Black crowned night heron, Lindo Lake © Robert Sommers 2020

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Black castles

New York Times has an interesting article today, Verification Process in Iran Deal Is Questioned by Some Experts. Perhaps 24 days is not the magic number the Obama administration has been telling us that it is?
...several experts, including a former high-ranking official at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said a provision that gives Iran up to 24 days to grant access to inspectors might enable it to escape detection. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the agency, said in an interview that while “it is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks’ time without leaving traces,” the more likely risk is that the Iranians would pursue smaller-scale but still important nuclear work, such as manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector in Iraq, also said that three weeks might be ample time for the Iranians to dispose of any evidence of prohibited nuclear work. Among the possibilities, he said, were experiments with high explosives that could be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, or the construction of a small plant to make centrifuges.“If it is on a small scale, they may be able to clear it out in 24 days,” Mr. Albright said in a telephone interview. “They are practiced at cheating. You can’t count on them to make a mistake.”
It has been an interesting week, Obama cabinet types falling all over each other speculating how much freed up sanctions money Iran will spend on domestic uses and how much gelt will go to the oft stated task of destroying Israel. Rice, Lew, Kerry and the gang all have their own idea and it won't be much, you can rest assured. And irrespective of any nuclear deal, Uncle Sam will always be there for its allies if they need a little conventional muscle, don't worry about that.

Of course if Israel takes matters into its own hands and strikes unilaterally, which ally will Obama seek to defend, the jewish state that has disappointed him so by failing to live up to his exalted expectations of how the tribe is supposed to behave or his new BFF, Iran?

Iran the country by the way, that has failed to live up to its agreement to disclose past military activity, that only answered one of the ten questions regarding its nuclear development that it was required to disclose by the IAEA, which has been waiting for responses since last October. We can definitely trust these people.

I understand the arguments from both sides and will not rehash them. Kerry is saying, "Hey the cow is already out of the barn, they have nuclear capability now." Something is better than nothing and the international sanctions, of which we are just one player, are falling apart. Maybe things will be different in ten years. We need to be pragmatic. All that redline talk from the President was merely rhetoric. This keeps them from a bomb in the near term. An understandable argument.

But it does seem like we are cutting our old allies out in this new deck shuffle. And the Iran that exists in the here and now is capable of great mischief. And now they can fund their little extracurricular efforts with funds that they desperately needed. They shoot, they score. And it can be honestly said that Israel had become a little too comfortable with the status quo. Well let's see what happens when President Obama shakes things up a bit, then let's see how comfortable they are.

I am no transactional analysis or game theory maven but I've been in business for a long time. And one of the things you learn in business is that it rarely makes sense to make lateral moves. Lateral moves are for losers and desperate people.

This Iran deal seems like a lateral move with little potential benefit and a lot of potential to do great harm. But maybe not to us so much, so who cares? Ten years will pass before you know it and then a wealthy Persia can breakout their shiny new nuke and go about their stated goal of vanquishing Satan and Satan jr.

What are we getting out of the deal again, I forget? What have we gained? Besides somebody to fight the Islamic State for us since we have mucked up the region so incredibly since 9/11. Boy, sure wish Saddam was still around to kick a little ass and keep the peace. Our leaders don't seem to think too  much about endgame strategy. Then again they will be long gone from the stage when this production is over.

I was listening to Trump the other day, who is all about the deal. A total idiot, but he is just killing the GOP right now, saying things that their base is eating up like hot links at a Grange breakfast. And he was laughing at the administration for their refusal to complicate the deal by getting our american hostages out. And he had a point.

Of course there are those and I am certainly not one of them, who believe that Obama won't be satisfied until Israel is utterly vanquished and decimated. While I am not in that camp, I don't understand how he can make nice with so many bad actors and reserve his worse venom and antipathy for the zionist state. Can't wait until his memoirs come out. I thought Jimmy Carter hated Israel, he had nothing on this guy.

The Obama administration is fond of saying that Israel will always maintain a qualitative weapon edge, whatever that means. I am more worried about the quantitative edge right now. 180 billion buys a hell of a lot of ICBM's.

Keep thinking about the old saying about commitment being like bacon and eggs. Chicken is committed but the pig is all in. No great shakes to this administration if they guessed wrong. About time the Israelis had their nose pushed in. And I have heard Israelis say for god sakes stop talking about the Iran deal. Uncle Sam shuts the money tap off, they are toast. So they grit their teeth while we lecture them most sanctimoniously, paternalistically and patronizingly about how they should behave with the other kids in the neighborhood.

It is no wonder the Israelis love the evangelical Republicans, seem to be the only friends they have, not counting the back channel stuff with the Saudis and Jordanians. Netanyahu gets between Barak and the crown jewel of his legacy and it is liable to get very ugly the next year and a half.

I used to think I was a pretty good chess player. And so I joined the North County Chess club. I came to find out I wasn't. This is thirty years ago, maybe forty. People there had every opening and middle game committed to memory since Capablanca. I used to play an occasional game with a Polish grandmaster, Alina Markowski, who has to be long since gone. Phenomenal player.

She told me something I will never forget, you play very well Robert, your calculations and thinking are sound, but you always start your attack one move too early. I have never forgot that comment and advice. Timing is so important in strategy and game theory. Of course Obama is an academician and Kerry is an ivy league plutocrat married to a rich woman, not a lot of street smarts or deal making savvy on this team I am afraid. Probably not a lot of good chess players. Good for pushing the king down and not much else. Game over.

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