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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Why just one missile that does not appear to have done much damage?

 Assuming that the Israeli response to Iran’s massive missile fiasco was a single missile that did little to no damage, I presume that there is more to the story than we now know - on both sides of the disagreement, and I confess to being curious.  I presume that eventually we will begin to get a better idea as to what is currently afoot in the inner circles, inside both countries.  My present, uninformed, wild posterior guess, is that the Israeli missile was meant to display some capability that Iran was incapable of defending against and the choice of Isfahan Province for the demonstration was an effort to tie it to Iran’s underground nuclear development facilities that are located there.  If so, it was not meant to be retaliation, but rather warning.  The grinding attack on Hamas is the retaliatory effort and it is going the way that the Israeli leadership intends.  The pending attack on Hamas in Rafah is what all of these missiles is really about.  In this connection, Sunni Arab support of Israel’s defense against the Iranian attack was seen as being very bad news in Shia Teheran.

The most important conversation between antagonists, engaged in conflict, is rarely verbal, and an outsider peeking over the fence, is at a serious disadvantage in trying to understand what is going on in the minds of people about which we know so little.  Outside observers frequently replace knowledge with speculation and that frequently results in serious mistakes.  My own experience has been that individuals in leadership roles are frequently forced to speak and act before they know as much as they would like about the situation that they are attempting to address.  Analysts considering the same situation, feel required to explain events without adequate information and describe those events so as to fit their predisposition as to the overall conflict.  This results in misinformation and confusion.

I used to do this stuff for a living and I was pretty good at it.  My success was directly proportional to the accuracy of my understanding of the people involved.  I frequently lost debates with my colleagues as to how best to deal with a given situation, but rarely was my analysis wrong, whether I won or lost the given policy debate.  It is my belief that you can predict a person’s decisions in a given circumstance, if you know enough about him or her.  I used this principal to accurately predict coups, military actions, and legislation.  More crassly, I also used it to get ahead in the bureaucracy.  I should also point out that the exact same principals apply to American decision-makers as foreign and it applies to people all through society down to the malcontent that lives down the street and harbors thoughts that are inconsistent with the best interests of the rest of us.  When I was still in harness, my objective was to shape the foreign service so that we provided far better support to our political leadership.  I’m angry with myself for giving up my quest, because of my disgust with domestic politics.  That was a cowardly, wrong headed mistake, but the objective that I was championing was valid.

I offer this advice to any and all that might be reading this:  success is easy to achieve if you truly understand the community in which you are trying to succeed.  Wishful thinking is your greatest enemy and having the courage of your convictions is the greatest test.  My current assessment of America is that we all have a serious problem in truly understanding each other, let alone the rest of the world around us.  Our escape to alternative realities is not a solution.  Quite the contrary, it is what is destroying us.  Rome had their circus.  We have our phone.  The world has problems that we are permitting to destroy us, because we are too cowardly, too ignorant, too greedy to face up to them.  Our ongoing demise is on us, not Russia, China or Iran.  If we humans intended to continue resorting to violence to protect ourselves, we should not have introduced nuclear weapons.

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