How America’s Backfiring “Pivot to Asia” Exposes Washington’s Already Self-Defeating Formula for an Iran Deal

The intensification of Sino-Russian strategic and economic cooperation—as embodied in the Sino-Russian gas deal concluded in Shanghai last week—has profound ramifications for almost every significant aspect of international relations.  Yesterday, Flynt went on The Monitor, produced by Pacifica Radio’s KPFT, to discuss how American foreign policy’s self-damaging pursuit of global hegemony has incentivized the world’s most important rising powers to cooperate in ways that accelerate the erosion of U.S. standing and influence; to listen to the interview, click here (Flynt’s segment starts 37:50 into the show).

Deepening fissures between the United States, on one side, and Russia and China, on the other, clearly have important ramifications for the Islamic Republic’s strategic position.  In this vein, we want to highlight a provocatively penetrating essay by Alastair Crooke, director of the Conflicts Forum and former Middle East advisor to European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, just published by Press TV .  Alastair’s essay, titled “Cold War Mythologies and the Iranian Negotiations,” starts with a pointed critique of “the American surge towards isolating and sanctioning Russia,” which, “in parallel with America’s ‘passive-aggressive conduct toward China,” has “finally actualized President Putin’s strategic ‘pivot” to China…[T]he globally insignificant affairs of a bankrupt Ukraine may prove to be the straw that breaks the back of the post-war global order,” bringing together “Russia and China in an oppositional alliance to the US monopoly over the international order and financial system” and marking the end of “the US’ triangulation by which America has been able to play off one power against another.”

In Alastair’s assessment, while “President Obama may well instinctively and intellectually sense the heating-up occurring in the geo-political order and understand its potential risks better than many,” he cannot find the wherewithal to change American foreign policy in badly needed ways, for “he needs to pay obeisance to the myth of how America’s Cold War came to be won, particularly in dealing with such domestically emotive issues as Russia’s reactions in Crimea and Ukraine.”  America’s Cold War myth holds that the United States “won” its struggle with the Soviet Union by refusing to compromise with it, working instead to force its effective capitulation to U.S. demands and, ultimately, its collapse.  This mythically-grounded “false standard,” as Alastair quotes Leslie Gelb on the point, has become “the ‘gold standard’ for American statecraft going forward:  Never compromise, just stare down your enemies and force them to capitulate.”

Alastair then explains how America’s Cold War mythology warps U.S. policy not just toward Russia and China, but also toward the Middle East.  Regarding Syria, for example, the Obama administration “will allow more weapons to reach Syria, yet the administration does not believe this action will achieve its primary objective of defeating the Takfiri jihadist groups…Adding more weaponry is all about assuaging swelling US domestic criticism of America’s Syria debility (i.e. of American non-assertiveness being felt to sit uncomfortably with its Cold War myth of ‘demanding and getting’).”

The effects of America’s strategic mythology are felt with potentially even greater consequences in the U.S. approach to Iran and the P5+1 nuclear negotiations.  For, as Alastair writes, “what was true for Russia, in terms of the myth of [Moscow’s] ‘capitulation,’ is true in spades for Iran.”  Alastair quotes Trita Parsi on the “equally destructive myth” that “crippling sanctions brought the Iranian regime to its knees, forcing it to rush to the negotiating table to beg for mercy.  In this narrative, the breakthrough in nuclear talks is credited to the Obama administration’s unprecedented economic pressure, which has essentially locked Iran out of the international financial system.  And like JFK before him, Obama did not compromise with Iran.  The mythical gold standard [of American tradecraft] was met.”

Of course, as we, Alastair, and others have shown, sanctions did not “force Iran to the table.”  But, Alastair notes, “the American ‘narrative’ is more than just one of having ‘stared down’ the Iranian leadership, and of the Iranians being a ‘defeated people.’  And here perhaps well-intentioned Iranians have added their own contribution and twist:  a nuance intended to help, maybe, but which may end by contributing to the ultimate failure of the talks—and to their own political ‘fading away’ too.  The additional Iranian liberal narrative as heard in the US and Europe (broadly) is that in spite of the ‘fraudulent’ 2009 elections, the Reformists managed a startling ‘comeback’—thanks largely to the unexpected good fortune of the conservatives having engaged in a misguided bout of ‘strategic voting’—a cross-voting strategy that spectacularly backfired against them.  In short, the Reformists are presented as ‘Greenish,’ pro-western, economic pragmatists, with whom the West must cut a deal.  It is in the West’s interest to do this, they argue, because a successful nuclear negotiation, would enthrone ‘pro-Atlanticists’ in power in Tehran for the next decade or so.”

As Alastair points out, “the flaws to this narrative”—espoused in the United States with particular energy by Trita Parsi—“are obvious.”  Among other things, “the data on which the narrative relies to mount its ‘strategic Reformist comeback’ thesis (i.e. University of Tehran polling) paradoxically is drawn from the same reputable polling institute that earlier had demonstrated that Ahmadinejad had won his election legitimately—and not fraudulently.”  Moreover, “President Rouhani is not a Reformist.”

Beyond these points, the liberal narrative gives “western interlocutors the impression that the Iranian negotiating team is getting desperate for a deal.  The danger here is that the myth of having ‘stared down the Iranians’ into conceding negotiations is being further compounded by an additional narrative of weakness and desperation:  No wonder the Americans are hardening their position.  Signs of weakness are more likely to result in further pressures on Iran, rather than yielding ‘understanding’ concessions from the Americans.  Thus, the ‘no short-term breakout potential’ argument is becoming ever more attenuated, as the New York Times avers, into a position whereby Iran will be permitted ‘symbolic’ enrichment only—sufficient only for the negotiators to make (the bogus) claim that they secured Iran’s nuclear rights, but not enough to produce the energy necessary to meet Iran’s industrial requirement.”

As Alastair underscores, “This formula simply will not work.  It will not bring a solution:  It is simply incompatible with the industrial-scale enrichment that Iran requires for the generation of electricity.”  If the Obama administration keeps clinging to this formula, it will seriously threaten prospects for success in the nuclear talks.  But even more importantly, “Just as Russians who advocated better relations with America and Europe have seen their position erode and collapse over the years in Russia, so too in Iran (and China) this identical dilemma is pushing Iranians as whole towards closer strategic ties with Russia and with China.  All these states share the inability to find a workaround to circumvent the dynamic of America needing ceaselessly to repeat its Cold War ‘myth’—and as this becomes more and more evident, Atlanticists and liberals in the non-Western world (as in Russia) are being marginalized and weakened.”

To read Alastair’s essay in its entirety (which we highly recommend), click here; we’ve also appended the text below.

Cold War Mythologies and the Iranian Negotiations

Alastair Crooke

Are we heading towards a hot ‘summer of discontent’?  It seems so.  The geo-strategic political situation certainly has its needle wavering towards escalating tensions, and is pushing towards ‘red’ on diverse fronts.

Clearly the volatile, chaotic unpredictability of the Ukraine crisis will continue as the possible trigger to a US confrontation with Russia—an ‘unwanted and needless’ conflict, as the strongly pro-Atlanticist Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev bitterly notes.

The American surge towards isolating and sanctioning Russia—taken in parallel with America’s ‘passive-aggressive’ conduct toward China (such as charging Chinese officials with—of all things—cyber crimes) has finally actualized President Putin’s strategic ‘pivot’ to China.  And (despite much western a priori skepticism), it seems that the globally insignificant affairs of a bankrupt Ukraine may prove to be the straw that breaks the back of the post-war global order:  It brings together, in a single force, Russia and China in a oppositional alliance to the US monopoly over the international order and financial system and marks the end of the US’ triangulation by which America has been able to play off one power against another.

The mega gas contract signed between Russia and China will not change Europe’s energy situation (the gas for China mostly will come from eastern Russia, whereas Europe’s gas comes from sources in western Russia), but the significance for Europe lies more with the type of currency in which it is denominated (dollars or not), and also whether Russia intends to link its putative new financial settlement system to the existing Chinese Union Pay settlement system (Russia’s second biggest bank has already signed a deal with the Bank of China that bypasses the international settlement system).  If the Russia-China gas contract transpires truly to crystallize the move by these states away from the US dominated financial system, then the implications are indeed huge.

President Obama may well instinctively and intellectually sense the heating-up occurring in the geo-political order and understand its potential risks better than many, but he is evidently on the back foot politically (under heavy domestic pressures).  Consequently, he needs to pay obeisance to the myth of how America’s Cold War came to be won, particularly in dealing with such domestically emotive issues as Russia’s reactions in Crimea and Ukraine.

Trita Parsi, writing in the narrower context of the Iran negotiations, begins by noting that, in “what is perhaps the central myth of the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy is said to have stared down Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis; and refused to give an inch…forcing [Khrushchev] to capitulate…[In the American meme] Khrushchev gave everything, and Kennedy gave nothing…In reality, of course, Kennedy did compromise.  Only by quietly withdrawing its Jupiter missiles from Turkey, did the United States avoid a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union.”  But for several decades Kennedy’s concession remained secret.  And by the time it became known, the myth had grown so strong that the truth could not unseat it.  “This false standard,” according to Leslie Gelb of the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR), has become “the ‘gold standard’ for American statecraft going forward:  Never compromise, just stare down your enemies and force them to capitulate.”  Obama, and other ‘non-believers’ such as Dempsey, may take a more nuanced view of America’s capabilities, but they are nonetheless necessarily politically captive to this pervading myth.

The Russian people naturally have their own (very different) account of this seminal Cuban crisis, and do not at all feel that the USSR ‘capitulated,’ either then (during the Cuban crisis), nor indeed in the wake of the Cold War.  Most would not see themselves to have been vanquished by the superior merits of the American model for society.  And, just as Germans resented the post-First World War settlement (the Versailles dispensation), so too Russians bridle at the terms of the post-Cold War dispensation and their treatment as a defeated people.

French analyst Phillipe Grasset has correctly observed in response to this point that, albeit in very different conditions, the same sentiments apply to China:  the sense in China, he writes, is one of “facing irresistible and antagonistic dynamics, to which, neither one nor other of the two powers (China and Russia) can find the key [to mitigating its effects].”  “God knows, in common with Russia, the Chinese wish to do everything feasible in order to avoid such confrontation! But nothing, absolutely nothing, seems to help.”  The present threats against Russia seem to have galvanized both into action:  we have the long postponed thirty-year gas deal between Russia and China, and at the same time, we have General Fang (unusually for a Chinese official, and a guest in Washington) outspokenly rebuffing US involvement or mediation in the South China Seas, telling Washington firmly, “We [in China] do not make trouble.  We do not create trouble.  But we are not afraid of trouble.”  All this has led Forbes magazine, quoting a raft of other informed analysis, to predict that “A Russia-China Alliance Is Emerging, And It Will Be A Disaster For The West.”

“For much of the past two decades, Russian liberals have been telling their Western interlocutors that pushing Russia too hard or ignoring its interests would provoke Moscow to seek a closer relationship with China”, writes Dmitry Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, adding that their warnings all have been dismissed.  “[Now] faced with U.S.-led geopolitical pressure in Eastern Europe and East Asia, Russia and China are likely to cooperate even more closely…Such an outcome would certainly benefit China, but it will give Russia a chance to withstand U.S. geopolitical pressure, compensate for the EU’s coming energy re-orientation, develop Siberia and the Far East, and link itself to the Asia-Pacific region.  The surviving Russian liberals of the 1990s [i.e. the Atlanticists] will have the last laugh—before withering away.”

And here—with the liberals having one last wry laugh, “before fading away”—precisely lies the link to the Middle East.  Here, too, it promises to be a long ‘hot’ summer.  The US Administration will allow more weapons to reach Syria, yet the Administration does not believe this action will achieve its primary objective of defeating the Takfiri jihadist groups.  (Finding a solution to the Syria issue now has fallen down the list of US priorities).  Adding more weaponry is all about assuaging swelling US domestic criticism of America’s Syria debility (i.e. of American non-assertiveness being felt to sit uncomfortably with its Cold War myth of ‘demanding and getting’).

The Administration’s true understanding of the situation however is more clearly reflected by its (now) collateral priority to keep the army and institutions of Syria unimpeded and intact.  In short, this tells us that US policy-makers believe that only the Syrian army can defeat the jihadists (as is happening)—and the extra weapons for “moderates” are merely props for a piece of political theatre (but nonetheless carry portents of further real suffering for Syrians).  The Syrian “moderates” will likely have their rising cynicism confirmed—before they too are made to fade away:  Collateral damage in the new larger US game-plan of defeating the jihadists.

With respect to Iran and the negotiations with the P5+1, there are both similarities with the trend of sentiment in Russia and China about how to manage this American ‘gold standard of statecraft’, but also some dissimilarities.  Here too, there very much is the prospect of a ‘summer of discontent’, and here too is the likelihood of strategic realignment—or rather, more accurately, alignments that are already under way.  For generally in Iran, the consensus is that the longer the tensions over Ukraine persist, the greater the crisis works to Iran’s advantage and interest.

In much of Washington however, the narrative is read inversely:  that the crisis in Ukraine (i.e. any isolation of Russia) is an opportunity for the West to wrest Iran out from the Russian sphere, and thus to magnify and deepen Russia’s ‘isolation.’

And although Russia’s supposed ‘isolation’ may be more wish than reality, the implied misreading inherent in the notion of Ukraine representing a Western ‘opportunity’ to reshape Iran geo-strategically constitutes another landmine primed to explode this summer.

What was true for Russia, in terms of the myth of Khrushchev’s ‘capitulation’ is true in spades for Iran:  As Parsi writes, “Today, another, equally destructive myth is being forged.”  That myth is that crippling sanctions brought the Iranian regime to its knees, forcing it to rush to the negotiating table to beg for mercy.  In this narrative, the breakthrough in nuclear talks is credited to the Obama administration’s unprecedented economic pressure, which has essentially locked Iran out of the international financial system.  And like JFK before him, Obama did not compromise with Iran.  The mythical gold standard [of American tradecraft] was met.”  (Parsi goes on to make an important case in explaining why the myth that sanctions brought Iran to the ‘table’ is not true).

But the American ‘narrative’ is more than just one of having ‘stared down’ the Iranian leadership, and of the Iranians being a ‘defeated people.’  And here perhaps well-intentioned Iranians have added their own contribution and twist:  a nuance intended to help, maybe, but which may end by contributing to the ultimate failure of the talks—and to their own political ‘fading away’ too.

The additional Iranian liberal narrative as heard in the US and Europe (broadly) is that in spite of the “fraudulent” 2009 elections, the Reformists managed a startling ‘comeback’—thanks largely to the unexpected good fortune of the conservatives having engaged in a misguided bout of ‘strategic voting’—a cross-voting strategy that spectacularly backfired against them.  In short, the Reformists are presented as ‘Greenish,’ pro-western, economic pragmatists, with whom the West must cut a deal.  It is in the West’s interest to do this, they argue, because a successful nuclear negotiation, would enthrone ‘pro-Atlanticists’ in power in Tehran for the next decade or so.

To be fair, many of these interlocutors who undoubtedly do have connections in Tehran are sincere, and believe that this ‘spin’ will help Iran achieve the settlement which ultimately will lift sanctions—as well as allowing for better and more cosmopolitan ‘lifestyles’ for them and their colleagues.  But the flaws to this narrative are obvious:  the data on which the narrative relies to mount its ‘strategic Reformist comeback’ thesis (i.e. University of Tehran polling) paradoxically is drawn from the same reputable polling institute that earlier had demonstrated that Ahmadinejad had won his election legitimately—and not fraudulently.

But more fundamentally, this narrative functions by over-polarizing Iranian politics into two camps.  It does this by conflating the Greens (who have been largely discredited in the wake of 2009) with Reformists.  Today’s Reformists largely are not Greens.  They encompass a much wider spectrum of political thinking and distinct currents.  And the Reformists are not at all ‘Atlanticist’ by inclination—as the narrative of Rouhani emerging as the “tense completion of the 2009 Chapter” might suggest.  In fact, the same polls used to show Rouhani trumping the conservatives, more significantly also showed him drawing increasing support from the principal-ist camp as the election approached.  President Rouhani is not a Reformist.  He genuinely drew broad support from all sides.  The claim that he emerged, as it were, from out of the 2009 Green dissidence, therefore is both too polarized and risks causing further misinformation, and therefore mistrust.  Informed observers can see for themselves that the current Iranian government is not some outgrowth of the Green movement.  To claim otherwise will only exacerbate suspicions of duplicity.

This ‘liberal’ narrative is, in short, that of the ‘please help us to help you’ genre, long used by Fatah with the Israelis.  More worryingly, this narrative—though well intentioned—does give western interlocutors the impression that the Iranian negotiating team is getting desperate for a deal.  The danger here is that the myth of having ‘stared down the Iranians’ into conceding negotiations is being further compounded by an additional narrative of weakness and desperation:  No wonder the Americans are hardening their position.  Signs of weakness are more likely to result in further pressures on Iran, rather than yielding ‘understanding’ concessions from the Americans.  Thus, the ‘no short-term breakout potential’ argument is becoming ever more attenuated, as the New York Times avers, into a position whereby Iran will be permitted ‘symbolic’ enrichment only—sufficient only for the negotiators to make (the bogus) claim that they secured Iran’s nuclear rights, but not enough to produce the energy necessary to meet Iran’s industrial requirement.

This formula simply will not work.  It will not bring a solution:  It is simply incompatible with the industrial-scale enrichment that Iran requires for the generation of electricity.  It is not the case that the talks will fail because the conservatives are ideologically opposed to any settlement reached with the US.  The argument advanced by those opposed to the present negotiations is not based on refusing any negotiations with America per se, but on the terms and framework of the talks.

What is missing in the analysis (understandably obscured by the narrative ‘spin’ outlined above) is this:  Just as Russians who advocated better relations with America and Europe have seen their position erode and collapse over the years in Russia, so too in Iran (and China) this identical dilemma is pushing Iranians as whole towards closer strategic ties with Russia and with China.  All these states share the inability to find a workaround to circumvent the dynamic of America needing ceaselessly to repeat its Cold War ‘myth’—and as this becomes more and more evident, Atlanticists and liberals in the non-Western world (as in Russia) are being marginalized and weakened.

The Russian pivot away from seeking better relations with the US is the reason why most Iranians see Ukraine as benefitting their interests: they understand that the consequence of this will be increased support and a closer strategic link with Russia and China. There is some evidence too, that events already are pushing China and Russia into greater support for Iran and its stands (RIA Novosti, for example, is reporting that Russia has plans to build a further eight nuclear reactors in Iran).

And if the talks break down…will Iran be blamed?  Will sanctions then simply continue as they are?  The answer to both is almost certainly ‘no’ (although, of course, the US and Europe will blame Iran).  But the very failure of the talks will deeply affect sentiment in the Middle East towards America and the P5+1, and will cement Iran and Syria (and others) to any emerging pole that leads the struggle against a uni-polarity rooted in America seeking to endlessly repeat its Cold War mythology.

Share
 

96 Responses to “How America’s Backfiring “Pivot to Asia” Exposes Washington’s Already Self-Defeating Formula for an Iran Deal”

  1. Jay says:

    The formula for self-defeatism has set in!

    The illusory sense of superiority – being the exceptional people – disempowers the West from making any realistic assessment of facts on the ground. Liberals and conservatives, having full conviction of the righteousness of their views, use their respective narratives to justify a forgone conclusion. This is no longer analysis – it is paralysis. It will be a long while, if ever, before realism and pragmatism returns to the West.

  2. Jay says:

    From the previous thread…

    fyi says:
    May 27, 2014 at 8:21 am

    “Please produce that great deal of knowledge in the Western World; let us all be enlightened.”

    FYI,

    What metric would you consider as relevant and appropriate? The number of publications? The frequency of publications over time? The number of publications per capita? Some form of cumulative “impact factor”? A form of aggregate h-index? …. Or, some form of technological index, or health index, or literacy index, or ….

    Even if I relent on the “indirect” form of measurement, a central difficulty in measuring “real” contributions, there is not a single universally agreed upon metric. I can readily create a metric with the “appropriate” weighting factors to “prove” my point. These are elementary, and I am confident that you understand them.

    Stating then – “let us be enlightened” – appears to be dismissive rather than inquisitive.

    It was your position, your thesis, positing the vast disparity of contributions due to absence of “learn for learning sake”. You could have simply stated that as your opinion, rather than posing it as a scientific fact. Once you posed it as a scientific fact, the onus is on you to demonstrate the science!

  3. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    May 27, 2014 at 11:46 am

    You are trying to debate me while empirical facts over the last 400 years (or 800 years) speak for themselves.

    And those empirical facts undeniably establish the exceptional nature of European civilization.

    Accept empirical facts and move on…

  4. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    May 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    My debate is centered around the claim you dubbed “exceptional nature of European civilization”

    Why choose the time frame of 400 years? Why not 4000 years? Do you suggest that this trend will persist for the next 100 years? Why? Why not? If this trend is shifting – say to Asia and china – by objective measures, what does it say about “exceptionalism”. Can we choose a time frame to establish the exceptional nature or the Eastern civilization? I would say yes! Then, this “exceptionalism” is not innate. Which then raises additional questions. Treating the cause as “exceptionalism” – with a forgone conclusion – does not do justice to the subtleties of the subject you are raising.

  5. Ataune says:

    I apologize for jumping into this discussion “barefoot”, but I believe Jay is correct in his assessment:

    Once you qualify any historical trend or event as “exceptional”, you MAKE it unique. jay’s question becomes therefore legitimate, in a discursive sense of the word. Why you believe that science have had a unique and “transcendental” occurrence in the West during the timeframe you mention? What makes you then believe that such unique and exceptional event (which bring to mind analogy with uniquely negative events like holocaust or Armenian genocide) can reproduce itself in the Islamic, or any other, land?

  6. James Canning says:

    The US quite obviously made a deal or compromise with the Soviet Union in 1962, to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    The USSR would have collapsed even if Reagan had spent far less on weapons during his two terms in the White House.

  7. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    May 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Armenian genocide was done by Muslims.

  8. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    May 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I am not interested in a debate.

  9. Pirouz says:

    Trita Parsi is intelligent enough to know better, where he falsely characterizes Iran’s elections.

    One has to bear in mind that Trita is head of an expat organization. His primary backers in that political organization are self-exiles. This dictates his positions, producing a track record of observations that are best described as unreliable.

  10. Jay says:

    fyi says:
    May 27, 2014 at 1:10 pm
    “I am not interested in a debate.”

    Okay! We will drop this topic.

  11. Karl.. says:

    Pirouz

    Speaking on that, is there any group in america or elsewhere in west that are 100% pro-Iran? Is there a iranian “aipac”?

  12. Karl.. says:

    Great video for those that want the russian arguments summed up when it comes to ukraine/crimea.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTe225bgCKA

  13. kooshy says:

    I am really empresses with the way Press TV has been progressing and is been programming, specially staying off Iranian internal politics, it really is becoming an alternative internationally recognized media source like RT and CCTV I enjoy their programs and debate as well as promoting knowing and learning about Iran and Iranians.

  14. kooshy says:

    Is not far from reality to conclude that as the consequence of the Iranian revolution of 1979 came about the demise of USSR and may yet cause the downfall of the western post WWII world Order. Throughout history Often this happens when a key country changes or causes change in existing governing order. I guess I (we) had chance to witness how history changed and not ended, like that idiot thought so.

  15. kooshy says:

    Jay says:
    May 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm
    Good rebuttal, thank you

    Don’t let them make selected, isolated unjustified argument that Iranians are incapable and non achievers, which is not true, this is a basic western imperial demonization method which mostly was used by the Brits, implemented by utilizing educated natives, (to make the lower level believe we will never catch up unless they submit to European masters) sine it was easier to trickle down a negative mentality and divert the national confidence. This AH and his partner being trying this all along and are not about to give up.

  16. kooshy says:

    No nuclear capability was compromised to no brake out capability and then it was reduced to no fast brake out capability, that in turn is now accepted and reduced to effectively as no delivery capability ( missile range adjustment) next it will be reduced and beg for not to mention capability ( western media refuse to mention defeat)

  17. James Canning says:

    At Lobelog.com, Peter Jenkins has good piece today: “Will a reassuring IAEA picture influence US-Iran negotiations?”

  18. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    The answer is no.

    Mr. Khamenei, in 2 recent speeches has made the following declarations:

    1- Solutions for sanctions cannot be reached through P5+1 negotiations and Iran must look elsewhere (internally).

    2- The War by Axis Powers against Iran will continue (in his estimation) and there is not end in sight.

  19. Rehmat says:

    Islamic Iran must not get involved too deep in Sino-Russian new Cold War with United States over Ukraine. As per Islamic Revolution’s basic principles – all these three powers are occupying Muslim lands; directly or through their proxy regimes.It’s okey to have close relations with Russia and China in fields which serve Iranian interests. However, it would be a grave mistake for Tehran to put too trust in colonial powers.

    Furthermore, on Sunday, Putin lost to US and EU in Ukraine with the election of Zionist Jew Oligarch as country’s next president.

    http://rehmat1.com/2011/08/17/tehran-should-not-trust-moscow/

  20. Rehmat says:

    On May 26, 2014, a Turkish court upgraded its 2012 indictment against four top Israeli army officers by issuing warrants for their arrests by the INTERPOL. These Israeli war-criminals were tried in absentia and sentenced for life in jail for ordering the murder nine Turk aid volunteers and wounding others during an Israeli cammando raid on Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, sailing at international waters on its way to deliver food and medicine to 1.7 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza in 2010.

    One of the seriously wounded volunteers, Suleyman Ugur Soylemez, a Turk citizen, died in hospital on Friday night after four years in a coma since the raid.

    The four Israel military officers wanted for arrest have since retired from the Israel Occupation Force (IOF). They’re Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Navy Commander Eliezer Marom, Air Force Commander Amos Yadlin and head of Air Force intelligence head Avishay Levi, as reported by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/05/28/turkish-court-issues-warrants-for-4-israeli-generals/

  21. Glenn says:

    American Exceptionalism: The belief that no matter how many foreign governments and their elections the US subverts; no matter how many baseless wars devastate no matter how many millions; no matter how many are tortured and imprisoned without cause for no matter how long; no matter how many non-white Americans populate the extreme lower classes and prisons: The Government of America would NEVER do anything so underhanded and deceptive to its own people.

  22. Jay says:

    kooshy says:
    May 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    In my view, in order to have a reasonable and productive discussion, it is necessary to have a “common language”; at least to the extent possible. By a “common language” I mean a sense of what words mean and how they are grounded. In a forum such as we are, when discussion descend to “self-bootstrapping” arguments, value is lost. I did not see the value of pushing the point after FYI’s declaration for lack of interest in a debate.

    I raised my issues and we can all decide if they have merit or not. Ataune thought it had merit. Do you?

  23. BiBiJon says:

    Are they incompetent?
    ==================

    If it were possible to compartmentalize various issues, then it is possible to see things this way:

    On Iran, there are very limited outcomes which will be born out of the current negotiations. If the negotiations are not successful, then there are only 2 unpalatable possibilities: a) war, and b) status quo, meaning Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will continue to expand apace, without the full scope of transparency measures envisioned in a successful negotiation. These two outcomes are so difficult to manage peacefully, that war may well be the only realistic outcome, itself so unmanageable, that folks on both sides would have to think very hard about the potential costs.

    On Russia and China I assume the US sees rivals that it can barely contain/control now, let alone if they gather any further economic/military/geopolitical momentum over time. Therefore, a cold war 2.0 is the only avenue available for confronting Russia and China. That those two have finally gotten the message, and have given up on hopey-changey coexistence, then it is a case of tango music has been blaring for a while, It was high time for Russia and China to start dancing the threesome.

  24. Rd. says:

    Author Mahmoud Omidsalar in his book ‘Iran’s Epic and America’s Empire’ has some interesting observations as well as some relevant quotes from the late Prof Iraj Afshar re this entity called the ‘west’.

    Briefly;

    the notion that some believe, ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat christian Europe, then the Renaissance, then the enlightenment, to political democracy, to industrial revolution. Then industry crossed with democracy yielded US, embodying right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Such scheme is misleading. Because it turns history into a moral success story. This turns the winners into virtuosos and good by winning.

    This european notion of the non-western world are an spent force is believed by majority of the ‘educated’ in the developing world!!! they think the european Renaissance was a self created phenomena that triggered exponential gains in western progress.

    Renaissance did not materialize out of the thin air. In fact, it was a series of complex events dating back to Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, and Africa. one example, the Hindu-Arabic numeral system spread to EU thru Islam along with algebra and algorithm. Try to calculate complex numerical equation with roman numerals and without the benefit of zero or higher mathematics.

    You can also review Chinese accomplishments in steel production while EU was in dark ages. There are many other relevant argument offered by Prof. Afshar and Omeedsalar, for most of the human history, the west has been backward, [ in fact, their mind set (at least their elites) today is not much improved over time].

    Churchill once said, ‘history will be kind to me for I intend to write it’. [Those 'educated' individuals might want to re-examine their sources of enlightenment! ]

    One should beware of extrapolating the inherit superiority of one people over another by changing fortunes of civilizations. Change is the only constant on the planet. Nations acquire and lose ascendency over time for any number of reasons. Maybe there are good reasons for this or may be there are some treacherous randomness. But to mistake a few centuries of western dominance for inherent superiority undoubtedly leads to the kind of prejudice and cruelty in which the europeans have been as proficient as their loftier achievements.

    Being a globe, the earth has no east and west, and being global neither does human culture. These notions are artificial constructs that may be serviceable, but must not be taken too literally.

  25. Karl.. says:

    Rehmat

    Iran shouldnt come to the west, west should come and knock on the door of Iran, Russia, China and BRIC
    Thats the future, not the US or the european union.

  26. Karl.. says:

    Also obama is speaking live now on foreign policy
    http://rt.com/on-air/obama-talk-%20foreign-policy/

  27. Jay says:

    Rd. says:
    May 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Thank you for this reference. I scanned the pages available on google books and now I have to have my copy!

    The book articulates (much more eloquently than I could) the fallacy of judging the development of mankind through a “slice” of history.

  28. Rehmat says:

    On May 26, 2014, Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz claimed that Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud has declined former Israeli military intelligence head Gen. Amos Yadlin’s invitation to visit Israel for consultation over Iran’s nuclear program and Syrian situation.

    According to the newspaper, Prince Al-Saud held friendly talks earlier in Belgium with Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni who is wanted for war-crimes in UK, South Africa and Lebanon.

    Prince Turki is the youngest son of King Faisal Al-Saud who was assassinated by CIA-Mossad agent for imposing an oil embargo against all countries supporting Israel on October 17, 1973. Prince Turki is former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency (1979-2001).

    Recently, the German Marshal Fund held a panel discussion between Yadlin and Turki in Munich. The face-to-face meeting was moderated by no other than the notorious Israel-Firster David Ignatius, associate editor of Jewish Washington Post. The German taxpayers funded German Marshall Fund is a Zioconservatives advocacy group headed by Jewish millionaire Guido Goldman whose father Nahum Goldman founded the World Jewish Congress and also headed the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization (WZO).

    The panel discussions began with Ignatius’ question to Turki about the Kingdom’s position and his personal views over Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” and his personal views that if the P5+1 vs Iran talks fails, would Saudi Arabia develop its own nuclear bomb.

    Turki responded that Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf states have welcomed the interim agreement between the so-called P5+1 and Iran. However, it’s too early to say what Saudi reaction would be until the final agreement is signed between the US and Iran.

    Israel, on the other hand, rejected the interim deal from the day one, by using the usual new Holocaust scare.

    Turki also claimed that Saudi Arabia since 2002 has been calling for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle. The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) have also supported the idea of a nuclear-free ME. Iran, as member of OIC is also committed to a nuclear free zone.

    In 2012, the UN General Assembly called upon the Zionist entity to join the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The UN resolution was rejected by Netanyahu calling the 174 nations which voted for the resolution being “Jew haters”.

    Turki said that Israel is the only country in the region which has nuclear and chemical weapons. He suggested that in order to have peace in the region, Israel must join NPT and its WMD stocks, like Syria’s, should be neutralized.

    Islamic Republic is the only regional nation which has held two international conferences on nuclear-free ME which were attended by over 40 foreign nations.

    Amos Yadlin, is a retired Israeli airforce general and one of the pilots who bombed Iraq’s Osirak future nuclear reactor building in June 1981 while flying US donated F-16 Fighting Falcon. After his retirement, Yadlin worked for American Jewish lobby WINEP. He supported the November 2013 Geneva interim agreement between P5+1 and Iran.

    Responding to Turki’s comments, Yadlin, as expected, brought in the usual Holocaust Hasbara myth which happened in Europe 70 years ago, as the reason for Israel to have nuclear and chemical weapons. He asserted that Israel cannot agree to a nuclear free Middle East unless all Muslim countries recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Until then, he said, Israel cannot trust its Muslim neighbors.

    Yadlin also repeated Zionist lie that Israel is against Iran’s nuclear program because Iran aims to “wipe Israel off map”, and that Tehran is supporting Hizbullah, Syria and Hamas to reach its aim. Yadlin said that during the Cold War United States and USSR, both nuclear powers, never called for destruction of each other but Iran wants to destroy Israel.

    Turki reminded Yadlin that just Arab countries don’t need to secure Israeli “trust” but that it’s a two way street. At that point Yadlin asked Turki if he trust Iran. Turki responded that it’s not a question of trust but a reality. Then he elaborated that Iranian regime is facing internal political struggle. He said that Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif doesn’t have a clue what he is doing (Zarif happens to be more educated than those three Zionist idiots. He has PhD in polical science from an American University). Turki also informed his Jewish audience that though president Rouhani has Khamenei’s “ears”, the final decisions about Iran’s nuclear policy are made by Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, which is true.

    The two Zionist Jews on the panel and mostly Jewish audience had a good laugh when wrongfully claimed that Iran’s economy is in a total mess due to US imposed sanctions.

    Ignatius finally asked Turki for his views on the desired regime change in Syria. Without acknowledging Saudi Arabia’s funding the Takfiri homicidals fighting against Syrian people, Turki said that Bashar Assad must go, and that United States should arm the “moderate” rebels against Syrian army. However, he said, he was against putting American boots in Syria. Watch the video below.

    Two weeks ago, Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal invited his Iranian counterpart to visit Saudi Arabia. The invitation is still being discussed by Rouhani regime. Alexander Polishyuk, chairman of Russia-Iran Friendship society believes that both United States and Saudi arabia has come to conclusion that Iran’s role as one of major regional key-players cannot be eliminated.

    “The position of the US administration and of the rulers of Saudi Arabia is very important, especially in this situation, when despite the support of Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the Syrian opposition the latter actually couldn’t gain power. They have been fighting for approximately more than three years, but the result is the devastation of the country whereas the power is still in the hands of Bashar al Assad,” he told The Voice of Russia on May 14, 2014.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/05/28/saudi-prince-meets-israeli-war-criminals/

  29. BiBiJon says:

    Obama’s commencement speech ties his foreign policy legacy to success at negotiations
    ===============================================================

    Similarly, despite frequent warnings from the United States and Israel and others [i.e. threats of military force achieved nothing], the Iranian nuclear program steadily advanced for years. But at the beginning of my presidency, we built a coalition that imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy, while extending the hand of diplomacy to the Iranian government [absence of the word "regime"]. And now we have an opportunity to resolve our differences peacefully. The odds of success are still long, and we reserve all options to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But for the first time in a decade, we have a very real chance of achieving a breakthrough agreement, one that is more effective and durable than what we could have achieved through the use of force [he all but eschewing military aggression]. And throughout these negotiations, it has been our willingness to work through multilateral channels that kept the world on our side.

    From http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/full-text-of-president-obamas-commencement-address-at-west-point/2014/05/28/cfbcdcaa-e670-11e3-afc6-a1dd9407abcf_story.html

  30. kooshy says:

    Jay says:
    May 28, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Rd. says:
    May 28, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Jay- Yes in my earlier post I said I enjoyed your rebuttal and I thought you are right and had a valuable argument, one can’t limit history to what he likes and not like from it.

    Iraj Afshar is (was) my father and I am proud for publishing professor Omidsalar’s book you mentioned.

  31. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Saudi Arabia has been calling for Israel to get rid of its nukes, for many years now.

  32. BiBiJon says:

    You what!?
    =======

    NY Times’ respectful coverage of Syrian elections

    http://nyti.ms/1jsVAI9

  33. James Canning says:

    Rd.,,

    Winston Churchill knew that someone who plays a role in a series of meetings and decisions, and then later writes an intelligent account of those meetings and decisions, is well-positioned to appear favourably in later accounts written by people relying on his account.

    Has anyone written a history of the Persian-speaking peoples?

  34. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    China is continuing to invest large sums in the EU and the US. China waxes richer by the year, due in no small part to its gigantic trade with the US and EU.

  35. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If Khamenei actually thinks Iran need not make a deal with the P5+1, and can contunue to expand its nuclear programme yet work around the sanctions, I think he simply is either mistaken, or he is simply negotiating via public comments to the people of Iran.

  36. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Cold war 2.0 does not involve trade, necessarily.

  37. James Canning says:

    Yesterday in the Financial Times, Geoff Dyer had an interesting piece on Obama’s foreign policy. Dyer quotes John Mearsheimer as being “95% certain” Obama agrees with Mearsheimer that he should not have set a “red line” in Syria.

  38. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Putin knows the new Ukrainian president, and surely sees that as being a good thing.

  39. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Mr. Khamenei evidently has included no deal with P5+1 is possible that is acceptable to Iran.

    Axis Powers will need to decide on the state of their war with Iran and indeed the Shia Crescent.

    They can maintain it at the current levels (the most likely scenario, as we see in Syria) or they can escalate, per their Hubris, to strategic Never Land.

    Their call.

    The Russian Federation needs to decide which one serves her interest better; an open-ended war between Axis Powers and the Shia Crescent or the maintenance of the current war and its current levels.

    There is no substitute for Strategic Dialogue with Iran for Axis Powers or Russia.

    None.

  40. Jay says:

    kooshy says:
    May 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Dear Kooshy,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Incidentally, books of the late Iraj Afshar held a special place in my late father’s library. May his soul rest in peace.

  41. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Russia wants a deal between P5+1 and Iran. This desire you give too little recognition.

  42. Richard Steven Hack says:

    How About A Three-Front War—– Where “Rebels” Will Need Tutors To Get “Vetted” By Clueless “Screeners” Sent By Samantha Power!
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/how-about-a-three-front-war-where-rebels-will-need-tutors-to-get-vetted-by-clueless-screeners-sent-by-samantha-power/

    Obama doubles down on Syria…Still trying to get that war started…and the wannabe pundits were all declaring he was done with Syria…

  43. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Russia joined US and EU in denying Iran 20% enriched uranium for TRR.

    Let me put it to you this way:

    “Negotiations with Iran are only possible at the strategic level.” for US, EU as well as Russia.

  44. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Well, isn’t this really what it’s all about?

    U.S. investors begin to imagine a return to Iran

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/us-investors-begin-to-imagine-a-return-to-iran/2014/05/27/c5cda6d7-0c8a-442a-8577-a0726f494199_story.html

    “After initial concerns that going to Iran might be illegal or potentially harmful to relations, Riddle accepted the invitation after speaking with State Department officials who told him that his trip “would be consistent with the interests of the U.S.”

    In the long term and if sanctions are lifted, those interests could include the sale of a range of U.S.-produced goods as Iranians continue to hold the “made in the USA” label in high regard.

    “U.S. companies could benefit from Iran’s consumption boom fueled by the demands of well-educated Iranian youth, urbanization trends and the ever-expanding consumption patterns of Iranian families,” Rabii said.”

  45. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “Western lifestyle” and consumption patterns creates demand for western products- which, you know, why should we make them when westerners can build them sooo much better- which requires bitches in Iran to sell and market these western products to the “well-educated,urbanized”- remember, all of it to “improve the economy”.

    Right?

    Now why would Agha keep emphasizing “Islamic lifestyle” and “domestic production”, right? I mean let’s just sell oil cheaply per Zanganeh prescription and buy western products, why bother with that complicated stuff which we are culturally and genetically incapable of anyway?

    Right?

  46. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Notice the photo in the Post article of the women working in the shalizar in Gilan.

    Well we won’t need that any more when we have the genetically altered super-duper-better US agro-industry rice in Iran.

    Right?

    I mean why keep “inferior” traditional rural life and the healthy food and humans it creates when Uncle Sam- well actually its corporations- can lead us to material and spiritual salvation?

    Then these “poor” women can move to the city (“well-educated, urbanized”) and get jobs as secretaries, “consume” and start taking the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies and we can reduce the population and start importing poor Bangladeshis to clean our toilets and take care of the noisy, pesky babies.

    Right?

  47. Nasser says:

    Gary Samore

    “In many ways, the status quo we’ve come to now serves us better than it serves the Iranians. We’ve essentially gotten a freeze on their program in exchange for very limited sanctions relief. It’s easier for us to extend that status quo than it is for the Iranians, which puts us in a very strong bargaining position. And if we ever do have to go back to the sanctions track, I think we’re in a strong position to impose even greater sanctions on Iran, especially on their oil exports, given the international oil market and the political influence we have with Iran’s biggest remaining customers—Japan, Korea, and India. They’re exporting about 1.2 million barrels per day of crude now, and I think we can reduce that by half if we decide we need to.”

    “Furthermore, and this is the key part of it, the Iranians have actually complied with all of their obligations to halt or freeze activities. So we benefit. Frankly, we could extend this negotiation for a long time, and if we did the program would be essentially stopped. We’ll have to negotiate terms of extension. The Iranians may say they need more sanctions relief, but our answer would be that we’d need more nuclear constraints, which I don’t think the Iranians would go for.”

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/05/28/nuclear-know-how/

  48. Nasser says:

    These enemies of Iran are already doing their victory lap! What did Rouhani and Zarif promise them exactly that make them so confident?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g_z8pDJ34s

  49. kooshy says:

    Nasser says:
    May 28, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Mr. Samore is lying he effectively is hiding the facts, the fact is that for years Mr. Samore policy was and was advocated as no nuclear enrichment , or research or even program for Iran inside Iran , but than that was modified to NO nuclear capability that was reduced to no brake out capability, that now is discussed as no fast break out capability , today they are even willing to accept brake out as long as reducing the missile delivery range to less than 1000 KM , with that much walking back and compromise for a shity super doper hyper power Mr. Samor has no other choice “but to constantly slapping himself to show a rojo face”, this much fact has been cemented in Iranian mentality and Samore knows that well. There is no walk back to 2 years ago not even 1 year ago. If he wants and accepts the current ongoing condition that means they have compromised their position and the whole world knows it so he is in face saving spin mood.

  50. Nasser says:

    By the venerable War Nerd

    “When Africans [or Middle Easterners or any non white people] are threatening to form a strong, united country, like the Igbo, the Tutsi or the Eritreans, they come in for some weirdly intense hate, and a lot of times it comes from the bloodiest bleeding hearts around.”

    http://pando.com/2014/05/17/the-war-nerd-nigerias-inevitable-mess/

  51. yk says:

    Karl

    Acts such as these sanctions are clear signs of Washington’s downward spiral. Which nation have sanction brought down its government in history? In fact it is the masses that usually bear the brunt. What can these sanctions bring America if not more hatred, honestly America is beyond redemption save a clear cut revolution. The question is who will carry out such revolution? These present generation of Americans?. . . your guess is as good as mine.

  52. A concerened world citizen says:

    Sanctions seem to be the only tool in the US foreign policy arsenal that seems to work these days for them. But even that is also on its last legs. The US can use that tool as long as they still control most of the Western financial markets. But things are changing and changing fast.

    Isn’t it strange that Obama couldn’t get a simple trade agreement/deal signed between him and his Asian “allies” on his recent trip to Japan but Putin goes to China and comes home with a massive $400 BILLION gas deal?

    Things are not what they use to be before.

  53. BiBiJon says:

    Thank you very much.
    ==================

    There has been much talk of Iran wanting to retain the option of being able to make a nuclear weapon. One assumes this is premised on Iran’s thinking that such an “option” would alter the calculus of her adversaries’ designs for direct aggression against Iran.

    Well, such an “option” has to be credible, which would behoove Iran to do a lot of things and spend a lot of money on all things nuclear. That she has not needed to do that is in no small part thanks to Mr. Netanyahu, and others, e.g. http://nationalinterest.org/feature/americas-nuclear-nightmares-russia-china-soon-iran-10557

    Gabriel Scheinmann is saying CIA got the timing of Chinese first nuclear test wrong by about a year.

    If your enemies are so busy scaring themselves, why spend money to scare them? In other words, though retaining the “option” thingy arguably has some strategic/security benefit (which I don’t think it has because it might encourage others to develop “options” of their very own), Gabriels and Bibis of this world have allowed Iran to pursue the development of nuclear technology/infrastructure without any of the headaches of it looking nefarious to the “world” community; Without spending a penny on test sites, or weaponisation work, or expensive missile designs, Iran’s adversaries have terrified themselves and have crowned Iran as a threshold nuclear state, nevertheless.

    Of course the fear mongers’ agenda was to get a war, or at least demonize Iran so much that any US-Iran detente would be prevented. But, in reality, they have pushed the US into a situation where the POTUS says: “for the first time in a decade, we have a very real chance of achieving a breakthrough agreement, one that is more effective and durable than what we could have achieved through the use of force.”

    If I read this correctly, “effective and durable” means detente and rapprochement. And I want to thank the fear mongers for this.

  54. Karl.. says:

    So new threats against Syria by obama, just like me and a, few, others here saw coming:

    http://goingtotehran.com/the-syrian-crisis-and-americas-counterproductive-quest-for-middle-eastern-hegemony#comment-18489

  55. BiBiJon says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 29, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Why do you suppose the rebels themselves don’t seem to agree that they are going to get a lot of help?

    http://news.yahoo.com/syria-opposition-powerless-assad-holds-election-134208008.html

  56. kooshy says:

    Syria: Obama To Work With Assad?
    Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, muses about Obama’s speech in West Point. The piece includes this nugget on Syria:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

    “This may well surprise experts, but senior administration officials tell me that Obama has been modifying his objective and is now prepared to work with Assad, to some degree, along with the moderate rebels, against what the White House finally has come to see as the real and major threat—the jihadists. These senior officials further say that they expect support in this new policy from previous opponents, i.e. from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Let us hope that this is true.”

  57. BiBiJon says:

    kooshy says:
    May 29, 2014 at 10:20 am

    And, if you add http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/iran-welcomes-saudi-invite-to-islamic-bloc-meet-1.1340561

    it appears that some serious rethinking and retooling may be going on.

  58. Karl.. says:

    Bibijon
    May 29, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Not sure why I should?

  59. BiBiJon says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I am not sure what you mean by “Not sure why I should?”

    But, quoting Alastair Crooke, the Levertts say (above):

    Alastair then explains how America’s Cold War mythology warps U.S. policy not just toward Russia and China, but also toward the Middle East. Regarding Syria, for example, the Obama administration “will allow more weapons to reach Syria, yet the administration does not believe this action will achieve its primary objective of defeating the Takfiri jihadist groups…Adding more weaponry is all about assuaging swelling US domestic criticism of America’s Syria debility (i.e. of American non-assertiveness being felt to sit uncomfortably with its Cold War myth of ‘demanding and getting’).”

    The AFP article I pointed you quotes the rebels as being completely despondent.

    I was hoping you could give us a reason why we should ignore the Leveretts, Alastair Crooke, and the rebels themselves, and believe that the threats directed at Syria is indeed serious.

  60. Karl.. says:

    Bibijon

    No my point was to show what I said last year and got criticized. Namely destroying your WMD’s will lead to more threats.
    http://goingtotehran.com/the-syrian-crisis-and-americas-counterproductive-quest-for-middle-eastern-hegemony#comment-18489

    Obama will never allow Assad to become the winner of this war.

  61. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times today has an interesting report on the political situation in Abkhazia.

  62. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    The terrible situation in Syria might continue until the Syrian government regains control of the country. I think this is much more likely if it looks as if success can be achieved in P5+1 negotiations with Iran.

  63. James Canning says:

    Concerned,

    Gazprom needed nearly 10 years to negotiate a price with China for the gas that will go to China from Russia.

  64. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    What “victory” are you talking about? Possible events that will enable Iran’s economy to grow much faster?

  65. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I can put it to you this way: Iran can continue to freeze its nuclear programme, and have some sanctions relief.

  66. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    You’ve been using the ‘candy for nice children’ argument ad nauseam. Most observers know if there’s quick money to be made, then British officialdom will do, omit to do, bend backwards, and forwards, in fact anything at all for that short-term profit, even if it means wearing silly clothes. E.g. https://7daysindubai.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/prince-charles-in-saudi-arabia/35820355eb1935064c0f6a7067003764.jpg

    This is not the governing principle of Iran. Indeed, many argue, and I agree with them, the western problem with Iranian revolution and the political order that emerged there espouses justice, and resistance. Not a quick buck.

    Also, implicit in your argument is the false narrative that ‘the sanctions worked.’ Not only it hasn’t worked as per Parsi’s article quoted above, but completely backfired. I.e. When Iran needed help to avoid sanctions, China and Russia let Iran down. But rather than it becoming a catastrophe, it became an opportunity: it showed Iran’s ability to survive and emphasized the notion that Iran is a nation that does not sacrifice principle no matter what. This in turn has increased Iran’s soft power at the direct expense of Iran’s enemies.

  67. BiBiJon says:

    Karl.. says:
    May 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    You are aware, are you not, that threats against the Syrian government predates the agreeing to give up CWs by at least ten years. And you are aware, are you not, that possession of useless CW by Syria was being used as a ruse to frame Syria for using CW. And you are aware are you not, that Iran, a victim of CW herself, would not countenance Assad’s possession or use of an unIslamic WMD if Assad were looking for continued Iranian help, and support against the rebels.

  68. Karl.. says:

    Bibijon

    This is wrong on many points.

    1. Syria has been accused, just some weeks ago by west to use WMD. Thats how absurd they have become. What does that mean? It mean it doesnt matter if Syria dismantle their WMD’s.
    2. Who cares what WMD equppied west thinks of something?!
    3. The whole issue with Syria was their WMD’s, not for the US particulary but for Israel. Now their WMD’s are gone so now they can start warmongering again.

    You really belive Syria had to dismantle because US cared about civilians? Give me a break!

  69. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Won’t happen; the Iranian leaders have determined that the sanction relief is not worth it to them.

    Yes, I know, Naval Blockade here we come….

  70. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    To clarify: you think Iran is free to stockpile whatever amounts of enriched uranium it chooses, and Russia, China and the other four powers cannot address that issue?

  71. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Russia and the US have been destroying their CW. Hugely expensive programme.

  72. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    You appear to argue that Iran is better off if it keeps the sanctions in place. Correct?

  73. BiBiJon says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I find it difficult to converse with a GCHQ robot. I am saying principle, justice, resistance, morality, etc. trumps short-term gains in war, economics, or any other field of battle for Iran.

    Now, a nation can spouse this, and meet a lot of skepticism. But, Iran has been given repeated opportunities to show that hers is not an empty motto. And, every time her enemies put her to test, and she survives by virtue of her principles, it increases her cache at the expense of her enemies.

  74. Jay says:

    Once again we are mired in a nonsensical argument with Mr. “Naval Blockage” (borrowing from FYI).

    This is his last statement:
    “You appear to argue that Iran is better off if it keeps the sanctions in place. ”

    Dissecting this statement, you find: a) BiBIJon did not argue in favor of sanctions, b) Iran is not the country that imposed the sanctions so it cannot keep “the sanctions in place”, and c) the sentence is an amalgamation of two falsehoods in order to make a headline “one-liner” statement.

    Now seriously folks, is this the good debate you want to have?

  75. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 29, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    To clarify, Iranian leaders will follow on their current course, building up their nuclear and other infrastructure in an orderly manner; stockpiling U235 etc. is another red herring – when you consider that they have demonstrated that they can build and deploy 9000 centrifuges within a year.

    Even war with Iran, resulting in decades-long occupation of parts of Iran by the United States, is not going to change the strategic situation.

    Mr. Obama, who did so much to bring about the current impasse with Iran, seems to have finally grasped the situation.

    Of course, it is too late for him in his presidency to do anything about it….

  76. masoud says:

    Khameini’s speech to majles was severe. Is it just me, or was Khameini never this printed and direct in his criticism of Ahmadinejad’s government, even in the days of the big split?

  77. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I very much doubt that Obama would consider an occupation of Iran. Or even a small part of Iran.

  78. James Canning says:

    Jay,

    Russian and Chinese commentators on the P5+1 negotiations with Iran do not see an end of the sanctions in sight, if Iran fails to make a deal.

    You, however, apparently do see one.

  79. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    In 1941, before Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor, the Emperor of Japan asked how it could be moral for Japan to start a war it was sure to lose.

    You apparently would have seen the attack as a moral imperative for Japan. Correct?

  80. Nasser says:

    James Canning,

    The US needs to come to a modus vivendi with Iran and lower their footprint in the Persian Gulf if they are to pivot to Eastern Europe and the Western Pacific. It is not Iran that is desperate for a deal. And you can’t force them to surrender their vital needs by goading them with nonsensical and miraculous promises of economic enlargement.

  81. Nasser says:

    From Stratfor, reprinted in the Manila Times

    Summary: The US needs to shift away from the Middle East so that they can concentrate on even more insane undertakings against China and Russia.

    http://www.manilatimes.net/obama-resets-us-foreign-policy/100257/

  82. James Canning says:

    The Financial Times reported May 29th that many of the Abkhaz (who are 50% of the population of Abkhazia), oppose issuance of Abkhazian passports to members of the Georgian minority in the country (or supposed country).

  83. kooshy says:

    James Canning says:
    May 29, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Gav

    In today’s geopolitics that is called “too big to invade” back in old days the term used was “let’s not F with them” it all sounds like after Syria and Ukraine Fup’s Obama finally has grasped how long of nose he really has. Fury unity not much, further than Western Europe, any more. The new American century was really short and costly and the Brits usual “parasitizing” of the Americans gambit didn’t payoff like it was promised by the 10 D street, don’t you agree?

  84. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    Your notion Iran is being pressured to “surrender vital needs” in my view is silly.

    Surely Japan should have agreed to get out of China, in 1941. Instead, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor (and the Philippines).

  85. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    Obama refused to put US troops into Libya. He has refused direct intervention in Syrian civil war. Neither had anything to do with being “too big”. Both had much to do with common sense, in my view. Ergo, no attempt to occupy Iran would be made. In my judgment.

  86. BiBiJon says:

    James (GCHQ Robot) Canning says:
    May 29, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Abort. Control Alt Delete. Pull the power cord. The robot has gone bonkers!

  87. Nasser says:

    Madawi Al-Rasheed confirming what we already knew:
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/saudi-peace-initiative-iran-palestine-israel.html

    Yes the Salafists indeed care more about murdering Shias than about Quds. No wonder the Anglo Americans favor them so much.

  88. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    May 29, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    He will be forced into occupying parts of Southern Iran by the military logic.

    Mr. Richard Steven Hack went through some detail discussing such a scenario.

    I would say that a 40-year occupation – by the United States – of certain Iranian islands as well as certain seashore areas of Southern Persian Gulf is a distinct possibility.

  89. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I read all of RS Hack’s comments on possible military strategy that would come into play. I very much doubt Obama would have US troops occupy any part of Iran.

  90. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Obama is aware that the overthrow of the Shah was in part a result of the SOFA agreement with Iran the US entered into (after overthrow of Mossadegh).

  91. James Canning says:

    Nasser,

    You appear unaware of the deep concern Obama has, that Sunni terrorists coming out of chaos in Syria, will seek to overthrow the government of Iraq. Surely you are aware the US supports the Iraqi government.

  92. James Canning says:

    BiBiJon,

    Your claim Iran should get itself smashed, as matter of personal honour, is bonkers.