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“The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests…..We must, however, be mindful that…Russia will remain the strongest military power in Eurasia and the only power in the world with the capability of destroying the United States.”

-The Wolfowitz Doctrine, the original version of the Defense Planning Guidance, authored by Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leaked to the New York Times on March 7, 1992

“For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”

-THE GRAND CHESSBOARD – American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, page 30, Basic Books, 1997

The Laussanne negotiations between Iran and the so called P5+1 group (the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany) have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation. They are, in fact, another attempt to weaken and isolate Russia by easing sanctions, thus allowing Iranian gas to replace Russian gas in Europe. Laussanne shows that Washington still thinks that the greatest threat to its dominance is the further economic integration of Russia and Europe, a massive two-continent free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok that would eventually dwarf dwindling US GDP while decisively shifting the balance of global power to Asia. To counter that threat, the Obama administration toppled the elected government of Ukraine in a violent coup, launched a speculative attack on the ruble, forced down global oil prices, and is presently arming and training neo-Nazi extremists in the Ukrainian army. Washington has done everything in its power to undermine relations between the EU and Russia risking even nuclear war in its effort to separate the natural trading partners and to strategically situate itself in a location where it can control the flow of vital resources from East to West.

Laussanne was about strategic priorities not nukes. The Obama administration realizes that if it can’t find an alternate source of gas for Europe, then its blockade of Russia will fail and the EU-Russia alliance will grow stronger. And if the EU-Russia alliance grows stronger, then US attempts to extend its tentacles into Asia and become a major player in the world’s most prosperous region will also fail leaving Washington to face a dismal future in which the steady erosion of its power and prestige is a near certainty. This is from an article titled “Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan”:

“If Washington removes energy sanctions on Iran…then a new geopolitical configuration will emerge in the region. Connecting with Nabucco will be enough for Iran to fully supply Europe with gas…

Iran takes the floor with inexhaustible oil and gas reserves and as a key transit country. Iran disposes of the 10% of the reported global oil reserves and is the second country in the world after Russia with its natural gas reserves (15%). The official representatives of Iran do not hide that they strive to enter the European market of oil and gas, as in the olden days. Let’s remember that the deputy Minister of Oil in Iran, Ali Majedi, offered to revive project of Nabucco pipeline during his European tour and said that his country is ready to supply gas to Europe through it…

“Some months earlier the same Ali Majedi reported sensational news: ‘two invited European delegations’ discussed the potential routes of Iranian gas supply to Europe,” the article reads.” … It is also noted that the West quite materially reacted to the possibility of the Iranian gas to join Nabucco.” (Removing sanctions against Iran to have unfavorable influence on Turkey and Azerbaijan, Panorama)

So, is this the plan, to provide “energy security” to Europe by replacing Russian gas with Iranian gas?

It sure looks like it. But that suggests that the sanctions really had nothing to do with Iran’s fictitious nuclear weapons program but were merely used to humiliate Iran while keeping as much of its oil and gas offline until western-backed multinationals could get their greasy mitts on it.

Indeed, that’s exactly how the sanctions were used even though the nuclear issue was a transparent fake from the get go. Get a load of this from the New York Times:

“Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.” (U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb, James Risen, New York Times, February 24, 2012)

See? The entire US intelligence establishment has been saying the same thing from the onset: No Iranian nukes. Nor has Iran ever been caught diverting nuclear fuel to other purposes. Never. Also, as nuclear weapons physicist, Gordon Prather stated many times before his death, “After almost three years of go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has — or ever had — a nuclear weapons program.”

The inspectors were on the ground for three freaking years. They interviewed everyone and went wherever they wanted. They searched every cave and hideaway, every nook and cranny, and they found nothing.

Get it? No nukes, not now, not ever. Period.

The case against Iran is built on propaganda, brainwashing and bullshit, in that order. But, still, that doesn’t tell us why the US is suddenly changing course. For that, we turn to an article from The Brookings Institute titled “Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter” which sums it up quite well. Here’s a clip:

“At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia. Proponents of the deal believe that the best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to seek to integrate Iran into the regional order, even while remaining wary of its ambitions. A nuclear deal is an important first step in that regard, but its details matter little because the ultimate goal is to change Iranian intentions rather destroy Iranian capability.” (Why the details of the Iran deal don’t matter, Brookings)

Notice how carefully the author avoids mentioning Israel by name although he alludes to “the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies”. Does he think he’s talking to idiots?

ORDER IT NOW

But his point is well taken; the real issue is not “Iranian capability”, but “Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East”. In other words, the nuclear issue is baloney. What Washington doesn’t like is that Iran has an independent foreign policy that conflicts with the US goal of controlling the Middle East. That’s what’s really going on. Washington wants a compliant Iran that clicks its heals and does what its told.

The problem is, the strategy hasn’t worked and now the US is embroiled in a confrontation with Moscow that is a higher priority than the Middle East project. (The split between US elites on this matter has been interesting to watch, with the Obama-Brzezinski crowd on one side and the McCain-neocon crowd on the other.) This is why the author thinks that easing sanctions and integrating Iran into the predominantly US system would be the preferable remedy for at least the short term.

Repeat: “The best way for the United States to deal with the Iranian regional challenge is to integrate Iran into the regional order.” In other words, if you can’t beat ‘em, then join ‘em. Iran is going to be given enough freedom to fulfill its role within the imperial order, that is, to provide gas to Europe in order to inflict more economic pain on Russia. Isn’t that what’s going on?

But what effect will that have on Iran-Russia relations? Will it poison the well and turn one ally against the other?

Probably not, mainly because the ties between Iran and Russia are growing stronger by the day. Check this out from the Unz Review by Philip Giraldi:

“Moscow and Tehran are moving towards a de-facto strategic partnership, which can be easily seen by the two groundbreaking announcements from earlier this week. It’s now been confirmed by the Russian government that the rumored oil-for-goods program between Russia and Iran is actually a real policy that’s already been implemented, showing that Moscow has wasted no time in trying to court the Iranian market after the proto-deal was agreed to a week earlier. Providing goods in exchange for resources is a strategic decision that creates valuable return customers in Iran, who will then be in need of maintenance and spare parts for their products. It’s also a sign of deep friendship between the two Caspian neighbors and sets the groundwork for the tentative North-South economic corridor between Russia and India via Iran.” (A Shifting Narrative on Iran, Unz Review)

But here’s the glitch: Iran can’t just turn on the spigot and start pumping gas to Europe. It doesn’t work that way. It’s going to take massive pipeline and infrastructure upgrades that could take years to develop. That means there will be plenty of hefty contracts awarded to friends of Tehran –mostly Russian and Chinese–who will perform their tasks without interfering in domestic politics. Check this out from Pepe Escobar:

“Russia and China are deeply committed to integrating Iran into their Eurasian vision. Iran may finally be admitted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the upcoming summer summit in Russia. That implies a full-fledged security/commercial/political partnership involving Russia, China, Iran and most Central Asian ’stans’.

Iran is already a founding member of the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); that means financing for an array of New Silk Road-related projects bound to benefit the Iranian economy. AIIB funding will certainly merge with loans and other assistance for infrastructure development related to the Chinese-established Silk Road Fund…” (Russia, China, Iran: In sync, Pepe Escobar, Russia Today)

Get the picture? Eurasian integration is already done-deal and there’s nothing the US can do to stop it.

Washington needs to rethink its approach. Stop the meddling and antagonism, rebuild relations through trade and mutual trust, and accept the inevitability of imperial decline.

Asia’s star is rising just as America’s is setting. Deal with it.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Russia 
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  1. J Yan says:

    Mike, you have some unique insights, but your writing style is grating. See? Get it? Get the picture? Deal with it.

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  2. “Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.” (U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb, James Risen, New York Times, February 24, 2012)

    So, Mike Whitney puts absolute faith in our new century’s most asinine intelligence apparatus, ever:

    See? The entire US intelligence establishment has been saying the same thing from the onset: No Iranian nukes. Nor has Iran ever been caught diverting nuclear fuel to other purposes. Never. Also, as nuclear weapons physicist, Gordon Prather stated many times before his death, “After almost three years of go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has — or ever had — a nuclear weapons program.”

    Huh. Better he’d paid attention to what the CIA (and other intelligence elements) had gone to extreme length to cover up:

    Stephen Kappes world class screw-up, out-doing the CIA’s professed ‘non-role’ in preventing the 9/11 attacks (yes, even out-doing Cofer Black’s refusing information to the FBI on the very cell the USA alleges is responsible for the attacks, prior to 9/11)…

    “Kappes, who had known about Dr. Khan’s [atomic bomb] black market machinations, nevertheless did nothing to stop him”

    …was to run a nuclear proliferation ‘sting’ operation that saw viable bomb designs (blueprints) get into the hands of not only the Libyans, but also Iran, North Korea and incredibly, into the hands of unknown amounts of persons yet unknown:

    “Among the files confiscated from the Tinners, Collins and Frantz say, were elements of a Chinese design for a nuclear weapon that had been scanned and could therefore have been copied and disseminated around the world.

    “Investigators from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also identified possible elements of designs for two other more sophisticated Pakistani nuclear weapons among the materials they were allowed to see.

    “In addition to the discovery of more than 300 schematics for two types of Pakistani atomic weapons in the Tinners’ possession, hard drives belonging to the family were found in Thailand, Malaysia and South Africa, showing that classified information useful in making bombs had traveled the globe”

    The CIA solution to Kappes’ botched sting operation?

    “A Swiss investigator who worked on the Khan case was quoted by the authors as saying that Washington had wanted the evidence collected in raids on the Tinners’ home and offices, including computer files, hard drives, disks and documents, to be destroyed in order to “hide their own stupidity””

    ^ http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/11/22/reorganizing-murder-inc/

    I suppose anyone could prefer to believe Iran limited its purchases to centrifuge designs when buying from a nuclear black market cell that’d been selling atomic weapons designs but then about a billion people ostensibly believe in virgin birth (would seem to include Mike Whitney)

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  3. Renoman says:

    I know that this has been the way the US has done business for many years but I believe that the internet is making it very difficult to pull off in today’s World. The only thing saving them is the stupidity of the typical voter and the even greater stupidity of the ones who don’t vote.
    Any way you cut it America is coming to an end and good riddance I just hope they don’t take the rest of us with em..

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  4. “The case against Iran is built on propaganda, brainwashing and bullshit, in that order. . . .”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

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  5. On CSPAN you can occasionally see our political class dealing with these issues. They veer from intense hatred of Obama to lickspittle obeisance to Israel, sometime in the same sentence.

    They want to lecture the world on Human Rights as if nobody knows that we have Secret Black site prisons all over the world engaging in kidnapping, torture and murder. We sanctioned the Iranians and now we’ve sanctioned the Russians and we expect the Russians to respect sanctions on Iran when we are deliberately trying to wreck the Russian economy.

    It’s painful watch.

    But here is is anyway:

    Bad:

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?325417-3/washington-journal-representative-reid-ribble-rwi

    And worse:

    http://www.c-span.org/video/?325401-5/washington-journal-representative-christopher-smith-rnj

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    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
    Very true.
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  6. @Si1ver1ock
    On CSPAN you can occasionally see our political class dealing with these issues. They veer from intense hatred of Obama to lickspittle obeisance to Israel, sometime in the same sentence.

    They want to lecture the world on Human Rights as if nobody knows that we have Secret Black site prisons all over the world engaging in kidnapping, torture and murder. We sanctioned the Iranians and now we've sanctioned the Russians and we expect the Russians to respect sanctions on Iran when we are deliberately trying to wreck the Russian economy.

    It's painful watch.

    But here is is anyway:

    Bad:
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?325417-3/washington-journal-representative-reid-ribble-rwi

    And worse:
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?325401-5/washington-journal-representative-christopher-smith-rnj

    Very true.

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  7. annamaria says:

    A bird’s eye view of the US/Russia conflict in Ukraine. Sobering.
    “It is clear that Washington is not run by idiots, no matter what is said on Russian talk shows or written on blogs. The United States understands precisely the situation they are in. Moreover, they also understand that Russia has no plans to destroy them and is really prepared to cooperate as an equal. Even so, because of the political and socioeconomic situation in the United States, such cooperation is not acceptable to them… the political elites who have emerged in the United States in the past 25 years have become accustomed to their status as the owners of the world. They sincerely don’t understand how anyone can challenge them… For the United States, a compromise with Russia would mean a voluntary renunciation of its hegemony

    [MORE]

    Much depended on the EU until the summer of last year, when the war could have been prevented or stopped at the outset. A tough, principled antiwar stance by the EU was needed. It could have blocked U.S. initiatives to start the war and would have turned the EU into a significant independent geopolitical player. The EU passed on that opportunity and instead behaved like a faithful vassal of the United States. As a result, Europe stands on the brink of frightful internal upheaval. In the coming years, it has every chance of suffering the same fate as the Ukraine, only with a great roar, great bloodshed and less chance that in the near future things will settle down…
    It was an attempt to force Russia to choose between a bad situation and an even worse one. Russia would be compelled to accept a Nazi state on its borders and therefore a dramatic loss of international authority and of the trust and support of its allies, and after a short time would become vulnerable to internal and external pro-U.S. forces, with no chance of survival. Or else it could send its army into the Ukraine, sweep out the junta before it got organized, and restore the legitimate government of Yanukovych. That, however, would have brought an accusation of aggression against an independent state and of suppression of the people’s revolution. Such a situation would have resulted in a high degree of disapproval on the part of Ukrainians and the need to constantly expend significant military, political, economic, and diplomatic resources to maintain a puppet regime in Kiev, because no other government would have been possible under such conditions. Russia avoided that dilemma. There was no direct invasion. It is Donbass that is fighting Kiev. It is the Americans who have to devote scarce resources to the doomed puppet regime in Kiev, while Russia can remain on the sidelines making peace proposals.
    So now the United States is employing the second option. It’s as old as the hills. That which cannot be held, and will be taken by the enemy, must be damaged as much as possible so that the enemy’s victory is more costly than defeat, as all its resources are used to reconstruct the destroyed territory. The United States has therefore ceased to assist the Ukraine with anything more than political rhetoric while encouraging Kiev to spread civil war throughout the country.”

    http://thesaker.is/what-does-putin-want-a-major-analysis-by-rostislav-ishchenko-must-read/

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  8. jmaie says:

    Quote from Brookings:

    “At heart, this is a fight over what to do about Iran’s challenge to U.S. leadership in the Middle East and the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies, particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

    In the author’s next paragraph:

    “Notice how carefully the author avoids mentioning Israel by name although he alludes to “the threat that Iranian geopolitical ambitions pose to U.S. allies”. Does he think he’s talking to idiots?”

    I did not in fact notice how carefully the author avoided mentioning Israel by name…

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