Lately, Secretary of State Clinton has been quite busy visiting foreign countries, speaking out and making a lot headlines. She not only accused China for having an “information curtain” but also condemned Iran as a “military dictatorship.” Her boss, Obama, was adding fuel to the fire by selling weapons to Taiwan and meeting the Dalai Lama. The already somewhat un-peaceful world has been churned up and people are becoming spooked by a chaotic vision of the future.
Why are they angry at China and Iran?
The Obama administration is caught in fires both outside and inside its own backyard, and it should be focusing on these problems. So, why are they asking for extra trouble?
The intention of Hillary’s speech
In mid-February, Hillary visited the Persian Gulf with a single goal: to win support from Arabic countries for the U.S. -backed sanctions against Iran. She said, “What we are seeing now is shocking. More and more domains in Iran, like security agencies and economic sectors, are not controlled by the clergy and politicians, but by the revolutionary guards. Saudi Arabia and I hope that this shift is not permanent. Religion and political elites will take action and take back the power and they should use the powers for their own people.”*
Hillary is pressing on the allies of Persian Gulf countries to win their support for new sanctions mainly targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
This speech was the most aggressive of her recent attacks on Iran. She accused Iran of being a “military dictatorship” and at the same time provoked the religious and political elites to take action and take back their power. She warned that if Iran is armed with nuclear power, it will trigger an arms race in the Mid-East region.
Why is Hillary doing this? Is she going to mess up Obama’s engagement strategy?
Firstly, her intention is by no means to support Iranian human rights. The real reason is simple. History shows that in this region the U.S. has always supported autocracies that suppress human rights. In Iran, the more these opponents are related to the U.S., the more difficult it becomes for them to take action. Last year, the heated coverage by Western media of the so-called sensational “Orange Revolution” faded out very quickly.
Secondly, no one believes that the U.S. really cares about the human rights abuses of Middle Eastern countries. With the exception of their support of Israel’s indiscriminate punishment of the Palestinians, the U.S. has remained silent regarding human rights abuse in these countries. Recently, in Egypt, the leaders of the opposition party were arrested as the national election drew near. Amnesty International claimed that they were criminals of conscience and arrested peaceful political activists.
So why didn’t Hillary mention any of these facts? Some guess that she is trying to convince the world that Iran wasn’t the least bit willing to negotiate with the West. This means that the engagement strategy is doomed before it even gets started. However, her words were not convincing because the two parties have never even attempted any formal negotiations.
Actually, according to an analysis by Guardian columnist Mark Weisbrot, the most important points of Hillary’s speech were: pitting Iran’s parties against each other to overturn the current regime via a color revolution and more importantly, convincing Americans that Iran is a concrete threat. This would increase the military budget, reinforce its army and fuel anti-Iranian public opinions — all leading to a declaration of war against Iran.
Lately, Hillary has been violently attacking Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and suggesting severing Iran’s overseas funds. She summoned Iran’s parties and urged religious and political leaders to take action and seize back the power they deserve to wield for their people. Hillary’s intention is very simple: to get religious, political and military parties to ally against the Revolutionary Guards.
Generally speaking, for Americans to accept the necessity and rationale for a war they need to be brainwashed. Bush launched the war against Iraq easily not only because of the 9/11 attacks and many lies, but also because of the psychological preparation by the Clinton administration. This preparation included sanctions and attacks against Iraq, and discussing Washington’s intention to overthrow the Iraqi government. Now we know that Iraq didn’t threaten the U.S. as Clinton alleged. Subsequently, Bush went even further and fabricated stories of weapons of mass destruction and conspiracies between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.
Hillary follows in the footsteps of Bush
Hillary’s attitude shows that after the Bush administration, the U.S. has not changed the least bit regarding its diplomatic policy. Bush announced that he would never negotiate with an unfriendly regime or those he deemed “evildoers.” Bush insisted on countries like Iran changing their policies as a precondition for negotiation, instead of as a result from it.
Hillary embraces Bush’s point of view. She does not believe that diplomacy and engagement should step up as the nuclear threat gets worse. She said, “We don’t want to be engaging while they are building their bomb.”
We have no idea whether a divided Iran would respond appropriately to a serious suggestion of negotiation. However, we are sure of one thing: the U.S. has never seriously considered Iran’s situation. Just like previous administrations, Obama articulated that he was only interested in negotiating one issue: the constraint of Iran’s nuclear program by stopping it first and then moving onto negotiation. However, there is no country in this world that would agree to talk only in regards to issues raised by their adversaries, while ignoring its own imperative issues at home.
It is reported that 35 years ago, President Nixon’s methodology of engagement with China was that, if you were willing to consider our actions, then we were going to consider your actions. With that rule in mind, the Sino-U.S. relationship was established. Unfortunately, Hillary acts the opposite. She acts as Clinton and Bush have always acted towards Iran: demanding, threatening, coercing, sanctioning, isolating while waiting around for miracles.
On the other hand, Hillary’s aggressive and agitating speech against Iran pleased the hawks in Israel and Washington. Don’t they always attack Iran? More importantly, Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his Teheran hardliners are very pleased. They are skillful in their confrontation and always trying to draw American’s fire. Iran has blown the horn of war. This strategy can be effective, but also risky.
Hillary follows Bush and Obama begins to follow her.
Obama’s strategy of dealing with Iran was engagement and dialogue. One year later it seems that he has given up the strategy and begun to use his secretary of state’s strong, even war-favoring strategy. However, he’s unlikely to launch another war as the legacy of the two wars left over from Bush is already burning him out. I believe that just like Clinton’s secretary of state paved the way for Bush’s Iraq war, Obama’s secretary of state is going to do it for next president’s Iran war, given no sudden miracles. The next president might be interested in a war against Iran and have more opportunities. The reason is simple: In the U.S.’s diplomatic area, there’s a force akin to Israel, which believes the U.S. is entitled and obliged to bomb Iran, deter its nuclear program and change its government, to support and protect Israel’s long-term strategies. This is the Neoconservative’s plan of the Bush era.
The publicity against Iran has now produced the desired result. According the latest Gallup poll, 61 percent of Americans think Iran is a threat to the immediate interests of the U.S., and 29 percent of Americans think it is a serious threat. Believe it or not, 90 percent of Americans think Iran as a threat! Iran does not have nuclear bomb, and even if it does, it will take several years to complete, and it won’t be capable of delivery to U.S. land. What’s more, now Iran is besieged by the U.S., and Israel can also destroy Iran’s nuclear equipment with its own nuclear bombs. So for Iran, to obtain nuclear bombs would simply be suicide. It’s beyond my knowledge as to why so many American believe that Iran is a threat.
For the time being, it’s hard to tell whether the U.S.’s attitude is a maneuver or real intention. However, whether Iran concedes or does not give in, the West is determined to carry through sanctions. In fact, reasons for war have been brewing for long enough that the Iranian problem is at a critical point.
Iran has blown the horn of war. Is war on horizon?
Obama is not going to bomb Iran’s nuclear equipment. This is not because he is a liberal, or a pacifist, nor that he does not have guts. He is not bombing them because of the same reason as Bush; that is: He does not know where they are, and he is not sure how fast Iran can rebuild them after a bombing. Moreover, Iran’s reaction to Israel and the U.S. will be more than the U.S. can handle. Lastly, the attack will greatly drive oil prices up. Conclusively, no U.S. president will launch a war against Iran. But what if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear equipment?
*Editor’s note: Clinton’s exact quote could not be verified
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