Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Bush/Obama line on Iran

Last Friday, The Financial Times reported that the Obama administration may be considering relaxing a long-held U.S. demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program as part of any deal over its nuclear program. While welcome news if true -- there’s no chance Iran would outsource its energy production to the very colonial powers that exploited it in years past -- it was this aspect of the FT story that caught my eye:
The US line that Iran is seeking the capability to develop nuclear weapons – but not necessarily such weapons themselves – contrasts with Mr Bush’s insistence while in office that it sought nuclear weapons.
While Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has indeed declared Iran has not made the decision to pursue nuclear weapons, the rest of the Obama administration has been busy regurgitating the same discredited talking points about Iran “pursuing” or “developing” nuclear weapons that the Bush administration trotted out. Secretary of State Hillary "obliterate" Clinton, for instance, has alone unequivocally stated Iran is developing nukes on more than a half dozen occasions, the views of the IAEA and the U.S. intelligence community be damned.

And just this weekend, as Obama waxed eloquent about the need for nuclear disarmament (and a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic), his ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice had this to say to ABC News twit George Stephanopoulos while defending Obama's ongoing economic warfare against Iran:
The sanctions that have been imposed by the United Nations and implemented by the United States and others have had some significant effect on the trade and the banking and the financial sector inside of Iran, and we certainly remain open to consideration of possible future measures.

The aim here, though, is to marshal all of the resources at our disposal -- diplomatic, economic, and other -- to try to make this choice as clear as possible to Iran, to give them a path to end their nuclear -- illicit nuclear weapons program, enter the community of nations, or, if in fact they ultimately choose not to do that, then to bring to bear the full force of the international community to put pressure on Iran to stop.
And later:
I think we share Israel's very grave concern about the threat that Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program poses not only to Israel and the other countries in the region, but indeed to U.S. national security.
I don't think it's productive to speculate about what may transpire. As I said, and the president has said on a number of occasions, our aim is to use all of the elements at our disposal, including direct diplomacy, to offer Iran a path away from an illicit nuclear weapons program.
But obviously if that path is not chosen, we have not ruled out any options.
In echoing the Bush administration, Rice shows yet again that liberal interventionists are as capable of distorting the truth as their neoconservative counterparts, despite their overdeveloped consciences and avowed concern for human rights (wherever the U.S. doesn't intervene). But with places like the Center for American Progress getting their imperial groove back now that a good, technocratic liberal is in power, these kinds of (mis)statements don't pack the kind of punch they once did among the establishment left, what with the center’s blog more focused on pointing out the latest outrage from Sean Hannity than the very intelligence distortions decried with such fervor under Bush -- though right-wing deceptions on the matter are still okay to cover.

You see, whereas the Bush administration lied about Iran's program to further their nefarious militaristic agenda, the Obama administration ignores the consensus view of the IAEA and all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies out of a liberal, humanitarian desire to further nuclear nonproliferation (even as it sends nuclear fuel to known proliferator India, undermining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), or so goes the apparent thinking among mainstream Democratic organizations.

Less charitably, one might suggest that members of the liberal foreign policy establishment are always much less inclined to criticize militarism and the killing of innocents abroad (and the lies that enable intervention) when a fellow Democrat is in power -- witness Vietnam -- almost as if their objections to preemptive war and foreign military occupations have always been driven more by a pragmatic desire to attain political power than by any real objection to mass murder and imperialism. But that would just be silly.

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