Just as the "world powers" – as they’re eerily referred to in news accounts – were rejecting Tehran’s proposal to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent in exchange for lifting the draconian sanctions against Iran, an American cargo ship sent out a distress call near the Strait of Hormuz: pirates were attacking them.
Iranian naval vessels in the area responded immediately, chasing off the pirates – but giving them credit for doing so is apparently beyond the ken of the Western media. Iranian media reports on the incident are being disputed by the Israel lobby’s "Committee for Accuracy in Media" (CAMERA), which disdained the very idea that those Ey-vil Eye-ranians would ever engage in humanitarian behavior. They cite a spokesman for the Maersk Line, the company that owns the ship, attributing the repulsion of the pirate attack to their own security guards: Maersk isn’t commenting further, pending a "debriefing" on the incident.
CAMERA is constantly trolling the media, ever-vigilant for anything that may hurt Israel’s perceived interests. Their foreign overseer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been agitating for a US strike against Iran: ergo, anything good the Iranians have done didn’t really happen.
No sooner was the incident reported, then the CAMERA missive went out to every major media outlet, and the party line was soon established: the New York Times blog ran a story headlined "Iranians Take Credit for Thwarting Pirate Attack on U.S.-Flagged Vessel."
There’s just one problem with CAMERA’s sour grapes: the US government has admitted the Iranians played a significant role in saving the ship from attack. CNN cited a US State Department spokesman as saying "’We were aware of the incident yesterday. The situation was successfully deescalated by the ship’s crew and the Iranian crew.’"
In the world as CAMERA sees it, the Iranians aren’t capable of simple humanitarian gestures: they’re inhuman monsters one might bomb without a second thought. The CAMERA crew lives in a world peopled by caricatures, rather than human beings, where the Forces of Light (represented, of course, by Israel and its Western
vassals allies) are eternally arrayed against the Forces of Darkness (Iran, and whatever Middle Eastern country is deemed an "existential threat" to Israel that week).
The American media are frightened to death of CAMERA, which wields inordinate influence on news coverage in this country – a situation mirrored at the governmental level, where the Israel lobby exercises a virtual veto over US policy in the Middle East. We see this in the "world powers" proposal to Tehran, which mandates an end to uranium enrichment in return for – practically nothing. The Iranians were offered medical isotopes, nuclear safety cooperation, and spare parts for civilian airliners – but the sanctions are staying no matter what the Iranians do.
What this tells us – and the Iranians – is clear enough: Washington isn’t interested in solving the alleged problem of Tehran’s nuclear program, which the Iranians say is for peaceful purposes only. What they want is regime change in Iran, and that is precisely what the sanctions – which exclude Iran from the international banking system, and embargo Iranian oil – are meant to achieve.
Our own intelligence community has told us – with "high confidence" – the Iranians gave up their nuclear weapons program in 2003, and never restarted it. The Supreme Ayatollah, Iran’s chief religious figure, has declared nuclear weapons are a sin against God, and disavowed any effort to build them. In spite of a number of Israeli-generated alarums – including outright forgeries and recycled pre-2003 materials – there is not a single iota of clear evidence Iran is engaged in making nuclear weapons or has any desire to do so.
That isn’t good enough for the "world powers," however – especially including the one not represented at the talks, which is Israel. Washington, London, and Tel Aviv have already passed a death sentence on the Iranians, and all that remains is to trump up a sufficient number of charges before pulling the switch. In the kangaroo court of the "world powers," Tehran is guilty and logically cannot prove their innocence. After all, since the Iranians have the knowledge, isn’t it just a matter of time before they have the means – how can they prove they won’t ever build nukes, even if they aren’t doing so now?
For the Iranians, the negotiations are a Kafkaesque trap: given these conditions, there is no way for them to assuage the suspicions of the West.
Even if President Obama wanted to, it would be almost impossible for his administration to come to an agreement with the Iranians on this issue in a presidential election year. The big campaign money is vehemently pro-Israel, and so is the core leadership of the Democratic party. Being "pro-Israel," in this context, doesn’t merely mean wishing the Jewish state well, or even sending billions in "aid" money at a time when our budget deficit is measured in the trillions. It means using US military forces to fight Israel’s wars. It means spilling American – and Iranian – blood. It means a war that will spread throughout the Middle East, send oil prices skyrocketing, and send the global economy – already reeling from instability – hurtling into the abyss of a worldwide depression.
Oh, but don’t worry: as long as the Israelis are happy, then so are we.
Given the stance of the "world powers," the Iranian nuclear "crisis" is bound to result in war: the United States is merely biding its time, waiting for the opportunity to strike. These negotiations are meant to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security, as well as assuage liberals in the West who vaguely remember the President’s campaign pledge – last time around – to personally meet with Iranian leaders and engage in a "dialogue." What a load of horse pucky that turned out to be!
We are back to my pet theory of "libertarian realism," an analytical framework which shows how foreign policy is made – one that focuses on the centrality of domestic political concerns rather than the reality on the ground in Iran (or anywhere outside the United States, for that matter). Barack Obama, like all politicians, wants power, and now that he’s in office he intends to retain it – at any price. If that means war with Iran, well then so be it.
It’s only a matter of time. These negotiations are but the prelude to the main event: get ready for "shock and awe" over Tehran. It may not come tomorrow, or the day after, but it is coming, of that we can be as sure as we are of anything in this world.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
Perhaps you’ve noticed our spring fundraising drive is in full swing – and that we’ve raised $31,000 in matching funds. There’s just one hitch: we have to raise the equivalent from our readers and grassroots supporters before we get a penny of it.
The War Party is also in full swing these days – perhaps you’ve noticed that, too. They are itching to attack Iran, and have even initiated a series of phony "negotiations," in the course of which they are issuing their non-negotiable demands, squeezing the Iranians with draconian sanctions until they comply. War propaganda is flooding the airwaves and the more Establishment-oriented sectors of the internet: all the Very Serious People are parroting the same party line. The Iranians, we are told, represent a mortal danger to the West – why, they’ve even erected a "missile defense" system over Europe that is supposedly guarding Prague against the non-existent danger of an Iranian missile attack. It’s just a coincidence, of course, that our military-industrial complex is reaping enormous profits from this "defense" boondoggle.
War is where the money is – in peace, not so much. The War Party has a virtually bottomless treasury with which to buy all the influence and propaganda it wants or needs: we here at Antiwar.com, on the other hand, live hand-to-mouth. But that’s okay, because we don’t need billions to counteract their clumsy and unconvincing propaganda: no normal person believes them, anyway. It’s just inside the Washington Beltway that they wield a decisive influence. And that is precisely their Achilles heel: we have the war-weary public on our side. But we can’t reach them without your help – and with the American ambassador to Israel assuring the Israelis that our war plans are in place and ready to launch, we need your help now more than ever.
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