Smart Links 08 April 2012

Commentary on the terrible tension in the Middle East.

Time has (almost) run out.

National Post -- Middle East could collapse into full conflict if international talks fail next week
An Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program will probably begin with a rain of Jericho missiles obliterating the heavy water plant in Arak and destroying four small nuclear research reactors at the Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan.

Why time has (almost) run out.

New York Times -- The Bomb and the Bomber
If Iran goes nuclear it will change our world.

Telegraph -- Israel’s dogs of war are straining at the leash to attack Iran – can Barack Obama stop them?
An attack in September looks almost inevitable unless Tehran changes course on developing nuclear weapons.

Iran’s key player.

Washington Post -- Iran’s limited escape options
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has never been a gambling man. Since becoming “supreme leader” of Iran in 1989, he’s sought to preserve the status quo by eschewing transformative decisions.

Obama’s play for peace.

Washington Post -- Obama’s signal to Iran
President Obama has signaled Iran that the United States would accept an Iranian civilian nuclear program if Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei can back up his recent public claim that his nation “will never pursue nuclear weapons.”

The case for war. (ed’s note – it hasn’t changed since 2010)

The Atlantic -- The Point of No Return
For the Obama administration, the prospect of a nuclearized Iran is dismal to contemplate— it would create major new national-security challenges and crush the president’s dream of ending nuclear proliferation.

What an Israeli-Iran war might look like. (ed’s note -- it hasn’t changed since 2009).

Haaretz -- ANALYSIS / How Israel's war with Iran will be fought
Iran regime's Shiite ideology will dictate a prolonged war that will be measured in years, not days.

Tactical help. Azerbaijan.

Yahoo News -- Report: Israel given access to bases near Iran border
Former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton reacts.


If Israel attacks Iran and then Iran retaliates and attacks is Canada ‘obliged’ to assist (Israel)? (ed’s note – maybe )

Shalom Life -- Kent: An Attack on Israel is an Attack on Canada
Shalom Life speaks with Minister Peter Kent on Iran’s declaration that it is now a “nuclear state”.

Quote worth noting.

“Prime Minister Harper has made it quite clear for some time now and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.” -- Peter Kent







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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.