Friday, March 17, 2006

"half in jest"

A writer for the Associated Press reports that Andrey Denisov, Russia's ambassador to the U.N., today joined China in rejecting proposals to the U.N. Security Council to demand that Iran come clean about its presumed nuclear program within 14 days. Allegedly, Mr. Denisov's comment that any ultimatum could lead to the bombing of Iran in a few months was only "half in jest." I don't know about you, but I see no humor in the idea that Iran could suffer the same fate as Iraq, in June, as the Russian ambassador speculates, for its failure to report back to the Security Council nor is the kind of institutional dementia which is precipitous of yet another time when ammunition replaces cognition in the least amusing to me. When the White House needs to be more effective at crisis management than domestic policy, and the concept of national security has been reduced to monosyllables, mostly mispronounced, we are living in dangerous times.

Both Russia and China think two weeks isn't long enough for Iran to produce exculpatory evidence. When we set deadlines for talk, and not for war, peace can only exist on paper. We need, I think, to take a closer look at a foreign policy that puts diplomacy second to defensive military intervention. Given this administration's recent reiteration of so-called "pre-emption," its "the best defense is a good offense" approach, it seems that losing a war in Iraq, and having not caught Public Enemy #!, Osama bin Laden, has yet to teach this administration anything. What's more, the fast food ethos which has resulted in record obesity, among Americans, has now morphed into a fast food defense.

Without a doubt, countries of Western Europe share our concern for what the Iranians have up their sleeve with respect to uranium enrichment, yet not one member of the U.N., nor any French, German, or English leader, has called the United States, and the Bush administration, to task on its reactionary, and most dangerous, turning back the clock on nuclear non-proliferation, and disarmament. Likewise, no one that I know of has openly challenged this president on his plan to beguile countries, like India, where uranium enrichment doesn't factor into acquisition of their oil stockpiles, away from disarmament. But then, what does India have to offer us but great customer service, the Bhagava Gita, and some rice?

Bottom line: if this administration is so concerned about the potential for calculated misuse of nuclear power then it should affirm, and reinforce, universal disarmament like every other administration has before it, dating back to Eisenhower. Mind you, I'm not suggesting that Iran be exempt from adhering to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, only that America be compelled to comply with it, too. We have no more right to sidestep a nonproliferation treaty than we do the Geneva Accord, and one thing has become clear, over the past 5 years, where profits are concerned, treaties are routinely shredded. It is encumbent upon all international law-abiding nations to hold accountable any rogue state that works to advance its own interests by imperiling the welfare, and well-being, of others.

Russia and China are justifiably concerned about America's obsessive need for instant gratification where employing our military is concerned, and the rest of the world should be too, as well as with an ideology which evolves around "shoot first, ask questions later." Further, this president's notion of pre-emption is as transparent as his use of the Second Amendment for entitlement, and little more than a thinly guised pretext for unitary militarism, and unilateral occupation.

When it comes right down to it, all the Russians and Chinese are asking is that the Iranian matter be referred to the International Atomic Energy Agency, an autonomous, and independent organization which was founded 50 years ago to promote, and provide oversight into, the peaceful use of nuclear energy. After all, it was the IAEA, and its director, Mohamed El Baradei, that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last October. While the cloud of culpability looms large where nuclear energy is concerned, the presumption of innocence must prevail if diplomacy is to survive.