Tuesday, September 29, 2009

(Update - Oct. 3, 2009)

Note: Some items contained herein may contain additional formatting, emphasis and hotlinks for enhanced context and perspective  ~ Owen 



Obama, Nuclear Arms Reduction, and the Immense Power of the Israel Lobby


By Stephen Sniegoski


As the US berates Iran for its nuclear program—-though there is no substantial proof that Iran even intends to develop nuclear weapons—the United States intention-ally overlooks Israel’s existing nuclear arsenal so that it will remain free from international inspection.  As an article in the “Washington Times” by Eli Lake (October 2)  points out,  Obama has apparently pledged to Israel that the US will continue this  “head-in-the-sand” approach towards Israel’s nuclear arsenal despite his  pontificating about the need for a nuclear-free world.


As Lake’s article indicates, this secret agreement between the US and Israel was initially made in 1969, and Israel successfully sought to have Obama reiterate it.  Obama has, in fact, put this agreement on much firmer ground since no formal record of such a previous agreement actually exists.  


Undoubtedly, such a secret agreement makes a mockery of Obama’s idealistic talk of a nuclear-free world as well as his call for government transparency.  It is quite reminiscent of the idealistic preaching of the Allies in the World War I period about a just peace based upon national self-determination and “open treaties openly arrived at” while at the same time having secret treaties to enable the victors to carve up the spoils of war among themselves.  When revealed, this hypocrisy caused popular disillusionment with the post-war peace settlement and helped pave the way for World War II.  


Is Obama simply a hypocrite, with his anti-nuclear arms preaching being only empty rhetoric?  The nations of the world can see the obvious double standard, making any real international agreement impossible.  However, even if Obama were totally indifferent to improving the world, which I don’t think is the case, he would derive personal benefits (e.g., international acclaim)  if his nuclear arms reductions proposals achieved some type of implementation. 


Why does Obama, the head of the most powerful country in the world, allow the parochial interests of a small foreign country, Israel, to stand in the way of his global agenda for the reduction of nuclear armaments?    As one Senate staffer told the author of the “Washington Times” article:  “the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel's nuclear program.”  Let’s emphasize and then analyze those key words: POLITICALLY HE HAD NO CHOICE.”


The Senate staffer (and it should be noted that Senate staff make their living by understanding political reality) presented this lack of choice as an objective fact, not a subjective fear on Obama’s part.  It is not simply that Obama fears the power of Israel and the Israel lobby; rather, according to the Senate staffer, if Obama went against the interests of Israel on the nuclear issue, the Israel lobby would wreck his presidency and prevent his re-election.  This would explain why Obama did not even dare to try to get the Israeli government to make any compromise on its position of ambiguity regarding nuclear weapons, such as declaring itself a member of the nuclear club and allowing inspections. 


While the idea of a powerful Israel lobby is vociferously denied by the mainstream and is often excoriated as an example of “anti-Semitism,” the power of the Israel lobby over the president of the United States in this case underscores the very immensity its political influence .  Of course, the Israel lobby is so powerful that every significant mainstream figure who wishes to remain in an august position must never publicize its real power.   


This is not to say that the power of the Israel lobby is unlimited. Israel and the Israel lobby have not yet demonstrated the power to directly force the United States into a war on Iran.  And the war on Iraq required  skillful propaganda manipulation by the neo-conservatives who were strategically ensconced within  the Bush administration.  Israel and its lobby’s inability so far  to pressure the United States to attack Iran is largely due to resistance from the old foreign policy establishment and the military, along with the general realization of the likely catastrophic consequences of such military action.  


However, Israel and its lobby have been able to get the US to pursue policies that bring the US close to war, and without that pressure the relations between the US and Iran would be far more tranquil.  (See, for example, the CFR-sponsored report “Iran: Time for a New Approach,” 2004, discussed on p. 259 of “The Transparent Cabal”)


Unless greater resistance to the Israel lobby is demonstrated by politicians, especially the president, it is quite likely that the United States will eventually drift into  war with Iran .  And effective resistance to the Israel lobby would require politicians to take positions that could lead to their political destruction.   Perhaps this is not possible





(For the background of the neoconservatives’ effort to push the US into war on Iran, see my book  “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel”)


Website:  Transparent Cabal | Amazon: Transparent Cabal


My recent article “Afghanistan: Back Door to War on Iran” has been edited and is posted HERE .


~Stephen Sniegoski








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Our Intelligence, and Theirs

By Justin Raimondo

September 29, 2009





“Iran is challenging both the U.S. and Israel in a region of the world that we and our allies have long dominated. If they are allowed to get away with it, other “rogue” nations will get ideas, and then there’s no stopping the unraveling of the “world order” we have worked so long and hard to maintain. We may bankrupt ourselves in the process, drive the price of oil up to $200 a barrel, and start World War III – but confront them we will, of that you can rest assured. It’s only a matter of time. The pro-war ads have already begun, and the “liberalmedia is lining up behind its commander in chief. All the actors are in their places, and now the drama – an all-too-familiar drama – begins. “Weapons of mass destruction," phony intelligence, a compliant media: all the ingredients are there. All that’s needed is a spark that sets off the conflagration…”


Read more by Justin Raimondo


September ‘Surprise’ – September 27th, 2009

Who is Barack Obama? – September 24th, 2009

McChrystal’s Conundrum – September 22nd, 2009

Irving Kristol, RIP – September 20th, 2009

The Worms in the Apple – September 17th, 2009






Poll: Vast Majority of Pakistanis – 80%- Oppose Assisting So-Called US “Terror” Fight







“Eighty percent of people surveyed said ‘no’ when asked if Pakistan should assist the U.S. in the ‘war on terror,’ according to the poll by the International Republican Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization. That response surged 19 percentage points from 61 percent when Pakistanis were asked the same question in March. …The poll said 76 percent of respondents also opposed Pakistan's helping the United States with its missile attacks against extremists. Washington rarely acknowledges that it is behind the strikes, carried out by unmanned drones, and Islamabad publicly protests them. But it is believed that the Pakistani government quietly cooperates with the campaign.”








Top Things You Think You Know About Iran That Are Not True


By Juan Cole – Informed Comment

October 1, 2009


Original Storylink


Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the US, other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues. Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.

Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."

Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?

Actuality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.

Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.

Actuality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to US signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the UK intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.

Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.

Actuality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.

Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutually assured destruction just would not work with them?

Actuality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The US elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.






New Doubt Cast on U.S. Claim Qom Plant is Illicit

Analysis by Gareth Porter*

IPS News Service

October 2, 2009


Original Storylink


WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (IPS) - An Iranian assertion that construction on its second enrichment facility began only last year and further analysis of satellite photos of the site have cast fresh doubts on the Barack Obama administration's charge that the construction of the plant near Qom involved a covert decision to violate Iran's obligations to report immediately to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on any decision to build a new facility. …At a Sep. 25 briefing on the site, senior administration officials refused to provide any specific information to back up the claim that construction had begun before the March 2007 Iranian withdrawal from an agreement requiring that it inform the IAEA immediately of any decision to build a nuclear facility. …Meanwhile, a new photo analysis by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) of the Qom site in 2004 and 2005 suggests it was not dedicated to building a uranium enrichment facility at that time. (More…)







Iran's Nuclear Program: Iran Truthful, in Treaty Compliance; US/Israel Lying, in Treaty Violation


By Carl Herman

LA County Nonpartisan Examiner

September 29, 2009


Original Storylink






Enough Rope Yet?


By Gordon Prather

September 25, 2009



Before President Obama persuaded the UN Security Council to adopt his Resolution 1887, which prominently notes that "enjoyment of the benefits of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons by a State Party can be assured only by its compliance with the obligations thereunder," someone should have reminded him of an old American proverb that says "Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself."


Indeed, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is alleged to have said something to that effect about those whom modern-day Russians apparently recognize to be the ghost-writers of the draft UNSCR 1887 – the proponents and enablers of the American Hegemony.


You see, Bonkers Bolton’s successors and acolytes in the Obama-Biden administration had attempted to get Iran singled out by name as an example of a State not in compliance with its NPT "obligations" – and hence, ineligible to enjoy the benefits of the peaceful use of atomic energy guaranteed them by the NPT – but the Russians and Chinese objected.

Why did they object?


Because as they – and the vast majority of the heads of state of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization know, it is the United States which for decades has been in outrageous non-compliance with its NPT obligations.


In particular, Iran’s principal NPT obligation is to not "manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons," and to conclude a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), covering certain NPT-proscribed "nuclear materials" in Iran and all activities involving their chemical or physical transformation, "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons."


As a result of exhaustive on-the-ground inspections and on-site monitoring of Iranian Safeguarded activities, IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei continues to "verify" the non-diversion of all Iranian NPT-proscribed materials.


Furthermore, ElBaradei has – pursuant to requests made of him in several of the UN Security Council Resolutions cited in UNSCR 1887 – also conducted exhaustive inspections of Iran’s import records, going back several decades, as well as inspections of certain military and commercial sites, alleged to have been somehow connected to an attempt by Iran to "manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons." As of this writing, ElBaradei has been unable to find any evidence of any such attempt.


In other words, according to USCR 1887, Iran continues to be assured of receiving all benefits available without discrimination to NPT-signatories in good standing.


On the other hand, the principal obligation undertaken by the United States under the NPT is to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament."


Furthermore, the U.S. has undertaken to "cooperate" with "other States" in contributing to the "further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapons States Party to the Treaty," such as Iran, for example, and "without discrimination."


Clinton-Gore and Bush-Cheney – aided and abetted by The Best Congress Money Can Buy – have done nothing but "discriminate" against Iran in blatant violation of the NPT, the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter, itself.


Initially claiming that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program, undetected by the IAEA, they have in recent years simply claimed that Iran’s IAEA-Safeguarded program, in and of itself, constitutes "a threat to the peace of the region" and must be suspended, indefinitely. Or else.


Now, surely Obama is not as dumb as Dubya. Surely he realizes what we have been doing to Iran for the past twenty years because it insists on exercising its inalienable rights under the NPT and the IAEA Statute and the UN Charter is not only illegal but immoral.


According to a Newsweek "Web Exclusive" report last week, “U.S. intelligence agencies” have just informed “the White House” that the status of the Iranian alleged program to develop a nuclear bomb has not changed since their formal National Intelligence Estimate of 2007. That NIE stated – with “high confidence” – that Iran “halted," in the fall of 2003, whatever program it was alleged to have had, and stated – with “moderate confidence” – that Iran had made no attempt to resurrect it.


Yet, Obama attempted to get the UN Security Council to essentially reprise all the past injustices committed by the Council against Iran at the instigation of Bonkers Bolton.

But, it should be noted, there are a number of new "calls" and "affirmations" in UNSCR 1887 regarding nuclear weapons that are not going to make certain other states, such as India and Israel, very happy.


In particular, UNSCR 1887 "welcomes and supports" steps taken to conclude "nuclear-weapons-free zone" treaties and "calls" upon all states to accede to the NPT "as non-nuclear-weapons States."


So, contrary to what you’ve been told, the real story was not at the Security Council, but at the UN General Assembly, where Iranian and Libyan et al heads of state were reiterating certain findings and recommendations made this past July by the Presidents and Heads of State of Members of the Non-Aligned Movement, about necessary changes that need to be made, immediately, in the way the Security Council is organized and "does business." In particular;


"The Heads of State and Government reiterated the role of the General Assembly in the maintenance of international peace and security and expressed grave concern at instances wherein the Security Council fails to address cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or ceasefire between parties, in fulfilment of its primary responsibility in this regard;


"The Heads of State and Government emphasized that in such instances where the Security Council has not fulfilled its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly should take appropriate measures in accordance with the Charter to address the issue."




"In recent years, the Security Council has been too quick to threaten or authorise enforcement action in some cases while being silent and inactive in others. Furthermore, the Council has been increasingly resorting to Chapter VII of the Charter as an umbrella for addressing issues that do not necessarily pose an immediate threat to international peace and security. A careful review of these trends indicates that the Council could have opted for alternative provisions to respond more appropriately to particular cases.


"Instead of excessive and quick use of Chapter VII, efforts should be made to fully utilize the provisions of Chapters VI and VIII for the pacific settlement of disputes. Chapter VII should be invoked, as intended, as a measure of last resort. Unfortunately, provisions of Articles 41 and 42 in some cases have been too quickly resorted to while the other options had not been fully exhausted;


"The Security Council-imposed sanctions remain an issue of serious concern to Non-Aligned Countries. In accordance with the UN Charter, sanctions should be considered to be imposed only after all means of peaceful settlement of disputes under Chapter VI of the Charter have been exhausted and a thorough consideration undertaken of the short-term and long-term effects of such sanctions.


"Sanctions are a blunt instrument, the use of which raises fundamental ethical questions of whether sufferings inflicted on vulnerable groups in the target country are legitimate means of exerting pressure. The objectives of sanctions are not to punish or otherwise exact retribution on the populace. In this regard, the objectives of sanctions regimes should be clearly defined, and that its imposition should be for a specified timeframe and be based on tenable legal grounds, and that it should be lifted as soon as the objectives are achieved. The conditions demanded of the State or party on which sanctions are imposed should be clearly defined and subject to periodic review.


"Sanctions should be imposed only when there exists a threat to international peace and security or an act of aggression, in accordance with the Charter, and that it is not applicable "preventively" in instances of mere violation of international law, norms or standards."


So, perhaps the reason Russia and China allowed a resolution that mostly recalls and affirms past Security Council actions (and inactions) to pass, is to emphasize to the UN General Assembly in session the need to make, immediately, drastic changes in the way the Security Council is organized and "does business."


Have the proponents and enablers of the American Hegemony finally been given enough rope?


Stay tuned.


Physicist James Gordon Prather [send him mail] has served as a policy-implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. – ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Gordon Prather Archives







Empathy for ‘Adversaries’


By Ivan Eland

September 29, 2009


Empathy is a term that connotes the touchy-feely notion of getting in touch with someone else’s feelings or perspective. That’s what psychotherapists and social workers do. It obviously has no place in the hard-knocks world of foreign affairs and national security. Or does it?


In world history, the best generals are experts in empathy. They know that to get the advantage, you have to put yourself in your adversary’s shoes, look at things from that perceived perspective, and try to predict what he or she would do under specific circumstances.


So why does the United States have trouble exhibiting empathy? It’s probably because the United States has been the globe’s most powerful nation since 1945 and is the most dominant military power in world history, both absolutely and relative to its contemporaries. In other words, empires don’t need empathy. Empathy is for sissies or, at least, lesser nations.


In reality, a lack of empathy toward potential adversaries is as dangerous for a superpower as it is for any other country. The United States found that out during Vietnam, but hasn’t seemed to retain the lesson very well. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were outnumbered 5 to 1 by the Americans alone (excluding the South Vietnamese), but they fought tenaciously because they were fighting to reunite their divided nation. They regarded the U.S. as reneging on an implicit pledge to have elections in a reunited Vietnam, which the communist Ho Chi Minh would have won. U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson had the vague idea that communist dominos had to be stopped, feared he would get involved in an unwinnable quagmire, but nonetheless prosecuted the war anyway to avoid being accused by the Republican right-wing of "losing Vietnam," as Harry Truman was accused of "losing China." But LBJ only escalated the war after his Great Society domestic agenda had passed. (Any parallels to Barack Obama’s current situation in Afghanistan are purely coincidental.)


LBJ has been criticized for not letting the U.S. military win the war – in other words, putting too many restrictions on its operations. Yet LBJ’s micro-management of the military made more sense when his real goals are unearthed. He did not believe the war was winnable; he merely wanted to put military pressure on the North Vietnamese to get a negotiated settlement, and he wanted to avoid provoking a military intervention by China, as occurred in the Korean conflict. Where LBJ made his mistake was in a lack of empathy for North Vietnamese persistence in throwing off foreign invaders and reunifying their country. They negotiated, but not seriously, and merely waited until U.S. popular opinion tired of the war. (Any similarity to the doggedness of the Taliban resistance in Afghanistan and their willingness to wait out the already tenuous U.S. resolve is merely happenstance.)


The U.S. also has lacked empathy with Iran. Iran is a theocratic, authoritarian country (but not entirely, as we’ve seen recently). Its president does make unnerving statements denying the Holocaust, but he doesn’t really have much of a say in national security issues. But even autocratic countries have legitimate security concerns. Iran lives in a rough neighborhood of hostile nations – the Sunni Arab states and Israel. That’s why any democratic revolution in Iran probably wouldn’t attenuate Iran’s desire for a nuclear program. Thus, the U.S. policy of trying to negotiate away Iran’s nuclear capabilities lacks empathy and is naïve. And since the Iranians are fairly sophisticated in their foreign policy and know that Israel or the United States could attempt a military strike against their nuclear facilities, they have probably hardened or buried many of them (if secret facilities even exist). Therefore, U.S. policy should shift to managing a nuclear Iran instead of trying to prevent what is probably inevitable.


For many of the same reasons, it is Pollyannaish and unempathetic to try to negotiate away North Korea’s existing nuclear capability. U.S. policy should take the same approach with the hermit kingdom.


The lack of U.S. empathy in Afghanistan has been covered. In Iraq, a lack of U.S. understanding that ethno-sectarian loyalties will always trump those to an artificial central state did not improve with a change in U.S. administration. Recognizing the existing partition and devolving more power to local and regional governments, rather than perpetuating the non-viable central government, is probably the only way to avoid a massive civil war.


The most flagrant U.S. denial of reality occurred during the recent Russo-Georgian war. The U.S. government and media focused on the autocratic Russian government’s "nefarious" intentions of maintaining security in its sphere of influence (after 25 million Russians died in an invasion by a foreign power in World War II, this is hardly a surprise) and ignored the Georgian shelling of a South Ossetian town (what many could call a war crime) to start the war.


The worst and most dangerous case of non-empathy, however, has been the lack of U.S. introspection after the heinous 9/11 attacks. Instead of reading Osama bin Laden’s clear writings to glean his motives for attacking, the American public, to its future peril, simply bought George W. Bush’s demagoguery that the U.S. was attacked because it was an economically and politically free country. That bin Laden specifically denied this accusation was lost in the drive to do more of exactly what bin Laden was mad about in the first place – U.S. forces invading and occupying Muslim soil, thus making things worse by aiding the recruitment of the anti-U.S. Islamists worldwide.


There are notorious dictatorships and terrorists in the world, but their threat to the United States has been exaggerated as an excuse to fulfill the foreign policy agendas of certain politicians, bureaucracies, or interest groups. Instead, the U.S. should realize that even these outlaws have security fears and are not just hostile to the United States because it is a relatively free country.


Read more by Ivan Eland








'2B - The Era of Flesh is Over'

Film to premiere at Woodstock Film Festival Friday,

Oct. 1, 2009


Original Storylink

"2B - The Era of Flesh is Over," a science-fiction film set in the near future, will have its world premiere at the 10th anniversary Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, NY on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009.

A panel discussion, "
Redesigning Humanity -- The New Frontier," moderated by bioethicist James J. Hughes, including Ray Kurzweil, 2B film executive producer Martine Rothblatt, and author Wendell Wallach and streamed live, will explore how AI, nanotech, genetic engineering and other technologies will allow human beings to transcend the limitations of the body and fundamentally change the world over the coming 50 years.

2B portrays a decaying world on the cusp of great transformation. When the world's first transhuman is created by a renegade corporate CEO and bioscientist, the foundations of society's beliefs are threatened in a transhuman world where man merges with technology.
















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