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Sanity on Iran

From Ian.

Iran, Afghanistan. Just.... Eeesh. Not a lot of change here. Or hope, for that matter.

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tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

Mr. Welsh writes

>Those sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of people, possibly as many as a million

There was nothing in those sanctions that inherently killed anyone. Rather it was Saddam who squeezed his people in an attempt to get the sanctions removed so he could rearm that led to Iraqi deaths. Now you can argue we should have given in to that blackmail, that letting him have his weapons was the lesser evil, but that's a different argument. (Of course in that case it is probable Iraq would have had the WMDs the Bush administration claimed.)

It also seems seems improbable the Iranian government-with its restless population-would follow the same path, as attempts to squeeze its population in a similar manner might truly undermine the regime.

But I agree we don't know if Iran is really building nukes, though they could answer that by letting the UN do its job.

Montag's picture
Submitted by Montag on

Iran has not violated or backed out of the NPT.

in what way, other than complying with the requirements of the treaty, is Iran preventing the UN from doing its job?

Ian Welsh's picture
Submitted by Ian Welsh on

it had a lot to do with the destruction of Iraqi infrastructure in the Gulf war, where things like sewage systems were systematically destroyed, then sanctions were immediately applied so they were never fixed.

Sorry, it wasn't all Saddam's fault.

In almost all cases of sanctions it is the population that takes it on the chin, while the elites are fine. Most sanctions also strengthen the ruling party. There have been exceptions, but not very many.

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

>Iran has not violated...the NPT.

Well I'm glad you are so sure of that, but oddly the UN isn't.

Montag's picture
Submitted by Montag on

EDIT: whoops. I meant to post this as a reply to Lambert's comment.

IAEA:
http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Statement...

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter on DN the other day:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/29/fm...

As to Tdraicer's point, here's the counterargument from The Israel Project:
http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.h...

Google search:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&clien...

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

> Sorry, it wasn't all Saddam's fault.

We disagree. (The damage from the first Gulf War was also ultimately Saddam's fault, as it was his war.)

But then in general I don't share the Corrente worldview on international issues. I don't live in a world where the only problem is the American empire and the solution simply for us to "come home America" (to borrow from 1972). Though I wish Clinton had intervened in Rwanda and sooner in Yugoslavia, in general I think US foreign policy in the Clinton era was generally sound (just as in the Bush era it was generally unsound) so I'm not looking for the policy revolution that most here favor. (For example I oppose Obama's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan on simple practical grounds-they are unlikely to work.)

On Iran this is from Reuters:

"Apparent differences in foreign intelligence assessments of Iran's nuclear work have surfaced increasingly in recent weeks.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said this month that Israeli and French suggestions he was hiding evidence of alleged Iranian atom bomb work were baseless.

An August 28 IAEA report said Western intelligence material implying Tehran secretly combined uranium processing, airborne high-explosive tests and efforts to revamp a missile cone in a way that would fit a nuclear warhead was compelling.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on September 7 that Iran must clarify the matter instead of just rejecting the intelligence as fabricated. But the report contained no new, concrete evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons agenda, it said.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said the IAEA had yet to publish annexes of findings on Iran which he said were "important" for an assessment of "possible military dimensions" to Iran's uranium enrichment campaign."

Behind much of this activity is the understanding that most Israelis takes the idea of an Iran with nukes as an existential threat, so the alternative to the West taking the Iranian program seriously (including the possibility of sanctions) is quite likely an Israeli air strike which would do no one any good. So our current activity is designed in large part to calm Israel and prevent it going it alone. In time we all (Israel included) will probably have to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, but then time is what the current diplomatic activity (including the threat of sanctions) is designed to buy.

Israel, btw, is not a project, it is a nation.

Submitted by lambert on

Here's hoping:

The Israel Project -- do note the use of capital letters -- is not a nation but a project.

* * *

Not sure where you get "the Corrente worldview on international issues" from. After all, we've focused mostly on domestic issues, like raping and pillaging banksters (granted, part of the imperium) and murderous health insurance companies.

However, it seems highly unlikely to me that any Correntian would write anything so undeft as:

I [...] live in a world where the only problem is the American empire

which is a straw man in classic form. The worldwide existence of -- to pick an example at random -- patriarchy militates against that proposition, surely.

Montag's picture
Submitted by Montag on

"The Israel Project" is the name of the website the link points to.

Montag's picture
Submitted by Montag on

the idea that a country will develop enough nuclear weapons to wipe another off the map, and then immediately do so, is insane.

that Iran is governed by oppressive religious rule is evident. that saving the people of Iran from said rule is our true motive for opposing the regime is a fiction of American exceptionalism.

it's about the oil.

i'm sorry, some might say it's about, 'preserving the American way of life,' or something. if you're comfortable with that, why not make the argument from that position?

that said, no doubt Iran wants nuclear weapons. very likely they will pursue the capability sooner or later. our own intelligence community thinks they are a long way from having a weapon, if they are indeed working on it at all. no country has developed weapons while party to the NPT. so far so good. though Iran may be toying with backing out now i read this morning.

the Iranian government seeks security "not because it dreams of the glory days of Xerxes but in order to maintain its national integrity and not, ya know, get conquered by America." [that quote from IOZ: http://whoisioz.blogspot.com/2008/05/ori...

i've only been here a couple of days, so i can't speak to "the Corrente worldview on international issues," but it *is* a problem of American empire. if we must have the oil, better to buy it on the competitive market than to kill for it.

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

This is a case where worldviews are sufficiently different that we are unlikely to do anything much beyond talking past one another, so I won't pursue it. I just wanted to note that while I generally agree with the posters here on domestic issues, that agreement usually breaks down when the subject turns to foreign policy. And having noted it, I'll leave it there.