Press TV – December 23, 2009 01:34:28 GMT
Houthi fighters have managed to repulse Saudi Arabian forces trying to infiltrate into the province of Sa’ada in northern Yemen, killing an unspecified number of Saudi soldiers in a battle in the border region.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Yemen’s Shia Houthis said they pushed back Saudi troops from Al-Muannaq village in northern Yemen on the border with Saudi Arabia and also destroyed eight Saudi tanks.
The Houthi fighters say Saudi forces had fired 256 missiles and carried out air strikes against the Sa’ada region.
The statement also said that Saudi Apache helicopter gunships launched two air strikes on the city of Dahyan on Tuesday as Riyadh continues its air raids against the mountainous regions of northern Yemen. It added that Saudi ground forces used heavy machine guns during the operation.
The Saudi army also shelled Al-Malaheet and the villages adjacent to it, which caused many civilian deaths.
Seventy-three Saudis have been killed and 26 have gone missing since fighting broke out between Saudi forces and the Houthi fighters on November 3.
The number of wounded Saudi troops has reached 470, with 60 still hospitalized.
The conflict between the central government in Sana’a and the Houthis of northern Yemen began in 2004. The conflict intensified in August 2009 when the Yemeni army launched Operation Scorched Earth in an attempt to crush the Houthi movement.
The Houthis say their civil rights have been violated and they are suffering political, economic, and religious marginalization due to the policy of the Yemeni government, which they have also accused of widespread corruption.
The Saudi air force has further complicated the conflict by launching its own operations against Shia resistance fighters.
Houthi fighters say that Riyadh pounds their positions, and Saudi forces strike Yemeni villages and indiscriminately target civilians. According to the fighters, the Saudis are using prohibited weapons, including white phosphorous bombs, against civilians in northern Yemen.
The US military is also continuing its air raids on Yemen’s regions of Amran, Hajjah, and Sa’ada, which have suffered much due to the joint Saudi-Yemeni government offensive against the Houthi fighters.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2004, up to 175,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Sa’ada and take refuge in overcrowded camps set up by the United Nations.
At the start of the Cold War, Stalin chose one of the furthest outposts of his empire to test the Soviet Union’s first nuclear bombs. Sixty years on, their cancerous legacy is still being felt. Jerome Taylor reports from Kurchatov
10 September 2009
Walking through the flat and endless Kazakh steppe, Nemytov Oleg suddenly stops, fumbles in his desert camouflage trousers and pulls out a Geiger counter. The device bleeps into life. He peers pensively at the reading. When we got out of the car it read 3. Now, within a couple of hundred yards, it has jumped to 10. He unwraps breathing masks and two pairs of disposable shoe coverings. “If we want to go any further we will have to wear these,” he says.
Further along the dusty road he checks his device once more. “You see, the meter is now reading 21,” he says. “If we were in a city far away from here it would read about 0.1. The radiation increases very quickly.”
The reason Mr Oleg is keeping such a close eye on background radiation is because we are standing on the very spot where, 60 years ago, the Soviet Union launched the Cold War, with the detonation of its first nuclear bomb. Watched from a lead-lined bunker by Stalin’s feared secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, First Lightning exploded at exactly 7am on 29 August 1949, throwing up an enormous mushroom cloud which billowed over the steppe and, unbeknownst to people nearby, dumping huge quantities of radioactive material on them, their houses and their fields.
It is the names of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl that stand for the horrors of the new technology. The name of Semipalatinsk has no such resonance, and is all but forgotten. Yet nowhere else in the world was there such a large concentration of nuclear explosions in one place over such a long period. When Beria earmarked this far eastern corner of Kazakhstan to be the Soviet Union’s top secret nuclear test facility, he described the place as “uninhabited” – conveniently forgetting the 700,000 people who lived in the surrounding villages, towns and cities. Overnight the region was deleted from the map and for the next 40 years Soviet scientists detonated 615 nuclear devices at their secret Semipalatinsk Polygon.
For the first 13 years, tests inside the 80,000 square kilometre Polygon site were conducted above ground, throwing huge amounts of nuclear waste into the atmosphere. The underground tests that followed polluted vast tracts of land with a toxic combination of radioactive chemicals which will continue to contaminate the soil for thousands of years. Kazakhstan shut down the test site almost as soon as the Central Asian republic gained its independence in 1991 (and also became the first country in the world to voluntarily give up nuclear weapons). But the deadly legacy of those tests lives on.
In a new hospital on the outskirts of Semei – the new Kazakh name for the otherwise unremarkable provincial capital which lies 150km east of the Polygon – Galina Bityukova, aged 54 and painfully thin, is midway through a second course of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. “Sometimes I feel that my cancer is linked to the nuclear tests, you can’t help but think so,” she says. “It could just be cancer like anyone else gets but when you remember what happened here and how many people have cancer it makes you wonder.”
On the bed opposite Svetlana, a woman in her late fifties who is recovering from a mastectomy, firmly agrees. “In my mind I know the nuclear tests had something to do with me getting ill,” she says, flashing a strained smile which reveals a full set of gold teeth. Dr Baipeisov Muhametkalievich is the head of oncology at Semei’s cancer ward, which treats up to 40,000 people every year. “It’s difficult to know whether their cancer comes from the testing or not,” he says. “But you only have to look at the data to know that this area of Kazakhstan has the highest rates of cancer of anywhere in the country.” It is roughly one-third higher than the national average, he says, a clear indication that the Polygon continues to make people sick.
When Kazakhstan gained its independence following the Soviet Union’s collapse, the country was left bankrupt and the damage caused by the nuclear tests was just one of the problems that Moscow consigned to the new government, dominated by the local Communist chief Nursultan Nazerbayev who is still Kazakhstan’s President. As the Russian military convoys rolled back over the border they not only took away all the scientific data regarding the Polygon, but also most of the modern medical equipment from Semei’s hospital.
For many years the victims of Semipalatinsk, unlike those of Chernobyl, were left to fend for themselves. But flush with new revenue from its enormous gas fields and mineral deposits, money is finally heading their way. The oncology department in Semei has just received state-of-the-art equipment from Japanese doctors in Nagasaki while a £40m radiology department is under construction. “When I first got here I was absolutely astonished at the level of poverty and neglect among the victims of nuclear testing,” says Fiona Corcoran, an Irish charity worker who had seen the effects of nuclear fallout in Chernobyl and who now runs two orphanages in Semei. “Children with horrendous birth defects were just left to rot in institutions. But recently there have been some major improvements.”
Ms Corcoran’s charity, the Greater Chernobyl Cause, was one of many working in Chernobyl but when she arrived in Kazakhstan a decade ago outside aid was almost non-existent. “The Kazakhs would always say to me, ‘People come here, they go and they forget’. There was none of the same sense of urgency that there was with Chernobyl. But what happened at Chernobyl was a single tragic accident. What happened here was the systematic and deliberate exposure of thousands of people to nuclear material.”
Most of those who worked on the test site have long since died, but the radiation levels continue to poison new generations of Kazakhs. In an anonymous-looking block of Soviet- era flats is Semei’s only facility for disabled children. According to the centre’s director Tylysova Toleakarovna, of the 346 children they regularly treat, 45 have illnesses which result directly from radiological contamination. Baurzhanaly Kuanysh is one of them. Now 16 years old, he was born in Abay district, one of the areas closest to the Polygon. He suffers from microcephaly, a common illness among radiation victims where the victim’s head is abnormally small. “We can provide for some of the victims who live near the city but we need to get out to the villages,” explains Mrs Toleakarovna. “That is my dream.”
Some 160km west of Semei lies Kurchatov, a meticulously planned settlement that was once the most secretive town in the Soviet Union. Here scientists work to map and contain the nuclear contamination inside the Polygon.
What is already clear is that the three sites where the explosions were regularly conducted will be uninhabitable for thousands of years, and a river that flows through the site into the Irtysh is contaminated. Yet that has not deterred new arrivals: government and private investors are keen to open up some areas of the test site because it is littered with deposits of coal, copper and silver. There are already 400 miners digging for coal close to where some of the later and most powerful tests were carried out in the 1960s and 1970s.
But the rush to extract minerals from this poisoned land has set alarm bells ringing among medical experts. Boris Gallich, a specialist in the effects of radiation, said: “My biggest fear is that these people could become contaminated and pass it on to their children and families. That may be a matter of indifference for the company directors, but not for the people on the ground.”
29 August 1949: The birth of the Cold War
- The Soviet Union’s first successful test of a 22-kiloton nuclear weapon – called First Lightning – on 29 August 1949 was, in effect, the day that began the Cold War.
- Ever since the USA dropped two atom bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Stalin was desperate to obtain the same technology.
- Stalin placed Lavrenti Beria, the feared head of his NKVD secret police, in charge of the project and gave the country’s top atomic scientist, Igor Kurchatov, virtually unlimited funds.
- The successful first detonation led to a massive nuclear arms race as the two foes frantically built up their arsenals, a contest which only ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
By Philip Weiss | December 22, 2009
An English collegiate choir has had an invitation to sing in the Occupied Territories rescinded by the Anglican bishop because it is singing in Israel:
According to one of those involved, the PA asked the Bishop of Jerusalem to withdraw the invitation for the choir to sing in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
The choir was informed that it would not be welcome in Bethlehem, should its members try to come in, en masse, as part of the bishop’s pilgrimage.
The choir’s director says his frustration is borne of what he describes as his own pro-Palestinian stance: he has taught and performed with Palestinian musicians. Mr Brown was very keen for his students to see the West Bank barrier and, as he put it, the “privations” caused by the Israeli occupation.
Betty Hunter, the general secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, says that desire to travel to the West Bank does not excuse the choir’s tour of Israel. That tour, she says, is “surprising and shocking” – something which, in her words, “promotes Israel as a normal state rather than one which represses Palestinians”.
The issue of whether Israel should be boycotted has gained publicity in recent months with campaigns led by British trades unions. Separately, some Israeli MPs reacted angrily to the British government issuing guidelines over the labelling of produce imported from Israeli settlements in the West Bank. British officials are keen to stress that their move has nothing to do with a boycott.
But Betty Hunter says that these are but the opening skirmishes of a whole new boycott campaign that she says will open up over the next few months.
By Bianca Zammit – Gaza
As the days of December 2009 draw in, two events which each have a role to play in world peace draw closer. The first is on the 27th and is commemorating the start of the 22 day attacks on Gaza, an operation which targeted unarmed civilians, schools, hospitals, journalists and emergency staff. The second, The Gaza Freedom March will take place on the 31st. The Gaza Freedom March is a historic moment, the magnitude of which has not been seen in Palestine since 1967. Chiseled on the lessons learnt from South Africa’ struggle for liberation against apartheid and from Gandhi’ Satyagraha approach during the campaign for India’ independence, the Gaza Freedom March is walking in the same shoes.
In order to find out more about the Gaza Freedom March I met up with Dr. Haidar Eid, a member of the Steering Committee for the March in Gaza.
What is the aim of the Gaza Freedom March?
The goal of the Gaza Freedom March is to commemorate Gaza 2009. In January 2009 right after the end of operation Cast Lead we were all faced again by the deadly hermitic siege. The March is calling for an end to this siege.
How did the Gaza Freedom March come about?
In June CodePink led a delegation into Gaza and they started talking about a march. I was contacted by Palestinian solidarity groups from around the world and asked for my opinion. I liked the idea but it required a political context and it needed to be led by the people of Gaza. That is when Palestinian grassroots organizations came together to discuss the march and we suggested to the International Coalition to End the Siege that they include a statement of context which called for an end to the siege and which acknowledged the long history of Palestinian non-violent direct action inspired by South Africa and Gandhi. This includes the weekly demonstrations which take place at Bilin, Nilin and Al’ Masara, the entry of international boats in Gaza’ port which had not happened since 1967 and the work of international solidarity movements. More importantly, it has to acknowledge the growing BDS campaign.
The siege is an effect of occupation and a continuation of the apartheid system initiated in 1948. Since then two thirds of the Palestinian people have lost their land. The occupation is illegal and found to be so by the United Nations under resolution 194 which calls for the return of all refugees.
Who is represented on the steering committee?
We have all sectors of society. There are representatives of unions, labour, political, religious, youth, women, students and also Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).
Who will participate?
As soon as we issued the statement of context all Palestinian civil organisations endorsed the Gaza Freedom March and there was global consensus.
The registration has now closed and 1400 people from 42 countries have registered and been processed. Palestinians living in 1948 land will also be participating in the March from the other side of the Erez Border Crossing.
What are the activities planned?
The 1400 internationals will join us hand in hand for a march that will start at 10am in Izbit Abed Rabbu towards the Erez Border Crossing with Israel. Izbit Abed Rabbu is the area which suffered the most damage and most horrendous war crimes during operation Cast Lead, something Judge Goldstone alluded to in his report. When we get to Erez there shall be speeches.
The attacks on Gaza will be commemorated New Years Eve at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. A member of the Steering Committee for the March will address the people gathered in Bethlehem for this event.
Palestinian refugees living in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan shall partake in the March by organizing their own rallies.
How can those people who cannot come to Gaza show their solidarity with the people of Gaza?
We are calling on 1.5 million conscientious people of the world to simultaneously rally with the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza in front of Israeli embassies in their country. Richard Falk, the 2008 appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories has called Gaza the “world’s largest concentration camp”. Ilan Pappe has described the siege as “slow motion genocide”. After the 22 day massacre last winter we returned to the ongoing siege.
We ask freedom loving people to put pressure on their governments to sever all ties with Israel and to support the boycott of Israel.
Why do you believe this will be a historic moment for Palestine?
The March shall be the first mass mobilization of this size since 1967. Internationals will walk hand in hand with Palestinians modeled on the South African anti-apartheid movement of the 1980′s. This siege has been imposed upon Palestinian people due to them exercising their democratic choice. The significance of this March, however, also goes beyond the siege. As Palestinians 750,000 of us have been displaced and forced to become refugees. Palestinians living in 1948 land experience racial discrimination on daily basis and there is systematic policy of ethnic cleansing in place.
What is your message to the international community?
If I could put into a slogan the current climate in Gaza I would say “we are fed up”. The international community has only given us empty rhetoric and lip service and in the meantime we have been suffering. For this reason we rely on the people of the world and their power to change the course of the future. We believe in people to people solidarity in order to bring down the Israeli apartheid regime. We want peace with justice. This March shall be the first crack, the first concrete step to end the siege and the illegal occupation. This shall be a wake up call to the international community that as Palestinians we shall no longer tolerate hypocrisy.
What is your message to Israel?
You cannot go on committing war crimes and crimes against humanity as witnessed by judge Goldstone with impunity forever. Recent events in the UK against Livni have shown that also the world will not tolerate Nazi like acts committed by a Nazi like government against civilians.
To the people of Israel I say you voted for the most fascist government since 1948 expecting your government to completely get rid of Palestinians. History has shown us that this will only backfire and bring more wars affecting not only Palestinians but the entire Middle East and inevitably Israel. Exactly like apartheid South Africa campaigned when their state became a pariah state; this is your time to put pressure on your government to implement the UN resolution which calls for an end to the occupation and allows the return of refugees. Peace without justice is not peace.
What will happen after the March?
The March is not symbolic but rather we expect it to be part of a series of events which will lead to the end of the siege. We want to intensify and continue building a global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which is human rights based and calling for the implementation of international law and an end to the occupation.
We will continue to host international delegations visiting us and together we will be calling for Israeli war criminals to be tried in international courts.
- Bianca Zammit is a member of the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza and of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
Silence of the Lamb-like Lawyers
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS | 12-22-09
Obama’s dwindling band of true believers has taken heart that their man has finally delivered on one of his many promises–the closing of the Guantanamo prison. But the prison is not being closed. It is being moved to Illinois, if the Republicans permit.
In truth, Obama has handed his supporters another defeat. Closing Guantanamo meant ceasing to hold people in violation of our legal principles of habeas corpus and due process and ceasing to torture them in violation of US and international laws.
All Obama would be doing would be moving 100 people, against whom the US government is unable to bring a case, from the prison in Guantanamo to a prison in Thomson, Illinois.
Are the residents of Thomson despondent that the US government has chosen their town as the site on which to continue its blatant violation of US legal principles? No, the residents are happy. It means jobs.
The hapless prisoners had a better chance of obtaining release from Guantanamo. Now the prisoners are up against two US senators, a US representative, a mayor, and a state governor who have a vested interest in the prisoners’ permanent detention in order to protect the new prison jobs in the hamlet devastated by unemployment.
Neither the public nor the media have ever shown any interest in how the detainees came to be incarcerated. Most of the detainees were unprotected people who were captured by Afghan war lords and sold to the Americans as “terrorists” in order to collect a proffered bounty. It was enough for the public and the media that the Defense Secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, declared the Guantanamo detainees to be the “780 most dangerous people on earth.”
The vast majority have been released after years of abuse. The 100 who are slated to be removed to Illinois have apparently been so badly abused that the US government is afraid to release them because of the testimony the prisoners could give to human rights organizations and foreign media about their mistreatment.
Our British allies are showing more moral conscience than Americans are able to muster. Former PM Tony Blair, who provided cover for President Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq, is being damned for his crimes by UK officialdom testifying before the Chilcot Inquiry.
The London Times on December 14 summed up the case against Blair in a headline: “Intoxicated by Power, Blair Tricked Us Into War.” Two days later the British First Post declared: “War Crime Case Against Tony Blair Now Rock-solid.” In an unguarded moment Blair let it slip that he favored a conspiracy for war regardless of the validity of the excuse [weapons of mass destruction] used to justify the invasion.
The movement to bring Blair to trial as a war criminal is gathering steam. Writing in the First Post Neil Clark reported: “There is widespread contempt for a man [Blair] who has made millions [his reward from the Bush regime] while Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself as above the rules of international law.” Clark notes that the West’s practice of shipping Serbian and African leaders off to the War Crimes Tribunal, while exempting itself, is wearing thin.
In the US, of course, there is no such attempt to hold to account Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the large number of war criminals that comprised the Bush Regime. Indeed, Obama, whom Republicans love to hate, has gone out of his way to protect the Bush cohort from being held accountable.
Here in Great Moral America we only hold accountable celebrities and politicians for their sexual indiscretions. Tiger Woods is paying a bigger price for his girlfriends than Bush or Cheney will ever pay for the deaths and ruined lives of millions of people. The consulting company, Accenture Plc, which based its marketing program on Tiger Woods, has removed Woods from its Web site. Gillette announced that the company is dropping Woods from its print and broadcast ads. AT&T says it is re-evaluating the company’s relationship with Woods.
Apparently, Americans regard sexual infidelity as far more serious than invading countries on the basis of false charges and deception, invasions that have caused the deaths and displacement of millions of innocent people. Remember, the House impeached President Clinton not for his war crimes in Serbia, but for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Americans are more upset by Tiger Woods’ sexual affairs than they are by the Bush and Obama administrations’ destruction of US civil liberty. Americans don’t seem to mind that “their” government for the last 8 years has resorted to the detention practices of 1,000 years ago–simply grab a person and throw him into a dungeon forever without bringing charges and obtaining a conviction.
According to polls, Americans support torture, a violation of both US and international law, and Americans don’t mind that their government violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spies on them without obtaining warrants from a court. Apparently, the brave citizens of the “sole remaining superpower” are so afraid of terrorists that they are content to give up liberty for safety, an impossible feat.
With stunning insouciance, Americans have given up the rule of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the American people support tyranny. And that’s where they are headed.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. His new book, How the Economy was Lost, will be published next month by AK Press / CounterPunch. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
By Mike Adams | Natural News | December 22, 2009
You’ve heard it before, how the pharmaceutical industry has a giant “revolving door” through which corporations and government agencies frequently exchange key employees. That reality was driven home in a huge way today when news broke that Dr. Julie Gerberding, who headed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from 2002 through 2009, landed a top job with Merck, one of the largest drug companies in the world. Her job there? She’s the new president of the vaccine division.
How convenient. That means the former head of the CDC was very likely cultivating a relationship with Merck all these years, and now comes the big payoff: Heading up a $5 billion division that sells cervical cancer vaccines (like Gardasil), chickenpox vaccines and of course H1N1 swine flu vaccines, too.
So what’s the problem with all this? The problem is that private industry and government health offices such as the CDC or FDA should never be so cozy. When they are, it creates an environment of collusion between Big Government and Big Pharma. We’ve already seen this with the government-led push for swine flu vaccines that are manufactured (and sold) by drug companies like Merck.
You might even say that the CDC already functions as the marketing division of the pharmaceutical industry. It was the CDC that pushed so hard for swine flu vaccines, even amid the obvious realization that swine flu was no more dangerous than seasonal flu. To this day, the CDC still hasn’t bothered to recommend vitamin D for the prevention of either seasonal flu or swine flu. It remains heavily invested in the lucrative vaccine approach — an approach that just happens to financially benefit the very corporations that are hiring ex-CDC employees like Dr. Gerberding… Full article
December 22, 2009
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The international community betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to end an Israeli blockade stymieing reconstruction efforts following last winter’s war, 16 aid and human rights groups said in a report released Tuesday.
The report Failing Gaza: No rebuilding, No recovery, No more excuses, alleges that the world’s powers, particularly the European Union, failed to ensure that aid pledged to Gaza actually reached its intended recipients.
Since the end of the three week military offensive dubbed Operation Cast Lead in January, Israel has allowed only 41 truckloads of construction materials into the Gaza Strip, the groups reported. All of those materials were destined for NGOs implementing piecemeal reconstruction efforts, or repairs to the electricity and sewage networks.
The groups sponsoring the report included Amnesty International, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Medical Aid for Palestinians, Mercy Corps and Oxfam International.
The report said thousands of truckloads of reconstruction materials are needed to rebuild the tens of thousands of homes, businesses, schools, mosques and other buildings destroyed and damaged during the war. As a result, thousands of Gaza residents are still living in tents, and the Strip’s economy remains in ruins.
“The wretched reality endured by 1.5 million people in Gaza should appall anybody with an ounce of humanity. Sick, traumatized and impoverished people are being collectively punished by a cruel, illegal policy imposed by the Israeli authorities,” Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said in a statement.
“Israel’s responsibility to protect its citizens does not give it the right to punish every man, woman and child of Gaza.”
She also said the world has an obligation to act to end the blockade: “All states are obliged under international law to intervene to put an end to this brutal blockade but their leaders are failing in this fundamental measure of their own humanity.” [...]
The report notes that as the occupying power, Israel is responsible to safeguard the welfare of the population in Gaza. Absent funds from Israel, the international community offered to rebuild Gaza after the recent war.
International donors pledged four billion US dollars to rebuild Gaza at a conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm Ash-Sheikh in March. Because of the ban on construction materials, virtually none of the aid has materialized. The EU accounted for 1 billion dollars of this figure.
The report faults the EU for failing to seek compensation from Israel for the destruction of facilities relating EU-funded projects in Gaza. The UN charged Israel 11.4 million for damages to its facilities.
By Rep. Ron Paul, December 22, 2009
Last week the House overwhelmingly approved a measure to put a new round of sanctions on Iran. If this measure passes the Senate, the United States could no longer do business with anyone who sold refined petroleum products to Iran or helped them develop their ability to refine their own petroleum. The sad thing is that many of my colleagues voted for this measure because they felt it would deflect a military engagement with Iran. I would put the question to them, how would Congress react if another government threatened our critical trading partners in this way? Would we not view it as asking for war?
This policy is pure isolationism. It is designed to foment war by cutting off trade and diplomacy. Too many forget that the quagmire in Iraq began with an embargo. Sanctions are not diplomacy. They are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade. It is ironic that people who decry isolationism support actions like this.
If a foreign government attempted to isolate the U.S. economically, cut off our supply of gasoline, or starve us to death, would it cause Americans to admire that foreign entity? Or would we instead unite under the flag for the survival of our country?
We would not tolerate foreign covert operations fomenting regime change in our government. Yet our CIA has been meddling in Iran for decades. Of course Iranians resent this. In fact, many in Iran still resent the CIA’s involvement in overthrowing their democratically elected leader in 1953. The answer is not to cut off gasoline to the Iranian people. The answer is to stay out of their affairs and trade with them honestly. If our operatives were no longer in Iran, they would no longer be available as scapegoats for the regime to, rightly or wrongly, blame for every bad thing that happens. As bad as other regimes may be, it is up to their own people to deal with them so they can achieve true self-determination. When foreigners instigate regime change, the new government they institute is always perceived as serving the interest of the overthrowing country, not the people. Thus we take the blame for bad governance twice. Instead, we should stay out of their affairs altogether.
With the exception of the military-industrial complex, we all want a more peaceful world. Many are hysterical about the imminent threat of a nuclear Iran. Here are the facts: Iran has never been found out of compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) they signed. However, being surrounded by nuclear powers one can understand why they might want to become nuclear capable if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectfully. After all, we don’t sanction nuclear-capable countries. We take diplomatic negotiations a lot more seriously, and we frequently send money to them instead. The non-nuclear countries are the ones we bomb. If Iran was attempting to violate the Non-Proliferation Treaty, they could hardly be blamed, since U.S. foreign policy gives them every incentive to do so.