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March 16, 2006

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Iran has done such a canny job so far of stepping on the clueless tiger's tail, it'll be fun watching this play out.

Oh yeah, Iran has played its cards incredibly well. When I watch Iran and China I sometimes forget their interests and US interests directly clash, I get so wrapped up in the mastery of their gaming.

I think your UN insight right, though ostensibly the speechmaking permitted our envoy at the UN is better controlled now than, for example, before way back when Armitage started to vet all B's speeches. The Russians are building the reactor. The Chinese are selling arms through the region. Rice just completed an arcing series of state visits ending in Indonesia. A president who entered office without foreign policy credentials and who embarked on complex foreign policy endeavors in the region but without instantaneous boosts in the polls at home, certainly has little to forfeit by letting more moderate voices conduct the dialog before a UNSC embarrassment. Maybe there is a behind the scenes barter with China to ease its currency pressure on the US in exchange for ratchetting down the old confrontational avenue of IAEA-UNSC. I wonder how much Bush personally can control the most strident members of his coalition; certainly there seems to be turbulence in some OPEC nations now, as if this particular domino sector of the Rumsfeld prognostication of sequelae of the Iraq invasion might still be in flux. Our people have dropped into Kiev recently; and lots of folks in lands stretching from Turkey to Pakistan are concerned how forceful Iraq's new leadership will be in preserving minority participation without incitement to regionally risky autonomy movements.

ew - Over the last few years I had the opportunity to work with two Chinese national women who grew up in Bejing and Canton, respectively. When we would discuss world issues and China's military, their point was throughout most history China's military was used to supress its own citizens vs invasion or warring outside their own country. Is now the time for China to use its military force to protect outside investments and therefore place economic pressure on the U.S.? The other point they made, is that China's social issues are very real, the lid may have loosened a bit but not much. Many factors will come to a head soon between the haves and have nots. Of course, the government would like everything to stay pretty quite until and through the 2008 Summer Olympics. (I may have just answered my first question.)

Ardant

Yes, I've made several business trips to China in the last year and a half. The social (and environmental) issues are pressing (and I was in the cities--the real problems are in rural areas). Then again, the social issues in Iran are pressing, too.

The thing that amazes me about the leadership of both, though, is the way in which they use soft power incredibly effectively. Even at the height of our soft power efforts during the Cold War (when they were undeniably a cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union), we never seemed to understand the stakes that well (or maybe I was just ignorant). And now, we're mere has-beens.

I remember being in China and every day there were three countries coming to pay court to China--European countries, smaller Asian countries. It was this constant stream. And at the same time, the only countries Bush would even talk to (and not that respectfully at that) were Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Columbia, Italy, Mexico (in a pinch). The same world leaders over and over again. Bush has gotten better, I think. But the difference is still striking.

I agree, Emptywheel, that Iran will go into the negotiations with the upper hand. It was the US that initiated these talks and now they are trying to reverse the perceived positions.

Hadley's statement above reads as extremely unhelpful if not stupid. But perhaps it is an attempt to mask more than a position of weakness. In fact, Hadley's statement is an admittion of weakness because if you come from a position of power you can (and should) talk "quietly" because you "carry a big stick". I would suggest that any negotiator from a statesman to a poker player would know this.
So what's going on?

I think we need to step back a little to see the context. The main game is world domination and this is achieved through military domination and economic domination and a major part of the latter is resource control, principally oil and gas.

It is fundamental to the main game to control China's access to oil and gas and for these resources to be traded in a currency that the US also controls.

World domination is the "War". China is the major "Campaign" and Iraq and Iran are "Battles".

Coming to any agreement with Iran does not, on the face of it, further the campaign against China. It does not help restrict China's access to oil and it does not help restrict the trading of oil to the currency of US$.

The talks with Iran may be a "tactical retreat" and the unhelpful blustering of Hadley is an attempt to distract from what this "retreat" may be masking. I suggest it may be masking an actual physical retreat by the US forces to bases in the north and west of Iraq in preparation for a massive air attack on Iran and the response to that from Iraq and Iran.

Some forces have been moved out of Kuwait and so out of the immediate line of fire from Iran. Samarra is on the road to Mosul in the Kurdish north and is being "cleared" of "insurgents". I would suggest this is to clear the way for a retreat north before they set Iraq on fire with a civil war and before they bomb Iran.

Iran does not have to be occupied. It just needs to be taken out of the "Great Game" by "bombing it back into the Stone Age" and so nullifying it's usefulness to China in terms of oil and establishing a competing currency to US$ (through the about to be opened Iranian Oil Bourse). If the US were to occupy any part of Iran it would be the Kurdish north which, like the Iraqi Kurdish north, has oil.

I'm sure Israeli and US strategists would want to establish a Kurdistan if not "de jure" then at least "de facto".

In all of this one has to wonder what China's (and Russia's) will be. Whatever it is, Idoubt there will be any warning given.

Finally, the US is not about to back off from it's "War". It can't afford to now economically. Never mind the war crimes trials that await them personally.

The only alternative that I see is a revolt by the Top Brass of the US military or some sort of citizens action in the US.

I have no idea what would be effective, but there MUST be a way.

way to go griffin

well said, well defined

the only part left out of this equation is US Domestic Politics

I think bush sees Iran as a way to manipulate the 2006 elections

look for the "new product rollout" in september

and don't be surprised if Patrick Fitzgerald knocks that meatball off the front pages

Cheers, freepatriot.

On topic link from Siun over at FDL about permanent bases and Empire.
http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/newscommentary/000376.php#more

Hope it comes though live.

EW, I wonder what you think of the Russians' interactions with Iran, particularly regarding their nuke program? I can't believe Putin wants to support nuclear terrorism, I agree that this is a real possibility with Iran. China and Russia have some involvement in both the North Korean and Iranian programs.

Kim,
why do you think the Iranian government would want get involved in nuclear terrorism?
I should ask, also, what constitutes "nuclear terrorism" to you?

By nuclear terrorism I mean use of enriched nuclear material by terrorists (dirty bombs most likely).

In my opinion, the problem with Iran is that their "modern" political leaders have never shown an inclination toward moderation or collaboration with the international community on any serious issue: in their strong support of many groups willing to use the methods of terror (Hammas etc... tell me if I am wrong), in their support for the most extreme political agendas (removing Israel from the map), in their willingness to provide safe harbor for wanted al qaeda leadership figures, in their determination to develop nuclear enrichment capability through every possible disingenuous means, in their historical commitment to using oil to further their agenda, etc....

Then there are the dysfunctional divisions within the leadership of Iran, the President, the mullahs, the Revolutionary Guards. Who controls the nuclear program now, or could be counted on to in the future, why should anyone believe that any of these groups can be trusted with securing the materials produced by an enrichment program? The behavior of the Iranians themselves is what causes concern.

The Russians, also subversive in their day, continue to struggle with securing their nuclear materials stockpiles from groups like al qaeda. Aside from again accepting a poorly protected nuclear program run by another unstable and belicose regime, why allow it in the first place?

"By nuclear terrorism I mean use of enriched nuclear material by terrorists (dirty bombs most likely)."

- Thanks, Kim.
Every tank shell, every bullet fired by the US forces in Iraq is radioactive. They contain Depleted Uranium. On impact it burns into an excedingly fine powder which is breathed in. I would suggest that most people in Iraq now have radioactive material in their bodies. It's effects are far worse than ordiary radiation. The cummulative effect is far far worse than any imagined dirty bomb

- Would you consider exploding a nuclear bomb in a city with no military significance simply to demonstrate your power as terrorism?

"In my opinion, the problem with Iran is that their "modern" political leaders have never shown an inclination toward moderation or collaboration with the international community on any serious issue:"

- Would you consider a reluctance to engage with countries who had overthrown your democratic government and imposed and supported a murderous regime and trained their torturers as understandable? Who then, after you removed this murderous regime, imposed international trade sanctions against you out of rage because you nationaised your own resources?

"in their strong support of many groups willing to use the methods of terror (Hammas etc... tell me if I am wrong),"

- I have read that they back Hezbollah in Lebanon. I don't know about Hamas. But Israel was instrumental in forming Hamas (and no, I'm not kidding).
Do you know that The US has supported countless revolutionary groups which have used death squads?
Are you aware that the US military has trained these death squad personnel and are still doing this in Iraq?
Do you know the history of John Negroponte?

"in their support for the most extreme political agendas (removing Israel from the map),"

- I'll grant you it was a very stupid thing for the Iranian President to say but bear in mind the presidential office has no where near the power as it has in the US.
Israel has never recognised the state of Palestine that was created at the same time as Israel by the UN and it has stolen Palestinian land and continues to occupy it illegally and expand it. Israel is in breach of countless UN Resolutions, unlike Iran.

"in their willingness to provide safe harbor for wanted al qaeda leadership figures,"

- US has given far more support to Al cia-da than Iran. Bin Ladin is Wahabi and they consider Shias (Iran) to be infidels.

"in their determination to develop nuclear enrichment capability through every possible disingenuous means,"

- Iran has signed and abided by the Non Proliforation Treaty (unlike Israel). They have broken no law or international convention unlike India Pakistan, Israel and now the US.

"in their historical commitment to using oil to further their agenda, etc...."

I think exploiting your own resources to further your own agenda is what ever nation should do. Exploiting other nations' resources for your own agenda such as Israel, England and US do is another matter, however.

"Then there are the dysfunctional divisions within the leadership of Iran, the President, the mullahs, the Revolutionary Guards. Who controls the nuclear program now, or could be counted on to in the future, why should anyone believe that any of these groups can be trusted with securing the materials produced by an enrichment program?"

- Any power structure will become dysfunctional given enough time. Can you tell me which of Iran's foes is not dysfunctional?

"The behavior of the Iranians themselves is what causes concern."

- How does what the Iranians do differ from other countries?

"The Russians, also subversive in their day, continue to struggle with securing their nuclear materials stockpiles from groups like al qaeda. Aside from again accepting a poorly protected nuclear program run by another unstable and belicose regime, why allow it in the first place?"

- Why allow ANY country to have a nuclear program? Can anyone guarantee that any country won't fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists with an apocaliptic vision of the future? It could even happen in the USA!
For belicosity, you would be hard pressed to beat Israel and the US. Plus, they have a history of invading other countries and are threatening to do so again unlike Iran.

These are serious questions.

In all my questions, Kim, I forgot to mention that you didn't answer my original question, which is:-

"why do you think the Iranian government would want get involved in nuclear terrorism?"

Why would they do it?

Because most of their best friends are terrorists and their leaders tend toward, well, being unbalanced?

Kim,
I am surprised you came back on this after me picking at every point you made the other day. I am a little embarrassed over it. Sorry.

The idea that the Iranian Govt is unbalanced and has terrorists for best friends is the picture Bush (Rove), TV and most newspapers want you to believe. The trouble is that the truth is elsewhere.

Here is an excellent article which gives an overview of the Iranian War Dance, by the people I just mentioned, that is going on right now.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=70198

I'm sorry I don't know how to make the link active but you can get there by copying and pasteing the link into the browser and enter.

The short truth is that you have been lied to by the media in all it's forms and religious and education organisations all your life. Another word for it is brainwashing. And most of them don't realise the extent to which they have been doing it. So you have little chance.

I have had experience with the real thing so I know what I am looking at. (It's also why I get so angry about it!).

I read a report recently (wish I'd kept the link) about a study which found that brainwashing victims were the last to realise they had been brainwashed. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But it's true because you don't think to question your own thoughts. You don't question things you think are true, that are self evident to you if you were ever asked. I know.

So not only the news but also the way you think about the news (and anything else for that matter) has been set up for you (and everyone else).

If you would like to test it, I have an experiment for you to try.

Do not watch television at all for at least one month but preferably two. Unplug the TV and put it in the garage or somewhere out of the house.
When you visit friends, if they have the TV on ask them to turn it off (not down) or come back later.

Don't listen to the radio either. Play music instead. And get your news off the web but not US newspaper sites.

After two months (or as long as you can), plug the TV back in, get some popcorn and settle down for an afternoon's or evening's viewing. If you have avoided it totally for that period, you'll be absolutely stunned at what you are witnessing.

While these are things not to do, here is something to do.

When you're thinking about a subject or talking to a friend and you make a statement that you think you know to be true, ask yourself "How do I know that's true?" and really dig into it.
If someone told you, then "Do they know what they are talking about?" "Who told them?" "Why did they tell me this"? "What's their interest in this subject?"
Do some research on some of these thoughts and ideas. If you think Arabs are loonies, read up on the history and culture. Look for accounts by Arabs themselves - just a suggestion. It can be anything you have a view on.

Anyway, I'm sure you get the idea.

This is something I have had to do myself to remain sane, to undo some of the shit done to me. And in the course of it I uncovered all the programmeing done to everybody by our culture.

All cultures do it, of course, which is why different cultures think differently. It's nothing to do with racial genes. Each culture's way of thinking is always just ONE way of thinking. Not better or worse just different (so long as they are prepared to let their neighbours think the way they want).

If you have read this far, thank you.

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