Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

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Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby The Reaper » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:25 am UTC

http://www.physorg.com/news153249761.html
A veteran consultant to US spy agencies predicted on Saturday that Iran won't build nuclear bombs and that the power of its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will quickly fade. The projections are based on a gaming and computer model built by political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, an advisor to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.

By the start of next year, Iran will stabilize its nuclear program at a point where it makes enough weapons-grade fuel to build national pride by showing it can, but not enough to actually produce a bomb, the model predicts.

Bueno de Mesquita's computer model has reportedly been found by CIA officials to be right 90 percent of the time.

The influence of religious leaders is projected to slide while that of "moneyed interests" such as bankers and oil producers rises.

"Ahmadinejad is on the way down," Bueno de Mesquita told a Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference audience while describing how the outcomes of complex negotiations are predictable. "His clout is dropping."

Bueno de Mesquita's computer model factors in who has stakes in issues, what they say they want, and how much they could sway outcomes.

"Everything is not predictable, but most complicated negotiations are," Bueno de Mesquita said.

"It's important not just because you want to hedge funds but because what you can predict you can engineer. You can change the world."

The annual TED conference ending Saturday in California is known as a place where technology titans, political leaders, celebrities and other accomplished people collaborate to battle global ills.

(c) 2009 AFP


bolding added by me. I didn't know the eagleeye movie was a real program already o_O Next we'll have terminators running around and such....

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Gelsamel » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:52 am UTC

Of course, the program can only run on what we know, unknown information could drastically affect the outcome and considering the type of thing it's trying to predict in this case I wouldn't be surprised if it as horridly wrong.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby mazzilliu » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:07 am UTC

<?php
print"Iran won't build nuclear bombs and that the power of its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will quickly fade";
?>

:mrgreen:


how in the world would you model something like that anyways?
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Brooklynxman » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:44 am UTC

So we're gonna act on 10% chance a crazy dictator might get nuclear weapons the same as 0%?

Seriously, 90% isnt alot when it comes to FREAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

We need to get serious w/ Iran like now.

Also agreed how do you program a model to say that?

And missing info effects models in drastic ways
We figure out what all this means, then do something large and violent

The thing about changing the world...once you do it the world's all different.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:20 am UTC

Brooklynxman wrote:So we're gonna act on 10% chance a crazy dictator might get nuclear weapons the same as 0%?

Seriously, 90% isnt alot when it comes to FREAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

We need to get serious w/ Iran like now.

Also agreed how do you program a model to say that?

And missing info effects models in drastic ways

Iran, it's serious business, they've got photoshop.
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Perhaps we could join them for a spot of tea and crumpets and remind them that we're a bunch of incapable fuckups when it comes to occupying an Islamic country and that they'll have to put up with our dumb asses if we get antzy and invade. Somebody remind them that their electricity will go out and they won't be able to watch football.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Montrose » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:58 am UTC

I think a lot of people misread Ahmadinejad. They read snippets of his speeches in translation and think, "oh my god! This guy wants to kill us all!" I think the thing that's missing from that point of view is the fact that Ahmadinejad has found that fiery rhetoric works very well to keep him in power. Americans need to remember that in that part of the world, we are seen as oppressors (remember the Shah?) and tyrants, and so anyone who stands up to us will gain support. If you really are worried about Ahmadinejad, the fastest way to make him lose power would be to ignore him. If the Iranians don't feel threatened by the US (and they have very good reason to feel threatened by us), then someone whose whole political position is based on saying crazy things to the US will lose power.

Also, keep in mind that Iran getting nuclear weapons doesn't actually mean that they will use them. MAD still applies here, and while people live bin Laden may be happy to die, Ahmadinejad assumably cares for his own life.

Also, I would like to point out that 100% of the time that nuclear weapons have been used, they have been used by a democratically elected leader of a Western democracy. Never once has a 'crazy dictator' used nuclear weapons. I don't mean to say that this proves anything, but it's something to consider.


So, not defending the guy, or the political establishment he represents, but I'd be willing to bet money that the predictions this game makes are right on. And for you "not knowing all the info" guys, this seems to fit exactly what the CIA has been saying (i.e. Iran isn't actually/can't actually get nukes). Now the CIA has made some mistakes in the past, but most of the time the big problems have been because no one listened to them.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:04 am UTC

Two times is not a statistically valid sample size.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Hawknc » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:24 am UTC

So, computer says no?






(I guess it's probably still too soon to be retro...)

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Iv » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:02 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:bolding added by me. I didn't know the eagleeye movie was a real program already o_O Next we'll have terminators running around and such....

I already heard about it but this time as well as the first time I saw it mentioned, I failed to find a more precise technical documentation about it. The wikipedia article about Bruce Bueno de Mesquita explains that he owns a company that makes profit by doing international relations forecasts. The documentation about their algorithms is inexistent.

The first article I read, a few years ago, made it look like they had a fairly good base (simulating opinion on large chunks of the population, trying to predict the effects of propaganda events) At the time it was presented as an Army program, I am unsure about it being the same.

I think that psychohistory would be possible today, but I doubt that this guy and his company is it.

EDIT : Found an article here ( http://blog.sciencenews.org/view/generi ... ne-Telling ) with a lot more information. Apparently his methods are based on individuals psychological profiling according to past declarations and negotiation outcomes. Interesting read. It is unclear, however, how crucial are the informations his algorithm gathers from experts.

EDIT 2 :
However, he points out that the model relies on having a considerable amount of expert input. "Honestly, if you had all this information," Slantchev says, "you should be able to predict fairly well how the issue would be resolved." The main reason that the model does this better than experts is that it "strips ideological blindfolds, cultural prejudice, and normative commitments that very often color the view of experts."
Last edited by Iv on Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:10 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby william » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:06 pm UTC

Problem with psychohistory is chaos theory.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Iv » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:13 pm UTC

Well, it has yet to be proved that international negotiation is a chaotic system. If this algorithm really has a 90% accuracy, it tends to prove that predictions are possible.

I am inclined to think, however, that a closed-loop system (that is, a negotiation that would involve simulations about the negotiation) may very well be totally instable.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:19 pm UTC

Brooklynxman wrote:So we're gonna act on 10% chance a crazy dictator might get nuclear weapons the same as 0%?

Seriously, 90% isnt alot when it comes to FREAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

We need to get serious w/ Iran like now.

Also agreed how do you program a model to say that?

And missing info effects models in drastic ways


Sure, any middle Eastern leader is by definition a 'crazy dictator.' Same goes for any one in South America, Central America, or Africa. Or North East or South East Asia.

Guys, rogue states don't exist. North Korea and Iran do not care about 'limiting your freedom' are whatever-the-hell else they're calling it these days. They just want to guarantee their own safety. You don't like it? Imagine how the Chinese felt in 1951. Furthermore, Pakistan and India didn't exactly go crazy when they developed their programs, and this is all old technology. You can't reasonably expect other nations to never develop their own programs if they feel threatened.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Iv » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:39 pm UTC

Nuclear proliferation is a real problem. We still have no solution to what we will do when students clubs will have enough tools to create a homemade nuclear bomb. The doomsday clock is still 5 minutes to midnight. It doesn't seem possible to prevent many countries from getting nuclear weapons, especially in situations where M.A.D. dissuasion seems necessary. But we still have no solution to prevent a large scale nuclear extermination of the human race. That is why being a frank anti-Bush, I supported research on anti-missile shields. Not ideal but it provided the beginning of a solution.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Mzyxptlk » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:23 pm UTC

It's pretty interesting that we get our panties in a twist over Iran getting nuclear weapons, but regard Pakistan's leadership as a beacon of democracy. Where by 'we' I mean the US government. Not that I'm saying Iran getting nuclear weapons is a good thing, far from it.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Jahoclave » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:29 pm UTC

Montrose wrote:I think a lot of people misread Ahmadinejad. They read snippets of his speeches in translation and think, "oh my god! This guy wants to kill us all!" I think the thing that's missing from that point of view is the fact that Ahmadinejad has found that fiery rhetoric works very well to keep him in power. Americans need to remember that in that part of the world, we are seen as oppressors (remember the Shah?) and tyrants, and so anyone who stands up to us will gain support. If you really are worried about Ahmadinejad, the fastest way to make him lose power would be to ignore him. If the Iranians don't feel threatened by the US (and they have very good reason to feel threatened by us), then someone whose whole political position is based on saying crazy things to the US will lose power.

And it's not like certain parties in our country aren't saying absolutely batshit things about certain other countries either. You also have to look at the population of Iran whom, for the most part, aren't as batshit sounding as Ahmadinejad. The younger generation of that country really isn't all that "Kill America and Israel" and Fear News would have you forget that there's more people in that country besides Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah. Imagine if the U.S. were solely judge based on Rush Limbaugh, Bush, and Fred Phelps. I'm pretty sure other countries would worry about our weapons programs too.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby BlackSails » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:38 pm UTC

IF you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Iv » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

IF you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it.

This used to be true, but people are growing wiser about these things. If the model is not opened and availbale to anyone for scrutiny, no one is going to take it seriously

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby frezik » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:56 pm UTC

Brooklynxman wrote:So we're gonna act on 10% chance a crazy dictator might get nuclear weapons the same as 0%?

Seriously, 90% isnt alot when it comes to FREAKING NUCLEAR WEAPONS!

We need to get serious w/ Iran like now.


The US could theoretically get tough with this particular fledgling nuclear power. What about the next one and the next? The current policy on curbing nuclear proliferation is try to keep the technology from spreading, but it should be clear that this is ultimately futile. A graduate student working from publically available information could design a bomb, and processing uranium is ultimately just lots of industrial output. You can't stop this technology from spreading, and ultimately even the US can't invade everyone. The list of nations in the Nuclear Club is only going to grow.

Further, with US military forces tied up in Iraq and Afganistan, and a domestic population that's sick of war, other nations don't see the US military as a potential threat, and get away with more. Both Iran and N. Korea can make attempts at nuclear weapons because they have few threats in their immediate region, and the US is the about the only one with the force projection to attack them outside that region (France and Briton, maybe, but either one would be unlikely to work alone). In the case of Iran, the US removed the only other major regional military force; remember, Iraq and Iran had been at war already, and hostilities were never officially undeclared.

So the two options (which can and should operate together) are:

1) Stabilize regions so that they have little desire to pursue nuclear weapons development, or don't care to use them if they do
2) Use military force more as a threat against the more unstable powers, rather than actually using it

And missing info effects models in drastic ways


That's why you assign confidence values like 90%.

william wrote:Problem with psychohistory is chaos theory.


No, that's why Psychohistory couldn't predict individuals. It's the same thing as the difference between forcasting the weather and forcasting the climate. Remember, Asimov based Psychohistory on fluid dynamics (also intimately tied to chaos theory), where you can predict what a large mass will do, but not individual particles.

Of course, there's always a chance your model will be wrong due to the actions of a single individual. It's always possible for The Mule to win.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

william wrote:Problem with psychohistory is The Mule.

fix'd

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby stapleface » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:45 pm UTC

am i alone in not being bothered about iran getting nukes?

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Freakish » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:55 pm UTC

In the future wars will not be faught by man, but calculated by programs.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Montrose » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:23 pm UTC

stapleface wrote:am i alone in not being bothered about iran getting nukes?



Well, I'm only as bothered by Iran getting nukes as I am by any other nation having them.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Habz » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:I'm pretty sure other countries would worry about our weapons programs too.


I'm pretty sure buttloads of other countries are more or less worried about U.S's weapons programs. I know I am. The obscene amount of money that goes to military spending is a tad disturbing to say the least.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby d33p » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:42 pm UTC

This model is just begging for a black swan. It seems to me that the existence of a device necessitates a 100% probability of someone eventually using it. Has that time already been used up, by the US? I doubt we'll be the only ones. So the question isn't if, it's who and when.
I'd imagine this model is most likely predicting the improbability of Iran developing an active nuke during this particular regime. Given the dramatic differences in attitudes towards the West between ruling parties/tribes, I can't say that prediction holds accurately for 10, 20 years. Which makes it a pretty worthless model, IMHO.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby frezik » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:07 pm UTC

d33p wrote:I'd imagine this model is most likely predicting the improbability of Iran developing an active nuke during this particular regime. Given the dramatic differences in attitudes towards the West between ruling parties/tribes, I can't say that prediction holds accurately for 10, 20 years. Which makes it a pretty worthless model, IMHO.


The model may not need to hold up for very long. If you can convince the younger generation that Western culture is worthwhile, they'll eventually grow up with more moderate attitudes. So its useful to model only the relative short term while continuing to export US culture. Countries with McDonalds (usually) don't get attacked (exception: Yugoslavia).

A single worldwide culture isn't very interesting, and there's a lot not to like about America's particular brand of it, but it does tend to stop countries from shooting at each other.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:04 am UTC

Frezik, the idea that countries with McDonald's don't invade countries with McDonald's is completely useless... it's only true until its been disproved (which it has). It's not Western "culture" that's going to win the day. That's almost the same as the Cold War talk of winning 'hearts and minds'- it works on the presumption that there's something so superior about America that as soon as you pump it into a country intravenously they'll turn docile and malleable. The way to exist peacefully and productively with Iran is through diplomacy, to convince them that they're better off seeking productive relations with the West at the expense of their more local ambitions.

Regarding your earlier post... you've got things backwards. North Korea is still very much threatened by the US, who are stationed in South Korea and Japan, and Iran is especially threatened by the US, with a buttload of their troops just over the border. I would argue that the recent nuclear programs are not opportunistic, but motivated by fear. A US with military forces employed in conflict around the world is much more threatening than a US at peace, especially when that conflict is next door.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby i » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:08 am UTC

I'm on the computer's side. You humans are to whiny and emotional.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:18 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Frezik, the idea that countries with McDonald's don't invade countries with McDonald's is completely useless... it's only true until its been disproved (which it has). It's not Western "culture" that's going to win the day. That's almost the same as the Cold War talk of winning 'hearts and minds'- it works on the presumption that there's something so superior about America that as soon as you pump it into a country intravenously they'll turn docile and malleable. The way to exist peacefully and productively with Iran is through diplomacy, to convince them that they're better off seeking productive relations with the West at the expense of their more local ambitions.

I'd say the real thing is that countries with McDonald's tend to be economically better off. Economically better off countries tend to be a bit more hesitant about getting themselves into war because it can really dick them over. They've got a lot to lose. Think India and Pakistan. They really don't get along and both have nuclear weapons. India has a good economic expansion going and Pakistan isn't slouching either. Both sides will take an economic asswhooping if they get themselves into a bloody war and destabilize the region.

So it's not McDonald's that wins the day, but economic stability.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby frezik » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:20 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Frezik, the idea that countries with McDonald's don't invade countries with McDonald's is completely useless... it's only true until its been disproved (which it has). It's not Western "culture" that's going to win the day. That's almost the same as the Cold War talk of winning 'hearts and minds'- it works on the presumption that there's something so superior about America that as soon as you pump it into a country intravenously they'll turn docile and malleable. The way to exist peacefully and productively with Iran is through diplomacy, to convince them that they're better off seeking productive relations with the West at the expense of their more local ambitions.


McDonalds is more hyperbole than fact. I've already given a counterexample.

I don't think there's anything superior about American culture. I think there's something superior about having a single culture worldwide, in the sense that people in the same culture tend to be less violent to one another. American culture is as good as any other for the job, and it already has a big head start.

Stephenson can say it better than me:

Neal Stephenson wrote:To traditional cultures, especially word-based ones such as Islam, this is infinitely more threatening than the B-52s ever were. It is obvious, to everyone outside of the United States, that our arch-buzzwords, multiculturalism and diversity, are false fronts that are being used (in many cases unwittingly) to conceal a global trend to eradicate cultural differences. The basic tenet of multiculturalism (or "honoring diversity" or whatever you want to call it) is that people need to stop judging each other-to stop asserting (and, eventually, to stop believing ) that this is right and that is wrong, this true and that false, one thing ugly and another thing beautiful, that God exists and has this or that set of qualities.

. . .

The global anti-culture that has been conveyed into every cranny of the world by television is a culture unto itself, and by the standards of great and ancient cultures like Islam and France, it seems grossly inferior, at least at first. The only good thing you can say about it is that it makes world wars and Holocausts less likely--and that is actually a pretty good thing!


I don't much like a monoculture in any form, and American culture wouldn't be my first choice for a monoculture if I was forced to pick. But I can't argue against using it to prevent world wars.

Regarding your earlier post... you've got things backwards. North Korea is still very much threatened by the US, who are stationed in South Korea and Japan, and Iran is especially threatened by the US, with a buttload of their troops just over the border. I would argue that the recent nuclear programs are not opportunistic, but motivated by fear. A US with military forces employed in conflict around the world is much more threatening than a US at peace, especially when that conflict is next door.


Can the US invade North Korea without taking troops out of Iraq? Without instituting a draft? Without going deeper into federal debt? With the support of even 40% of the US voting population, either now or at any point in Bush's second term? Can it do the same to Iran at the same time?

Answers: Maybe, probably not, no, no, no, and no.

The troops in S. Korea and Japan have been there for a long time now, so why did N. Korea only recently choose to pursue nuclear options? Likewise, Iran has been eyeing over at troops in Israel and Saudi Arabia for a while. So why now? Perhaps because American fighting strength and willpower are tied up in a war that didn't need to be fought, so they know they can get away with it.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:08 am UTC

Then why does conflict exist within cultures? There is plenty of aggression and violence within the United States. In the American War of Independence, both sides had a very similar culture. Apart from the Catholic/Protestant split, there is not much cultural difference within Ireland. Iran and Iraq have a similar culture, as do North and South Korea. I think you've found a false positive with the prevalence of American mass media around the globe and its impact on world peace. The idea that the spread of a mono-culture makes 'world wars and holocausts less likely' is patently absurd. European culture dominated the world for the first half of the twentieth century (which is why French was once the 'international language', and why Americans speak English for that matter) but that didn't stop anything. MAD and inter-cultural diplomacy (i.e. between Western Europe, America, Russia and China) prevented a World War. If by Holocaust you mean genocide... well it still kept happening, but I can't think of any example where American cultural hegemony (Pax Americana?) prevented it from happening.

frezik wrote:Can the US invade North Korea without taking troops out of Iraq? Without instituting a draft? Without going deeper into federal debt? With the support of even 40% of the US voting population, either now or at any point in Bush's second term? Can it do the same to Iran at the same time?

Answers: Maybe, probably not, no, no, no, and no.

The troops in S. Korea and Japan have been there for a long time now, so why did N. Korea only recently choose to pursue nuclear options? Likewise, Iran has been eyeing over at troops in Israel and Saudi Arabia for a while. So why now? Perhaps because American fighting strength and willpower are tied up in a war that didn't need to be fought, so they know they can get away with it.


America is more or less in charge of Japan's military and they have 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea. There are about half the troops in Iraq as there were for the invasion. I'm not saying it would be easy but I am saying America's military is a substantial threat, and it was the Bush administration that was indicating they could resort to invading Iran. They thought they could do it. Federal debt isn't a huge problem, and Iran and North Korea do not consult citizen polls when they are concerned about America's actions. It's hardly seemed to matter before.

You don't think North Korea's actions had anything to do with being labeled the 'Axis of Evil'? They've been facing enemies so long the only thing they know how to do anymore is prepare their military. As for Iran... imagine how the US would react if Canada or Mexico was invaded by Russia. The Iranians have an aggressive military on the other side of their border, one that once supported Saddam against them. Maybe that has something to do with their nuclear project?
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Iv » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:07 am UTC

d33p wrote:This model is just begging for a black swan. It seems to me that the existence of a device necessitates a 100% probability of someone eventually using it.

No, it just needs to have a higher probability than current human advisors, who are not even close to being 100% right.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Mzyxptlk » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

There are a few things that might keep the US and Israel from attacking Iran.

1) Popular internal opposition against military action against Iran.
Last July, a US poll showed that voters are divided on whether or not to engage in military action against Iran (41 per cent in favour, 46 per cent against). Based on this, I'd say it would not be unreasonable to consider there to be a significant chance that the US might take military action with a low level of involvement (read: bombing) in the near future (read: within the next 20 years). All that said, I question the relevance of this figure; I doubt whether the American people are capable of stopping their government from attacking Iran at all. It's not like we've seen them doing it before. In any case I would guess that many people associate "military action" with a ground war; the US military hardly needs to go down that road to destroy a country (Cambodia, anyone?) or crush a regime (most of Central and Southern America).

As for Israel, 71% of Israelis were in favour of US military action against Iran back in September 2007 (I was unable to find more recent numbers), and Israel has an even worse record when it comes to respecting international law. It wouldn't be the first time Israel attacked a neighbouring country for endangering it's military dominance in the region.

Interestingly enough, in August 2008, 63% of US citizens were in favour of Israeli military action against Iran; it seems US resistance against military action is largely pragmatic; many are in favour of military action as long as US soldiers don't have to endanger themselves.

2) Iran develops a deterrent against US/Israeli military interference.
While it would theoretically be possible for Iran to outproduce Israel (though not the US) by conventional means, in practice it is not viable. Israel's defence budget (18.7 billion dollar) is 3 times as high as Iran's (6.3 billion) and can easily increase significantly through US military aid (which the US population would not oppose, for reasons listed above). Between 2001 and 2005, over 14 billion dollars worth of US military aid poured into Israel. Further, Iran's isolation since the Islamic Revolution put a damper on the level of technology they're able to field, regardless of how much they're willing to spend; Israel has no such problems. It is worth mentioning that Iran's defence budget per capita is currently lower than that of most Persian Gulf countries, as well as lower a percentage of gross national product than all Persian Gulf states except the United Arab Emirates.

If conventional weapons won't do the trick, the only remaining option is weapons of mass destruction. Of those, nuclear capabilities are easily the most effective deterrent, for obvious reasons.

[edit]If any of you fucks had told me this wasn't SB, I would have been a bit more succinct. :(
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Montrose » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:06 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:America is more or less in charge of Japan's military



As a student of Japanese history and politics, I'd actually be very skeptical of that. It might seem that way because the US has never called upon Japan to do anything it wouldn't otherwise do. Japanese conservatives have played along with the US for the past 50 years, because their interests line up. Likewise, Japan has been willing to pretend that it's not an independent military power, even though it can be one whenever it wants to (and really already is), because then the US would foot the bill for its security. If the US asks for support in a situation that Japan no longer sees as in its interests (and recent US foreign policy is very unpopular over there), expect the Japanese to flatly say no and kick the US out of Okinawa (probably the only political issue that brings all Japanese people together is wanting American soldiers out of their country).

Anyway, enough digression.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:00 am UTC

Montrose wrote:Japanese conservatives have played along with the US for the past 50 years, because their interests line up. Likewise, Japan has been willing to pretend that it's not an independent military power, even though it can be one whenever it wants to (and really already is), because then the US would foot the bill for its security.


I'm sure that's what they tell themselves :P

But, yes, I'm aware of what you're saying, especially the Japanese frustrations over the Okinawa base. But it's also worth noting that Japan has fostered very strong relations with the US, sometimes to the detriment of their relationship with China, and I would bet that if Korea flared up, Japan would side with their Pacific rather than mainland 'neighbours'.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Coffee Sex Pancake » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:30 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:
Montrose wrote:I think a lot of people misread Ahmadinejad. They read snippets of his speeches in translation and think, "oh my god! This guy wants to kill us all!" I think the thing that's missing from that point of view is the fact that Ahmadinejad has found that fiery rhetoric works very well to keep him in power. Americans need to remember that in that part of the world, we are seen as oppressors (remember the Shah?) and tyrants, and so anyone who stands up to us will gain support. If you really are worried about Ahmadinejad, the fastest way to make him lose power would be to ignore him. If the Iranians don't feel threatened by the US (and they have very good reason to feel threatened by us), then someone whose whole political position is based on saying crazy things to the US will lose power.

And it's not like certain parties in our country aren't saying absolutely batshit things about certain other countries either. You also have to look at the population of Iran whom, for the most part, aren't as batshit sounding as Ahmadinejad. The younger generation of that country really isn't all that "Kill America and Israel" and Fear News would have you forget that there's more people in that country besides Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah. Imagine if the U.S. were solely judge based on Rush Limbaugh, Bush, and Fred Phelps. I'm pretty sure other countries would worry about our weapons programs too.


To amplify this, crazy talk works. It's pretty much a necessity for M.A.D., since the decision to wipe out all life on earth rather than allow your country to be conquered is irrational. So you have Krueschev (who was not actually crazy) whipping off his shoe in the middle of speeches. It's also very helpful in negotiations (being "insulted" and turning to storm away from the bargaining table is an ancient tactic) Look how North Korea uses the tactic, they've managed to gain (admittedly erratic supplies of) foreign aid while giving up nothing.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Mzyxptlk » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:33 pm UTC

Coffee Sex Pancake wrote:To amplify this, crazy talk works. It's pretty much a necessity for M.A.D., since the decision to wipe out all life on earth rather than allow your country to be conquered is irrational. So you have Krueschev (who was not actually crazy) whipping off his shoe in the middle of speeches. It's also very helpful in negotiations (being "insulted" and turning to storm away from the bargaining table is an ancient tactic) Look how North Korea uses the tactic, they've managed to gain (admittedly erratic supplies of) foreign aid while giving up nothing.

You're wrong. One of the fundamental premises of game theory is the assumption of rationality.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby william » Sat Feb 14, 2009 3:17 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
d33p wrote:This model is just begging for a black swan. It seems to me that the existence of a device necessitates a 100% probability of someone eventually using it.

No, it just needs to have a higher probability than current human advisors, who are not even close to being 100% right.

People who require a computer model to be 100% right piss me off. Mainly because nobody seems to know statistics.
Mzyxptlk wrote:
Coffee Sex Pancake wrote:To amplify this, crazy talk works. It's pretty much a necessity for M.A.D., since the decision to wipe out all life on earth rather than allow your country to be conquered is irrational. So you have Krueschev (who was not actually crazy) whipping off his shoe in the middle of speeches. It's also very helpful in negotiations (being "insulted" and turning to storm away from the bargaining table is an ancient tactic) Look how North Korea uses the tactic, they've managed to gain (admittedly erratic supplies of) foreign aid while giving up nothing.

You're wrong. One of the fundamental premises of game theory is the assumption of rationality.

Actually, he's right. This is completely rational raving and ranting. It's an act. "Rationality" in the economic sense is a much weaker condition than in the vernacular--it merely means that you take the optimal steps in order to best achieve your goals. Which often include acting batshit insane, which is what Ahmedinejad et al are doing--acting.
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Montrose » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:26 pm UTC

Coffee Sex Pancake wrote:To amplify this, crazy talk works. It's pretty much a necessity for M.A.D., since the decision to wipe out all life on earth rather than allow your country to be conquered is irrational. So you have Krueschev (who was not actually crazy) whipping off his shoe in the middle of speeches. It's also very helpful in negotiations (being "insulted" and turning to storm away from the bargaining table is an ancient tactic) Look how North Korea uses the tactic, they've managed to gain (admittedly erratic supplies of) foreign aid while giving up nothing.



Just so you know, Krueschev did not take off his shoe to bang on the table, he brought along an extra shoe for the sole purpose of banging it on the table, which highlights the degree to which his crazy was planned.

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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Arancaytar » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:04 pm UTC

Brooklynxman wrote:Also agreed how do you program a model to say that?

And missing info effects models in drastic ways


... and as experienced as you are with programming models like this, of course you know exactly how accurate or inaccurate they are. ;)

---

Anyway, meh. Israel has nukes. Pakistan has nukes. North Korea claims to have nukes (who the hell knows). The US, Russia and China have hundreds of nukes. Seriously, what would Iran do if they had one?

People who panic at Iran's speculated nuclear weapons programme seem to be confusing Ahmadinejad's government with Al Quaeda or Hamas. The error here is that while their sympathies may be aligned, their motivations and characters are far apart. Terrorist organizations like the latter are filled with suicidally desperate people have nothing to lose. They wish only to cause as much harm as possible without regard for their own lives. In their irrational hands, nuclear weapons would be dangerous.

Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is leading a state government of a reasonably well-to-do (if somewhat fundamentalist) country, not a terrorist organization. The only purpose of a government is to remain in power (centered on a person in dictatorships, or a party in democracies). He gestures belligerently towards Israel, but he is neither deluded nor suicidal. He knows that once the cold war gets hot, it won't cool down before most of the middle-east (including his own land) is glass. By the same MAD logic (pun intended, because proliferation is ass-crazy in general) that lets you sleep at night while the US, Russia and China keep their nukes well-oiled, you can relax about Iran as well.

(As an addendum, I find it likely that the computer that made this prediction reasoned along similar lines.)
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Re: Computer model says Iran wont build nukes

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

And the odd thing is. If Iran was to nuke Israel, unless Israel retaliated with a nuke it's almost likely that we'll just conventionally bomb the hell out of Iran and occupy it and install a new regime rather than nuke them.


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