Friday, May 26, 2006

The Irrational Voice

[also at Op-Ed News]

It is widely recognized that the image of the United States has been dealt a series of damaging blows by the Bush administration. This has come as a direct result of the neo-conservative theory of "benevolent global hegemony," though one is pressed to find evidence of actual benevolence within the implementation of the pie-eyed neo-con wet dream. In defiance of international law, the illegal invasion of Iraq has fomented sectarian violence to the point that Balkanization of the country is a likely possibility. The incredibly corrupt and virtually failed reconstruction effort has been a boon to American contractors, while Iraqis have experienced little or no improvement in their lot. The entire Middle East is now concerned about the extant conditions wrought by Bush administration policy, just as the White House further threatens military action against Iran.

Regarding Iran, the official position of the White House has been to advocate diplomacy in the nuclear dispute while not actually engaging in direct talks with Tehran and leaving the "negotiations" to proxies. While ridiculous, this position further evinces that the White House really isn't interested in actual diplomacy at all. Iran has been the party most amenable to talks with the US and this now has been clearly voiced by Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Javad Zarif, who issued a statement that the Iranians wish to conduct a "serious discussion" to resolve the dispute:
We are prepared to engage in serious discussion in order to resolve this issue, and we have not made any exception with regard to the United States.

If they're looking for solutions, why are they not talking to one side of the problem? There is a resolution to this situation, and the resolution is easily attainable, provided you look for it.
In return, Iran wishes the United States would cease with "intimidation tactics" as a good faith measure toward resolution. Zarif said that a solution is "easily attainable" in an environment free of intimidation and pressure. There is nothing unreasonable in this position at all.

So what is the response of George Bush to this offer of serious negotiations? Why, he scoffs at it, of course:
President Bush, speaking at a news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, rejected the idea of approaching Iran with incentives.

They're the ones who walked away from the table. It's on them.
Ignoring the fact that the White House has never actually been "at the table," what exactly is "on them" is not at all clear at this point. Presumably, this means do exactly what the White House wants and do so without any back talk. This is what is regarded as negotiation by the Bush administration.

Bush added further hypocritical fuel to the fire by saying that Iran
needs a government that is going to recognize that part of being a great country is to be in line with your international obligations.
This is an astounding statement coming from a man who defied the UN Security Council, launched an illegal invasion in violation of international law, rejected international strictures on the treatment of prisoners, conducts or supports coups against democratically elected governments and happily furthers the proliferation of nuclear technology.

From a diplomatic perspective, it is now the White House that appears to be the irrational voice in the Iranian dispute. As the White House refuses to negotiate directly with Iran, the curious sight of Iraq's new foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari backing Iran on the nuclear issue has just appeared, which only further serves indication that it is the Bush administration that now appear to be the only unwilling party in the dispute. Of course, with close ties to Iran (Iraq's Prime Minister al-Malaki is from the Dawa party), Iraq's motivations are clear but that does not discount White House intransigence on this issue. Nominal diplomatic relations in the region are what is desired and needed and this effort is not being helped by the position of the US, which is, and has been, do what we tell you. Benevolent or not, this will always be the position of any power that claims a right to global hegemony. That is the reason the world is strongly resisting such efforts on the part of this administration. The frightening aspect of this drama is that it is the White House which is failing to recognise that, in the world's eyes, it is they who are in the compromised position.

The exceptional hypocrisy of the Bush White House as regards "international obligations" has never been more dazzling than it has been with respect to Iran, though it is evinced by any number of other behaviours, as well. While declaiming "international obligations," Bush routinely violates them. While loudly dismissing Iran's compliance with the NPT, Bush merrily sells more nuclear technology to a country that has never been a signatory to the treaty. While they claim insistance upon diplomacy, the White House partakes in nothing of the kind. While ratching its own military spending to new and lofty heights, the White House decries modest increases in military spending by Russia and China. While threatening and planning military strikes and launching illegal war, Vice President Cheney denounces Vladimir Putin for his intimidation tactics. While conducting programs of broad surveillance and monitoring of its own citizenry, the Bush administration expresses dismay that the spread of "freedom" has not been heartily embraced elsewhere. While proclaiming that his number one priority is the safety of American citizens, Geroge Bush ignored a drowning city as he strummed guitars on the campaign trail.

Could there be any doubt that the world now casts a skeptical eye on anything this White House says? Have we ever seen a more comtemptible embarrassement on the world stage than that which has been placed on display by this administration and which is being conducted in the name of these United States?

These are, of course, entirely rhetorical questions.


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