Friday, March 2, 2007
Sitting Down to Talk, or Musical Chairs?
Suddenly the U.S. government is willing to sit down and talk with Iran and Syria. Add to that the apparent new willingness to act reasonably toward North Korea (as long as North Korea satisfies U.S. demands, of course), and one has to ask what’s going on.
Has “The Decider” or his snarling Iago VP experienced an epiphany? Has a present-day Saul of Tarsus, traveling on the road to Damascus with the intention of doing as much damage there as possible, been struck by a blinding light and converted to the pursuit of peace?
Or, even more improbably, has Israel undergone some similar miraculous change and been cured of the notion that the Jewish state can’t survive without the destruction of all the other states in the region?
Common sense says the answers to those questions is “No.” Still, why the apparent about-face from saber rattling and almost daily threats by the U.S. and Israel to bomb Iran, to a willingness to sit down and talk?
I recently asked whether the public threats against Iran could be more psychological warfare than expressions of actual intent to attack in the immediate future. We now need to look at the other side of the coin: Does the willingness to have discussions with two neighbors of Iraq whose previous offers of talks and help have been rudely brushed aside mean that there really is a change of U.S./Israeli policy (the two have been inseparable and indistinguishable to date), or is this new conversion on the roads to Damascus and Tehran a mere feint?
One can surmise that a brief show of willingness by the Bush gang to engage in talks with Syria and Iran is empty propaganda designed to place the U.S. on higher moral ground while Israel bombs Iran with U.S. backing. Or it could be a pretense of diplomacy to enable the U.S. to say in the future, after the U.S. itself attacks Iran, “Well, you can’t say we didn’t try talking first.” The latter possibility is supported by the opinion I recently expressed that the Bush “surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq may be primarily in preparation for an American attack on Iran.
A new and incredibly better world would dawn if the U.S. broke free and refused any longer to play Zionism’s game of domination and destruction, but it will take more than contradictory public statements by the Bush administration’s seasoned liars to persuade the world that anything has really changed. At the very least, it’s safe for Bush to make a phony show of willingness to talk when so many ways to sabotage the proceedings are readily at hand.
I liken Washington’s “change of heart” to the wolf donning the nightgown of Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother, but the New York Times called the “U.S. overtures to foes”* “new respect for pragmatism.”
Time will tell whether it’s true pragmatism or a deception. I would say that an article which credits American Secretary of State Rice with personally originating and initiating important foreign policy strategies shows that the NYT is out of touch with reality in all respects. Watching the Bush administration’s performance is like watching a magician’s stage show: If it ever looks real, you need to remind yourself that it’s all illusion.
*Why is the word “foes” applied to countries which have never so much as disturbed a grain of sand on an American beach?
Some views from other countries:
‘Washington has resisted a regional solution to the debacle the US created in Iraq for far too long, but better now than never.’
‘The US meeting with Syria and Iran may be the lifeboat that gets the US out of Iraq with some success and some moral gains.’
Iran, Voice of the Islamic Republic
‘Without a doubt, the invitation by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iran and Syria to attend an international conference on Iraqi security could be a starting point for a change of American attitude to Iran and an indication of acceptance by the Bush administration of the reality of the Islamic Republic... Although Iran is quite willing to relieve the pains of the Iraqi Muslims one way or another, and to that end may attend the conference, the real intentions of the American administration remain suspicious.’
‘Western media highlighted Iranian agreement to attend the conference in an attempt to include it on the list of US achievements. The reality differs from what the Americans would like the world to believe. Iran's participation is not out of the desire to talk to Washington or out of the hope of correcting a disastrous military mentality. Iran, with this decision, has proved its good intentions towards Iraq's interests, freedom and independence and territorial integrity.‘