Friday, January 12, 2007

territorial integrity?

* froomkin:
Is That All There Is?

After more than a month of frenzied anticipation, President Bush's speech last night was such a limp letdown -- with the notable exception of provocative, bellicose words aimed at Iran and Syria -- that it raises the question: What is he really up to?

Could his secret goal be to run out the clock, and leave Iraq to his successor? Might he be setting the stage for an exit on his terms -- giving the Iraqis one last chance, and if they blow it, then he withdraws? Is it even possible that he is beginning the process of shifting the attention of the military -- and the American public -- from Iraq to Iran?

Those theories may sound a bit conspiratorial, but Bush's new proposal is so internally contradictory, so incremental, so problematically dependent on Iraqi good behavior, and so unlikely to galvanize public support that it seems to me that it's open season on alternate explanations of his motivation.

There is, for instance, an irresolvable contradiction between Bush's insistence on the necessity of winning, because the alternative is cataclysmic, and his demand that the Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks, or else.

What does he mean by or else? He won't say.

Is he talking about a coup? Presumably he means we would pull out if they don't meet their benchmarks. But how can he plausibly threaten to pull out -- which, of course, happens to be what a majority of Americans and Iraqis now want -- if he continues to insist that pulling out would put America in mortal danger, not to mention detonate the entire Middle East?

The only thing Bush would say last night about the consequences of Iraqi failure to meet benchmarks was this: "If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people." Some threat. That already happened long ago."

* President Bush:
"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. "
territorial integrity?

* froomkin:
As for Iran, said Russert: "In the discussion with his senior advisors, with the president, again, something I took away, that it's the president's thinking that he will not sit down with people that he refers to as tyrants until he has, quote, leverage. Suggesting that he has to win the war in Iraq or secure Iraq -- and then he doesn't have to go to Syria and Iran and, quote, ask for anything. That's the way he looks at this. Secondly, there's a strong sense in the upper echelon of the White House that Iran is going to surface relatively quickly as a major issue in the country and the world and -- in a very acute way."

* Michael Gerson:
"[T]he president has shown that he is unimpressed by the conventional foreign policy wisdom. Instead of going to Iran as a supplicant, he is sending a carrier strike group to the region. Instead of abandoning a struggling democracy, he asserts that democracy is worth fighting for, and that our long-term security depends on democratic progress. Instead of seeking cover for retreat, he points out that retreat may also have unintended consequences, including genocidal levels of violence in Iraq. This new approach is likely to put his critics on the defensive, at least for a time."


Have Skunk said...

Certainly Chimperor's running out the clock. It's all he can do.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Nice blog ya got there, H.S. Until we criminalize these war profiteers and their government enablers, this bullshit isn't going to end. As a world society, we have more urgent business than enriching arms manufacturers and oil companies. I encourage each of you to write to your representatives and others in Washington, on a regular basis, and be angry; meanwhile, perform acts of kindness in your everyday life. It's the same old, tired suggestions, but those things are becoming more meaningful as the neocon experiment falls apart.

Mizgîn said...

I think I have it figured out.

Bush is a Turk.

In his speech, he never once mentioned the K-word and he blathered about the importance of "territorial integrity." These are the telltale signs of a nationalist Turk.

In fact, he does have the coloring of Ya?ar Büyükan?t. . . hmmm. . .

I did find a very interesting article on America's squeeze of Iran's economy, here

Note the following:

Iran facing a increasingly hostile US and Europeans has turned to Russia and China for investment and technical know-how for its oil and gas industries. China has the needed financial muscle and enough thirst for energy to disregard American pressures. China is already investing heavily in Iranian oil fields, securing for itself a portion of the oil and gas reserves. China with 1.3 billion people and fast growing economy is already the second largest oil consumer in the world. If China’s economic growth continues, it is estimated that by 2020 China’s energy needs will increase by 150 percent.

“China's expectation of growing future dependence on oil imports has brought it to acquire interests in exploration and production in places like Kazakhstan, Russia, Venezuela, Sudan, West Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Canada. But despite its efforts to diversify its sources, China has become increasingly dependent on Middle East oil. Today, 58% of China's oil imports come from the region. By 2015, the share of Middle East oil will stand on 70%. Though historically China has had no long-standing strategic interests in the Middle East, its relationship with the region from where most of its oil comes is becoming increasingly important.”[8]

Last year China signed oil and gas contracts worth over $100 billion with Iran. China is heavily involved in developing the huge Yadavaran oil field. “If completed, the deal will allow China to buy 150,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day at market rates for 25 years as well as 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas. Under an initial agreement signed by the Sinopec Group in October 2004, China could pay Iran as much as $100 billion for the stake and the purchases of oil and gas over 25 years.” [9] Interestingly Royal Dutch Shell Plc works as technical consultant for Sinopec on Yadavaran field.

On 25 December 2006, National Offshore Oil Corp of China announced the signing of a $16 billion memorendom of understanding to develop Iran’s North Pars gas field and build liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in Iran. The project is expected to take 8 years to complete.

What if Iran called America's bluff, pulled its oil off the world economy and sold strictly to China and the other SCO countries (like Russia), and made more deals with China that would lock in Iranian oil sales to China for the next 25 years? Would that be a counterbalance to what we know so far of the Iraqi oil law, which will give 75% of profits over the next 30 years to Western oil companies? And what would be the effect on the world economy, especially with regard to oil prices in the immediate aftermath?

Another item of interest from the article is as follows:

The current US strategy is to starve the Iranian oil and gas industries of new investments, thereby reducing the Iranian government’s revenues which are hoped will in turn reduce Iran’s ability to maintain not only its armed forces, but also the government’s social obligations to its people (subsidies, salaries, etc.). It is hoped that this combined with international isolation and (with the help of Saudi Arabia) a reduction in oil prices (OPEC crude basket price: $51.25 per barrel on 8/1/07) will not only cripple the Iranian economy, but also (possibly) lead to a regime change. All attacks on the economy was being presented under the guise of stopping Iran from developing WMDs, and in particular Nuclear weapons.

Now, the problem with regime change is that it does not necessarily mean a change to democracy, which is what some of us hope for.

On the other hand, regime change would give us that moment of chaos that we need to liberate Iranian-occupied Kurdistan. . . and we already have the boots and guns on the ground to effect the liberation.

Hehehe . . . Bijî Hêzên Rojhelatî Kurdistan!

lukery said...

Have Skunk - Jeepers - ya know, i'd be happy if he were to run out the clock. That means 'no more damage' - right?

i'd settle for that.

lukery said...

Mizgin: Bush is a Turk
he he.

i read that article about the longterm plan to starve the iranian oil industry - the thing that struck me is that *finally* they appear to be at least thinking long-term - that's a start!

it's very interesting about the oil price - i can't figure out how that is falling at the same time they are ramping up the war talk. (of course, a short-term downward-blip won't achieve their goals)


What if Iran called America's bluff, pulled its oil off the world economy and sold strictly to China and the other SCO countries?
it really shouldnt matter very much - at least not in the near-medium term - the markets would compensate.

the smart thing for iran to do would be to cut their production by, say, 10% - the price would probably increase by more than 10% to compensate (altho the stupid americans would probably consider that 'an act of war')