My argument with This Blog Harms at Crikey

Ok, so there’s this guy at Crikey, NAJ Taylor, whose blog I don’t enjoy reading. He is, however, very gracious and gentlemanly in argument, which I should note to his favour. He has been far more polite than I have been. Nevertheless, I criticised his blog on twitter. It’s impossible to make a serious or extended argument in the constrains of 140 characters, so really all I could do was indicate where I disagreed. However, he has gone to the effort of writing an entire blog disagreeing with a few of my tweets, so I thought this would be a useful illustration of why I don’t enjoy his blog. I think this is the most dull argument I’ve ever found myself in.

Ok, so at his original blog here, he made this claim, which I think really is just kinda comical: “More than any other state on earth, Iran is presently keeping her enemies on their toes – expertly.” I mean, it would be far more accurate to say that Iran’s enemies are keeping it on its toes. Remember when Martin Van Creveld wrote “Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy.” As Greenwald has noted, Iran is the one being menaced. Not the other way around.

Taylor included this bit at the end:

Now the international community has indicated that it is losing patience, I have some small hope that Israel too may do the unexpected, and bring its nukes to the negotiating table. Israel has the trump card in this; may Iran and the Arabs respond in kind. Relations in the Middle East are tense enough without the need for WMD. [Emphasis added]

As Taylor notes at his new blog, I responded on twitter saying this:

And the idea Israel would “bring its nukes to the negotiating table” is completely absurd.

It should be forced to, but the idea that’s on the agenda in Israel or the US is just breathtakingly naive.

How has he responded? By seeking to demonstrate that “the proposal for a denuclearised (or WMD-free) Middle East has both historical and current support throughout the region, as well as, crucially, embedded compatibility with existing international nonproliferation and disarmament agreements.”

He then seeks to demonstrate, with great earnestness, that there is regional support for the Middle East being nuclear weapons free, and that it would be a good idea. He apparently believes that this somehow refutes what I wrote.

Mr Taylor: you appear to have missed the obvious. If the US and Israel are opposed to dismantling Israel’s nuclear weapons, then Israel’s nuclear weapons will not be dismantled. The only way to do so is if Israel agrees to do so. I said that your “hope”, without a shred of justification, is “breathtakingly naive”, because it is not on the agenda in Israel or the US. If you want to prove that I’m wrong, you have to show that it is on the agenda. Showing that other countries think it would be a good idea is not the same thing. You probably know that the US is routinely in a tiny minority in votes at the UN General Assembly – like on the Cuban blockade, and so on. Israel and the US routinely vote against a two state agreement – the vote is usually something like 150-5.

This doesn’t mean I think Israel should have WMDs. It means that for those of us opposed to Israel – or anyone else – having nuclear weapons, analysis has to actually be reality based. If you want to talk about how to make the Middle East “denuclearised”, you have to account for the fact that Israel refuses to acknowledge that it has nuclear weapons, that it has no plans to get rid of its nuclear weapons, and there will need to be enormous pressure on Israel to make such a process even conceivable. Having a “small hope” is nice for you, but it seems to be based on nothing at all. I do not think this kind of baseless speculative dreaming is very serious, or worthwhile.

2 Responses to “My argument with This Blog Harms at Crikey”
  1. kevinherbert says:

    The US warmongers’ drums are beating loudly over the need to attack Iran…of course the good old boys troops won’t be involved directly…they have Israel’s & Iran’s youth to sacrifice…and then the WM’s can slip in for the post battle mop up at a bargain basement $ cost.

    Hell..they’ve got attack someone soon…….Afghanistan will be over before they know it, and Iraq’s wound down…..

  2. mumble says:

    tried to read this but it was so badly written I couldn’t get through it

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