Thursday, December 2, 2010

International chatter without collaborative decisions

By Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star, December 2, 2010
The most comprehensive leaks (from Wikileaks) are about Iran, and they confirm the standard American narrative: Iran is terrible and its nukes pose “an existentialist threat” to Israel and to “moderate” Arab states.

Saudi King Abdullah Saudi wants the U.S. to “cut off the head of the snake.” Similar opinions are held by (the pro-American) leaders of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Egypt.
Abdullah has bowed to American pressure to promise China a guaranteed source of energy if Beijing would join in pressuring Iran.
One UAE leader says, “Iran is establishing ‘emirates’ across the Muslim world, including south Lebanon and Gaza, sleeper ‘emirates’ in Kuwait, Bahrain and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and the mother of all ‘emirates’ in southern Iraq, and now in Yemen.”
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince says “Ahmadinejad is Hitler” and that if air strikes won’t do the job in Iran, ground troops should be sent in.
Gary Sick, Iran expert at Columbia University, writes:
“The dirty little secret that no war hawk wants to admit is that you can’t eliminate Iran’s nuclear capacity simply by bombing. To really wipe out the capability, you’d have to go in on the ground — just as the United States had to do with Iraq. The difference would be that you’d have to field perhaps a million soldiers . . . Conscription anyone?”
In light of this "dirty little secret" how can anyone really think that the U.S. would even contemplate another ground war against Iran? And Iran's best thinkers and planners must already know this.
And if Israel thinks it can "cut the head off the snake" with its bombing of Iran, perhaps this might also be a sleight of mind.
The more the politicians talk, and the more people actually listen to their rhetoric, the more likely we will all be seduced into thinking that there really are answers, political answers, military answers, collaborative answers to the domestic and international problems we all face, when just perhaps, we might be wrong in that seduction.
  • If no one really knows or is prepared to act to reign in Korea, including China, and
  • if no one is really prepared to force Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, or is really prepared to send in 1 million soldiers on the ground, and
  • if Iran really is 'Hitler' establishing emirates across the Muslim world 
  • if China, India and America are really not prepared to sign onto a climate change and global warming reduction treaty, and
  • if the hungry of the world continue to starve while the rest of us continue to eat more, and more healthy food and
  • if the American congress refuses to approve the START treaty, and that sets off another nuclear arms race and
  • if....
Then, is it true that we can hope for only micro-movements on any or all of the pressing problems because there is no collective and collaborative will or mechanism for the achievement of mutually beneficial and mutually agreed, and mutually monitored decisions to bring the world community back from its several brinks?
And then, are we forced into a position where we have to trust that no spark will be set off that will ignite more than we expected and more than we are collectively capable of extinguishing?
Our collective cultural mind-set seems to be set on the day-to-day necessities of life, and, if the numbers are correct and likely to be repeated in our low voter turnout, then is it democracy that might be experiencing its own atrophy?
Rogue states and even more rogue leaders of those states do not wish to negotiate except perhaps to make deals with their rogue counterparts, any more than Republican leadership does not wish to negotiate with the U.S. President. And so a kind of stalemate fossilizes the process of healthy governance, within the U.S. and potentially at the U.N. and other collaborative groups of nations.
And the political chatter carries on to feed the appetites of those political junkies, who, even though we may be interested are increasingly rendered impotent to make a difference in this ironic "glacial" political climate, at the same time we make concrete plans for a rise in sea levels of from 5-15 feet as a potential result of that same global warming and climate change that we are doing very little to prevent.
And we thought Alice in Wonderland was topsy-turvy? It has nothing on the real topsy-turvy!

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