the march toward the democratization of the
It is widely believed here that America's concerns and involvements in the Middle East revolve around three principle themes: promoting freedom and democracy in that region, encouraging a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, and of course, the problem of how to handle Iran!
As in any other dialogue with the hope of achieving a reasoned conclusion, certain assumptions must first be agreed upon. Here, the fundamental assumption for all the arguments presented is: Nations, just like tribes, families and individuals, do and must pursue their own best interests. This is a fact of nature, the purest and simplest of all natural instincts shared by every living creature on this planet. Without doubt, the very survival and continuity of all species of life depend on this primal instinct.
In group dynamics, we observe various degrees of cooperation and coexistence, a sort of give and take or live and let live, such as quelling certain greed-based impulses or deferring certain individual privileges in exchange for more fruitful, longer-term benefits. Love and sacrifice for family and kinfolk, or taking up arms to defend against intrusion into home turf even when it entails the loss of numerous lives, is ultimately conducive to the survival of the "whole" at the expense of the smaller units of society.
We humans, of course, try to explain and rationalize everything, including our instinctive behavior patterns. We elevate those impulses to much higher plateaus where simple animal territoriality becomes sanctified as patriotism, where our lust or greed for more is promoted as our motivating drive for progress, and where whatever seems to serve our interests is somehow moralized and viewed as righteous and well deserved.
These instincts have promoted the survival and proliferation of the various human societies from time immemorial. The fundamental instincts for survival and dominance have remained unchanged; but, in our increasingly smaller world, the interaction between large blocks of humanity has resulted in clashes of "entitlements" that we all have to deal with. With these thoughts in the back of our minds, let's start asking those "stupid" questions.
Stupid Question #1: Why would the
For many if not most, the question
sounds too childish at first glance to warrant any answer. After all, why
On the other side, we find those who
do not find the question raised above as an academic redundancy. Why, indeed,
How could we be so na´ve as to think
that the rest of the world, particularly the Islamic Middle East where most of
the world's energy resources happen to be, is so in love with us that, given the
opportunity to decide openly and freely, these nations would forsake their own
best interests in our favor and willingly comply to our mandates? What we want
The stakes are pretty high in this international poker game. Those who sit at this poker table are there to win by any means possible; they smile and exchange jokes in order to show their gentle side, they show anger, bluff, intimidate, and some even attempt to cheat with the help of collaborators who spy on the opponents' hands. The purpose of this entire charade is certainly not to magnanimously give away their own advantage in order to help the opponents; the purpose is to win - let there be no doubt about that!
Needless to say, we would much
prefer a stable, free and democratic
So, how is the world's sole
superpower going to ensure its primary interests in the
1- Maintaining control over the volume of production, the price, and the flow of oil and gas produced in that region.
Making sure that our
Western allies continue to have access to these energy resources at a reasonable
price, low enough to maintain their economic growth, but just short of becoming
independent of us;
Making it as difficult
as possible for
There could be no ironclad
guarantees that a truly free and independent
Should there remain any doubt that
what the Bush administration means by freedom and democratic reforms for
Stupid Question #2: Why shouldn't the Israeli regime
opt for peaceful coexistence with a sovereign Palestinian state next door, as
envisioned by the
Who could say that
We can blame
So, why should
The Bush administration is regarded today as perhaps the most pro-Israel we have had. The fact is that almost all American administrations, Democrat and Republican, since the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower could have claimed this honor with some justification. The credit for generating this sentiment in the public domain should go to the powerful and influential Zionist lobbying organizations operating under the umbrella of American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC.
While today's perhaps one to two
million Jewish votes are almost equally divided between the Democratic and
Republican political parties, the real influence of the pro-Israel camp reaches
far beyond what those humble numbers indicate. It would be impossible to recall
any candidate for any political office in
Against this historical background,
The successful perpetuation of this myth has resulted in an almost religious belief that any criticism of the policies of the Israeli regime is tantamount to anti-Semitism and, by extension, anti American or unpatriotic.
This year's annual AIPAC meeting in
AIPAC President Bernice Manocherian started: "At a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity for
Of especial note was
Nancy Pelosi's emotional speech, which ended by this House Democratic Leader's
passionate sentence, "The United States stands with
For a commentary, as well as Mrs. Pelosi's full speech, please refer to the following link: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0527-23.htm
Nancy Pelosi is not
the exception, she is the rule. A few months ago, after the International Court
of Justice ruled against
Guess what comprised
the main agenda of this year's AIPAC meeting; yes, the threat that
Is Iran going to abandon its pursuit of the atom bomb, denounce terrorism, and
stop its human-rights violations? This question sounds very much like asking
someone if he intends to stop abusing his wife and molesting his children,
expecting a yes or no answer. The question is actually loaded and accusatory.
Is there a way out of
the current quagmire for
However, if this was in fact what the threats of preemptive strike, invasion, or forced regime-change were aimed to achieve - in other words, the perpetuation of Iran's repressive hard-line policies, resulting in further destabilization and a worsening of the internal strife among the dissatisfied groups - there are signs that this strategy is about to fail. For eight years, Iran's reform minded current administration failed to implement most of what it had promised and set out to do, due primarily to the opposition by the superior authority of the seat of the real power, Iran's more conservative spiritual leadership.
The economic sanctions
and diplomatic pressures by the
In the face of
increasingly more active and vociferous opposition to the clerical leadership,
and in spite of the heightened public dissatisfaction with the state of the
economy, a meaningful secularization of the Iranian regime is highly unlikely in
the foreseeable future. This means that, whoever takes the helm of the ship of
state in next week's presidential elections, will have to contend with the
conservative clerical orthodoxy that dominates
circumstances, another Reformist president will face the same obstacles and
limitations that hampered Mr. Khatami during his highly popular, yet sadly
ineffective, two-terms' presidency that is about to end. If reform toward
moderation, liberalization, and a rapprochement with the
More important than superficial popularity, the new president must have what could best be described as "charisma", that special aura of almost effortless authority and self-confidence. He must also be highly skilled in statecraft and diplomacy and have leadership background and experience. To succeed in braking the shackles of the decades-long overcautious conservatism, he must be a true pragmatist, a deal-maker and a power-broker, yet be trusted within the religious hierarchy of power as "one of their own."
There is, in fact, such a person among the slate of presidential candidates running in next week's elections. For many liberal, reform-minded Iranians Mr. Rafsanjani might be a bitter medicine for the nation's ills; but bitter medicine is often the treatment that actually works best.
Will it work this time? We shall wait and see.
... Payvand News - 6/10/05 ... --