Sunday, July 20, 2008

can you arrange such story toward the [international community]?

Imagine that you're part of a greedy, bellicose, hostile, unhinged, borderline insane group of people who have a great deal of shady, hidden business and political interests and goals, and that your group has somehow gotten near-complete control over the most powerful military in the history of the world. Imagine further that -- for reasons known only to you and your cohorts -- you've decided you want to use this power to attack a certain country.

The target country is (ostensibly) led by a dude who is somewhat of a jackass who says things in public that are at various times ignorant, stupid, offensive, or wacky, and through the use of credulous reporters, inaccurate translations, mischaracterizations, and just sheer force of public relations wizardry, you've been able to convince a lot of people that the dude is not just some backwards jerk, but is actually an extremely dangerous genocidal maniac -- a Hitler-like character -- whose goal is to wreak destruction upon neighboring countries and -- quite possibly -- upon your own country.

Which is a hard sell, given that the target country is on the other side of the globe from your own, and the target country is relatively small, and poor, and has a relatively small military, no ICBM capabilities, and is generally just very very weak compared to your own country. BUT, thankfully for you and your little group, the target country has been defiantly pursuing a program of uranium enrichment which they maintain is being done for purposes of generating nuclear power but which you say is to build nuclear weapons to be used to advance their irrational genocidal goals.

So far, so good. You've been able to build a plausible case that the target is dangerous, and is pursuing a course which will make them even more dangerous if nothing is done to stop them. But you can't attack yet, because there are other problems. First and foremost, you -- being a part of an extremely bellicose group, as noted above -- have already made such a case before, which resulted in an attack and a disastrous, prolonged military engagement against a country which you alleged to be similarly dangerous, only later to have it revealed to the world that this previous target was, if anything, only dangerous to its own citizens. So you have some credibility issues.

The second problem is that there has been a substantial ongoing international diplomatic effort aimed at ensuring that the target uses its nuclear research only for generating electricity. The target has been generally cooperative with this effort and has been fully engaged in meetings, negotiations, and the like, and has even allowed ongoing international inspections of its facilities. This type of cooperation makes it difficult to use this issue as a plausible pretext for a military attack, especially given: (1) your group's credibility problem as noted above, and (2) the fact that your own country, at your direction, has refused to directly engage in any of the above-noted diplomatic efforts and has stated that it will not enter into negotiations on the matter until the target country first meets your demands (and, indeed, has gone so far as to suggest that to engage in such discussions would constitute "appeasement"). And, in fact, being a bellicose and warlike junta, your group's primary tactic has been to loudly (and credibly) threaten that the target will be attacked if it does not comply with your demands.

Therefore, in order to guard against your group being prematurely removed from power by your country's own citizens -- and also to avoid possibly severe recriminations against your own country by other, less bellicose nations -- an additional step must be taken so that, when the inevitable attack occurs, you can plausibly proclaim to the world that you took every reasonable step necessary to avoid it, but that in the end the target -- now officially the enemy -- gave you no choice but to confront it head-on, with military force, this option being, of course, your last resort in the face of such a serious and dangerous threat.

Which brings us to this:

UPDATE: Apparently some Harvard egghead has been reading this here blog. From AFP:

Meanwhile, Graham Allison, a security expert who teaches at Harvard University, suggested that the administration's recent readiness to talk could be a prelude to a return to a reliance on military solution to some of Washington's intractable foreign policy problems.

"The hard-liners in the Bush administration, for example, will do their best to insist on unachievable objectives that will ensure failure of negotiation," he said.

"If talks collapse, they will be able to argue that the US went the extra mile and exhausted all reasonable alternatives" leaving the military option squarely on the table, he said.


Eric Ogunbase said...

Wow! That story is so far fetched that it could NEVER happen. Wait a minute...

Gleemonex said...


slugger said...

Boy howdy that old saw about "history repeating" is pretty damned accurate if you ask me.