“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

President Jacques Chirakerry, on Iranian Nukes. Talks before thinking.

OOH LA LA, sometimes even the imperious French President should know when to fermez sa bouche.He really needs to start thinking before he speaks. The NY Times tells the tale:

Chirac Unfazed by Nuclear Iran, Then Backtracks


PARIS, Jan. 31 — President Jacques Chirac said this week that if Iran had one or two nuclear weapons, it would not pose a big danger, and that if Iran were to launch a nuclear weapon against a country like Israel, it would lead to the immediate destruction of Tehran.

The remarks, made in an interview on Monday with The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and Le Nouvel Observateur, a weekly magazine, were vastly different from stated French policy and what Mr. Chirac has often said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Chirac summoned the same journalists back to Élysée Palace to retract many of his remarks.

Mr. Chirac said repeatedly during the second interview that he had spoken casually and quickly the day before because he believed he had been talking about Iran off the record.

“I should rather have paid attention to what I was saying and understood that perhaps I was on the record,” he said.

All the News that is fit to print.


  1. The point Chirac was trying to make is simple and obvious. He just did it in a very clumsy fashion. No one wants Iran having nuclear weapons. Pakistan is a far more scary place for there to be nuclear weapons, but they are there and no on is suggesting an attempt to "take them out". North Korea claims to have them, and they are accepted by a nuclear power on their border, China.

    Chirac may be correct in assuming that there is no reason to expect Iran to use nuclear weapons, if Iran had them. The problem is the probability. It would be far more useful for France and the EU to secure and enforce stringent sanctions that put a real price on Iran for acquiring nuclear weapons.

    The alternative of a military attack against Iran for the purposes of eliminating her nuclear capability would be a gift to the mullahs and the jihad. Patience, clear thinking, security and diplomacy backed up with a visible military, along with a determined strategy will not only keep Iran in check but will undermine the mullahs and the siren call of jihad.

  2. Iranian diplomats to be released soon: Iraqi VP

    Tehran Times Political Desk
    TEHRAN – Iraq has made serious efforts to secure the release of the Iranian diplomats seized by the U.S. in Iraq and significant progress has been made in the case, Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi said here on Wednesday.

    U.S. troops stormed the Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11 and arrested five people.

    “It has been promised that the diplomats will be released soon,” the Iraqi vice president announced during a joint press conference with Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani. He added, “Iraq should pacify the country with the help of its neighbors.” Abdul Mahdi also expressed appreciation for Iran’s stance, noting, “The Islamic Republic has always played a positive role in developments in Iraq.”

    He went on to say that Iraq is very concerned about the safety of Iranian nationals visiting the country’s holy sites.

    “We have done our utmost to provide security for the Iranian pilgrims”, he added.

    ElBaradei plan calls for resumption of talks: Larijani

    The main point of ElBaradei’s plan is that the nuclear issue should be resolved through negotiations, Larijani said.

    In a joint press conference with Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, Larijani stated that he held a telephone conversation with International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday in which ElBaradei said the aim of his plan is resuming talks.

    Although details of the plan are not yet clear, Iran agrees with its general framework and believes that the nuclear issue should be resolved through negotiation, Larijani noted.

    The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1737 on December 23 imposing sanctions on Iran’s trade in nuclear material and technology. Iran faces the prospect of additional sanctions unless it stops uranium enrichment within a 60-day period that ends next month.

    On Saturday, ElBaradei called for a “timeout” in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, with the UN suspending sanctions and Tehran halting uranium enrichment at the same time. Asked whether Iran would accept limited suspension in order to resume the talks, Larijani stated, “We have not chosen a wrong path to want to change it now.”

    There is no jeopardy in Tehran’s behavior, and thus there is no need to change the nuclear stance, he added. On Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov’s visit to Tehran last week, Larijani said, “As it was said before, Mr. Ivanov did not carry a plan like the 5+1’s.”

    Ivanov only gave suggestions on how to resolve the issue in a negotiated and calm manner, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator added.

  3. The French Pres. was just stating the "Real" benchmarked reality. Get used to it. It will cost Europe more to sanction Iran than not. All pain with no gain. Israel definately not a French political subdivision, unlike it's 51st State status, with US

    I wouldn't chew on the viens, if they were not so exposed, by folk that SHOULD know better.

    WASHINGTON -- Pollster Frank Luntz for the past decade issued warnings to his fellow Republicans that they did not want to hear, but never has been so out of touch with them as he is today. "The Republican message machine is a skeleton of its former self," Luntz told me. "These people have no idea how the American people react to them."

    Luntz sees a disconnect between Republicans and voters that projects a grim future for the party. That contradicts what House and Senate Republicans are saying to each other in closed party conferences. While Luntz views 2006 election defeats as ominous portents, the party's congressional leaders see only transitory setbacks and now dwell on bashing Democrats.

    Like Cassandra of ancient Troy, Luntz's prophecies of impending disaster have been both accurate and disregarded. Republicans never have been that comfortable hearing critics in closed conferences. He is not invited to such meetings today. "They do not want to hear the truth," Luntz told me.

    Now Mr Luntz, who I've thought to be a pretty clever fellow in the past, was talking to Bob Novak, neither considered to be flaming liberals, Dems or even suffering from the BDS.

    The truth is depressing, negative and indicates defeat, or at least slow failure. Better, say the GOP stalwarts, to ignore it, to pretend the truth is spin and spin the truth.

    "The Republican Party that lost those historic elections was a tired, cranky shell of the articulate reformist, forward-thinking movement that was swept into office in 1994 on a wave of positive change," Luntz wrote. He went on to say that the Republicans of 2006 "were an ethical morass, more interested in protecting their jobs than protecting the people they served. The 1994 Republicans came to 'revolutionize' Washington. Washington won."

    Power for the sake of power, family perks and jobs, earmarks, bridges to nowhere and highway exit ramps earmarked at the Speaker's commercial property's doorstep.

    Indeed, Luntz is not alone in his gloomy prognosis. Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes his party "underestimates" the 2006 outcome and thinks the Republican outlook is as dangerous as it has been "at any time since Watergate." Sen. Jim DeMint, a reform Republican from South Carolina, says the newly minority Republicans are like the Israelites yearning for the fleshpots of Egypt. The question is whether the party will heed warnings or follow the route of its leaders, who want to mainly trash Nancy Pelosi.

    Seems to me that bashing Ms Pelosi will be the Course taken, has been to date. Trouble for the GOP, she's only on the ballot in 'Frisco. If bashing Ms Pelosi & JFKerry and the like failed in '06, why would it be expected to succeed in '08

  4. Folks other than Chirac have pointed out that a barely nuclear Iran is no scarier than nuclear Pakistan or NoKo. Or Russia for that matter.

    Pat Buchanan writes that the exact same neocons who got us knee deep in shiite in Iraq are pushing for action against Iran.

  5. Someone asked for a link to the antisurge Resolution, while it seems to still be formulating, the WaPo has a piece describing the ongoing situation.

    The Warner Resolution may well get the 60 votes required to break a filibuster.

    Vote Republican Values
    Vote Foley

  6. I read the Buchanan piece . That is a pretty rough charge. I had to laugh when I saw that he has the comments disabled on his web site. It is a moot point.

    It looks as if the Senate will have a veto-proof resolution and it is hard to believe that Congress will tolerate another pre-emptive strike or will be giving out anymore Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions.

  7. Steve over at threatswatch has this bit to say, on the Karbala raid and it's fallout.

    "... In Eli Lake’s New York Sun report, the evidence against Qods Force operations in Iraq are so conclusive – Karbala notwithstanding…yet – that the debate has shifted from whether Iran has been supporting both Sunni and Shi’a attacks on US and Iraqi forces and civilians to “whether Iran’s state apparatus is behind the Quds force, or whether it and the revolutionary guard in general do not reflect the policy of Iran’s supreme leader and the rest of the regime.” This is precisely the mindlessly nuanced folly that prolongs the conflict, increases the carnage and emboldens the enemy to continue apace killing our men and women.

    Suddenly, Qods Force and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are now merely rogue operations not operating at the behest of the Iranian regime? Fine, then. Let’s put them on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations finally. Either way one chooses to approach it, our soldiers are dead, they killed them, and there must be consequence. There has been none since 1979 and it must stop.

    One can only hope that the delay in the announcement of Iranian evidence is due to developments in the Karbala executions incident and not because of internal turf wars in the unfathomable debate of whether or not the Iranian regime can actually be held responsible for the actions of their own military units.

    Imagine, if you will, a world where an American president is demonized and held personally responsible for the photos and misdeeds of soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, yet the leaders of the world’s chief sponsor of international terrorism are deemed to be beyond culpability for the actions of the units they have tasked with exporting terrorism. Surreal, isn’t it?

  8. Imagine, if you will, a world where an American president is demonized and held personally responsible for the photos and misdeeds of soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, yet the leaders of the world’s chief sponsor of international terrorism are deemed to be beyond culpability for the actions of the units they have tasked with exporting terrorism. Surreal, isn’t it?

    It's worse than surreal. It's a world where Al Gore can get a Nobel Peace Prize for his Chicken Little Global Warming campaign, while the existential threat of Islamic Fascism and open borders is belittled or ignored. It is a world where the president of France can derail attempts to prevent the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons by a) suggesting it doesn't matter if they develop them, because interceptor missle technology is infallible and b) implying that the Iranian Mullahs and President are rational actors. Perhaps rational, but using apocalytic logic.

    What's next, comedians as Senators? Arghhh.

  9. Whose missile defense shield will protect the French?

  10. Gosh, there's a great deal of helpful data in this post!