Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sure you've seen this, but just in case...
"Russia and China, which have close ties to Iran, joined fellow permanent council members Britain, France and the United States as well as non-member Germany in supporting the sanctions proposal, ignoring a deal that Tehran agreed to a day earlier to try to stave off the penalties." For a moment I was worried that the eminently sensible enrichment deal would somehow preclude the drive to war.

Peter Hart of FAIR, with aid from Chomsky (who seems to pop up here every day), here points out what I did yesterday, but better, highlighting the difference between US media's version of the "international consensus" and the actual positions of most people and countries. Chompers:

To take another illustration of the depth of the imperial mentality, New York Times correspondent Elaine Sciolino writes that "Iran's intransigence [about nuclear enrichment] appears to be defeating attempts by the rest of the world to curtail Tehran's nuclear ambitions." The rest of the world happens to exclude the large majority of the world: the non-aligned movement, which forcefully endorses Iran's right to enrich Uranium, in accord with the non-proliferation treaty (NPT). But they are not part of the world, since they do not reflexively accept U.S. orders.

We might tarry for a moment to ask whether there is any solution to the U.S./Iran confrontation over nuclear weapons. Here is one idea: (1) Iran should have the right to develop nuclear energy, but not weapons, in accord with the NPT. (2) A nuclear weapons-free zone should be established in the region, including Iran, Israel and U.S. forces deployed there. (3) The U.S. should accept the NPT. (4) The U.S. should end threats against Iran, and turn to diplomacy.

The proposals are not original. These are the preferences of the overwhelming majority of Americans, and also Iranians, in polls by World Public Opinion, which found that Americans and Iranians agree on basic issues. At a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies when the polls were released a year ago, Joseph Cirincione, senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, said the polls showed "the common sense of both the American people and the Iranian people, [who] seem to be able to rise above the rhetoric of their own leaders to find common sense solutions to some of the most crucial questions" facing the two nations, favoring pragmatic, diplomatic solutions to their differences. The results suggest that if the U.S. and Iran were functioning democratic societies, this very dangerous confrontation could probably be resolved peaceably.

This text is in fact from 2008, but could be written now with no amendment. Strong echoes of Iraq... "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

So what's the plan for Iran? Apparently there are about 70,000 soldiers in Afghanistan but there will be soon be something like 250,000 DoD outside contractors there, in line with the ideology of privatization in general and further removing "our troops" and mercenaries from oversight. A sane observer might note that the US can't pay for a war, but where there's a will, there's a way. We've overthrown Iran's government before. Our politicians watched the Green Revolution and salivated last year, and our publicly touted new military strategy relies on training the natives of the countries we need to control to quell unrest, a sort of delegation of war. Are these things connected?

I should also link Richard Estes on the planned reconfiguration of NATO. That sort of entry (and some of the comments to it) are the exact sort of thing I wish I could do here.

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