Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Real Iran Risk Is Of Accidental War

By Steve Hynd

There's a certain momentum to the U.S. public discourse over Iran this year, as there hasn't been since...actually, no, it's pretty much been a steady drumbeat for a decade now. We've had countless predictions that Iran would go fully nuclear this year or next and countless predictions that the U.S. or Israel would attack Iran pre-emptively. Neither has happened, despite these predictions from necons and neoliberals alike and despite an entire forest of paper being wasted on lurid stories which are always shaky at best.

Why? Because Iran has been forthright - it wants the Japan Option, a capability to build a weapon swiftly rather than a weapon-in-being, and something that isn't illegal by the NPT treaty or any other - and because even the Pentagon realizes any attack on Iran would be sheer lunacy which would guarantee both nations would come out in worse situations than they went in. What the U.S., Israel and and their allies are engaged in is a form of "strategic ambiguity", where threats of war are meant to leverage Iran into backing down and offering concessions. Unfortunately for this idea, every part of Iran's political spectrum, including the Green reformists, is heavily invested in Iran keeping what it believes it has by right and international law. So despite Iran offering concessions that fall short of ending their enrichment program more than once, the U.S. and it's allies have never seriously considered those overtures. It's an object lesson - you shouldn't play poker with a haggler.

And so the whole sorry mess grinds on year after year. The real war risk isn't that iran will launch proxy attacks on CONUS, or that the U.S. will launch pre-emptive cruise missiles at Tehran. the real risk is an incident that turns into an accidental shooting war. Der Spiegel's Alexander Smoltczyk got that exactly right this week. Most worryingly, we don't even have the level of contact that the U.S. and U.S.S.R. had during the Cold War to head off such accidental wars.

Senior U.S. military commanders have worried about such a miscalculation for some time. During his last days on the job, then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen raised such worries. "We haven't had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union," Mullen said. "We are not talking to Iran, so we don't understand each other. If something happens, it's virtually assured that we won't get it right, that there will be miscalculation."

And that scenario, Mullen warned, "would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world."

We came too close in 2008 and before that in 2007. The world cannot continue to merely hope we remain lucky.


  1. Even The Soviet Union and the US recognized the threat of accidental war hence the Red Phone. I'm not sure this is the case here. The Zionist neocons want a war. The good news is I don't really think the Iranians do and will be cautious.

  2. "...Iran keeping what it believes it has by right and international law."
    It isn't just them believing that have that right, they actually do have it as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.