While the recent developments in Iran are not good and extremely dangerous, VFLOAB has to wonder if they would be going though with their uranium enriching testing program if the United States was not in Iraq? The idea of the Americans conquering/over throwing Saddam and then setting up shop in Iraq must scare the crap out of them (imagine if the Chinese invaded Mexico because Fox may have WMDs… okay sure it’s a stretch but work with me people! That’s all I’m askin’). So what does Iran do? They run around and talk up the Europeans then after two years tell them to bug off; they’re going to try and enrich uranium and have been building labs 75 feet underground while this was going on. Not good.
Why now? Why begin to enrich uranium at this point? Is the US military not only being in Iraq, but also using aggressive means to get want they/we wanted part of the reason? Are Iranians scared that the US might try to pull the same stunt in Iran and therefore if they can get their hands on the bomb, they could prevent a US invasion? Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, we had troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, not that much further from Iran. But Iraq was a ‘buffer’ between the American military and Iran. Today that ‘buffer’ is gone. Yet still, seems like a risky chance that the Iranians are taking. First they’re assuming that the US was planning on invading Iran (and if that is/was the case, the US military is a long way away from being able to pull that off unless a draft was called tomorrow) and secondly they’re also assuming that the US/rest of the world would not stop their program by diplomatic or forceful means. In other words, trying to build The Bomb is a huge risk for Iran to undertake… so why take it?
The answer has to be fear right? Of course not necessarily, but US forces are now so close to Iran, that this might have sped up the Iranians “need” for the Bomb. We can’t assume that Iran wouldn’t try to build the Bomb if the US wasn’t involved in the Middle East at all, but the invasion of Iraq specifically seems to have sprung the Iranian government into some sort of action.
And don’t forget that there are also American troops in Afghanistan, so when Iran looks to the west or east they see American forces. I’m sure they think they’re Germany post 1870 unification (how weird that I have to clarify that btw), and with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, that is their France and Russia.
This of course may just have been the United States strategy all along. Get so close to Iran that you scare them into peace (I would hope, but who really knows). But it looks as if the opposite may be happening.
Of course the horrible ‘fact’ is that we went into Iraq, among other reasons, to prevent the building and use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. And while it’s turned out that Iraq doesn’t and didn’t have any, it may be the case that Iran will. And soon, a matter of months in fact according to the Economist, if something isn’t done quickly. And if they are able to enrich that uranium, well you’ve got to wonder if it would have happened if we never went into Iraq.
This Becker-Posner Blog is usually some of the most interesting stuff we read every week here at VFLOAB. This week Posner leads off by taking on tenure. And he basically argues against continuing the practice, since differently political views and interests appear to be more accepted.
Tenure is no longer needed because of an absence of performance measures. These measures exist in abundance. Quality of teaching is readily measurable by student evaluations, provided care is taken to prevent teachers from courting popularity by easy grading and light assignments and student evaluations are supplemented by faculty observation of the classroom. Quality of research is readily measurable by grants, prizes, and above all by citations to the professor’s scholarly publications, weighted by the quality of the journal in which the citations appear.
It’s an interesting argument, and while we aren’t bowled over by it so much so that we would get rid of the tenure system, it’s something to be considered and debated (which it is on the blog).
For those who don’t know, Gerry Becker is an economist at the University of Chicago (and a fan of the Chicago School naturally) and Richard Posner is a judge and professor at the Law School at U of C. So naturally they tend to be conservative, but their arguments are usually well written and always thought provoking.