Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bush Can’t Do Anything Right

In addition to coming under vituperation and threats against his life from the left for waging pre-emptive war in Iraq in order to save our children from death and destruction from Islamic terrorists, President Bush is also being criticized for relative inaction with regard to the threats from North Korea and Iran. These critics have the advantage of not knowing anything. It is always easy to criticize and offer simplistic solutions when one is essentially ignorant of the facts, some of which I have set out below:

The Sunday Times
July 09, 2006

West mounts 'secret war' to keep nuclear North Korea in check
Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

“A PROGRAMME of covert action against nuclear and missile traffic to North Korea and Iran is to be intensified after last week’s missile tests by the North Korean regime.

Intelligence agencies, navies and air forces from at least 13 nations are quietly co-operating in a “secret war” against Pyongyang and Tehran.

It has so far involved interceptions of North Korean ships at sea, US agents prowling the waterfronts in Taiwan, multinational naval and air surveillance missions out of Singapore, investigators poring over the books of dubious banks in the former Portuguese colony of Macau and a fleet of planes and ships eavesdropping on the “hermit kingdom” in the waters north of Japan.

Few details filter out from western officials about the programme, which has operated since 2003, or about the American financial sanctions that accompany it.

But together they have tightened a noose around Kim Jong-il’s bankrupt, hungry nation.

“Diplomacy alone has not worked, military action is not on the table and so you’ll see a persistent increase in this kind of pressure,” said a senior western official.

In a telling example of the programme’s success, two Bush administration officials indicated last year that it had blocked North Korea from obtaining equipment used to make missile propellant.

The Americans also persuaded China to stop the sale of chemicals for North Korea’s nuclear weapons scientists. And a shipload of “precursor chemicals” for weapons was seized in Taiwan before it could reach a North Korean port.

According to John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations and the man who originally devised the programme, it has made a serious dent in North Korea’s revenues from ballistic missile sales.” Sunday Times

So the Bush administration is taking serious, but not highly-publicized, steps to contain North Korea. The issues with Iran are considerably more complex, with remnants of past actions that may have been appropriate at the time now conflicting attempts to encourage the many groups and different ethnic and religious populations there to work out a democratic government of their own. See the following two excerpts:

Is a History Lesson What's Dividing the U.S. and Iran ?
By Dino E. Buenviaje

Dino E. Buenviaje is a writer for the History News Service and a graduate student in history at the University of California Riverside.
History News Service

For Iranians, the conflict started in 1901 when the British took advantage of a weak government to obtain a highly profitable oil concession. Since then, Iran has been locked in a struggle to control its own destiny, even at the risk of confrontation with the international community….

There was a time when the United States was not the "Great Satan." During the first half of the 20th century, Great Britain was considered Iran's foremost enemy. The British exploited Iran's enormous oil reserves for the Royal Navy, while the Iranian people gained few benefits. This earned the bitterness of the Iranians and sowed the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism.

Since then, the Iranian people have been repeatedly denied the right to use their own energy resources, a fact that seems to have escaped the attention of the Bush administration. The assertion of Iran's right to exploit nuclear power has its root at the beginning of the 20th century, when the interests of Iran were first placed at the mercy of global politics….

Perhaps the only solution to restoring normal relations between Iran and the United States is by recognizing Iran's historical perspective on the nuclear controversy. When Mossadegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in 1953, it was not a move toward Soviet communism, but rather an anti-colonial blow against Britain. Because the Eisenhower administration misread that cue, the United States missed an opportunity to be a friend to Iran and compounded that mistake by supporting a government that destroyed Iran's fragile democracy. The United States, as a result, has been paying a heavy price.

The current nuclear stand-off between Iran and the West must be approached with cool and level-headed diplomacy. The United States could benefit by a much better understanding of the hard road the Iranian people have had to travel for over a century. A long-lasting solution is one that addresses global security and Iran's need for self-reliance while according Iran equal status in the family of nations.” History News Service

“Opposition leaders believe that Ahamdinejad is deliberately seeking a limited military clash with the United States on the nuclear issue to defuse internal tension and rally the people behind his increasingly beleaguered administration. While no one in the opposition is publicly asking the United States to withdraw the threat of military action, everyone agrees that any limited operation that would wound the regime but leave it alive and in place could give the Khomeinist system a second life.

Finally, there is agreement that the initial phase of action against the Ahmadinejad administration must be led by independent personalities with no partisan affiliations. Student activists, leaders of unofficial trade unions, women's rights advocates, well-known academics, managers of nongovernmental organizations, and even independent theologians, are expected to feature prominently in the initial stages of what opposition leaders believe is a decisive showdown with the regime….

The human rights situation in Iran continues to deteriorate. Petitions and protests to end the abuses have gone unanswered. During the past year, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government has sought to monopolize power in Iran by silencing and suffocating all independent and dissenting voices. The suppression of demonstrators in Azerbaijan, Khuzestan, and Kurdistan, the silencing of labor, women, and student movements and the vicious attacks on demonstrators throughout the past year, are all evidence of the ongoing and abhorrent human rights violations by the Islamic Republic of Iran. By arresting and imprisoning intellectuals, lawyers, political activists, and labor leaders and by forcing the resignation or early retirement of dozens of University professors, Ahmadinejad’s government is pursuing polices that are reminiscent of some of the darkest days of the Islamic Republic. In such an atmosphere, Iran’s democracy movement calls for the unity and support of people of conscience from around the world. Without such unity, there is little hope of stemming the appalling human rights violations in Iran and the growing authoritarianism of the regime.” RegimeChangeIran

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At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Joe Alves Jr. said...

I firmly believe that if the Democrats take over the presidency and the two house of Congress, this country will be doomed.


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