Global Policy Forum

More Imperialist Excesses?


By Elsa Claro

October 25, 2007

Condoleezza Rice's Middle East tour fails to achieve the results
desired by the White House, where Bush comes out with a feverish conjecture.

George W. Bush's recent statement referring to the possible eruption of World War III if Iran is allowed "the knowledge" to develop nuclear weapons has been taken as a barely disguised threat. More imperialist excesses?It has been repeated so many times in Washington that Iran wants to produce a nuclear arsenal that, at this point, they have come to believe their own story. This wouldn't be the first or only time. There is still talk about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq four years after the occupation and long after it was proven that the Bush administration and the Blair government in London lied in order to justify the war. It was so much so that the conspiracy between that duo with the then-president of Spain, José Marí­a Aznar was, or is, so intimate that it predated the latter summoning them to the Azores to oblige the European Union to accept the decision of two of its members who were supporting the United States and its aggressive acts planned beyond the confines of the United Nations and behind the backs of the European allies.

It is possible that such precedents prompted Vladimir Putin to say in Tehran that U.S. dreams of creating a unipolar world were not realistic, as demonstrated by the adventures undertaken in Afghanistan and Iraq where there is today less order, less gratitude on the part of citizens, or possibilities for a good future. The Russian president's statement was made in the Iranian capital where he attended a meeting of heads of state of countries bordering the Caspian Sea, currently the location of one of the world's largest oil reserves. The leaders of those countries are seeking consensus among themselves as to the limits of the territories belonging to each one and becoming aware that the fragmentation being pushed by the transnationals is not to their advantage in terms of this natural resource. This meeting of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is considered highly significant given that its final declaration includes statements such as: "Our armed forces do not have the objective of attacking other countries of the Caspian Sea area," and emphasizes that in no circumstances will use of the area as a launching pad for aggressive or punitive actions against third countries be permitted.

This last statement comes in relation to alleged public statements by observers that Azerbaijan, whose leaders have a close relationship with the United States and agreements with several U.S. oil companies, could serve as a base for future aggression against Iran. This is Vice President Richard Cheney's favorite idea, according to various sources and one among many related speculations. Others are asserting that it will be Israel who commits a possible attack or takes charge of creating provocations, thus unleashing a problem that will serve as "justification" for a U.S. military intervention. The war on Lebanon and recent Israeli aircraft incursions into Syria are being perceived as Zionist rehearsals aimed at the other objective of Iran, always among several of the many nurtured by the Bush administration's anti-Iran verbal offensive, which has reached the point of evoking a confrontation of global dimensions without explaining why or how it might erupt, and not even who would be involved, despite the emphasis afforded the issue.

During his visit to Tehran, Putin said that no matter how large or how strong a world power might be, it will not "be able to solve the world's problems by itself; its financial, economic, material and political resources would not be adequate." Referring to the possibility of attacks on Iran, the leader said this would be a serious error. First, the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, given that as long as U.S. forces remain, the government in Baghdad cannot develop its own capacities. Putin's statements during this trip and in subsequent meetings in Russia are in line with what he has been saying since last January when, speaking at the International Conference on Security Policy in Munich, he asserted strongly and coherently the unacceptability of an exclusive and egocentric foreign policy, given the nature of the threats facing the contemporary world. He repeated those ideas to Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, just weeks ago when the U.S. secretary of state and Defense Department leader visited Moscow to address the issue of a missile shield, leaving the hosts unhappy with the lack of acceptable options.

The unilateral actions taken by Bush invite suspicion of the negative bias projected by the White House when discussing Iran's peaceful nuclear program, drawing the Europeans into its expansionist ideas. (Remember that the French foreign minister stated recently that the irremediable had to be accepted.) These recent events and previous ones were cited by the Russian leader when speaking of the urgency of expanding and strengthening the leadership of the United Nations and at the same time honoring international law, which has for some time been underestimated, ignored and disrespected. The five dignitaries meeting in Tehran went on record in support of Iran's civil development nuclear program and the right of any other country to do the same, as long as it complies with international agreements governing this type of activity, as Iran is doing. Perhaps because of this, Vladimir Putin also alluded to the necessity of strictly respecting national sovereignty and improving efforts directed at agreement rather than confrontation.

Some commentators have suggested that Russia might abandon its cooperation with Iran in the area of nuclear development as a result of U.S. pressure but, on the contrary, it was announced during the meeting that Moscow will finish the Busher nuclear plant in southern Iran as planned. This important statement and its not inconsiderable consequences may not be enough to put a brake on the longstanding U.S. intention of launching an attack on Iran "as punishment" for having interfered with its economic and military objectives, and in order to leave the country impoverished and toppled from its position as a regional power respected by nationalist social movements throughout the Middle East. No doubt the agreements reached represent an unexpected and troubling thorn in the empire's side, as indicated by Bush's shrill references to a third world war that he can only unleash if nobody deters him in one of his classic moments of obstinacy.

More Information on Empire?
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More General Analysis on the Threat of US Intervention in Iran
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