Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

Polk on Iran

William R. Polk

William R. Polk

William Polk has a guest piece at Informed Comment warning us about what is likely to happen if we carry down our current track to a war with Iran.  How many M.E. specialists, historians, soldiers, reporters–none of them alarmists or peace-niks–do we have to hear?  This is just what was happening in the run-up to the Iraq war, except the stakes are much, much higher (for us).  It is like we are stumbling along the edge of a precispise with only some aware of what we are doing and praying that we pull away from the edge.  But on we go.

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The Russia-Georgian War

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle

Robert Farley has some excellent coverage and analysis of the Georgia-Russian war here and then here.

So what gives?  We have an American Ally, being groomed for NATO membership, at war with Russia.  Russia and the USA of course still retain the ability to annihilate humanity if they got sucked into a total war.  And nobody is freaking; the olypics carryon serenely, the UNSC isn’t in session recalled; the duct tape remain on the shelves.

And of course this is an entirely rational response.  What was entirely irrational was the schemes to expand NATO right up onto the Russian border.  The much commented-on discussion between Fukuyama and Kagan included some revealing exchanges that shed much light on this.  Fukuyama tried to explain the absurdity of the current US position of demanding to have everything from Russia: accepting missile defence in eastern Europe, NATO expansion (while excluding Russia), that Russia sabotage their lucrative relationship with Iran, accepting the NATO settlement on Kosovo, return to internal democratisation, be nice to their West-facing neighbours, and, no doubt the moon on a stick.  Kagan resisted but later on made a revealing comment: that the the hubris didn’t start in 2001, but the Clinton administration (or, I would say, Bush I).  Right!  The neocons could not have been so successful in pushing their agenda, and remain so influential, if they weren’t pushing at an open door.  To some extent we have all become neocons and they are really a pathological examples of a much wider movement based on hubris and delusion: how else to explain HR362 and the absurd Iran policies.

What we are seeing now is a tragic ‘correction’ where the Russians and the Georgians are exposing our priorities for us.

Update: via Robert Farley it seems that the Washington Post doesn’t get it and is still very much in delusional neo-con land.

Update II: guardian.co.uk has some deatailed reports on the war and these reports suggest that the Georgians very much started it.

The Chauffer-Terrorist Fiasco

Commander Huber puts the latest Gitmo trials in prespective at the Pen and Sword.

Ritter: We are at war with Iran

After my previous article on whether we will go to war with Iran, Scott Ritter posts an article at TruthDig to say that we are already at war with Iran.  This is so true.  And it remionds me of why it is so important to read people like Ritter, Hedges and Fisk with an established track record in seeing these things clearly when everyone else is stumbling around.  Check it out.

The Killing Fields of Iraq

Via Juan Cole, we have this video report from the Guardain.  It is heart-breaking.

Fukuyama and Kagan

Blogging heads.tv have a fascinating discussion between Francis Fukuyama and Robert Kagan providing as good a critique of the neoconservative project as you will see.  Robert Kagan is probably one of the smartest neo-cons since Fukuyama departed over the Iraq war but Fukuyama is quietly brilliant and in a different league.  It just leaves my shaking my head in disbelief that someone of this calibre got sucked up in the neoconservative project.  Kagan make sone very revealing comment about the way that good historians will trace the origin of the recent American hubris not to the start of the Bush administration but to ’90s and the Clinton administration (and the first Bush administration).  He is quite right of course, even if the neocons took it to pathological extremes.

Chris Hedges on the Madness

Chris Hedges has an article, A War of Self-Destruction, on the consequences of a war with Iran, and follows a line of thinking very like my own.  While it is clearly an insane proposition, the truth of the matter is that the people making these decisions profit in every way from these wars and they clearly believe their wealth will cushion them from the worst of its impacts—they just don’t fear the consequences of everything going tits up.  While they will surely regret their actions, they are right: their wealth will protect them.

Are they going to start this war?  It remains an abstraction for me.  Each time the lunies have another push at starting a war, they enable the adults to take away more of their toys, and more people stop paying much attention to them.  The more they cry wolf the more they seem to be ignored.

But still HR 362 remains in play and apparently keeps gaining sponsors.  This is of course the US political process doing its dance, but could it end in war?  The chances surely can’t be zero.  But what are they?

We live in interesting times.  Let us pray that they don’t get too interesting.