Flynt Leverett on Washington’s Hegemonic Ambition and U.S. Policy Toward Iran and Syria

 

Appearing on Russia Today’s CrossTalk, see here or click on the video above, Flynt argues that

what really drives American foreign policy toward Iran is a post-Cold War determination on the part of the United States to dominate the Middle East, to play a hegemonic role in the Middle East—to micromanage political outcomes in key Middle Eastern states so that those states’ strategic orientation is subordinated to U.S. foreign policy preferences and the Middle East has a regional order which is essentially run by the United States.  From that perspective, the problem with the Islamic Republic of Iran is that it won’t play along with this kind of hegemonic ambition.  It’s said it’s very open to improved relations with the United States, but that has to take place on the basis of equality and American acceptance of the Islamic Republic. 

That’s not the Washington agenda for the Middle East, and it drives this very hostile posture toward Iran.”  

Today, Flynt explains, such hostility is strongly reflected in U.S. policy on the Iranian nuclear issue and on Syria: 

“If you look at the American position on the nuclear issue—the nuclear issue could be solved diplomatically in a matter of weeks, if the United States would recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium under international safeguards.  But that would mean the United States was accepting the Islamic Republic as a legitimate political entity with legitimate national interests.  And the United States isn’t prepared to do that.  Instead, it keeps insisting that Iran has to surrender that right for diplomatic progress to be possible. 

If you look at the position on Syria—there’s been the meeting between Secretary Kerry and [Russian] Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow, and people are looking toward the possibility of a conference.  But already the planning for this is getting balled up because the Russians, quite reasonably, think if you’re going to have a conference on Syria, you need all the relevant and important players there—which means you need Iran there.  And the United States is already balking at having Iran take part in a conference on SyriaThat is just not diplomatically seriousIt’s privileging this ambition to hegemony in the Middle East over really serious diplomacy.”     

As to diplomatic prospects with regard to Syria, Flynt notes,

“Russia, Iran, China (the players that are usually associated, in common parlance, as in some ways being supportive of the Syrian government):  if you look at their position, and even the position of the Syrian government, they have been open to a political process—to having a dialogue with the opposition aimed at some sort of political settlement, which would produce a different kind of political order in Syria.  But it’s the opposition elements, backed by the United States, which have insisted not just on preconditions but in effect on ‘pre-results’ from a meeting, where they have to have, up front, some commitment that Assad is going to step down before this process even gets going.  That’s not a serious diplomatic position. 

If you want to stop violence in Syria, you have to get all parties to the table, you can’t have these kinds of absurd preconditions, and you have to get down to the business of diplomacy.  I think that Russia, frankly, China, and Iran have been trying to do that, trying harder to get that kind of process off the ground, than the United States has beenBecause for the United States to do this means it’s acknowledging that it can’t just dictate outcomes in this part of the world.  It actually has to accommodate other parties’ interests; it has to accommodate on-the-ground reality.”     

Flynt goes on to put Russian and Chinese vetoes of three U.S.-backed UN Security Council resolutions on Syria in a very different perspective from that typically deployed in mainstream Western discourse: 

The Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN come against the backdrop of both Russia and China having let the Libya resolution go through in March 2011—the Libya resolution that authorized the use of force to protect civilian populations on humanitarian grounds, but which the United States and others then turned into, basically, a regime change campaign, with NATO aircraft flying missions where they’re out to kill Qaddhafi.  From a Russian perspective, from a Chinese perspective—I think from a decent international legal perspective—that is, to say the least, an extremely problematic scenario.  And Russia and China were not about to let this scenario repeat itself in Syria.”   

Turning to Syrian oppositionists, Flynt suggests that it is unlikely they represent even a narrow majority of Syrians:  “What about the 40-50 percent of Syrian society that continues to support Assad?  I think Assad retains the support of about half of Syrian society.  What about them?”  He also challenges some of the dominant images of Syrian oppositionists in the West—and defines that real choice confronting American policymakers with regard to Syria:    

“When you look at the situation in Syria, it’s obvious that many innocent people have been killed, and that is a profound tragedy.  But I think that the narrative in the West—that this was basically a peaceful protest by Syrians that was responded to brutally, and these people took all of this violence until a year later, eighteen months later, they had to start responding violently—I don’t think that’s really the way things played out[O]utside powers—the Saudis, others—were pouring money and weapons into Syria from a very early point

The agenda was not to bring democracy to Syrians.  I don’t think the Saudis care about that; frankly, I don’t think the United States cares all that much about that.  The agenda was to topple Assad as a way of hurting Iran’s regional position70,000 dead Syrians later, this project has not workedNow countries like the United States face a choiceThey can either accept that this project of toppling Assad to hurt Iran has failed, and they can get serious about a diplomatic process that might produce a political settlement and end violenceOr if they keep doing this, if they keep supporting the opposition, we’re going to be looking at literally years of continued violence, and who knows how many more tens of thousands of dead Syrians

That is the choice…[For] as long as opposition groups have outside supporters like the Saudis, like the United States, who are in a sense egging them on, they have absolutely no incentive to face political reality and enter some kind of negotiating process…They don’t have an interest in doing that because there are outsiders who will help them keep the violence rolling along indefinitely.” 

Finally, Flynt challenges the fundamental premises of those criticizing the United States for not having “done more” in Syria already: 

“As far as the United States doing what ‘was necessary’ early on, there is this small matter of sovereignty, there’s this small matter of international law that says you only get to use force when the Security Council authorizes it or under a fairly narrow interpretation of self-defense in the UN Charter.  The United States has no right—it may have a hegemonic prerogative (or think it does), but it has no right—to impose no-fly zones over sovereign states to get rid of a leader that it doesn’t like

[F]ind one case in which the United States applied military force, ostensibly for the protection of civilian populations, in which part of its agenda was not also regime change in that country.  If you look at the Balkans, if you look at Iraq, if you look at what we did in Libya, if you look at what we say we want to do in Syria—in every one of those cases, the argument for humanitarian intervention is inextricably bound up with the argument for coercive regime change.  Frankly, I think Russia and China are eminently justified in saying that they’re not going to enable that.”     

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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57 Responses to “Flynt Leverett on Washington’s Hegemonic Ambition and U.S. Policy Toward Iran and Syria”

  1. Fiorangela says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/13/1

    “the US, Israel and other external powers are hardly honest brokers. Behind the facade of humanitarian concern, familiar interests are at stake. Three months ago, Iraq gave the greenlight for the signing of a framework agreement for construction of pipelines to transport natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field – which it shares with Qatar – across Iraq, to Syria.

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the pipelines was signed in July last year – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo – but the negotiations go back further to 2010. The pipeline, which could be extended to Lebanon and Europe, would potentially solidify Iran’s position as a formidable global player.

    The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan is a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans for a countervailing pipeline running from Qatar’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, also with a view to supply European markets.

    The difference is that the pipeline would bypass Russia.

    Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have received covert support from Washington in the funneling of arms to the most virulent Islamist elements of the rebel movement, while Russia and Iran have supplied arms to Assad.”

  2. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Speaking of “hegemonic” intent…

    Israel Hints at New Strikes, Warning Syria Not to Hit Back
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/world/middleeast/israeli-official-signals-possibility-of-more-syria-strikes.html?ref=world&_r=0

    Israel basically tells Assad to lie down and take it. Which, frankly, is all he can do. If he retaliates against Israel, Israel will destroy Syria’s military.

    This is beginning to look like the game plan, since there’s no way the US and NATO will get UNSC – and probably not NATO Charter authority – to attack Syria. But if Israel can provoke Assad – or fake a Syrian response to “justify” a full-scale war – then the US and NATO can insert themselves. Or they might not even need to – once Israel destroys Syria’s military capability, they can go right ahead and cross Syrian territory to attack Hizballah without the need for US/NATO air cover.

    Either way, Israel clearly intends to escalate the situation pursuant to the goal of removing Syria and Hizballah as effective actors in an Iran war.

  3. Richard Steven Hack says:

    U.N. urges support for Syria opposition; Russia opposed
    http://www.trust.org/item/20130515181531-alme5/?source%20=%20hpbreaking

  4. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Jabhat al-Nusra faces al-Qaeda sanctions at UN under Anglo-French proposal
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10059587/Jabhat-al-Nusra-faces-al-Qaeda-sanctions-at-UN-under-Anglo-French-proposal.html

    The intent here is clearly to provide further justification for a foreign military intervention on the grounds that Syria is a “nest of terrorists”, while at the same time spinning the Syrian insurgency as legitimate so as to continue arming these very same “terrorists.”

    I predicted that this would be one tack taken to justify military intervention, just as in the Iraq war it was frequently said that the goal was to “fight them there so as not to fight them here.” A ridiculous notion, but it was never intended to be nothing but an excuse.

    It is possible that Obama to use this process to justify first sending in drones to attack certain groups of insurgents (already under consideration according to reports), then when Syria begins shooting them down to attack Syria directly, both groups of insurgents AND the Syrian military.

    This achieves two goals for Israel: it degrades the Syrian military while at the same time killing numerous Islamists who might try to make trouble for Israel later should they succeed in establishing themselves in what’s left of Syria. Not that Israel is that worried about them, but it wouldn’t mind them being taken out, and it will play well with the US “War on Terror” rhetoric.

  5. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Or do they know something we don’t…

    Iraq Effect: Germany Fears US Intervention in Syria
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/berlin-sees-chemical-weapons-as-trigger-for-intervention-in-syria-a-899962.html

  6. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Senators introduce bipartisan bill to arm Syrian rebels
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/05/15/senators_introduce_bipartisan_bill_to_arm_syrian_rebels

    Guess they don’t know the US is bankrupt…or don’t care…

  7. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Treasury official: US to rigorously enforce Iran gold ban
    http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Treasury-official-US-to-rigorously-enforce-Iran-gold-ban-313280

  8. nico says:

    RSH

    Let s see what would be Russian reaction.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article178496.html
    In a statement from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov reviews the Israeli attack against Damascus

    “Obviously, Syria is not the first nor the last victim of the global expansion of the United States and its NATO allies. The events of the last twenty years show that Russia is also in the crosshairs. Therefore, the borders of our country run through the cities of Syria, which have now become the theatre of fierce fighting. Russia should not blindly look at the subversion that Washington and its satellites direct against our allies and only limit itself to to political and diplomatic statements.”

  9. nico says:

    http://edition.presstv.ir/iphone/detail.aspx?id=303806

    Which one is the rogue country part of the axis of evil ?

    Iran with its only civilian nuclear program, and abiding and being part all disarmament treatues ?

    Or the US with thousand of nukes, still upgrading them and refusing to abide by any disarmament treaty, be it nuclear, chemical, biological, antipersonal mines, etc ?

    The recent history of criminal wars of (disastrous) choice by the US, their full support to an apartheid state and barbaric terrorists in Syria truly provide a grim picture of this country.

    Their less recent history of supporting dictators, backward regimes while they assasinated remresentative and indemendent leaders abroad are others black stain.

    The US are truly unredeemable and only final collapse either by internal countradiction or external pressure could ring them back to some common sense.

  10. jay says:

    When the RT host retorted “… so if Iran were a “good boy..” , I had to chuckle!

    The retort reminded me of some discussants here that effectively make the same colonialist argument – sometimes without even being aware of it!

  11. BiBiJon says:

    Apple, Gold, and the constitution
    ================================

    Does anyone know about the constitutionality of these restrictions based on national origin? Who would have standing to sue?

    From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/us-to-block-sales-of-gold-to-iran-in-sanctions-pressure/articleshow/20076680.cms

    From July 1, the US will ban sales of gold by anyone to either the Iranian government or to Iranian citizens, a senior US Treasury official said. Washington has warned Iran’s neighbors Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, key regional centers of the gold trade, to stop gold sales to Iran, said David Cohen, treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

    From http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/customer-apple-store-denied-me-ipad-speaking-farsi/nPY4p/

    A manager showed Viteri Apple’s policy. It said the exportation, sale or supply from the U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is strictly prohibited without authorization by the U.S. government. The manager also told Viteri they have to rely on customers to be honest.

  12. jay says:

    I want to return to a thesis I hinted at a few topics ago – before the bombings took place in Turkey.

    I suggested that the flurry of diplomacy by Kerry/Cameron/.. and re-engagement of Russia is motivated by the prospects of an unintended blowback that could potentially drag NATO into an unplanned escalation involving Syria.

    Fragments of news since then suggests strongly that this is the case. From bombings in Turkey to German warnings, to N-yahu’s visit, there is ample evidence that events are not going as planned!

    Washington’s solution: pitch to the Russians that the US really wants peace there in Syria and that Russia should really talk Assad into leaving. Otherwise, N-yahu may get really mad and do a few more bombing runs on Syria.

    Russia is not buying this farce and Washington and London may have an intended shooting match shortly!

  13. BiBiJon says:

    Apple, Gold, and the constitution
    ================================

    Does anyone know about the constitutionality of these restrictions based on national origin? Who would have standing to sue?

    From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/us-to-block-sales-of-gold-to-iran-in-sanctions-pressure/articleshow/20076680.cms

    From July 1, the US will ban sales of gold by anyone to either the Iranian government or to Iranian citizens, a senior US Treasury official said. Washington has warned Iran’s neighbors Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, key regional centers of the gold trade, to stop gold sales to Iran, said David Cohen, treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

  14. BiBiJon says:

    PS Apple, Gold, and the constitution
    ================================

    Does anyone know about the constitutionality of these restrictions based on national origin? Who would have standing to sue?

    From http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/customer-apple-store-denied-me-ipad-speaking-farsi/nPY4p/

    A manager showed Viteri Apple’s policy. It said the exportation, sale or supply from the U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is strictly prohibited without authorization by the U.S. government. The manager also told Viteri they have to rely on customers to be honest.

  15. BiBiJon says:

    jay says:
    May 16, 2013 at 9:46 am

    “Russia is not buying this farce and Washington and London may have an intended shooting match shortly!”

    intended or unintended?

    I guess the best that Russia and the US can agree on is not to get involved directly shooting at each other, but let UK, France,Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran go at it.

    Meanwhile, no better time than now to start this kind of thing:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/15/china-okinawa-dispute-japan-ryukyu

  16. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 16, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I meant to write unintended!! Although some may argue that it was intended after all!

  17. James Canning says:

    I of course agree with the Russian foreign minister, that Iran is a necessary party at any conference seeking to resolve the vicious civil war in Syria.

    Aipac, obviously, disagrees.

  18. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    The US has made clear it has no desire to interfere with Russia’s position in Syria.

    Some neocon warmongers in the US are foolish enough to wish to interfere with Russia’s position in Syria.

  19. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    German foreign ministry is only too well aware of the catastrophe caused by foolish US invasion of Iraq. Surely we know this too. (Though FYI thinks the invasion was a blessing for Iran.)

  20. James Canning says:

    On another note, I recommend David Pilling’s comments in the Financial Times today regarding economic problems caused by “crony capitalism”.

  21. James Canning says:

    Economic roblems in Vietnam, caused by “crony capitalism”, is the subject of David Pilling’s fine piece in the FT today.

  22. James Canning says:

    Is Susan Rice going to be the next National Security Advisor in the White House? Let us hope not.

  23. BiBiJon says:

    Whatever the game was, it’s now changed
    ======================================

    http://inserbia.info/news/2013/05/russian-foreign-minister-s-300-will-be-delivered-to-syria/

  24. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    I agree! As I stated, Russia is not buying this farce!

    This is a significant move because it forces the hand of Washington-London. Airstrikes now must happen before delivery of S-300 – but at significantly higher risk. The hope had been to soften up the targets with a few more raids by Nyahoo’s regime, some better news from the FSA on the war front, and more agressive action by Turkey. None should be forthcoming – unless Bibi is willing to risk the response.

  25. Fiorangela says:

    Biography of Judith Kipper from “Leading Authorities,” the talent agency that did or does handle her speaking engagements.

    http://www.leadingauthorities.com/elqNow/elqRedir.htm?ref=http://www.leadingauthorities.com/Talent/K/Kipper_Judith/Kipper_Judith.doc

    “. . .Kipper is the co-editor of The Middle East in Global Perspective (Westview Press, 1991); and supervised The West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israel’s Policies, and The Arab-Israeli Military Balance and the Art of Operations. She contributes to publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post and comments on television and radio in the United States, Europe, Japan, China and the Middle East. She speaks frequently to university, business, economic, and banking groups on Middle Eastern and international affairs. She has briefed The Brookings Institution Board of Trustees, Council on Foreign Relations Corporate Program, Chase Manhattan Bank Board, Institutional Investor Council, Lockheed Corporation, Mobil Oil Corporation, Shell Oil Company, ExxonMobil, Bear Stearns, World Trade Institute and many other institutions in the United States and internationally.

    During the Gulf crisis, Kipper testified as an expert witness before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee. She was with Peter Jennings of ABC News in Baghdad, Iraq for an extensive interview with President Saddam Hussein (November, 1990). She arrived with Ted Koppel of ABC News in Kuwait just after its liberation. She also went to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza during the Gulf Crisis. Kipper was in Moscow for an ABC News interview with President Gorbachev in July, 1991 which she negotiated and again right after the August coup for the ABC News Town Meeting with Gorbachev and Yeltsin.

    Kipper has broad based experience in international relations. She was the international affairs advisor to the publisher and editor at the French newsweekly L’Express in Paris. . . .”

    The biography does not mention Kipper’s academic training/background.

  26. Fiorangela says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 16, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Dan Joyner at Arms Control Law dot com mentioned Orde F. Kittrie’s work on the legality of sanctions.

    http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2009_12/Kittrie
    “Using Stronger Sanctions to Increase Negotiating Leverage With Iran”

    and

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1402265
    “New Sanctions for a New Century: Treasury’s Innovative Use of Financial Sanctions”

    If I were Prof. Joyner I’d be careful about the legal beagles I hung out with. Kittrie gives lawyers a bad name.

  27. James Canning says:

    On a humorous note, Charles Moore’s new biography of Margaret Thatcher has a very funny anecdote, regarding a meeting she had with Reagan in the Oval Office in 1981, with Lord Carrington also present. (Brit foreign sec) South Africa was being discussed. Said Reagan: “Well, of course, the South Africans are whites and they fought for us during the war. The blacks are black and they are communists.” Leaving the White House, Thatcher “looked at Carrington, pointed at her head and whispered: “Peter, there’s nothing there!’”

    [Quoted by Dominic Sandbrook in his review of the new Thatcher biography, in Sunday Times (London) 5 May 2013]

  28. kooshy says:

    RSH

    Here take a hold of this headline, this one is from the head of the yellow bellies himself, whom you would want to think is going to go it alone. Sanctioning them, and themselves out of Middle East for good is the (good) way forward for unforeseeable future, specially this is good of everyone there in ME.

    Obama says U.S. won’t act alone on Syria
    He rules out unilateral military action even if chemical weapons use is proved.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-us-syria-20130517,0,16125.story

  29. kooshy says:

    Very interesting, to know how well informed Mr. Jalili is of the American’s posture/behavior and political mistakes

    “Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator: we’re being asked to make all the sacrifices”
    Saeed Jalili, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and a contender in the June presidential election, sat down with the Monitor to share his views about an ‘unbalanced’ nuclear offer made by world powers.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/0516/Iran-s-chief-nuclear-negotiator-we-re-being-asked-to-make-all-the-sacrifices

    “When Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) asked “how creative” the US was being to provide an “internal face-saving” way out for Iran, so as not to “completely paint your opponent into a corner,” Sherman said there was a diplomatic way out, and also that pressure would increase.

    “It is our belief – and the intelligence community supports this… – that increased pressure is part of the solution here; that this is [in Iran] a culture of resistance but, at some point, they will and can make the strategic decision to truly deal on their nuclear weapons.”

    Referring to aspects of Sherman’s testimony, Jalili told the Monitor: “As you might appreciate, the US is in no position at the moment to issue ultimatums. And this language, unfortunately, is the language – the words – that created so much headache for the US around the world.”

    “After everything is said and done, the Americans usually make such mistakes,” Jalili added. “And as each day passes, they seem to make fresh mistakes. These mistakes do not come cheap; they are very expensive.”

  30. jay says:

    Can Obama Save Turkey From a Syrian Quagmire?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/opinion/can-obama-save-turkey-from-a-syrian-quagmire.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    The answer is NO!

    Quoting from the article above…
    If convincing the Russians proves impossible, Washington should consider creating a buffer zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border to protect rebel-captured areas. A buffer zone, protected by American airpower and an international coalition, would endow the rebels with a staging ground from which to launch operations against Mr. Assad and it would also help Turkey push the conflict back into Syria by transferring rebels and their headquarters into the buffer zones on Syrian territory rather than offering sanctuary to militants on Turkish soil. (There would most likely be regional support for such a policy, including from Jordan, which would also benefit from a buffer zone inside southern Syria.)

    _____

    I wish my Turk friend Mr. Erdogan good luck with that!! Trying to contain a loose coalition of Al-Qaida affiliates is a tall order even for the US. And, to provide a sustainable buffer zone one needs unhindered air cover – can anyone else see the problem here! Mr. Erdogan, at he urging of his friends in Washington and London has stepped in it – now, he is asking for a bailout. Sorry Mr. Erdogan, if you had been following history you should know that your bailout is not coming! Washington and London need to bail themselves out first!!

  31. BiBiJon says:

    Fiorangela says:
    May 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Joyner calls Kittrie “misguided” in the blog you linked. But, some of his recent assertions in his other posts regarding NK and Syria, and justifications for use of force leave me befuddled.

    Joyner talks about how “politically persuasive norms” should supplant “legally binding rules” in international law regulating uses of force. I always had a soft spot for Lord Denning who till his last days was arguing that ‘law’ and lawyers are the last refuge for any issue that is being politicized; law above politics is the right order for any civilization that values civilization, methinks.

    NPT, comprehensive safeguard agreements, and the role of IAEA is now a heap of shredded paper. I admire Joyner’s attempts to try and put humpty dumpty back together. But when he starts being unapologetically tribal/biased in “deformalizing” ‘use of force law,’ I just have to ask who gives a damn about NPT if the ‘powerful’ can use force whenever they feel like it?

  32. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Financial Times today has interview with Saeed Jalili. Rafsanjani thinks some Iranian politicians make comments that complicate the nuclear negotiations.

  33. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Do you agree with FYI that it would make little difference to Iran, in terms of ability to build nukes quickly, if Iran stops all enriching of uranium to 20%.
    Financial Times today reports that the biggest immediate issue is Iran’s enriching to 20%. (Re: P5+1 negotiations)

  34. James Canning says:

    Andrew Green, a former British ambassador to Syria, has sensible comments [spectator.co.uk] today: “Arm Syria’s rebels? That would be pouring petrol on a fire”.

  35. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You ask “who gives a damn about the NPT?” Answer: Russia. China. Germany.

  36. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 17, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Russia. China, Germany are absolutely entitled to abide by any treaty they want to. As for the rest of humanity, whatever they thought it was that they signed in the 70s no longer exists. A treaty is supposed to be a framework of common understanding. This thing we call NPT is wide open to interpret any which way one desires.

    Too late!

  37. jay says:

    The open interpretation of treaties is not limited to NPT. In the decade of “might is right” interpretation of treaties is whatever the “might” says it is! Through its action or inaction, the West, primarily the US with help from Britain, has single handedly shredded many treaties – Chemical weapons ban treaty, NPT, Portions of the Geneva convention, Conventions on human trafficking, … Just to name a few.

    The difference between a neurotic and psychotic person is that the neurotic person knows what is real but does not necessarily likes reality. A psychotic person can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction.

    Treaties have been turned into fiction!

  38. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    May 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Only the perception of unrivaled power explains costly mistake, after expensive mistake. Folks are too drunk high fiving short-term successes to even notice the long term costs. I don’t think the US has the political culture to change that mindset without a really dire emergency forcing her to. I’m not even sure if they’ll notice a really dire emergency in time.

  39. nico says:

    All,

    That is the kind of article I was trying to find for some time.
    It explains how US foreign policy is related to tye status of the USD.
    It explains that recent spats between China and Japan, the NK crisis as well as the Asian pivot are all somehow related to the previous agreement between China an Japan to trade in their own currencies.
    Bypassing the USD and pushing Japan and Asia interstate relations out of US sphere of influence as well as threatening the USD.

    You know as when Ghaddafi dumped the USD, or when Iran or Irak decided to trade oil with other currency than USD.

    Is that conspiracy theory ? You to judge.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-dollar-collapse-and-japans-sham-currency-war-the-hidden-agenda-behind-japans-kamikaze-quantitative-easing/5335129

    Another interesting article describing the Gold value by the FED in order to protect the USD.
    Is that conspiracy theory ? You to judge.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/gangster-state-america-naked-short-in-the-gold-market/5334950

    Those articles are in my opinion interesting as they tell another story about the US current foreign policy options.
    I mean the US are currently in such an evonomic and financial situation that, in my opinion, they have no other choice than to push for global dominance if they do not want the ponzi scam to collapse immediatly.
    Not that it would not collapse anyway.
    However, the US are truly caught in a suicidal policy by being willing to keep the exhausted current financial system running for few more days they are making the adjustlent the much more painful when it will come.
    And for sure it will come.

    The US could have changed course 2 decades ago, or even maybe 1 decade ago with an economic adjustment thqt would have been less disastrous.
    Today there is no more choice a heavy price shall be paid.
    The question is what would be the consequences ?
    Blood will likely flaw.

    At the end of the day, Iran and ME current situation as well as the US interaction with their banana republics need to be seen within such background.

  40. nico says:

    Coupled with my previous post with the link of the article from Craig Roberts here 2 additional links.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-central-banks-gold-a-story-of-silent-expropriation-i/5334870

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-central-banks-gold-a-story-of-silent-expropriation-part-ii/5335353

    It seems the gold market is a weak point of the western financial ponzi scheme.
    Not that gold could replace the fiat currencies,
    However, the gold market maybe will be in a not so distant future the triggering event showing the western financial bankrupcy and eventually breaking what is left of confidence in the western financial system.
    Actually up to now the nations holding their savings in USD are not ready to give up the value of their TBond. They also need a stability in the international trade with their main customer not being bankrupt.
    Thus such nations are not ready to let the USD to crash.
    However at some point if the Gold price in USD skyrocket by then the USD would be broken de facto.

  41. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Are you arguing Iran’s policy of trying to strengthen the NPT is a mistake?

  42. Richard Steven Hack says:

    So Obama “rules out acting alone”… Hah! That’s a farce! Did he “act alone” in Libya? The UK and France are begging to be included!

    This story’s headline more accurately reflects the situation:

    Obama: U.S. preserves diplomatic, military options on Syria
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/16/us-usa-syria-turkey-idUSBRE94F15H20130516

    That’s code for “we’ll attack Syria when we can do it so I don’t get blamed for it when it goes south”…

    There ARE NO “diplomatic options” in Syria – that should be obvious to everyone at this point. Not unless the US can force Saudi Arabia and Qatar to cease arming the insurgents and Turkey supporting them with a safe haven. Not to mention the US stopping the CIA from training and arming them.

    You see any of that happening? Until it does, there ARE NO diplomatic options.

  43. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Oh, by the way… Obama is also a notorious LIAR…

  44. jay says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks! That was part of my morning reading.

  45. James Canning says:

    In the Spectator for 18 May, Andrew Green calls for Britain to back Russia’s call for a conference to seek resolution of conflict in Syria. Green is a former UK ambassador in Damascus.

  46. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    You don’t give Obama any credit for resisting calls for US military intervention in Syria?

  47. James Canning says:

    Very curious contention by John Bolton, in Wall Street Journal 29 April 2013:

    “Mr. Obama has long believed that a nuclear Iran could be contained and deterred, a hypthethis that will soon be tested if Isrel allows Iran to cross the nuclear finish line.”

    Bolton thinks Obama would allow Iran to build nukes? Amazing, if this is Bolton’s actual belief.

  48. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm
    James its not up to obama to “allow” iran anything,iran will decide for itself as it has done since the revolution and if that decision is to build nuclear weapons then there would be little that the us could do to stop it,apart from starting another war and even then I dont think that would stop it,sadly the us still doesnt want to accept this simple fact

  49. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    Perhaps when iran is offered a decent deal it may well consider this,but as long as the “deals” are nothing more than an insulting joke of aeroplane parts or no sanctions on trading in gold then why on earth would iran give up something valuable in return for nothing.The appeasement you favor would only weaken irans position and encourage further unreasonable demands.The verdict of history on appeasement is clear it doesnt work james

  50. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    Why would you ignore the success the government of Burma (Myanmar) is enjoying, in getting all sanctions lifted? Did the gov’t of Burma “appease” the countries that had applied the sanctions? Or, did the Burmese gov’t simply act in the best interests of the people of Myanmar?

    Your belief that Iran can force a lifting of sanctions, by continuing to stockpile 20 percent uranium, is simply quite wrong.

  51. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    It is worth bearing in mind that the Emperor of Germany, William II, in the years before the outbreak of the First world War, thought that pressuring Britain by building a High Seas Fleet, would force Britain to agree to remain neutral in event of war between Germany, on the one side, and Russia and France on the other.

    Catastrophic miscalculation, by Wilhelm II. The foolish gigantic expenditure on unneeded warships, by Germany, virtually forced Britain to fight against Germany when war erupted in 1914.

  52. James Canning says:

    Sineva,

    You seem to have difficulty understanding that Obama cannot allow Iran to build nukes. Your argument that it is not Obama’s right or proper concern is simply wide of the mark because of the political realities that obtain in Washington.

    Do you think Iran should have attacked the troops of the Soviet Union, that were in Iran in 1943? And 1944? And ’45? And ’46?