by editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
President Obama has the uncanny ability to achieve Bush-like ends by much smoother means. He announces a compromise on missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, then moves the weapons elsewhere on the continent. He initially tones down the rhetoric on Iran, then escalates the pressure on that country. “A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one.”
Freedom Rider: Iran’s Right to Exist
by editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“Where Bush would be vilified, Obama will be lionized for committing the same acts of aggression.”
Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran have the right to live without fear of sanctions, military attack, and destruction at the hands of the United States. The Iranian government has the right to enrich uranium, launch satellites, build missiles or even to develop nuclear weapons. It has these rights of self-determination freely exercised by other nations, regardless of American, European or Israeli opinion.
The United States does not have the right to wage or even to threaten war against Iran, or to tell bald-faced lies about nonexistent threats. These lies are particularly egregious given the United States’ long history of invading, destabilizing or occupying many foreign countries, including Iran, all over the world.
This week president Obama announced changes to the Bush era missile defense plan for Europe. Media reports gave the impression that missile defense plans were being scrapped, when instead the number of proposed missile sites will actually expand from central Europe to include southern and northern Europe as well. In typically Obamaesque fashion, the president spoke as though a great positive change was taking place when the threat posed by the American military industrial complex has only increased.
“The premise of an Iranian threat is made up out of whole cloth.”
Obama, sounding like a Bush administration appointee instead of a Democratic president, claimed that Europe was in grave danger from Iranian missiles. He even quoted George W. Bush for good measure.
“As I said during the campaign, President Bush was right that Iran's ballistic missile program poses a significant threat. And that's why I'm committed to deploying strong missile defense systems which are adaptable to the threats of the 21st century.”
The premise of an Iranian threat is made up out of whole cloth. The whole point of this diplomatic sleight of hand is to mollify Russia and make it easier for Iran’s putative ally to march in lock step and support United Nations sanctions or even military action against Iran should America demand it.
It is not Obama-like to openly threaten military action as the Bush administration did, or to engage in provocative acts so clumsy that even the corporate media refuse to go along with the amateurish ruses. Instead Barack Obama proposes a missile defense system that removes the threat from Russia’s back yard and simultaneously whispers sweet nothings about Iran not being so important after all.
Americans should not be fooled into following the Russia-is-our-enemy line. The unipolar world with the U.S. as the only superpower poses a grave threat to world peace.The rights of all humanity are protected when nations like Russia are strong enough to keep Uncle Sam in his place.
“The unipolar world with the U.S. as the only superpower poses a grave threat to world peace.”
Iranians are deeply divided over the direction of their country and it isn’t clear whether the government has the support of a majority of its population or what Iranians see as the issues of contention. In any case, despite the Iranian’s own revelations of human rights abuses and torture of anti-government protesters, the principle of non-interference must still apply.
It is up to Iranians to do the difficult work of determining what kind of government they will have, but concerned world citizens should not be silent when protesters are shot or imprisoned. The right to seek redress of grievances is one of the most treasured among people of conscience all over the globe. It is possible to condemn these abuses without also supporting the American government’s efforts to bully the rest of the world into submission and impose what always turns out to be a disastrous situation in every country it claims to be helping.
Likewise, President Ahmadinejad’s comments regarding the founding of Israel and its connection to the Nazi genocide against European Jews should not be used as a justification for war or as an excuse for American mischief. The use of objectionable words is never as bad as the use of bombs and bullets. Whatever the explanation for his remarks, they do not give the United States the right to overthrow an Iranian government for the second time in history.
“The use of objectionable words is never as bad as the use of bombs and bullets.”
A smooth, intelligent president can be more dangerous than a blustering, boorish one. Obama knows how to make his arguments and pick his fights. Where Bush would be vilified, Obama will be lionized for committing the same acts of aggression. It isn’t hard to imagine Obama successfully making the case for another violation of international law. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine progressives speaking up against him.
The rights of other peoples ought to be respected, instead of deeply ingrained notions about American supremacy. These notions make Americans a very dangerous group indeed, but the sooner they forsake those beliefs, the better off the world will be.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.