FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bush and the Iran Deal

 

Bush administration officials quietly confirm that the U.S. will accept what international law confirms: Iran and every country signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty has the right to enrich uranium for civilian energy purposes. This, following Bush’s contention that this provision in the treaty constitutes a “loophole,” with the intimation that the treaty (which has some provisions already ignored by the U.S.) ought to be rewritten! This, following Vice President Cheney’s repeated declarations that the Iranians are “already sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas. Nobody can figure why they need nuclear as well to generate energy.”

The neocons have all along challenged Iran’s right to continue the nuclear program begun with U.S. support under the Shah. But now Condoleezza Rice is apparently specifically acknowledging that right. These are significant changes, which will, most likely, result in talks.

But even if Iran suspends enrichment—as it has before during negotiations with the Europeans, as a voluntary confidence-building measure, losing no face thereby—and even if Iranian delegates sit down at the table with Americans somewhat humbled by the mess in Iraq and persuaded reluctantly of the limits of U.S. power, there’s still a rocky road ahead. At any point the U.S. could announce that it has new evidence that contradicts Iran’s stated denial of a nuclear weapons program, terminate the talks—saying, “We’ve gone that last mile!”—and begin what would likely be either unilateral military moves against Iran, or ones conducted in tandem with Israel.

In a Fox interview just after the administration announced it would enter multilateral negotiations with Iran if it suspended its enrichment program, UN Ambassador John Bolton made it sound like a likely set-up. “The president’s made it very clear he wants to resolve the Iranian nuclear weapons program [sic] though peaceful and diplomatic means, but he’s also said that Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable,” he told his cherubic soul-mate, salivating warmonger Neil Cavuto.

Cavuto: But unacceptable means that if it keeps going on you’re going to do something about it . . .

Bolton: No option is taken off the table.

Cavuto: Military as well?

Bolton: Exactly.

Cavuto: Unilateral military action?

Bolton: Secretary Rice made that point . . . that’s why . . .

Cavuto: That we would act alone if we had to?

Bolton: That’s why he says no option is taken off the table. But it’s also why the president has reached out to [Russian] President Putin and other leaders in the past couple of days to say, “We’re making a significant step here” — that will be criticized by many of the president’s staunchest supporters here at home, but he’s taking this step to show strength and American leadership. He’s doing it to say “We gave Iran this last chance to show they are serious when they say ‘We don’t want nuclear weapons.'” This is “put up or shut up” time for Iran.

Among the “staunchest supporters” of Bush’s bellicose policies is of course the notorious former head of the Defense Policy Board who retains strong ties to the neocons surrounding Cheney who have dominated foreign policy to date. Addressing a sympathetic audience at the AIPAC conference in April Richard Perle opined that “The attack [on Iran] would be over before anybody knew what had happened,” adding that a dozen B-2 bombers could solve the problem overnight.

Bolton’s comment about criticism of the decision may hint at the disappointment felt by Cheney’s staff as well as Bolton himself, who’s been chomping at the bit to attack Syria and Iran. They may all resent Condi’s growing grip on foreign policy and the relative decline in the neocons’ power. The changing U.S. position causes some hope that the war plans already well advanced will remain on hold and maybe even be shelved, to the great relief of the top brass and most rational people. But as the diplomatic dance proceeds, one must avoid delusional optimism.

Perhaps there’s a relationship between the timing of the Iraqi and the Washington Post’s reporting of a strategic retreat from an attack on Iran. It allows the neocons to save some face, surely. Their first project, the imposition of Pax Americana on Afghanistan, has in this fifth year since the fall of Kabul produced anti-American rioting in the capital, reestablishment of Taliban control over the south, record opium harvests, and one U.S. GI death every four days. The second, the acquisition of control over Iraq, has failed miserably. While a college campus-sized “embassy”-the largest in the world—was rising in the heart of Baghdad (a fortress to shelter the world’s largest diplomatic mission from the wrath of a people enraged by the Abu Ghraibs, Hadithas, and daily abuses, humiliations and intolerable inconveniences caused by a criminal invasion), 1,400 civilians were killed by “sectarian violence” under the old regime in Baghdad. That’s just in Baghdad, and just in May alone! Failure, failure, failure.

And then, a message from Russia and China (and the world in general), delivered through Condi to Bush: We won’t play along with your game, designed to legitimate your planned attack on Iran. We won’t pass your resolution in the Security Council. Bush reportedly winced as his Secretary of State recommended the first U.S.-Iranian negotiations in 27 years. Hadn’t Cheney said, “We don’t negotiate with evil, we defeat it”?

GARY LEUPP is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu

 

 

 

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

March 20, 2019
T.J. Coles
Countdown to “Full Spectrum Dominance”
W. T. Whitney
Re-Targeting Cuba: Why Title III of U.S. Helms-Burton Act will be a Horror Show
Kenneth Surin
Ukania’s Great Privatization Heist
Howard Lisnoff
“Say It Ain’t So, Joe:” the Latest Neoliberal from the War and Wall Street Party
Walter Clemens
Jailed Birds of a Feather May Sing Together
George Ochenski
Failing Students on Climate Change
Cesar Chelala
The Sweet Smell of Madeleine
Binoy Kampmark
Global Kids Strike
Nicky Reid
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: Requiem for a Fictional Party
Elliot Sperber
Empedocles and You and Me 
March 19, 2019
Paul Street
Socialism Curiously Trumps Fascism in U.S. Political Threat Reporting
Jonah Raskin
Guy Standing on Anxiety, Anger and Alienation: an Interview About “The Precariat”
Patrick Cockburn
The Brutal Legacy of Bloody Sunday is a Powerful Warning to Those Hoping to Save Brexit
Robert Fisk
Turning Algeria Into a Necrocracy
John Steppling
Day of Wrath
Robin Philpot
Truth, Freedom and Peace Will Prevail in Rwanda
Victor Grossman
Women Marchers and Absentees
Binoy Kampmark
The Dangers of Values: Brenton Tarrant, Fraser Anning and the Christchurch Shootings
Jeff Sher
Let Big Pharma Build the Wall
Jimmy Centeno
Venezuela Beneath the Skin of Imperialism
Jeffrey Sommers – Christopher Fons
Scott Walker’s Failure, Progressive Wisconsin’s Win: Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic Party Convention
Steve Early
Time for Change at NewsGuild?
March 18, 2019
Scott Poynting
Terrorism Has No Religion
Ipek S. Burnett
Black Lives on Trial
John Feffer
The World’s Most Dangerous Divide
Paul Cochrane
On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle
Dean Baker
The Fed and the 3.8 Percent Unemployment Rate
Thomas Knapp
Social Media Companies “Struggle” to Help Censors Keep us in the Dark
Binoy Kampmark
Death in New Zealand: The Christchurch Shootings
Mark Weisbrot
The Reality Behind Trump’s Venezuela Regime Change Coalition
Weekend Edition
March 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Is Ilhan Omar Wrong…About Anything?
Kenn Orphan
Grieving in the Anthropocene
Jeffrey Kaye
On the Death of Guantanamo Detainee 10028
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
In Salinas, Puerto Rico, Vulnerable Americans Are Still Trapped in the Ruins Left by Hurricane Maria
Ben Debney
Christchurch, the White Victim Complex and Savage Capitalism
Eric Draitser
Did Dallas Police and Local Media Collude to Cover Up Terrorist Threats against Journalist Barrett Brown?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Straighten Up and Fly Right
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s $34 Trillion Deficit and Debt Bomb
David Rosen
America’s Puppet: Meet Juan Guaidó
Jason Hirthler
Annexing the Stars: Walcott, Rhodes, and Venezuela
Samantha M. - Angelica Perkins
Our Green New Deal
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s Nightmare Budget
Steven Colatrella
The 18th Brumaire of Just About Everybody: the Rise of Authoritarian Strongmen and How to Prevent and Reverse It
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Riding the Wild Bull of Nuclear Power
Michael K. Smith
Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail