Monday, February 22, 2010

Two Tribes

Another video from Russia Today- this time with nice crispy sound that syncs properly, but the video is somewhat washed out. C'est la vie, as Russians no doubt say.

Earlier today CNN posted a poll in which they stated that a majority(71 %) of respondents believe that Iran presently has nuclear weapons.(the poll also says that while a majority of the respondents are presently against military action, it also suggests great malleability in that opinion should the rhetoric heat up, and very little concern about adverse repercussions-- something I partly blame on a childishly jingoistic press. I wonder how many people put 2 and 2 together regarding the US de facto policy of destabilizing Pakistan, the one Islamic country that definitely does possess nuclear weapons and how people feel about that, or if they even give much thought to it.

Repercussions-- like what? Like another massive oil embargo, or the real unification of the Islamic world against the US, or a crumbling of America's capacity for international influence, when Russia and China AND even the EU finally decide that we're a nation of depraved nutballs who can't be trusted. And many thousands killed. Oh yeah, that.

Actually,I don't have a hard time accepting that a majority of Americans do in fact believe this regarding the supposed existence of Iranian nukes, even though the CIA itself apparently doesn't believe this. What I have a harder time understanding, and the poll doesn't address this, is why Americans tend to trust American elites so easily regarding the outside world. So that when a foreign country does something(or appears to do something) that American elites don't approve of and the usual American TV talking heads tell us that country X is defying us because they're irrational or crazy, they just accept this uncritically. And they just accept that country X cannot possibly have sane, legitimate reasons for those contrary policies that don't conform to US government wishes , whether said policies are hypothetical or real.

The thing is, people generally have no problem believing that our elites lie to us and screw us over in virtually all other areas, but apparently regarding foreign policy they just accept that these people who so frequently mislead and even just plain lie to us, nevertheless also know what's best and sincerely mean to protect us. I guess these are two separate questions. Exceptionalism again, at least for part of it. God gave Adam the right to give names to the animals, and to America to determine whether or not foreigners are crazy.

Michel Chossudovsky, above, says that the US has nuclear warheads in Turkey and in Europe that are aimed at Iran. Additionally, most experts agree that Israel has nuclear weapons, even if this is a mostly forbidden topic for discussion in the popular US media. My point is, although I don't think any country that doesn't presently have nukes should decide to get them, it's hardly insane or unreasonable for Iran's elites to want to have nuclear weapons. Given how actively belligerent both the US and Israel have been to various middle eastern and other Islamic countries, it strikes me as pretty understandable that the Iranians should want nukes.

I also question whether the US would in fact be threatened by the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons arsenal, assuming we left them alone. Israel might possibly be threatened-- but even that I'm skeptical of. If anything, the likely net effect of a secure Iranian nuclear weapons arsenal might well be a better behaved Israel, one that doesn't threaten her neighbors so readily and is more likely to want to make legitimate concessions towards a real peace with the Palistinians, or-- at the very least-- stops launching so many "you kill one, we kill 500" military operations against her neighbors.

The problem of course, is that it be a secure nuclear arsenal. But who is likely to subvert Iranian nuclear security, besides Israel and the US?

Again, I'm not suggesting that for Iran to acquire nukes is a preferred outcome. As I've said before in comments here and elsewhere, I have often puzzled about why Ahmedinejad has never publicly suggested a linkage between greater co-operation in allowing IAEA oversight, and negotiating to account for and reduce(or even eliminate*) Israel's nukes. Also to clarify, when I say "nukes" I am specifically referring to nuclear weapons, and not simply powerplants, which after all they, along with the Israelis, are allowed by international law.

(*The "eliminate" is probably dreaming, hence in parentheses. Still there's no question to me that for neither Israel nor Iran to have nuclear weapons would be the ideal situation, and I don't see how a US military operation against Iran can do anything but kill more people and make that contingency even less likely to ever happen.)

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At February 26, 2010 8:17 AM, Blogger rob payne said...

Iran, of course, has never been the problem; the problem is the world’s two most prominent rouge states, the U.S. and Israel. Iran’s history of non-aggression is in stark contrast to the violent histories of the U.S. and Israel. I believe it is quite clear who is most likely to use a nuclear weapon, indeed, already has used them against civilian targets.

The issue isn’t whether Iran has nukes; the issue is what is the real cause for Western animosity towards Iran. I think the answer is that Iran is seen to be defying the United States which isn’t permissible, all weaker nations must bow down and grovel to U.S. power and if anyone defies the U.S. they must be made an example of, thus you have this nonsense over a non-issue like Iran’s alleged nuclear bomb pursuit.

So for me the question is not of nukes but is when will the world stop looking the other way while Israel pursues genocide against the Palestinian population.

At February 26, 2010 10:51 AM, Blogger Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Rob, I agree with you about US/Israel being the problem. I would also say that given the way the USA has meddled in the affairs of Iran and Iraq for over 30 years, with a history of playing them against each other, favoring one and then the other... the plan has been clear to me:


and the purpose has been clear too:

gain access to Iranian and Iraqi oil, through whatever means provide the greatest long-term geopolitical strategic benefit.

Clearly in Iraq the path chosen has been to destroy the people's resistance, to gut/destroy their important cultural landmarks-documents-artistic works, to cripple their government, to install a puppet regime, and to establish another client state (like Israel, but less bellicose toward neighbors). Through this long process, oil is taken by power/right and not by physical theft, and future access to such oil is secured.

The same is planned for Iran.

At February 26, 2010 3:33 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


The importance of oil cannot be overestimated for without it civilization would abruptly cease to exist as we know it. The world’s infrastructure is built on oil, oil for fuel, fuel to deliver food and goods, etc. I would just add that our interference with Iran goes further back than 30 years if you recall the U.S. openly overthrew the Iranian government in 1953.

However I think time is against the U.S. dreams of world conquest. The war in Afghanistan was lost before it began which is just dawning on Obama hence we have the concurrent surges in Afghanistan and in propaganda from the news outlets neither of which will win the war whatever that means. However what it will do is make it seem like we are winning, again whatever that means.

The stated goals are ludicrous beyond belief which isn’t surprising being essentially neocon in nature. The idea that the U.S. and NATO can turn Afghanistan into a Westernized culture calls into question the sanity of U.S. leadership though to my mind that has always been a given. Keep in mind these guys actually believe that everyone will be better off Westernized as it justifies the darker side of their agenda of ensuring that the West controls the oil sources and the world economy. Can’t let the darkies have too much control or allow them to affect the West in any way. Recall that group of Americans who went to Haiti and kidnapped the children telling them that they would have a better life in the America That these Americans believe in their superiority is never to be questioned, at least not by “serious” people.

At February 27, 2010 2:07 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...


is an article from Asia Times, from 2001 (!) which clarifies more about what's going on in Afghanistan (and Iran et al) than anything printed in the NY Times or the Washington Post over the last decade. An excerpt:

"The Taliban were never a target in the "war against terrorism". They were just a scapegoat - rather, a horde of medieval warrior scapegoats who simply did not fulfill their contract: to insert Aghanistan into Pipelineistan. All the regional players now know America is in Central Asia to stay, as Washington itself has been stridently repeating these last few weeks, and it will be influencing or disturbing the economy and geopolitics of the region. The wider world is absolutely oblivious to these real stakes in the New Great Game."

Google Pipelineistan, there's a decade's worth of articles. You can see what the world knew about the war in Georgia long before there was a war in Georgia.

At February 27, 2010 2:32 PM, Blogger rob payne said...


I think you pasted the wrong link in. When has the Times or WaPost ever clarified anything?


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