranian foreign minister tweets out in English that it doesn’t mean what Obama says it means.”

Senator Paul is largely correct here, of course. Ideally, all of Israel’s neighbors will recognize it one day, but that’s not going to happen until issues even more complicated than Iran’s nuclear program are dealt with. Suggesting that we block even a small degree of progress on that issue by placing conditions on Tehran that we all know they are not prepared to comply with today is little more than political pandering to the hard right of the Republican Party. If it were actually implemented as policy, it would be horribly irresponsible diplomacy.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, Military Affairs, National Security, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Why do these guys want a war with Iran so badly…after they just went thru so much trouble to give them Iraq?

  2. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Bluntly, because Sheldon Adelson and a lot of people like him pay these guys very well to want war with Iran. We do the dirty work. We take whatever retaliation occurs. And we’re stuck with doing it again next year when everybody figures out it didn’t work. Onward Christian soldiers.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, this is really stupid from Rubio and others.

    But I think we are in the lag between something happening and pundits digesting it: the Russians are going to make advanced anti-aircraft systems available to Iran.

    That is a game changer.

    1) It means the sanctions regime is already breaking down, so any talk of a “better deal” to be squeezed from Iran by continuing sanctions is nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

    2) It means that when the systems are deployed the fantasy of an Israeli attack will be over. The Israelis cannot begin to get past a fully-deployed S-300 system.

    3) Neither can we unless we are willing to lose a lot of planes and pilots.

    4) So we can either attack now and set back Iranian development by 3-5 years, or we lose that leverage for good.

    5) And if we attack now we justify the Iranian pursuit of a bomb, which they can then develop without sanctions.

    So frankly we’d better damned well hope the Iranians only want to be a “threshold” nuclear state and stick to the framework, because we are months away from losing our leverage..

  4. grumpy realist says:

    I wonder what these guys will do when the rest of the committee gets up and wanders away from the table. Russia has already been starting to make mischief.

    And I really really doubt that if the sabre-rattling gets serious that the neocons are going to get anything more than a huge NO from the rest of the US.

  5. Hal_10000 says:

    And here I thought Rubio was running for President of the USA. Turns out he’s running for President of Israel.

  6. Steve V says:

    This isn’t Rubio’s idea; it’s Sean Hannity’s. Talk radio has been pushing this for weeks.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    No surprise – Rubio is part of the problem, not the solution.

    Can you imagine if Nixon had to deal with obtrusive hacks like Rubio when he was *secretly* negotiating re-establishing relations with China? Rubio and his colleagues would have ended up in the Meadowlands.

  8. steve says:

    Only parties to the Non-Proliferation treaty should have any say in these negotiations.

    Steve

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If Israel wants to be recognized by the state of Iran, maybe they should, you know, talk to Iran? If we can do it, any one can.

  10. inhumans99 says:

    Per Fox news, it looks like the bill to give Congress some oversight of any final deal is going to pass. Rubio acknowledges that if he tried to keep language in the bill to force Iran to declare Israel a legitimate state that it would have killed any potential for a final nuclear deal with Iran. He still wants to talk about getting Iran to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist on the Senate Floor, but yeah…no one seriously thinks that Iran should be forced to hug it out with Israel to prevent them from creating a nuke.

    Also, it is always a good idea to avoid the comments underneath a Fox story, without fail, the majority of comments come from the most bigoted / ignorant, and just plain dumb individuals out there, they give conservatives a bad name. Seriously, most of us have no idea how good we have it here at OTB, and we should count our blessings that James / Doug exercise some modicum of control over what gets posted on their blog.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    @inhumans99:

    Also, it is always a good idea to avoid the comments underneath a Fox story, without fail, the majority of comments come from the most bigoted / ignorant, and just plain dumb individuals out there

    Fox doesn’t have a monopoly on this. The comments under a typical Washington Post story are enough to make you want to go lock the doors and brush your teeth, too.

  12. cd6 says:

    “So then…. let’s say treasonous Obama does sign this deal with Iran,” Sean purred demurely, setting the stage. “And it’s been in effect for a year.”

    “Yes…” Marco knew where this was leading, but he was going to make Sean go first. He reached forward his glass, for another refill of his white wine spritzer.

    “What would… President Rubio do, day one in office?” Sean said, nearly in a whisper. He held his breath for the response.

    Marco closed his eyes, and let the question wash over him. He savored the title. President Rubio. It sounded… so right. Especially coming from Sean. Sweet, handsome, strong Sean.

    “Of course… I’d tear up the agreement on day one,” Rubio answered. He reopened his eyes, and trained them on the conservative host in front of him. He made steady eye contact. Never wavoring. Just like his patriotism and love of America.

    “Yes? On day one?” Sean’s pulse quickened.

    “Absolutely,” came Marco’s steely reply.

    “My word… what leadership,” Hannity swallowed. This interview was everything he had hoped for, though the anticipation hadn’t prepared him for the real feelings, now in the moment. Marco was a star… a true star. Like Sarah, before him. And of course, Ronald. There were no others. “What… what would you do then?”

    “I’d immediately reimpose sanctions on Iran,” said Marco.

    Sean’s hands slid downward below his belt, into his already loose trousers.

    “In fact, I’d increase the sanctions,” Marco said rapidly.

    “Yes! Tell me more!” Beads of sweat appeared on Sean’s forehead.

    “I’d prepare our military! We could strike quickly! It would be over in a matter of days!” Marco was almost yelling. He gave an effeminate fist pump, but Sean didn’t notice, or care.

    “Don’t stop, Marco!” Sean closed his eyes and leaned back, taking it in, as he savored every moment of the interview.

    “If Iran wants to play on the world stage, then they need to recognize Isreal’s right to exist…”

    For Sean, the world froze in that moment briefly. Time stood still. Somewhere, an eagle cried.

    “… as a Jewish state,” Marco finished. Sean’s climax shook the boom microphones in the studio. He collapsed back in chair, exhausted from the expulsion of such American exceptionism. Truly, Marco was inspirational.

    After a moment of silent recuperation, Sean managed to turn back to the camera. “After this short break, we’ll be back with a few words from Donald Trump.”

  13. Grumpy Realist says:

    @cd6: damn you’re good.

    Are you going to have that thing that lives on Donald Trump’s head jump off and bite someone?

  14. James P says:

    Here’s how a REAL US president would handle this:

    Hey, Iran, first understand this is not a negotiation. There is nothing to negotiate – this is me dictating terms to you. You have one oil refinery in your entire sad sack country. Here are its GPS coordinates [hand them a slip of paper with its GPS coordinates]

    I will order the US Air Force to destroy it in 30 days unless you do the following before then:

    verifiably dismantle all centrifuges
    dismantle heavy water plant at Bushehr as well as the enrichment sites at Netanz and Fadot
    release all US citizens (i.e. Pastor Saeed Abedini and Robert Leveonson) you are holding hostage

    recognize Israel’s right to exist
    suspend all cooperation with Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda (yeah we know about that), and the Houthis

    If these conditions are not met in 30 days we will destroy your one and only oil refinery as well as all the above named nuclear sites.

    Furthermore any Iranian naval ship which is more than 25 miles away from an Iranian port is subject to be sunk by the US Navy.

    Have a nice day and good luck funding your missing Mehdi who fell down the well 1,300 years ago.

  15. cd6 says:

    James P sat back in his chair and admired his work. He cracked open a fruit punch capri sun to review it one more time before he hit the post button, and showed those girls at OTB how a real president would handle Iran.

    Yup, suspend support of Hezbollah. Threaten to take out their one oil refinery. With GPS coordinates! That sounds scary and vaguely tactical! Because its an acronym! This is definitely a list to be proud of.

    You betcha said Sarah, in agreement. Of course, Sarah Palin wasn’t in James’ basement office right now – I wish! he chuckled -But it felt like she was there, as he glanced over at the Going Rogue promotional poster he had stolen from his local Barnes and Noble by yanking off the wall and then locking himself in the men’s room until a shift change.

    Convinced everything he wrote was perfect, he punched the POST button, and sat back to revel in his own superiority. The spinning ship wheel that signified Netscape Navigator was doing its thing rolled across the screen. But then…. nothing.

    “Hey, what the hell?” James scowled.

    He hit post again. And again, nothing.

    “Jesus, thanks, Obama,” he pounded his fist. He tried to open a new window, and it was blank. “Huh?”

    He peered forward to read the error.

    “No internet connection? Jesus christ!” He banged his fist in frustration. He tried internet explorer too. Still nothing.

    “Holy s**t…” he thought. “What if Obama is using the NSA to target conservatives and patriots, just like he targeted them with the IRS?” It would make sense that James P would be a prime target indeed – his comments across the internet, from Breitbart to the Blaze, to HotAir, to OTB, were surely a embarrassing thorn in Obama’s side. “Those bastards cut my internet! Well, just like George Zimmerman, or when they shot Reagan, I’m not going down without a fight!’

    A fight would require energy. Energy would require food. That meant another pizza. He grabbed the phone… and then swore again. Voices on the line.

    “No, he’s not looking for a job, Noreen,” said his mother. “I don’t know what he does all day. Just hangs out downstairs, and swearing at whoever the hell Obummer is.”

    “MOM! What are you doing?” James interrupted.

    “Oh god, Jimmy, I’m on the phone with your aunt,” his mom sighed. “Hang up!”

    “You’re not supposed to disconnect the modem when I am doing counterintel on Obowma!” James shrieked. They had had this argument many, many times before. Why didn’t she get the urgency? The country hung in the balance.

    “You know what, Sarah? I’ll call you back later,” his Aunt Noreen chuckled, and the line clicked dead. At least now the phone line was free once more.

    “I guess you can have the modem back,” his mom said, from the top of the stairs, as she hung up her own phone.

    “Thank god!” James P barked. “There are people who need corrected in the OTB comment section. And I’m the only one who can do it!”

    “RIght,” said his mother, as she reached, yet again, for her gin.

  16. M. Bouffant says:

    @Steve V: Alright, gov’t. of, by & for talk radio “personalities”. Can’t wait.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @cd6:
    Well played, well played.

  18. de stijl says:

    If we were to imagine that negotiations will include something like Iran’s acceptance of the existence of Israel, wouldn’t that also put the issue of West Bank settlements also on the the table?

    It seems like Rubio (et alia) want the quo, but are unwilling to talk about the quid.

    Negotiation fail 101.

  19. bill says:

    maybe it’s just a negotiating point, to maybe get them to soften their “death to Israel” chants?
    maybe he’ll settle for “live uncomfortably Israel”?
    don’t they still end their rally’s with “death to America”?

  20. michael reynolds says:

    The Iranian government is a bunch of very bad people. Unfortunately so is every single government within about a billion square miles. Israel’s still democratic, but trending thuggish, so yes they are the best of the bunch, but that only shows how bad the neighborhood is.

    Choose Mecca as your center point and going east the first decent government is India’s, going south you’re talking South Africa, going west you don’t touch the shores of a democracy until you hit Puerto Rico. The nearest decent, civilized government is probably Greece’s. Just like the way old days, Greece taking point for the west. (Not sure how they’re fixed for Spartans nowadays.)

    So, yes, the Iranian government should burn in hell, but so should the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria. . . If what we’ve got going on here is a knock-down fight between Sunni and Shia, I don’t see quite why the Sunni are our dog in the fight. It wasn’t Shiites flying planes into the Twin Towers. If you’re a woman you’ve got a hell of a lot better life in Iran than in Saudi Arabia. I think maybe we’re the bad guys if we side with the Saudis.

    I’m not saying we need to take any active part in this and I hope we don’t. But if I was running the world and had to put a little weight on one side I’d go with the Persians.

  21. de stijl says:

    @bill:

    don’t they still end their rally’s with “death to America”?

    You’ve been around. You know why Iranians would have call to hate America. You know that America and Britain ousted Mohammad Mosaddegh for their own interest and you know why (it’s spelled O-I-L). You know how the Shah Reza Pahlavi ruled and abused his rule. None of this is unknown to you. Shame on you if you even try to imply otherwise.

    How would you feel, and how would you react, if Russia and China had overthrown Eisenhower in 1953 and installed a Soviet / Maoist puppet to rule America for the next 25 years?

    What would your reaction be to the Russian and Chinese rulers of this nation, this America? Would you rise up? Would you bow and nod, or would you rebel?

    Would you be a good American and accept and praise your rightful ruler installed by Moscow as the proper steward of your nation, or would you be a bad American and reject the usurper and rise up against the foreign devils who have thrust this false leader upon you?

    Pick a side.

    Would you fight to reinstate the duly elected President Eisenhower and do anything you could to overthrow and punish those who unseated him, or would you give up and accede to the lackey Shah imposed by the foreign powers?

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Nice.

  23. James P says:

    How would you feel, and how would you react, if Russia and China had overthrown Eisenhower in 1953 and installed a Soviet / Maoist puppet to rule America for the next 25 years?

    What would your reaction be to the Russian and Chinese rulers of this nation, this America? Would you rise up? Would you bow and nod, or would you rebel?

    That’s more of less how I see Barack Hussein Obama. I see him as an interloper and have never accepted that he is president of this country or of anything else. I see him as a fraud and a Manchurian. I don’t know that he is working for Russia or China but he sure as hell is not working for the US.

    I see Obama exactly in the same manner as the French Maquis saw Henri Petain 70 years prior. I want Obama to fail just as the French wanted Petain to fail and just as some Iranians wanted the Shah to fail. That’s why in six and a half years I have never once used the title of the office BHO holds and his surname in the same sentence.

  24. Ron Beasley says:

    The title of this post should read Marco Rubio is Foolish And Unrealistic. You might also add he’s an idiot.

  25. de stijl says:

    @James P:

    That’s more of less how I see Barack Hussein Obama. I see him as an interloper and have never accepted that he is president of this country or of anything else.

    This is priceless.

    You just sided with the Iranian Revolutionaries.

  26. James P says:

    @de stijl: I don’t see it that way at all. I’m sure the Iranians (especially the hardliners, i.e. Revolutionary Guards and al-Quds force) absolutely love BHO. I’m sure Hitler preferred dealing with Chamberlain as opposed to Churchill too,.

    The last thing they want is a pro-American president who would actually oppose them. If a guy like Rubio were president the negotiations would have unfolded very differently. Iran would not have centrifuges spinning if Marco were president.

    I’m not endorsing Trump, but I do rather like his idea of just plain taking their oil. If we put that option on the table I’m sure they’d look at us differently.

  27. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @James P: And what plan does Field Marshal Trump have for implementing said idea? Oh, that’s right. He’s a leader. All he does is make the decisions. Others get to carry them out.

  28. James P says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: That would apply to any leader. Churchill didn’t personally storm the beaches of Normandy. Leaders set the tone.

    In this case our Dear Leader is establishing a tone of weakness and appeasement and the Persians (the folks who invented chess) are capitalizing on that to its fullest extent.

    They know there is no consequence to be paid as long as a gutless spineless wimp is in the White House. Rubio said he’d tell them they can either have an economy or centrifuges but not both.

    I’d start by denying SWIFT codes to any Iranian bank. Without a SWIFT code their economy would completely collapse. We could eventuate this by denying access to the American market to any international entity which does not cooperate. Yes, I realize that SWIFT codes are assigned in Brussels, but if we forced people to choose between the American and Iranian markets I’m pretty sure I know which way China would opt to go.

    If denying their banks SWIFT codes didn’t work I’d start bombing their oil facilities. If that didn’t work I’d start sinking their ships. Eventually they’d get the message that there is a price to be paid.

  29. Rick DeMent says:

    @James P:

    “I don’t see it that way at all. I’m sure the Iranians (especially the hardliners, i.e. Revolutionary Guards and al-Quds force) absolutely love BHO. I’m sure Hitler preferred dealing with Chamberlain as opposed to Churchill too “

    The ignorance of history, the willful lack of any kind of ability to comprehend global strategy, and the utter cluelessness of the limits of military power is simply breathtaking.

  30. de stijl says:

    If a guy like Rubio were president the negotiations would have unfolded very differently.

    Yeah, they would have rolled him and trolled him just like every other Republican president has been blatantly spanked by Iran since Reagan. Geopolitically, Iran has whomped the crap out of us since Ollie North was a 2 LT platoon leader.

    Iran is the poster child for the briar patch theory of international relations.

  31. de stijl says:

    That’s more of less how I see Barack Hussein Obama. I see him as an interloper and have never accepted that he is president of this country or of anything else.

    You see him as the Shah, as the usurper imposed.

    In opposition, you are the scrappy revolutionary – the valiant Wolverine in the version of Red Dawn that circles endlessly in your melon. You are Enghelābe Eslāmi.

    You are an idiot.

  32. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m sure it’s been done before, but a fictional alt-history version of America as a vassal state ruled by a puppet, and how everyday folks would deal with that, would be an interesting read. Imagine Len Deighton’s SS GB set in Omaha.

    God bless his paranoid amphetamine-ridden soul, but PK Dick would kill with that concept.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    I thought this James P. troll person was banned. Why are we still being subjected to his nonsense? I mean…if he had anything of value to add…but it’s all just fever-swamp drivel.

  34. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    PK Dick would kill with that concept.

    And apparently he did. In 1962. With The Man in the High Castle. For which he won the Hugo Award. Google is my friend. I am a moron.

    But I’m a moron who is going to walk down to the library today to see if it’s available.

  35. C. Clavin says:

    I never knew we could just pull up to the Strait of Hormuz with a big tanker and suck up all of Iran’s oil…

    I do rather like his idea of just plain taking their oil.

    ….why didn’t anyone think of this before???
    Then there is the “it’s me or the cat” strategy…

    if we forced people to choose between the American and Iranian markets

    …apparently James P. has never had a girlfriend.

    If a guy like Rubio were president the negotiations would have unfolded very differently.

    Yes…because we saw how Rubio’s immigration reform initiative went…oh wait…he folded like a house of cards. Never mind.

    If denying their banks SWIFT codes didn’t work I’d start bombing their oil facilities. If that didn’t work I’d start sinking their ships.

    Awww…you sunk my battle-ship.
    The best thing about this James P. guy is that he makes Jenos seem almost intelligent….although I suspect they are both living in their mother’s basement, chomping on cheetos in their onesies.

  36. Neil Hudelson says:

    Aww, why are we feeding the trolls again? We were doing so well.

  37. Grumpy Realist says:

    @C. Clavin: especially when the law courts are a good way for Iran to strike back. Quite a lot of Iranian companies were able to get a lot of money out of the U.S. at the time of the Revolution due to breach-of-contract clauses.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @Grumpy Realist:
    You mean like Dick Cheney’s Haliburton, Inc? Not sure how James P. expects Europe to choose sides when our own VP couldn’t.

  39. J-Dub says:

    @cd6: There should have been a Hot Pocket in there somewhere…

  40. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    He’s the hung curveball. Delicious and slow and fat. Straight down the middle. Daring you, begging you, hell – winking at you. The runner is halfway to second before the ball reaches the plate. The itch that must be scratched. The sunflower hull unspit.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @cd6:

    “Thank god!” James P barked. “There are people who need corrected in the OTB comment section. And I’m the only one who can do it!”

    “RIght,” said his mother, as she reached, yet again, for her gin.

    … and dad reached for the lever to draw open the black-out drapes, and unwelcome sunlight again beamed into the basement …

    that’s for the two-part series …. much appreciated

  42. C. Clavin says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    Why do people continue to smoke, when they know it’s bad for them?

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Well, it would be nice if at least one of our trolls showed an awareness of reality higher than a Pac-man game.

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:
    of course…but then their greatest aspiration would not to be a troll.

  45. Tillman says:

    @cd6: Jesus fuck. 😀 Need to catch my breath.

    @James P: Jesus f***, way to destroy the afterglow.

    (Sorry to the moderator who deals with this post. I perfectly understand not allowing it to see the digital light of day.)

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:

    Amazon has an original TV series of The Man In the High Castle which I had cued up and ready when I saw your comment and thought, wait a minute, that sounds familiar.

    Had Dick lived he’d be a rich man now. Figure even a half million on each movie sale average, plus after Blade Runner he’d be getting a piece of the back end (mostly fictional, but occasionally paid out) and a producer slot on any TV.

    And best of all he’d have special movie tie-in versions of his books. He could tour. He could take lots of towncars and have bleary conversations with lots of drivers named Raul who have been thinking of writing a book about their experiences as limo drivers. He could stay in lots of Marriotts and Hiltons. He could sign books in stores and sometimes just sit there all by himself at a sad little card table in a corner like some jerk peddling juicers. He could field endless fanboy questions at various cons and fight for time with long-winded panelists. He could be toadied and secretly hated by fellow authors. He could find himself bloated, constipated, exhausted and lonely trying to squeeze out a turd in some filthy airport restroom, realizing he doesn’t actually know where he is or where the hell his next flight is going.

    Yeah. Book tour. The best. Could be that’s why he figured, screw it, I’ll just stroke out and die and be huge posthumously.

  47. James P says:

    and the utter cluelessness of the limits of military power is simply breathtaking.

    I’ll concede that I am not an expert on military tactics and strategy, but I do know that a JDAM from a F16 would be perfectly capable of taking out their lone oil refinery.

    I know that in 1987 Ronald Reagan took out their entire navy in 30 minutes. I would think that our technology as it relates to targeting is superior to what it was nearly 30 years ago. I would think we could sink their entire navy in relatively short order.

    The fact is that the Iranians know there will be zero repercussions if they violate this sham of an agreement so they are free to do whatever they want. If we had a real president, a pro-American president as opposed to a Fifth Columnist Manchurian, they would know that there would be consequences.

  48. Tillman says:

    @de stijl: Thank you. This has been what bothers me the most about Republican ideology in the last decade — this all-or-nothing absolution, this no-quarter-or-mercy shoot-from-the-hip style of haggling. Forgive my slip into Tyrelldom, but have any of these guys ever bought a used car? There is no greater practical lesson in negotiation than buying a used car from a dealer of used cars who knows her stuff and enough human psychology to maintain a car lot with fifty or a hundred “clunkers” in constant rotation over a period of twenty years, enough to become an institution when she advertises in the local free indie weeklies. The only kind of car dealer these dudes ever dealt with was a guy at a certified local dealer for some expensive manufacturer, and the only negotiation they ever entered was over the exact amount of degrees Fahrenheit the deluxe air conditioning unit installed could reduce the climate of the cabin. The extent of that guy’s negotiating skill is in converting Celsius to Fahrenheit. That guy has television commercials and production values reducing his edge, priming his intended audience. He has a pre-approved audience of a certain status, all swaddled in A Certain Kind of Imagery. (Oh shit, slipped in minor amateurish readings of Baudelaire somewhere.)

    Republican elected officials are under the assumption that we have a 1950s style government that can do anything because it can throw money at anything regardless of results, a scary institution in its own right, but they labor under the illusion they’ve got a 1950s government with 2010s-style taxation. They don’t know the value of money, and since money is so ubiquitous as a measure of value, they don’t know the basic value of others things either, and thus can’t negotiate. Or worse: they’re not deluded, they can only get elected by appealing to deluded people. You can fix the first one, not sure what to do about the second.

  49. James P says:

    You folks are obviously ignorant to how SWIFT codes work. We could cripple them by denying Bank Melli access to foreign currency. Their economy would implode.

  50. J-Dub says:

    @James P:

    Their economy would implode.

    And then maybe we could get them to the negotiating table…

  51. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This is what bothers me. Our pet conservatives are either dishonest, belligerent morons like James P, or they’re well-meaning but permanently ill-informed like Tyrell. Pinky is the best of the bunch, but not really challenging enough to sharpen one’s skills on.

  52. Tillman says:

    @J-Dub: There might be a revolution, you don’t know. I mean, if my economy imploded, there’d be a revolution somewhere.

    @de stijl: Excellent book. Especially enjoyed the early descriptions of Hitler going insane as the elder statesman of the Reich. Got into it after getting into the I Ching, weirdly. Supposedly the oracle was the co-author of that book, or maybe it was a different one I’m thinking of.

  53. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Had Dick lived he’d be a rich man now.

    That’s a nice thought. It would have been interesting to see Dick as a late middle-aged, not poor, resting on his laurels kind of dude. Maybe on a tour with J.G. Ballard. Had he found the correct mental equilibrium, I think he would have been very amused his success.

    “Would you look at that! I’m kind of a bigshot. I appear to have money. Is this even real?”

    He could find himself bloated, constipated, exhausted and lonely trying to squeeze out a turd in some filthy airport restroom, realizing he doesn’t actually know where he is or where the hell his next flight is going.

    Speaking of things that aren’t really there. Or are they? When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep… and you’re never really awake.

    You wake up at Seatac, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?

    (BTW, I’m not sure that I like Palahniuk as a writer, but I love him as a stylist, a wordsmith.)

  54. Neil Hudelson says:

    @de stijl:

    Picked up Man in the High Castle because of the author’s reputation and–literally–by judging the book by it’s cover.

    Read it in one sitting, on a flight from Charlotte to San Diego. I’m ashamed to say that was my first PK Dick book (but certainly not my last), and I was 25.

    My parents raised me right in many ways, but clearly failed in others.

  55. @Neil Hudelson:

    I’m also huge fan of The Man In The High Castle. Not sure if you’re aware, but Amazon recently picked it up as a first run series for Amazon Prime Instant Video. The pilot episode is already available there, but I’m not sure when the first season will premier.

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    I know that in 1987 Ronald Reagan took out their entire navy in 30 minutes.

    It took :30 to debunk this complete nonsense from this mindless troll.
    April 18, 1988 – Operation Praying Mantis. In retaliation for the mining of the Strait of Hormuz and the subsequent damage to a guided missile frigate, the USS Samuel B. Roberts. Iran lost one major warship, a smaller gunboat, and some speed-boats. The US lost 2 men in a chopper crash.

    Iran has two independent naval forces with parallel chains of command. The conventional navy is called the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN). The second is the naval wing of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGCN). The two navies have overlapping functions and areas of responsibility, but they are distinct in terms of how they are trained and equipped- and more importantly also in how they fight.
    The backbone of the regular navy’s inventory consists of larger surface ships, including frigates and corvettes, and submarines. With its longer range surface assets, the IRIN is generally considered to be a conventional “green water” navy. It operates at a regional level, mainly in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman but also as far afield as the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
    The Revolutionary Guards naval force has a large inventory of small fast attack craft, and specializes in asymmetric, hit-and-run tactics. It is more akin to a guerrilla force at sea. Both navies maintain large arsenals of coastal defense and anti-ship cruise missiles and mines.

    Of critical importance in this episode is the prospect of the mining of the Strait of Hormuz…through which 20% of the worlds oil flows. The Middle East is relatively stable under Obama…one of the 4 or 5 reasons contributing to oil at under $56 bbl today. Show of hands…how many besides James P. want to see the cost of oil skyrocket?
    Anyway – Republicans, typified by this troll, are more than willing to rush into a war without fully understanding the conditions on the ground – or in the water. That’s exactly how we lost 4000 troops and spent $2 Trillion in Iraq…only to donate that country to Iran…who Republicans, and this troll, now want to go to war with.

  57. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: Hell, you end up running down the wrong gangplank at O’Hare because you mix the terminals up….

    What made me realize I had been traveling too much (aside from the time my company managed to book me on both sides of the Pacific for the same day) was when I staggered into Somewhere With a Hilton after a flight back from Moscow, went down to reunite myself with some mislaid luggage, got back in the elevator, and realized I didn’t have the foggiest idea of what floor I had come from. (The key of course was no help because it was one of those unmarked credit card thingies.)

  58. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    Forgive my slip into Tyrelldom, but have any of these guys ever bought a used car?

    No, I haven’t bought car. But I have bought onions. Do you know what I like about buying onions? There are three kinds – there’s the white, the yellow, and the red. I usually buy the yellow ones, myself, because they are the cheapest, but sometimes I buy the Vidalias because they are sweet, regardless of what the so-called mainstream media will try to tell you. Does that mean there are more than three kinds of onions, or is the sweetness a quality that transcends onionity?

    I don’t trust the controlled media outlets like the New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, E! or SyFy, so I guess I’ll have to ask Cletus the office manager at the Kia dealer out on Maple past the quarry, where I bought my last car – Oh, wait, I have bought a car! – to help me figure out the Vidalia onion issue. Have you driven a Kia? Solid, American-made cars.

    Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. P.S. I am not a crackpot.

  59. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: And how, pray tell, are you planning to get the rest of the world together to decide to do that? Given that countries like Russia are already slipping away from the committee table to carry out side negotiations with Our Great Enemy?

    Jesus you’re an idiot.

  60. lounsbury says:

    @James P:

    I’d start by denying SWIFT codes to any Iranian bank. Without a SWIFT code their economy would completely collapse. We could eventuate this by denying access to the American market to any international entity which does not cooperate. Yes, I realize that SWIFT codes are assigned in Brussels, but if we forced people to choose between the American and Iranian markets I’m pretty sure I know which way China would opt to go.

    So you mean in fact you’d have the US unilaterally threaten the SWIFT org and network in a fit of childish pique, and except that Rest of World will just go along….

    As opposed to simply circumvent, which is not particularly difficult given extent parallel networks, usable by the Russians, the Chinese.

    In short you’d engage in a petulant self-defeating act of unilateral idiocy that would only drive the activation of parallel markets (and have little real effect on the Iranians in the end).

    @James P: Amusing demarche as rather evidently you do not really know very much about the SWIFT and inter-bank systems at all.

  61. lounsbury says:

    @grumpy realist: The power of America and all that. USA USA USA, etc.

  62. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    This has been what bothers me the most about Republican ideology in the last decade — this all-or-nothing absolution, this no-quarter-or-mercy shoot-from-the-hip style of haggling.

    Authoritarians are the worst negotiators. You start at 50, they start at 100. You offer 60 – no deal, they want the 100. You offer 70 – nope, gimme 100. They don’t even want the 100. They just want yell at you a lot, demonize you as wedge for internal political gain, and kill you because you’re The Other.

    Iran’s leadership and it’s diplomatic corps are not idiots. They’re not dummies. They are probably the best realists of the current ME leadership bunch. Israel isn’t even the regional enemy they worry about.

    Neither Israel, Jordan, nor Egypt are party to the negotiations. If some ignorant yahoo wants to bring up recognition, they’re just going to roll their eyes and chuckle. “Yes, please. Let’s talk about the state of Israel.”

  63. Pete S says:

    I’m not sure that this is a stupid litmus test at all. If you are trying to find a nominee who values peace, stability and genuinely prefers that Iran does not gain a nuclear weapon THEN it is stupid. But what evidence do we have that Republicans really want these things? The Republican Party seems to genuinely want pointless war, expensive oil delivered unreliably, and Iran to be extra motivated to get a nuclear weapon. This litmus test insures a nominee who will help pursue these objectives. Rubio is pursuing the goals of the base which is not stupid at all, since being the Republican nominee is the only way to realize his goal of being the president.

  64. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    Got into it after getting into the I Ching

    So your avatar pic is pretty much spot on, then?

  65. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: Actually, considering how Iran managed to con the US into attacking Iraq and taking them out with not a dinar lost on the Iranian side they might be the most intelligent player around. And particularly in the Middle East.

  66. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: Let’s not give the Persians that much credit. I don’t think Iran was setting up the U.S. so much as saying “please proceed, Governor” when we had bright ideas.

    @de stijl: I am pretty much that scene when the Dude calls the Big Lebowski a “human paraquat.”

  67. michael reynolds says:

    @Pete S:

    The Republican Party wants only one thing: to destroy the black man in the White House. They’ve long since ceased to advance a real world agenda. Their positions on Iran and Cuba are obviously childish and disconnected from reality. They’re watching grandmasters play chess and wondering aloud why the pawn doesn’t move like the knight.

    Hatred and fear are all that unites the Money, Bombs and Jesus wings of the GOP. Without that unifying hatred they’re in trouble, because Money has no problem with gays, Bombs has no interest in abortion and Jesus doesn’t particularly like billionaire bankers or arms merchants. Money wants lots of Mexicans working for less than minimum wage, while Jesus fears the brown. Money and Bombs want another George W. Bush, someone stupid and malleable. Jesus wants a revivalist preacher, someone stupid and utterly rigid.

    A lot of it is simple, straight-up racism. But to be fair their fears go beyond their clear contempt for all things dark-complected. It’s modernity they fear, and that applies to all three branches of the GOP. In the modern world capital is regulated. In the modern world wars are clearly not profitable in any sense of the word. In the modern world we tolerate and even enjoy differences of race, religion, culture and gender. The Jesus wing is essentially the mirror-image of the Taliban – full of rage and hatred of the modern, despising women, despising minorities, and in the end that’s who has the votes within the GOP. But the other two wings have equivalent if less passionate beefs with the 21st century.

    The GOP has a real problem somehow encompassing the Jeb Bush’s and the Mike Huckabees. Which is why with just 18 months left to run they are still obsessing over Obama. They need the unifying hate-object.

  68. de stijl says:

    You folks are obviously ignorant to how SWIFT codes work. We could cripple them by denying Bank Melli access to foreign currency. Their economy would implode.

    From PressTV:

    Iran’s media are reporting that SWIFT – a company that provide a global electronic banking system – has started talks with Iranian banks to restart its services to the country.

    and:

    In early 2012, SWIFT said it had been instructed by the European Council to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions. Accordingly, it blocked 30 Iranian banks from using its service thus literally cutting off Iran from the global banking system.

    Why would Iran’s economy implode now if they have been facing the exact same situation for the last three years?

    You got this talking point from some schmendrick’s comment on Free Republic, am I right?

  69. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: I doubt James P has ever had to use a SWIFT code in his life…he’s just re-parrotting something he scraped off some far-right website somewhere.

  70. Pete S says:

    @michael reynolds: Excellent summary, even if is a bit disturbing. I am not American, but live close enough (I can literally see the US from my office window) that I have to take some notice of what is going on. Someone like me seems like I should be the Republican Party’s natural constituency (white, middle aged, married with kid, somewhat socially conservative) but I cannot imagine supporting the radicals who run the party.

  71. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: Wasn’t Chalabi Iranian? And the crazy guy called Skewball who kept dropping stories about Teh Bomb like breadcrumbs right in front of Dick Cheney’s nose?

    If Iran didn’t do the actual cooking, they certainly did seem to stand around helping with the salting and peppering.

  72. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yeah, after swallowing what Chalabi and Curveball had to sell, the Cheney team really proved that “The adults are back in charge” mantle, didn’t they?

    But Cheney and Rumsfeld were going do it anyway no matter what. So C&C ended up being frosting on a cake that was going to get baked anyway. I’m still kind of gobsmacked that they didn’t bring a throw-down to fake a WMD find. It would have been entirely in their character to falsify a nuke or two to provide the post facto invasion justification. Bullshitters believed their own bullshit, or the B Team oversold their “findings.”

  73. David M says:

    Serious question. With all the talk of the Iran deal, has anyone seen an actual objection to it that includes a realistic alternative?

  74. Pete S says:

    @David M: That’s the real problem. Outside of this requirement to recognize Israel, I don’t think there has even been a detailed unrealistic alternative. The only alternative is “not this”, without saying what “not this” would entail. It is harder to prevent a deal if you provide your negotiators with an actual goal.

  75. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist: I think I’m suspicious of it because it sounds too much like a good movie spec script to be true, but reality does surprise me from time to time. It requires the Iranian leadership to have way too accurately perceived the Bush administration’s warmongering zeal. I’m not ruling out whatever International Relations scholars could refer to as the equivalent of a side-eyed glance before agreeing with the crazy neighbor’s theories of why the jackass across the street deserves a visit from the City Zoning Committee on the Iranians’ part, but I suspect they’re more cautious than “goad hegemon into starting a war with my neighbor for my benefit.”

    People forget that aside from invading Iraq to begin with being a bad idea, the Bush administration completely cocked up the administration of an Occupied Iraq after the war to an alarming degree. They not only did a stupid thing, they did it in the stupidest way possible. My conception is Iran capitalized on what must have appeared to them to be the most golden geopolitical opportunity to have ever occurred right on their doorstep.

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @Tillman: Not to Godwin the entire thread, but A.J.P. Taylor wrote a very controversial book where he carefully analyzed the first half of WWII and pointed out that contrary to the prevalent belief at that time, the guy with the funny moustache in Germany didn’t have any overall secret plan to take over all Europe; he had just taken advantage of openings he saw available.

    I think you’re right– the same thing happened here. Chalabi and Curveball were useful idiots walking around trolling stories for U.S. politicians to snap up, and then the Iranians took advantage of every opportunity they saw develop while we went down the rabbit hole.

  77. grumpy realist says:

    @David M: Of course not. These are the guys who make stories up in their own heads and somehow reality is supposed to catch up.

    Very much like the trolls posting here, by the way.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    It’s the same as with Obamacare…not this…we don’t have an alternative.
    The alternatives that have been discussed are illogical, unworkable, and unrealistic.
    See any comment from James P. on the topic.

  79. de stijl says:

    @Tillman:

    Putative Republican presidential candidates negotiate with Iran like Walter Sobchak negotiates with Smokey in regards to foot fouls. “You are entering a world of pain” and “Has the whole world gone crazy? Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? Mark it zero!”

    BTW, I am pretty much that scene when Karl Hungus fixes Bunny’s cable.

  80. lounsbury says:

    @de stijl: Well… Not all Iranian FIs are blocked, but yes, he clearly hasn’t a real bloody clue. Is he not the idiot who claimed to have lived in London, yes?

  81. michael reynolds says:

    @lounsbury:
    Lived in London and has a PhD in economics.

  82. michael reynolds says:

    @lounsbury:
    Also he can turn base metals into gold.

  83. Blue Galangal says:

    @lounsbury: AND ostensibly has a postbac of some sort in currency valuation and world finance from LSE. Can’t you tell by the intelligence that oozes from every letter of his posts?

  84. lounsbury says:

    @michael reynolds: Ah so it is the same wanker.

  85. James P says:

    I doubt James P has ever had to use a SWIFT code in his life…

    I deal with SWIFT codes not quite every day, but pretty close to it.

    IN other words, my solution of blocking Iranian access to SWIFT codes would in fact be successful in bringing down their economy.

    Since you can’t contradict that, you cast personal opprobrium on me. I get it.

  86. Tillman says:

    @de stijl: That story’s ludicrous.

    @James P: I’ll take your word for it. 😀

    @grumpy realist: I get all my ideas from Tolstoy. I read one book of his and come out thinking I’m a psychohistorian.

  87. lounsbury says:

    @James P:
    So you have some back office experience in batch processing, doubtless as a clerk. Or have ordered a wire and had to look up a SWIFT… Brilliant. This allows you to make fallacious sweeping statements that show a rather limited understanding of the Brussels organization, the interbank networks or anything relative to policy (and rather evidently no grasp of current state of Iranian FI connexions with SWIFT network or their alternatives).

    Your idiotic assertion remains… idiotic.

  88. humanoid.panda says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Not to Godwin the entire thread, but A.J.P. Taylor wrote a very controversial book where he carefully analyzed the first half of WWII and pointed out that contrary to the prevalent belief at that time, the guy with the funny moustache in Germany didn’t have any overall secret plan to take over all Europe; he had just taken advantage of openings he saw available.

    Problem with that is that a generation of historians since have pretty decisevely demonstrated that Taylor was full of shit. In other words, it’s true that Hitler had no blueprint in his office on taking Europe, but he has a set of foreign policy goals he wanted to accomplish: basically, turn Russia and Eastern Europe for a resource base to wage global battle for supremacy against the US, and for that purpose, make West Europe a German annex. For details, you can check out Adam Tooze’s Wages of Destruction, or Kershaw’s biography of Hitler.

  89. JohnMcC says:

    @James P: Your education about the possible ways that a war against Iran could ‘evolve’ quickly and negatively for the US would begin by looking into the Millenium Challenge war game. An imaginative general playing the role of the Iranian military very quickly crippled the US Navy and sealed the Strait of Hormuz. If the judged consequences of the Iranian attack had actually occurred, there was the death of over 20 thousand American sailors & marines and the loss of the carrier John Stennis.

    When you casually advocate war without considering the cost to those who fight and who will non-voluntarily ‘host’ a war in their homeland you disqualify yourself from conversation with actual human persons.

  90. James P says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Republican Party wants only one thing: to destroy the black man in the White House.

    That’s just you cheaply playing the race card.

    If you strike the word black from your statement you’d be completely correct. I want to destroy the Manchurian socialist in the White House.

    For you to believe it is about race you would have to conclude that I would vote for Harry Reid over Col. West. I don’t think even you are prepared to state that I’d vote for Reid over West simply because of race.

    Yes, I want to destroy Obama. I want to scuttle the Iran deal in part to humiliate the little punk in front of the world — just as Henry Cabot Lodge did to Woodrow Wilson in 1920. Was Woodrow Wilson black?

  91. James P says:

    @lounsbury:

    Your idiotic assertion remains… idiotic.

    Explain to me how Bank Melli would get its hands on foreign currency (in any significant amount) without a SWIFT code? How would Iran import the equipment necessary to enrich uranium without purchasing it (surreptitiously) from abroad? If they don’t have SWIFT codes how would these transactions be processed?

    They’d have to physically carry suitcases of cash (or gold) to their suppliers or resort to the barter system. That would be just a bit inefficient.

    ________

    When you put down clerks, you don’t insult me (I’m not a clerk) – you just make yourself look like a snob. Do you think you are better than someone who is “only” a clerk.

    My immigrant grandfather was “only” a janitor. I bet you think you’re better than him as well, don’t you?

    You reveal your own arrogance and hubris when you make condescending comments like these.

  92. James P says:

    @lounsbury: BTW, you might want to spell “connexions” correctly if you are going to call someone else an idiot.

    I deal with SWIFT codes several times each week due to my job. I’m quite familiar with how they work.

  93. lounsbury says:

    Well the cretin doubles down.
    @James P:

    Explain to me how Bank Melli would get its hands on foreign currency (in any significant amount) without a SWIFT code?

    You mean access to the SWIFT network. They have an assigned SWIFT address that is suspended.

    Really quite simple:
    The same way they have been
    (i) Via pass through operations with SWIFT network access FIs, either via line rentals (shadowing) or disguised operations with FIs from
    (a) Dubai, (b) Iraq, (c) Russia, (d) various Russian partners (Central Asian notably), (e) non-sanctioned Iranian FI partner (less than idea, but as a pass through to (a-d) not terrible.
    (ii) Indirect connexion via non-SWIFT networks, notably Russian, Chinese.

    How would Iran import the equipment necessary to enrich uranium without purchasing it (surreptitiously) from abroad? If they don’t have SWIFT codes how would these transactions be processed?

    How, why multiple fashions. For someone who is claiming FI expertise, you have quite the impoverished understanding of international transactional finance. One does not typically pay for capital equipment up-front via SWIFT network transfers of course. Capital equipment acquisition rather uses other instruments – and all this can be tripped through other FI windows with the proper preparations. Tedious, more expensive, but with partners, in no way particularly difficult as such. Rather more difficult is the shipment of actual physical equipment. That is the real issue, not SWIFT payment processing.

    Of course they do have “SWIFT codes” (addresses – your continued misuse of this tells me you’re probably a back office person in the USA who has some indirect experience here). What the sanctioned FIs have a problem with is direct network access – presently blocked.

    But of course this is not new, and your blithering on about SWIFT codes and hand-waving about cutting off the Iranians tells me that you actually have very little understanding of these issues, other than perhaps having filled out some forms with SWIFT codes and perhaps some back-office work.

    They’d have to physically carry suitcases of cash (or gold) to their suppliers or resort to the barter system. That would be just a bit inefficient.

    No, not at all. This again tells me you have … well little to no practical international asset transaction experience in any real sense.

    @James P:
    It is really quite queer that someone who supposedly studied at LSE and lived for years in London is not aware of the proper Commonwealth spelling of connexions…. Not that I am surprised by this as I do not credit any aspect of your story. But it is quite amusing.

    And no, actually I see no awareness on your part of how international transactions work, nor actually a real understanding of SWIFT. But you may well send wires by SWIFT regularly – it hasn’t very evidently given you any understanding of SWIFT on a real operational level, or of international transactions or of the policy issues around SWIFT and the interests of the SWIFT consortium relative to your idiotic presumption that SWIFT consortium would simply bend to unilateral US decisions (given their interest in not enabling parallel networks emergence, which such would clearly force, the answer is no).

    But then I do forget what bank clerks and small company transactional people think they understand.

  94. lounsbury says:

    Hmmm, FIs = financial institutions. Sorry about that.

  95. slimslowslider says:

    @cd6:

    Amazing! Thanks for this.

  96. Grumpy Realist says:

    @James P: “connexion” is the British spelling, you wanker.

    Just another piece of evidence that your closest link to London is watching Mary Poppins.

  97. Surreal American says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    Such a stupid, dead giveaway.

  98. stonetools says:

    James P is to international finance as Rubio is to foreign policy…

  99. James P says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    “connexion” is the British spelling, you wanker.

    No it isn’t.

  100. Surreal American says:

    @James P:

    Take it up with Merriam Webster’s, you sorry excuse for a troll:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/connexion

  101. James P says:

    @lounsbury:

    and the interests of the SWIFT consortium relative to your idiotic presumption that SWIFT consortium would simply bend to unilateral US decisions

    I never claimed that. We would have to apply pressure to them (something BHO would never do) but if we pressured them they would acquiesce. We are not without leverage.

    You can say I’m a clerk as often as you like. You can say I am a giraffe as often as you like. Repeating it over and over will not make it true.

    Connexion is not a British spelling – it is an misspelling. Flavour and centre are Commonwelath spellings — connexion is either slang or an error. I would know that from having lived in Clapham (as a student) and Sloane Square (after I graduated and got a job).

  102. lounsbury says:

    @James P:
    I never claimed that. We would have to apply pressure to them
    Oh yes – “apply pressure”

    Wonderful hand-waving. Big Strong Americans (non-Black of course) will apply ‘pressure.’ …

    (something BHO would never do) but if we pressured them they would acquiesce. We are not without leverage.

    Silly empty assertion rather ignoring actual current situ and how it go there…

    You can say I’m a clerk as often as you like.

    No you might be a back office twat or some provincial twit at some provincial bank or rather more likely a mere fraud.

    Connexion is not a British spelling –

    Thanks for the high quality information. We’re all quite convinced.

    Even as a troll you’re quite the incompetent.

  103. James P says:

    @lounsbury: So in other words if we used the leverage we had SWIFT would acquiesce and deny codes to Iranians. You did absolutely nothing to refute that contention so I will assume you stipulate to my premise.

    _____

    I read the Telegraph every day (well almost every day) for five years. Never once did I see the term “connexion”. I didn’t read the Guardian so it is possible they have significantly lower standards, but my point remains that connexion is not a Commonwealth spelling.
    _________

    “Non-black of course”

    Way to interject race when it is wholly unrelated. It is liberals like you who perpetuate racism when you needlessly inject race into everything. This has nothing to do with race yet you interject race into a discussion about bank transfer codes. That’s really quite telling.

  104. michael reynolds says:

    “Connexion.”

    This spelling has been rarely encountered in the United States since the 19th century. In the United Kingdom the spelling remained in common use until the mid-twentieth century, since which time its use has declined considerably. It is still a notable and accepted alternative spelling since it is retained by the British Methodist Church and some other organisations.

    If Lounsbury was educated in the UK or Commonwealth in the 50’s or 60’s it is quite likely that he learned this spelling, which remains an accepted alternate spelling, though it has slowly succumbed to the Americanized,”Connection.” It remained in use as the standard spelling in the Times into the 1980’s.

    Really: Google. It’s right there on your computer.

  105. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: I’m not a Methodist and I have never seen that spelling – not once.

    I wasn’t there in the 1980s. I was there from 2001 to 2006 and in those five years I never once saw it spelled “connexion” meaning it is not commonplace.

    I suppose there are certain archaic ways of spelling things but they aren’t in common use. On university buildings, the letter “V” is often carved as a “U” but that doesn’t mean it is commonplace in every day vernacular.

  106. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:
    Uh huh. Well I’m not a Methodist either, nor am I a Brit, nor was I educated in the UK mid-20th century, nor was I reading the Times in the 1980’s but I recognized it immediately as an alternate spelling I associated with UK usage.

    It seems your alleged London School of Economics PhD compares poorly to my 10th grade Urbandale High School education.

  107. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: You’re one up on me if you have ever seen the connection spelled “connexion” because I never have. Granted I did not study mid-20th century linguistics but I have never once seen it spelled that way (although I have seen spelled spelled “spelt”). If it was in common usage then it would appear in their newspapers.

  108. S Holmes says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If our lounsbury is The Lounsbury who wrote for the now-defunct group blog ‘Aqoul, we are fortunate indeed. Not only does he have an irascible charm much like your own, he has great knowledge and insight into the Middle East, Iraq in particular.

    As much as I applaud Mr. Joyner’s efforts to rid this place of bedbugs like James P, I have to say that I am delighted he was here to take six of the best from a fellow like lounsbury.

  109. wr says:

    @James P: “You can say I’m a clerk as often as you like. You can say I am a giraffe as often as you like. Repeating it over and over will not make it true.”

    You mean kind of like claiming you have a doctorate from the LSE?

  110. jukeboxgrad says:

    James P:

    I read the Telegraph every day … I didn’t read the Guardian so it is possible they have significantly lower standards … If it was in common usage
    then it would appear in their newspapers.

    Telegraph:

    What you do not have is that vital psychological sense of connexion

    Telegraph again:

    he recoiled from it in order to prevent his own mind from following this connexion

    And again:

    which begins a connexion

    And just for fun, here’s the London School of Economics:

    The histories of commerce and connexions between the producers and consumers of cotton textiles

    So it’s pretty funny to notice that you said this:

    you might want to spell “connexions” correctly if you are going to call someone else an idiot

  111. Tillman says:

    I recall learning connexion from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. That’s my excuse for not being British: I read a book.

  112. CB says:

    This is all just fantastic.

  113. anjin-san says:

    @S Holmes:

    I have to second (or perhaps third) that lounsbury is a huge asset to the OTB community. He is consistently both educational and entertaining to read.

  114. lounsbury says:

    Ahem my reply is caught in spam …. but yes I am one and the same as the old Aqoul The Lounsbury.

  115. lounsbury says:

    BTW
    No I don’t stipulate to this inane idiocy:
    @James P:

    So in other words if we used the leverage we had SWIFT would acquiesce and deny codes to Iranians. You did absolutely nothing to refute that contention so I will assume you stipulate to my premise.

    As of course (i) Iranian FIs already have assigned SWIFT addressing, (ii) SWIFT has a substantial business interest for Rest of World to not see massive unilateral incentives to migrate to parallel networks, (iii) USA solo bullying without substantial EU and other support will simply see US rather the Rest of World get marginalised. There is more than substantial financial history for such (the entire offshore Eurodollar markets arose from stupid US unilateralism on the dollar market).

    Your demarche is pure idiocy based on purely magical thinking, if we can grace your maundering with the term thinking.

  116. jukeboxgrad says:

    James P, one more thing, since you make it so easy:

    You have one oil refinery in your entire sad sack country … If these conditions are not met in 30 days we will destroy your one and only oil refinery … a JDAM from a F16 would be perfectly capable of taking out their lone oil refinery

    Really? You’re so sure about this you said it three times. Link:

    [Iran] has nine existing refineries in Abadan, Arak, Bandar Abbas, Isfahan, Tabriz, Tehran, Lavan Island, Shiraz and Kermanshah

    Link:

    Iran’s major existing refineries include Abadan (400 000 bpd), Isfahan (265,000 bpd), Bandar Abbas (232 000 bpd), Tehran (225 000 bpd), Arak (150,000 bpd) and Tabriz (112,000 bpd).

    Also, if we don’t have international cooperation to maintain sanctions, Iran could use refinery capacity elsewhere (something it already does).

    You continue to be inadvertently hilarious. Keep up the good work.

  117. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    I know it’s a waste of time because you’re a cretin, but sanctions only work when they involve a wide coalition. Did you not read my top comment in which the Russians are already preparing to violate sanctions? Do you not read the papers and see that China is ramping up a pipeline deal from Iran to Pakistan and presumably beyond to China proper? Do you really think the French and the Germans will continue to support sanctions if we go all George W. Bush on this and start bombing left and right?

    Listen, troll boy: if you want to bluster and posture as some sort of superior intellect, it’s not going to work very well if you’re this fwcking clueless. You’re too dumb to play “smart” and too poorly-educated to play “PhD” and just plain too damned lazy to impress anyone here.

    You don’t do your homework. You don’t understand the issues. You are way out of your depth and impressing no one.

    At very least for God’s sake learn to use Google and find out what the fwck is actually happening in the world before you start blathering.

    Jesus.

  118. Surreal American says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Do you really think…

    Spoiler alert: He doesn’t.

  119. jukeboxgrad says:

    My understanding is that they have one oil refinery

    I cited multiple sources proving that this claim is false, and you cited nothing, but you’re repeating your false claim anyway. Thanks for making it so clear that you don’t expect to be taken seriously.

  120. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    You have the foreign policy understanding of a not-terribly bright child.

    If we bomb their facilities, the Russians and Chinese and Germans fall all over themselves to rebuild them. Do we then bomb Chinese workers? Um. . . no.

    Idiot.

  121. michael reynolds says:

    @James P:

    During WW2 the Germans destroyed ports in Italy to keep us from using them. You know how long it took to get those ports back up and running? Weeks. Just weeks. Sometimes less.

    Like I said: you’re an idiot.

  122. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    What I find interesting is that his position is logically consistent. It just is based on a complete and utter ignorance of actual human behaviour. I wonder if he behaves this way in private too (“Is this behaviour odious enough that my wife will divorce me for it. If not it’s ok”), if he is able to fake it like a lot of sociopaths do or if he compartmentalizes this somehow and has a different behaviour set for “normal” interactions. Could be an interesting case study.

    On the other hand he is pretty much a model of what what I always suspected true objectivists (and to a lesser degree libertarians) really think. He is just too socially inept to disassemble for polite society.