Another scientist is dead, as I'm sure all of you know. I don't know what the current thinking is, but I imagine this is Israel rather than us (at least directly... obviously a lot of what Israel does is associated with us - and for good reason). This is extremely dangerous stuff. I'm reading a history of Area 51 right now, and they're discussing Powers and the U-2 that was shot down by Krushchev. The Soviets had known for a while that we were doing fly-overs and it was a huge deal - potentially interpretable as an act of war with the U.S. as the aggressor. There was just no precedent for violation of sovereignty like this. These covert actions were much more than traditional spycraft with people passing along information.
This isn't to say I'm opposed to covert action or even lethal covert action. I think both have a place and now that they've both been normalized they don't imply an act of war the way they potentially did in 1960. But this sort of provocation - the targeting of scientists (not revolutionary guardsmen on their way to see a terrorist cell) in broad daylight - is not the way to interact with a regime that's already on the edge.
I don't understand what's so hard to accept about a nuclear Iran for people. It's not that I like the idea of course, but if we can stomach a nuclear U.S.S.R. and a nuclear China, why do people have a problem with the idea that this is simply where warfare is in 2012, that's it's not going to go away, and that there is no more an implicit act of aggression in obtaining the bomb than there is in obtaining an airforce or a machine gun or a longbow in prior eras. Nothing will prevent another useless U.S. war in the Middle East faster than the discipline of mutually assured destruction. Better to have this all formalized and normalized rather than shady scientists and military people hiding these activities at the same time that they're consorting with terrorists.
Bob Murphy has two good videos on the subject here. Some of the comments on the second one I found odd - I discuss my reservations in Bob's comment section, if you're curious. I do think we need to be careful to understand that our options aren't Ron Paul or Rick Santorum - Pacifism or Warmongering. There are a lot of Phil Donahues and Piers Morgans in the world that recognize that we don't have to make war on everyone we find distasteful, that we can be clear about our willingness to make war without being perceived as a threat to these countries, and that we can oppose a war with Iraq and a war with Iran without being dismissed as pacifist or weak.
Comparative advantage: a partial truth
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