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Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

and idiot begat moron, who begat imbecile...

Well, finally an article about a presidential candidate who gets Iran right. A candidate who demands peace with Iran. A candidate who sees through the bullshit...

Alas, it is not MY candidate, Barack Obama, who has somehow floated into the hands of the D.C. consultant class over the last couple of weeks. I don’t see in Obama an ultra-liberal, but I did see in him a man who had figured out that our foreign policy was as dysfunctional as the Manson family, with much more bloody consequences. Alas, he seems to be trying to placate an establishment that has been seriously weakened by its contradictions, failures, and pathology. The current meme: things are goin’ right in Iraq, because the surge was so awesome, is the latest bs being tossed out by that establishment. To which Obama’s reply should be, the surge was not awesome at all, but was simply a compound of misbegotten policies sinking us ever deeper into a country from which justice and self interest both demand we withdraw. The Obama that exploited Hilary Clinton’s weakness for U.S. directed blood baths was the Obama who won. Unfortunately, that guy is absent at the moment. Where is he? Obama, come back.

In the meantime, put a knife in my heart and turn it – the person who does get it is Bob Barr. Bob Barr! The libertarian idiot from Cobb County, Georgia. He gets it so much that he joined the It’s Time to Talk to Iran conference sponsored by a grassroots group, along with Barbara Lee, the sensible Dem representative from California.

The Diplomatic Courier’s reporter clutters up the story a bit – I don’t think the Barr part makes sense as it is reported – but these two grafs tell the story:

“As part of a larger grassroots diplomatic initiative entitled “It’s Time to Talk to Iran,” the discussions were preceded by a press conference whereby politicians and activists advocated “a diplomatic surge for peace and reconciliation.” Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), her usually calm features tensed with determination, thundered, “It is time to put an end to [an American-Iranian policy marked by threats and fear-mongering]… The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said that ‘we must learn to live together as brothers or we will surely perish together as fools.’ It is time to talk to Iran. All it takes to begin is one ‘Hello.’” Others seconded Rep. Lee’s sentiments, alternately describing diplomatic engagement with Iran as a “mission of mercy” to unfortunate Iranian citizens.
Underlying these passionate statements was the premise that engaging Iran militarily would represent a devastating political, economic, and humanitarian loss for the United States preceded by a “tragic series of lost opportunities.” According to former Georgia representative and current Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, American “strategic and tactical interests” in the Middle East could not bear the loss of benefits from a better relationship with Iran. However, two questions lingered: what kind of “strategic and tactical” significance did Iran actually have and what could grassroots diplomacy do in an escalating conflict of hard rhetoric?”
Perhaps what Barr said is that the beneficiaries of the current policy would suffer a serious blow if detente with Iran were put in place. Which, of course, is true.
What puzzles, though, is why this truth isn’t discussed at all in a period when, it would seem, its time has come. The GOP has come up with an answer – a spurious, fraudulent answer – to the cost of gasoline. The answer is to destroy our coastlines. The Dems could easily, very easily, countercharge by a proposal that would lower the cost of gas immediately: lets have detente with Iran. Let’s have a peacetalker in the White House. Let’s give up publicly, once and for all, the American government’s often hinted at desire to overthrow the regime in Teheran. The Dems should be publicizing the effect of Bush’s increased sanctions on taking oil off the market right now. They should be burning into the American mind the fact that we are now paying about a dollar more per gallon for the Middle East policy of colonialism and aggression.
They aren’t. It is a no go zone. Silence. There are many reasons. One of them is the tie between rightwing Americans and rightwing Israelis. The Courier article floats the completely bogus story that Iran micromanaged the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. That of course is simply and completely a lie, from beginning to end. However, it is a comforting lie from the point of view of Israel’s leadership, since it blames another power for what was evident in that war: Israeli overstretch. The Israeli ambition to be the Middle Eastern superpower which deals with the U.S in the Middle East, sort of lead dog as the U.S. colonizes the area, met an obstacle: reality.
But the tie between rightwing parties is a result of the military industrial/petro complex, not, of course, the cause of it. Israel no more pulls the strings in our foreign policy than Saudi Arabia does. Stringpulling is the wrong metaphor. There are no puppets here. There is collusion between interested parties, quite a different thing.

LI also recommends Thomas Powers article in the current NYRB, also greeted with complete silence, about Iran.

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