Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rattling the broken sabre

As Rumsfeld openly muses about the great Chinese boogeyman (or boogeymen), today's Guardian is reporting:
"the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, expressed his regret that any failure by the UN security council to deal with Iran would damage the security council's relevance, implying that the US would solve the problem on its own."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reminds us that "Iran has not, so far, broken its commitments under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, although it has concealed activities before." Evidently America & the UK have convinced the IAEA board to "overrule its inspectors, declare Iran in breach of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and say that Iran's activities could be examined by the UN security council."

And guess who's on board with all of this? [click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]India. Yes, the same India who refused to join the NPT and developed its own nukes. Think war with Iran is impossible, given the hopeless bog in Iraq? The Guardian piece points out that:
"naval and air force firepower has barely been used in Iraq. Just 120 B52 and stealth bombers could target 5,000 points in Iran with satellite-guided bombs in just one mission. It is for this reason that John Pike of globalsecurity.org thinks that a US attack could come with no warning at all."

I was glad to see that the Guardian article gave proper credit to former UN Weapons Inspector, Scott Ritter, and Seymour Hersh for alerting us to the Iran-plan in early 2005. The gist of both Ritter & Hersh's reports is that there are already military operations going on in Iran. The M.O. is similar to Iraq: spikes of provocative (and illegal!) air-raids & CIA bumbling followed by build-up of ground forces.

So what does Rumsfeld's Reds-under-the-bed and Bolton's alliance with India have to do with one another? Gwynne Dyer has long maintained that Washington is using India & the Middle East to form a "ring" around China. But as Dyer notes:
"Nothing in the Chinese Communist government's behaviour over the past fifty years, or in China's cultural traditions over the past several thousand years, suggests that a more powerful China would be territorially expansionist. Even on the question of Taiwan, Beijing has avoided open military confrontation for the past fifty years, and has never built the kind of navy that could invade the island. China has been equally restrained in strategic weapons, and even now has only a dozen or so nuclear-capable missiles that could reach the United States. It could have built thousands of ICBMs by now, but chooses instead to rely on "minimum deterrence" to protect itself from US attack. All the recent chatter in the US media about a big Chinese "military build-up" is contradicted by America's own official intelligence estimates."

It's also no secret that Bolton's (recess) appointment to the UN was seen as an aggressive signal to China. According to Chalmers Johnson, Bolton "is an avowed advocate of Taiwanese independence and was once a paid consultant to the Taiwanese government." Also, "China [has] signed important investment and trade agreements with Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile and Cuba." Ring any bells? Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a weiner.

But seriously, why would you want to bring back the cold-war wold of "alliances" and such? Well, I guess there's nothing those guys like better than an old-tyme Manichean struggle between us and them. Red-baiting, terrorist-baiting...it's all good. Footnote: see "Bush digs up communism for 'major address'" in the Oct 7 LA Times.

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