Do not be fooled
The Democratic Party should avoid dealing with non-democratic
July 28, 2004
There have been exchanges of emails between Senator
Kerry's staff and Iran's news media. An important element of this
exchange involved a statement by Kerry that if elected as President,
relations between the United States and Iran would be restored.
This position has also been confirmed by numerous other news media
Senator Biden is considered to be the principal architect of
this new policy towards Iran - our state's Senator no less (who
is the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations committee).
Apparently Senator Biden has had meetings with senior representatives
of Iran's theocracy as well as key policy advisors to Senator Kerry.
Such a rapprochement with Iran, is ill advised. Once again, Senator
Biden has succumbed to emulating the Brits (who have extensive
diplomatic relations with Iran). Here are a few reasons why such
a policy would be wrong for the United States:
1) U.S. policy must be based on long-term results. In the long-run
Iran will become a democracy. Iranians have long memories - any
rapprochement today will be seen by virtually ALL Iranians as a
positive and prized recognition for this brutal and oppressive
regime; and reaffirm widely held views among Iranians that the
U.S. government has maintained secret relations with Iran for a
long-time. And, in the long-run (i.e. when Iranians gain their
freedoms) future representative Iranian governments will not
Do not be fooled - there is no democracy or goodness
within Iran's current theocratic regime. Hundreds of newspapers
have been closed down, there are literally thousands of political
prisoners. There are serious human rights violations and serious
democratic abuses. The mullahs have no real popular support.
United States can not be a party to oppression. Now is the
wrong time to kiss and make-up - especially after Iran's sham elections.
2) It is not an argument to say we're falling behind the Europeans
on this. First of all this argument has never held weight on relations
with North Korea or Cuba. Secondly, the Brits are widely hated
in the Middle East and are seen as the principal architects of
all the misery in the region. Everything in the region, including
the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, puppet Sheikdom's in the Persian
Gulf, etc. originate from short-sighted British policies. And,
today after failure, the Brits are trying to cleverly leverage
and use US's vast resources to achieve their own strategic goals.
Consider for example, 8,200 British troops in Iraq versus 120,000
US troops in Iraq - with British troops sitting squarely on about
half of Iraq's oil reserves in the south near Basra. The Brits
have in effect leveraged US assets and are hiding behind American
coat tails - having pushed the US to the fore in the Middle East.
America is now hated at center-stage (not them).
Washington and our own Revolutionary war to liberate America from
British tyranny. Our history and our principles are substantially
different to Britain's. We stand for liberty and democracy, with
valuable founding statements such as "all men are endowed
by their creator with certain unalienable rights ...life, liberty..." -
yes, ALL MEN, not just Americans. This is enshrined in the creation
of the United States!
The Brits on the other hand do not care
about liberty or happiness anywhere (except on their small island).
not be fooled, a British push for engaging Iran with the US
will serve British interests not ours. I believe that standing
the side of liberty will in the long run bring larger dividends
3) The Democratic party MUST also differentiate itself from the
Republican party, that contrary to Bush's rhetoric, has been quietly
reinforcing other regional oppressors for access to oil - such
as the recently re-established dictatorship of Azerbaijan (with
a leader who was anointed an honorary Texan by George Bush); or
indeed continual support for the Saudi Royal dictatorship, and
virtually every Arab dictator, not to mention close support of
former communist cronies and today's "presidents for life" in
Uzbekestan or Tajikestan! The Democratic Party must in actions
and in rhetoric be a supporter of real democracy.
Party's strategy of supporting oppressors - is a short-term play,
and in effect plays into all the wrong images of America abroad.
And above all, it's simply bad business for our companies to
invest in those regions - especially on new, long pay-back projects
pipelines, or oil field projects) - signing contracts with governments
that have no legitimacy or long-term binding authority. In this
day and age - no force is large enough to arrest the call of
liberty anywhere indefinitely. These regimes will fall and oil
will end up empty handed. We're better off fixing the political
environment first - then investing. And we can do it - their
populations will help us!
As a senior member of the Senate Foreign relations committee
and a close colleague of Senator Kerry, Senator Biden would do
better to support immediate and significant change in Iran - and
bring about a more democratic and secular government there. The
mullahs must go... and go now! Rapprochement comes later.
Such a change will not come by getting close to the regime or
pushing for slow evolutionary change. The Iranian regime has been
playing good cop/bad cop with the West for over 26 years - and
their real colors have been revealed with the recent sham election,
secret nuclear programs, human rights abuses, and general oppression.
They are clearly much worse and more sophisticated than Saddam
Hussein ever was.
I believe it is in everyone's interests to bring about immediate
change. Such a change can be brought about easily by supporting
a global embargo of Iranian oil, and freezing all Iranian assets
overseas. Such an embargo would give Iranians the confidence to
topple Iran's government - without engaging American troops or
spending $160 billion!
Remember that there is a renewed need to increase oil imports
to the US and there is substantial growth in demand for oil in
the Far East. Central Asia's vast, untapped hydrocarbon reserves
will play a very significant role in the world's energy supply
for decades to come. Demand for oil will begin to outstrip supply
within a few years.
Iran sits squarely in the middle of that region. Even if a large
pipeline is placed through Afghanistan - pumping (at most) one
million barrels a day (out of the 6 Million barrels a day that
Central Asia can produce); or if the Caspian Sea is exploited from
its Northern shores; or Iraqi oil comes-on full force - without
Iranian cooperation there will be serious inefficiencies and shortcomings
in bringing oil to market. The scenario's even bleaker without
Iran on Natural Gas - where elaborate regional trades might be
needed into a combined pipeline system. Basically, every play in
the region supports Iran's transformation.
With Iran transformed, the region will then become an engine
driving global economic growth - especially as new refineries,
oilrigs, and chemical plants are ordered, built and operated. The
resulting prosperity would then result in new hospitals, roadways,
airports ...you name it. And it will all be good for the United
States - if it is admired.
We should not suffer as the British did, after granting independence
to their former colonies, to find that they were so hated that
orders started flowing to Japan, Germany, the United States, and
NOT Britain. Britain's decline in exports was so severe, that without
North-Sea oil, Britain would be a third world nation today.
The United States must in the long run maintain and expand its
global presence through decency, fair play with real respect and
compassion for the people of these nations. With Iran especially,
the United States does have a debt of decency. Consider Eisenhower's
CIA backed coup to eliminate democracy in Iran (1952); Or Carter's
active assistance in the demise of the Shah and promotion of Islamic
militants (1979). Or even Reagan's back room deals with the same
Islamic militants to swing them against Carter and delay the release
of the hostages to win the 1980 presidential elections. And the
subsequent arm sales to both sides extending the Iran-Iraq war
resulting in 1 Million deaths and injured.
Iran's mullahs have grown very rich and remain symbols of success
for other Islamic militants. The United States can not support,
assist or recognize Iran's theocracy - in this age of terrorism
by Islamic militants. All Islamic clerics from Morocco to Malaysia
are dreaming of an age when they too can become rich like Iran's
clerics, and are planning their own versions of Iran's Islamic
revolution through Al-Qaeda.
Any other foreign policy will not be sustainable - and in the
long-term result in economic decline for the United States and
a serious loss of American prestige globally (that by the way has
already been compromised by the international image of a very cavalier,
sometimes arrogant, Texan cowboy "President Bush").
Like it's citizens, America's foreign policy must be caring and
compassionate - not opportunistic and shortsighted. Senator Biden
could be giving better advice to Kerry.
goodbye to spam!