Archive for September, 2012



In class, we talked about what the U.S. would respond to the threats to the security of their embasseis. We speculated a wide variety policies the U.S. could enact. I thought that it would be interesting to find out what exctly the government does in these situtations. According to the article, they evacuated all non-essential personel from the country as well as warned U.S. citizens to stay away from the country and it’s waters. The embassy may be reinforced with more marines and better walls but the government wouldn’t want to publicize that I assume.


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This article is an old one but it works as an AMAZINGLY similar case study to frame what’s currently going on with Iran. Consider the case of North Korea and their nuclear program. To list some similarities, both are countries that have governments that seem tyranical and dictatorial. Both have long standing grudges with their neighbors (litterally from the time when the countries were created). Both have enemies with nuclear capabilities adjacent to them. The similarities are numerous.

With North Korea, they just bided their time until they built a bomb and when it was finished the hype died down and now we don’t even talk about it. To say that nuclear bombs being developed by Iran is something to go to war over seems a bit of a stretch. They’re attempting to build something for the first time that the U.S. has been toying with for over fifty years. And they don’t even have the ICBM technology that North Korea did. Isreal finds it to be a national security problem but they have second strike capablilties. While MAD isn’t something really take seriously anymore, it seems to me that Iran wouldn’t randomly decide to use it’s brand new bomb on their neighbor just to have Isreal wipe them off the face of the planet afterwards. It may seem as though I am asking for far too much slack with my theories but, under the rational actor model, we assume all actors to be rational, that is; they all have an ordered list of priorities which they consult before taking action. I believe that the members of both the Isreali and Iranian government prioritize not just staying in power, but also staying alive above resorting to nuclear war just because they don’t like eachother. North Korea and South Korea didn’t; niether did Japan and North Korea. The Solvients never used their bombs in battle. We haven’t even used nuclear bombs since WWII and the U.S. has actually gone to war while having them. My point is, Iran will most likely finish it’s bomb but then just sit on it.

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As a response to Melissa’s post on the Entebbe Option, Iran has made it clear that not only is it willing to retaliate to any Israeli military action, but it is also fully capable of doing so. Israel‘s prime minister told the UN that Iran might have the capability to make a nuclear bomb by the middle of next year and the only way to prevent Iran from continuing is to set a “red line”. In his eyes “red lines don’t lead to war, red lines prevent war”. This directly relates to the flow diagram Professor Klunk drew on the board today in class because now the world knows that Iran will not capitulate, but rather fight back with force if attacked. This provides America with some definitive answers that will help foreign policy advisers figure out the available options and weigh the costs of each. Obama says he has not completely ruled out military action, but that “sanctions and multilateral negotiations with Iran must still be given time to work.”

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Statue of the Libertador of the Plaza Bolívar ...

Statue of the Libertador of the Plaza Bolívar in Caracas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hugo Chávez is focusing on building an edifice for Simón Bolívar.  Instead on focusing on improving the living conditions for the people in Venezuela he chose to do this instead.  It will cost 140 million to build. There has also been a rumor that that it will be holding Hugo Chavez remains.  Bolivars remains were brought to Venezuela and Chavez ordered that his body needed to be checked because he was sure Bolivar had been murdered. “In 2011, after gathering genetic data from the exhumation of Bolívar’s remains, Chávez had a digital 3-D rendering done of El Libertador’s face. Critics have complained that the rendering has been altered to make the Caucasian Bolívar look more indigenous. Above, Chávez applauds in front of the rendering during celebrations of Bolívar’s birthday in Caracas on July 24, 2012”.  People disagree with the actions Chavez is taking and they are right. I believe a leader should care about the children the most. It’s not fair to have kids suffering, violence increasing, and a lack of focus on health. To see a leader spend money on something like this instead of spending on his people is terrible.


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U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpil...

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found an article that discussed the United States plan during the Cold War and during the nuclear conflict that they faced. As the article explained what they were doing to try to prevent as well as win this nuclear war, it reminded me of the process tree we went through today in class with Iran and the United States. Reading through the article, I found some key factors that would play into the decision making for the United States and for the Soviet Union. Apparently during this time the Soviet Union were considering the belief that they might be able to survive a nuclear war, and the United States tried to influence them into thinking that a nuclear war would be not winnable. Tensions were so high that Soviet leaders considered in a crisis launching nuclear forces before the United States to to reduce the threat of the United State forces. These decisions that the United States and the Soviets made prevent nuclear war from happening. Had they done anything differently, there could have potentially been a nuclear war, and this shows and is a good example of how important leaders decisions are.


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ImageThis reading focused on the impact leaders can have on policy. It began by stating that leaders have options such as resisting attack or defending their country against anything. It may depend on the leader’s interest or their personal ambition. Leaders have options but from there anything they decide to do will ultimately have an impact. Another factor to consider when viewing how leaders affect foreign policy is public opinion. The leader in some cases may have different priorities than what the public believes he should focus on which then cause’s conflict.

The influence a leader can have depends on the constraints and opportunities and the interest and decisions he wants to make in foreign policy. The personality of a leader can also influence their decision making process. It can help understand what drives a leader and depending on their personality it can affect negotiations making them easier in some cases.

To try to understand leaders psychologist and foreign policy analysis have focused on certain studies. Foreign policy analysts looked at what kind of decisions a leader was likely to take; while a psychologist focused more on them for therapeutic reasons and had directed access to them. Anything that a leader is going through can come to affect their decision making process. Emotions can affect decisions but it is still being studied. Every action that a leader makes can ultimately have some sort of negative or positive impact on foreign policy.

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Three USAF C-130 Hercules aircraft are parked ...

Three USAF C-130 Hercules aircraft are parked in front of the empty “Raid on Entebbe” terminal. The building is still pockmarked from the infamous 1976 Israeli rescue operations. From Airman Magazine’s December 1994 issue article “Will You Please Pray for Us?” -Relief for Rwandan Refugees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Iran continues to be a hot button issue this month, not only in the US Presidential elections, but also in international politics. Apart from Iran, two of the most involved countries in the debate have been the United States and Israel. Israel has been pushing for a strong military response to the program for months, escalating the international discussion to a tenser level then it has been in months. Israel has demanded a “red line” for Iran and has called for the United States to not hinder their efforts, if they aren’t going to help. The United States, on the other hand, has been trying to focus on a calmer, more multilateral approach to the issue, relying on sanctions and international condemnation to try and force change, rather than a military approach.

Because of this divergence in approaches, the United States has been left out of much of Israel’s planning in response to Iran. Although many officials believe that there will be no strike earlier than November (if there is one at all), there are still several scenarios emerging that could be the potential choice for an Israeli strike, if the situation continues to deteriorate. The first option is the “Iranian Entebbe,” where Israeli strike teams enter Iranian nuclear facilities, steal as much uranium as possible, and then plant bombs in the facilities while they escaped. Option two is a airstrike of Iranian nuclear facilities, with support from long-range Jericho missiles. Option three is the removal of the Iranian leadership.

All of the options have their drawbacks. For option two, the limited capabilities of the Iranian air force would make a bombing campaign against the Iranian facilities unsustainable — ultimately, they would only have one shot at hitting the targets and taking out the facilities. Option three would create chaos in the country and would not remove the elements in support of a nuclear program, just the figurehead. Iran would also probably create a backlash against not only Israeli interests in the region, but United States interests as well. It would be the one surefire way to involved the United States in a conflict they’ve tried to actively avoid, however.

Option one, “Iranian Entebbe,” seems to have the best chance of succeeding, though many people seem to think that Iran and the original operation “Iranian Entebbe” is based on from Uganda are too different to successfully re-purpose. However, many experts also think it could potentially be doable, and successful:

“The operation’s success would depend on speed, secrecy, simplicity and the credibility of Israeli intelligence,” Perry writes. “According to the Pentagon war planner, Israel’s access to intelligence on Iranian military and policy planning is unprecedented, as is their willingness to share it with U.S. intelligence officials.”


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