The United States government is seeking approval from Turkey which would allow American naval ships to pass through the Straits of Dardanelles in order to bring supplies to Georgia. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said “Surface vessels give us capability to provide larger amounts of relief supplies and they also give you the platform to operate off aerial assets,” but he did not specify the type of vessels that America wants to send through the straits. Turkey has now been drawn into the fiasco arising from Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia because American officials are insisting on the right to send humanitarian aid to those who are suffering. As a member of NATO Turkey is in a double bind of wanting to cooperate but at the same time not wishing to antagonize its Russian neighbor.
John McCain is once again acting the tough guy from some western motion picture by urging strong action against Russia in order to protect oil supplies from the pipe line that runs through Georgia. As of this date, the Russians have not done anything to cut off oil, but McCain wants to come across as the man who knows how to handle Russia. One can assume his expertise is equal to that of George Bush who knew how to handle the tough guy named Saddam Hussein.
The war of words and threats continues between Iran, the United States, and Israel. The Israeli air force practices bombing raids on some unspecified target, US warships patrol off the coast of Iran, and the Iranian government issues challenges and refuses to acknowledge genuine concern in the world over her nuclear program. Iranian oil minister, Gholam Nozari, said his nation would continue to sell oil even if attack, but would not take such an assault lying down and it would “react fiercely, and nobody can imagine what would be the reaction of Iran.” A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guards offered a somewhat different scenario in which his nation would take control of the Straits of Hormuz. American Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff said “we will not allow Iran to close it.”
Perhaps, the bombastic charges and threats and counter-threats are merely words being expressed to frighten enemies, but words can sometimes lead nations into actions they later regret. Any attack on Iran, justified or not, will undoubtedly result in complete destabilization of the Middle East. There are no winners in such a scenario, only losers.
Patrick Cockburn, writing in The Independent notes tomorrow marks the six anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan in order to end Taliban rule. There has now been six years of continual warfare with no apparent certainty of its conclusion. As Cockburn points out, when he visited southern Afghanistan in 2002 it was safer and under greater government control than at present. He emphasizes, “,,, during the years that have elapsed is there any evidence from the speeches of successive British ministers that they have much idea what we are doing there and what we hope to achieve? It is a fair question. During the initial months of the invasion, Pakistan cooperated and the Taliban essentially collapsed. Today, Pakistan does not cooperate and the Taliban has gained renewed power.
People often compare the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. Iraq has oil potential which would lead to an economic boom, but all Afghanistan has at this point in time are poppy fields. American policy is to destroy poppy fields, but what then is the basis for wealth in Afghanistan. It is extremely difficult wiping out the Taliban since they readily retreat in Pakistan sanctuaries where they can not be touched. Is there something wrong with this picture?
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Military, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, oil, Pakistan, poppy fields, sanctuaries, Taliban
As the world attempts to deal with possibilities of Iranian possession of nuclear weapons, an unknown factor is the attitude of Russia toward this outcome. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavnov, recently stated that his nation found “unacceptable the prospect of Iran equipping itself with nuclear the nuclear weapon.” However, President Putin has concerns at the prospect of American involvement in oil development in the Caucus region and may decide to reach out to Tehran for its oil resources. A French diplomat commented: “Recently we often have the impression that Moscow is taking us for a ride” on the Iranian nuclear issue.
The aggressive policies of President Bush create anxiety within many nations. Russia has extensive economic relations with Iran and even urged that nation to enrich its uranium within Russia. The United States turned down Putin’s offer to share in developing a missile defense which only served to antagonize the Russian leader. Perhaps, if Bush viewed long term developments within the world as important in policy formation, the United States might be more prone to be more sensitive in relations with other nations.
Posted in Iran, Military, Peace, Politics, Russia, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged atomic weaqpon, France, Iran, oil, Putin, Russia, US