FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rouhani at the UN

by PEPE ESCOBAR

He came. He listened. And he surfed.

“I listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama today at the General Assembly… [I’m] hoping that they will refrain from following the short-sighted interests of warmongering pressure groups and we can arrive at a framework to managing our differences.”

Then he outlined what has always been the official Iranian position: “Talks can happen; equal footing and mutual respect should govern the talks.”

Then he addressed the expectation (actually, the world’s): “Of course, we expect to hear a consistent voice from Washington. The dominant voice in recent years has been for a military option.” 

But now he had another idea. So he sets the stage for the punch line: It’s WAVE time. WAVE as in World Against Violence and Extremism. Not in Farsi, lost in translation; in English.

“I propose as a starting step… I invite all states… to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction … we should start thinking about a coalition for peace all across the globe instead of the ineffective coalitions for war.”

So the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has just invited the whole planet to join the WAVE. How come no “coalition of the willing” leader ever thought about that?

Talk about a rockin’ entrance on the world stage (Here’s the full Rouhani speech, in English, which deserves careful reading). Rouhani was measured and composed – but forceful enough to debunk the “imaginary Iranian threat propaganda”, stress the horrible effects of sanctions, and still remain hopeful that the 34-year Wall of Mistrust between Washington and Tehran can be torn down.

Obama, to his credit, had tried hard not to be upstaged. It took no less than 60 years for an American president to finally admit Washington had a hand in overthrowing the democratically elected Mossadegh government in 1953 (although the ghost-written formulation in his speech was extremely sloppy).

Obama officially recognized the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa against nuclear weapons (imagine the George W Bush administration doing it). And he said on the record that Washington is not seeking regime change in Tehran – thus speeding up former vice president Dick Cheney’s next heart attack. Obama even mentioned the key words “mutual respect”.

As for the cinematic coup de grace – the “casual” meeting or handshake in the corridors of the UN – it could never have happened so soon. Both Rouhani and Obama are under enormous pressure from hawks on both sides, and so far there’s nothing substantial on the table.

Yet even while trying to send all the right signals to Tehran, Obama simply could not resist the urge: “I believe America is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all.”

The corollary: he kept plugging for a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the bombing of Damascus if anything goes wrong with the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament. And this for the “interests of all” – as in Israel and the House of Saud.

The overwhelming majority of the real world, though, is busy reminding the US president that America is not exceptional at all, from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in the case of secrets whistle-blower Edward Snowden and the Syria tragedy to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who in a stinging speechqualified NSA spying as an “affront”. It’s not by accident that all the original four BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India and China, have been spied to kingdom come.

Will WAVE drown the hawks?

After the UN catharsis, the stage is now set for the real heavy work to start this Thursday, when US Secretary of State John “Assad is like Hitler” Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the cadre of the multilateral P-5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

The key points of the road map ahead are clear. Total clarification of details regarding Iran’s rightful peaceful nuclear program should proceed with dismantling of sanctions. Washington’s nasty financial blockade of Iran’s oil sales is not working; no one, from China to India and beyond, will stop buying Iranian energy because the US says so. And Iran should also be reinstated in the global bank exchange mechanism.

Here, Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, makes an extremely important point. Timing – by a series of circumstances – may be perfect, but the window of opportunity is not going to last very long.

It all comes back to the same drama; will Obama and his team have enough balls to stare down the Israel lobby, the House of Saud, the neo-cons and assorted armchair warmongers across the Beltway? If not, the War Party victory will mirror the anti-Rouhani hardline victory in Tehran – with devastating consequences.

So yes, the stakes could not have been higher. What the world needs now, is WAVE after WAVE after WAVE.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com

This column originally appeared on Asia Times.

 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).  His latest book is Empire of ChaosHe may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obama-care
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
stclair
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail