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Thu Mar 1, 2012, 07:59 AM

Iran, Syria, Who’s Next? [View all]


Iran, Syria, Who’s Next?
Berliner Umschau, Germany
By Charly Kneffel
Translated By Ron Argentati
27 February 2012
Edited by Casey J. Skeens

Whoever believed America's policy changed when George W. Bush was replaced by Barack Obama was poorly informed. At any rate, it’s now taking greater pains to propagandize, and appears to be counting on recruiting more countries into its coalition of the willing while taking more care to not totally alienate the citizens of those nations. But that's about all. In substance, not much has really changed. Under the pretense of “humanitarian assistance,” pressure is being applied to governments in various forms, whereby the military option is always on the table and, in fact, has already been applied in Iraq and Afghanistan, showing that it is by no means the trump card of last resort.

The bottom line is domination of the Middle East, where the largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas are found and the control of which is essential to the preservation of Western society. A side purpose is to exclude global competitors such as Russia and China and run them out of the region. This has far less to do with human rights than it has to do with geopolitics. Another strategic side issue of some importance is Iran, where the change from a Shah, who was completely in America's pocket, to a council of ruling Mullahs remains a thorn in America's side to this day.

Since then, America has resorted to a policy of international isolation, economic sanctions, covert intelligence actions, exploitation of real tensions, political maneuvers — some with the threat of military action — and open interference in Iran's domestic affairs, accompanied by occasional olive branches that have the effect of making it impossible to judge whether or not they were genuine or just designed to show Iran in a bad light, and therefore incorrigible.

A sober political assessment can be made of events over the past decade, showing their relative risks and limits: Iraq's vicious dictator was overthrown but (considering the economic costs and the cost in human lives) this resulted in little more than a ruined country where conditions conducive to civil war abound and whose foreign policy orientation looks hopeless, even to those responsible for the changes. In Afghanistan meanwhile, an actual civil war is in full swing and the population is completely against the foreign invaders, and not just since the Koran-burning incident. What will come out of those countries that underwent the “Arab Spring” remains to be seen. In Libya's case, at any rate, the outcome was a thinly veiled military intervention by Western powers.

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unhappycamper Mar 2012 OP
libtodeath Mar 2012 #1