15 September 2007

Home is where you hang your head

I rarely comment in here on the specific situations in Iraq or Afghanistan, or around Iran, nor the more general bowdlerisations of truth and justice piled up anywhere you care to look by international politics.

Why not? Because there is too much of it, perhaps. More important, my voice is not one of those which is likely, through this medium, to make one iota of difference. Sometimes (no, often) I feel guilty about this ... especially when I read the continuous pressure from other people (though even Dr C expresses discouragement today) ... but, I carry on applying my finite energies in ways which are more (if not very) likely to have some sort of effect: number crunching, bending the ears of specific contacts, practical support for initiatives which can use my skills, contributions to reports, etc. To do otherwise is to wear myself out and further reduce my effectiveness.

Sometimes, nevertheless, I feel the need to generate useless noise, just to make myself feel better.

So: I watch, appalled, as the US manipulates events towards a military "solution" to what it sees as the "Iran problem". And the Iran problem is not, let us be clear, the question of Iranian nuclear weapons. Pushing Iran up the path towards nuclear capacity is part of the perceived solution: because in the time bracket between convincing the world that usable Iranian nuclear weapons will soon exist and the actual production of such weapons is the fig leaf to cover a strike at Iran itself.

The US has never forgiven Iran for throwing out the Shah and SAVAK. That is what this is about. (Incidentally, what followed the eviction of the Shah was just as bad ... but that was "our" fault as well - if a western supported SAVAK hadn't wiped out every reasonable alternative, the draconian theocracy of Khomeini et alia would never have happened.)

I hold no brief for the state of Isra'el, but it is being manipulated as much as Iran in the present case. Isra'eli politicians have always known that their own nuclear capability is useful only as long as it remains a threat; they have no wish to shoot their wad. They may well be willing to do as they did against Iraq's Tammuz 1 (aka Osirak/ Osiraq) reactor at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center in June 1981, but it seems that the US is asking far more than that. What the US wants is a total crippling not only of the Iranian nuclear research program but of the Iranian regime.

And the UK, however much it doesn't want to be part of this, and doesn't want it to happen, is doing precious little to stop it. Ditto the EU. I heard a US official say recently: "Democracy isn't really an issue; nor is human rights; the issue is whether a regime does or doesn't do as we want it to. If the same regime does as its told and also happens to be good to its citizens, well, I suppose that's nice; but it's not an issue." That sums up most western foreign policies over my lifetime.

I hang my head in shame.

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