Violent `solutions' create new problems
> By Jim Mullins
> August 12, 2005
> As anti-Americanism has become a vital issue, various committees,
delegations and retired diplomatic, military and intelligence officials have
charged that our lack of an evenhanded approach to foreign relations and the
worldwide perception of unfair policies are the main contributors to the
> A prime example: our policy denying Iran the right to build nuclear plants
to produce electricity allowable under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which
it has signed, and with supervision by the International Atomic Energy
> The charge that Iran may have deceived the IAEA in the past makes little
sense in the context that President Bush has just signed an agreement to
supply India with nuclear reactors -- although India hasn't signed the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, hasn't submitted to IAEA inspection and has
secretly produced nuclear weapons. And even less sense in our coddling of
Pakistan's military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, whose country was the
worst violator in the worldwide spread of nuclear-weapons technology.
> IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei has charged Dr. A.Q. Khan and his
Pakistani nuclear supermarket with selling nuclear-weapons technology to
over 20 countries. When the United States was funding the mujahedeen against
the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, with Pakistan's support, we looked the
other way while it developed nuclear weaponry.
> The United States is now favoring India and antagonizing Pakistan in order
to punish Iran. Not to worry, the administration -- sensing an economic
opportunity -- lifted its South Asian arms embargo and sold Pakistan a fleet
of missile-firing F-16's and India an antimissile system to defend against
them. Good for business, bad for peace.
> Iran is faced with many energy problems. Its oil infrastructure was
largely destroyed during Iraq's invasion and war in the 1980s, and oil
production has never reached its former capacity. Sanctions have denied it
the capital to rebuild. It has no refineries and must trade oil revenues for
gasoline and its domestic oil consumption by 68 million people uses up much
of the rest.
> However, it has large reserves of natural gas and a ready market to its
east, with burgeoning demand from India and China. A pipeline from Iran
through Pakistan to India, costing only $4 billion and supplying both with
badly needed energy, would help to reduce the animosity between the two and
seemed to be a win-win situation.
> A free market solution that would enhance peace among Iran, Pakistan and
India has been thrust aside to punish Iran by giving India the nuclear
reactors, blocking the pipeline and increasing the chances of war between
India and Pakistan.
> During the months before 9-11, the Bush administration took its eye off
Osama bin Laden's threats and attempted unsuccessfully to get the Taliban to
allow a pipeline from Central Asia's Caspian Sea through Afghanistan and
Pakistan to India. The alternative through Iran was shorter, far less costly
and with less forbidding terrain. It made sense, but required negotiation
with Iran -- our eternal enemy, although the CIA's overthrow of its
democratically elected government and the shah's corrupt and repressive
reign led to the excesses of Iran's revolution.
> In the meantime, Bush administration actions do nothing to dispel the
thought that it intends to fulfill the neocon dream of Middle East
domination. Israel has been armed with F-15 long-range fighter bombers,
thousands of bunker-buster bombs and the software to direct them, and Dick
Cheney has hinted that Israel may use them to attack Iran.
> According to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the American military
has plans to activate Salvadoran-type "death squads," with Iran their first
target. Included in this group would be the Mujahedin-e Khalq, listed on the
U.S. Navy Web site as terrorists accused of killing U.S. military and
civilians in Iran and participating in the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover.
> Regional states affected by belligerent U.S. threats are pushing back. The
Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- consisting of China, Russia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- has fired its first
salvo, with Uzbekistan evicting the U.S. from its military bases. Syrian
President Bashar Assad has announced an agreement of cooperation with Iran
designed to encompass Iraq as the third party.
> It is time for the United States to re-evaluate its position, become a
good neighbor and work with the rest of the world to solve both short-term
and future energy problems that will not go away. We are losing our ability
to solve problems through peaceful cooperation rather than military
solutions -- which have destroyed every empire in history.
> Jim Mullins is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy in
Washington, D.C., and a resident of Delray Beach.
> Copyright (c) 2005, South Florida Sun-Sentinel