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Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran

Posted by Mulva 
Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 15, 2012 11:30PM
Interesting article by Robert Wright at The Atlantic []

The most undercovered story in Washington is how President Obama, under the influence of election-year politics, is letting America drift toward war with Iran. This story is the unseen but ominous backdrop to next week's Moscow round of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

The basic story line, pretty well known inside the beltway, is simple: There are things Obama could do to greatly increase the chances of a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but he seems to have decided that doing them would bring political blowback that would reduce his chances of re-election.

The good news is that Obama's calculation may be wrong. The blowback he fears--largely from Bibi Netanyahu, AIPAC, and other "pro-Israel" voices--is probably less forbidding than he assumes. And the political upside of successful statesmanship may be greater than he realizes.

But suppose Obama's right about the politics. It's still a little scandalous that he's imperiling peace and America's security in order to increase his chances of re-election by 1.5 percent, or whatever the imagined number is. And it's even more scandalous how unscandalous this is, how people throughout the Washington establishment--in government, in NGOs, in journalism--are so inured to the corruption of policy by politics that almost nobody bothers to complain about it even when it could lead to war.

The administration's nervousness about deviating from the perceived wishes of the "pro-Israel" community has been evident throughout these negotiations. Before the most recent round of talks--in Baghdad last month--Vice President Biden and other administration officials met with 70 Jewish leaders assembled by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. According to reporting by Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, administration officials "emphasized that they will be steadfast in upholding one key Israeli demand: That sanctions not be sacrificed to the negotiating process."

Sure enough, in Baghdad the "P5+1"--the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, a group whose de facto leader is America--offered Iran no significant relief from sanctions, even in exchange for Iranian concessions that would have moved the world further away from war.

Those concessions would have included Iran's ceasing production of uranium enriched to 20-percent levels. This uranium is a ways from the 90-percent-enriched uranium that is weapons grade--and, anyway, having weapons-grade material is a ways from having a weapon; even if Iran launched a headlong effort to get a bomb, and started further enriching the 20-percent enriched uranium, a deliverable weapon would still be at least two years away, according to standard estimates. Still, this 20-percent enriched uranium is significantly closer to weapons grade than the 3.5-percent enriched uranium, suitable for civilian energy use, that Iran otherwise produces. So America's (and P5+1's) near-term goal is to get Iran to quit producing the 20-percent uranium and surrender its existing stockpile of such uranium. (This 20-percent uranium has medical uses, but Iran could be given the functional equivalent in a form not amenable to further enrichment.)

In short, a deal on 20-percent uranium would markedly increase the distance between Iran and a nuclear weapon--yet in Baghdad, P5+1 refused to offer Iran relief from even one of the many, many banking and oil sanctions already in place. It even refused to offer to delay--by even a few months!--the implementation of new European Community oil sanctions scheduled to kick in next month.

Rest at link.

"It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind." – Chris Hedges”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2012 11:53PM by Mulva.
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 15, 2012 11:52PM
"Drift"? Or is "drive" more appropriate? We're a military state - they run the country.
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 16, 2012 05:03PM
When do we attack Mexico, fercrissakes? Oil and proximity. Quick rollover. You sure the military folks are in charge?

What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a year?
Anonymous User
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 16, 2012 07:22PM
We already won our war with Mexico and got our oil. It's called Texas.
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 17, 2012 06:09AM
Well, obviously that's not enough for the defense contractors and suppliers who need another war asap.

What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a year?
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 17, 2012 08:38AM


"Build yourselves a wall of ships!" said the Oracle!
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 18, 2012 01:26AM
44 senators - D & R - call for more sanctions & threats of war against Iran.

Letter at []

"It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind." – Chris Hedges”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2012 11:09PM by Mulva.
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 18, 2012 10:33PM
Several days ago, a letter was sent to President Obama urging a harder-line on Iran, including ever-harsher sanctions and more aggressive threats of war in the event that the current negotiations fail to produce a quick and total resolution. What makes the letter notable is that it was not sent by AIPAC (at least not nominally), but rather by 44 Senators, exactly half of whom (22) are Democrats. That includes liberal Senate stalwarts such as Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, and Sherrod Brown. [...]

Is there any doubt that a proposed military attack on Iran would quickly and easily command support from the leadership of both parties, just as the attack on Iraq did? In fact, given the more direct role of Israel here, the consensus for attacking Iran would be almost certainly stronger and more bipartisan than even the Iraq War generated. Here we have almost half of the U.S. Senate — liberals, moderates and conservatives — jointly demanding an escalation with Iran and all but endorsing a war before the U.S. Government even proposes one.

Has the American political and media class learned a single lesson from the Iraq debacle? Certainly no lessons were learned from the sanctions regime imposed on Saddam, which strengthened his hold on power while causing mass suffering for Iraqi citizens, suffering that intensified anti-American hatred and the threat of Terrorism. If the Executive Branch did decide that a war with Iran was desirable — either fighting it directly or aiding Israel — would a single thing be different as compared to what happened in 2002 and 2003? This letter strongly suggests that it would not.

What’s most notable is how suffocatingly narrow the permitted views are in the U.S. on this question. Just today, Israel’s former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan warned — again — that an attack on Iran would be entirely counter-productive, as it would only strengthen the Iranian regime without stopping the program: but that view, the one of the former Mossad chief, is basically unmentionable in the U.S. Senate. In USA Today, Kenneth Waltz argues that a nuclear-armed Iran “would probably be the best possible result of the standoff and the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East,” a view that you will never, ever hear emanate from the U.S. Senate.

What we have, instead, is — as usual — virtually absolute bipartisan consensus on the most consequential foreign policy issues. This is precisely what Robert Kagan in Foreign Policy meant in 2010 when he pointed out that there is little partisan difference between the parties ( “precious little now separates Barack Obama from most Republican leaders in and out of Congress" ), and what Aaron David Miller meant when he argued the same thing earlier this month in the same journal ( “the United States has a bipartisan — even nonpartisan — consensus on many of the core issues relating to the country’s foreign policy“ ). Daniel Larison, who thinks Miller overstates the extent of the bipartisan foreign policy consensus, acknowledges that “on anti-terrorism, Iran, and the ‘Arab Spring,’ Miller seems to have a fair point. Romney and Obama do not disagree on these things in any meaningful way.” [...]

The reality is that, on the level of Iran policy (as opposed to rhetoric), there is very little disagreement in Washington. Nobody with any establishment platform questions America’s right to attack Iran in the event the U.S. decides that doing so is necessary to stop it from obtaining a nuclear weapon (indeed, almost nobody questions America’s right to attack even if it’s in response to a mere Iranian capability). Very few question the wisdom of doing so. That’s why the most liberal politicians find fully common cause with the most conservative. As usual, there is far less permitted debate and diversity of opinion on these questions in the U.S. than just about anywhere else in the Western world.

Rest at []

"It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind." – Chris Hedges”
Anonymous User
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 18, 2012 10:52PM
Iran has announced plans to build nuclear powered submarines.

All Washington has to do is state that Iran is "weaponizing" its nuclear program and the green light will be given to attack.
Re: Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran
June 19, 2012 12:21AM
Since when does the US need a "green light"?

"Badges? We don't need no steenkin' badges."
(apologies to Pedro Armendiraz)

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