posted on Dec, 29 2006 @ 11:18 PM
Timely bump for this thread. It highlights a real failure on America's part. I'm glad we didn't hit them yet; especially given the heavy-handed
actions of Israel earlier this year, it wasn't a good time to have a hair trigger.
I stand by the idea that a big stick is not carried in vain, but I also embrace an idea quite foreign to the current administration: that when you
"speak softly" the content must be substantial. If you speak softly only about the fact that you're carrying a big stick, it is virtually a
foregone conclusion that you will be hitting someone with that stick.
Our diplomatic efforts have not been creative enough or urgent enough, we haven't been willing to part with our biggest bargaining chips to make this
deal go through, and at this point we really only have two options: we will either eventually use the stick or we will let Iran nuclearize and accept
the consequences of that. The Republican administration has presided over precisely what I felt the Democrats would be demanding- hollow words,
referred to as diplomacy only as a matter of cynicism. Now it's sooner or later almost certain to be fight or back down.
Why should the economic ties of Russia and China to Iran be an issue when we are so much richer than Iran? How the hell could we get outbid by the
friggin Iranians? We have all the incentives and disincentives we need to make this work, and we failed to make it a priority.
We never put anything on the table that Russia had a stake in, not our Iraq policy, not our Israel policy, not Georgia (the country, obviously), not
the renewed nuclear development that Bush has started, not Venezuela or Cuba, not Kyoto, nothing. We came in with "we want you to help us do what's
good for us because we say so, and if you don't we'll get it on our own". That goes with the subtext that we have all of these other agendas where
we are opposed to Russia and we aren't willing to mention the possibility of accomodations. That sends a very coldwar kind of message and it does not
We never applied real pressure either. We never sent the message that we are bargaining from a position of credible strength and that it was in the
interest of our opponents to accept the accomodations that we should have offered. Our only idea of a threat is "if you don't stop us we're going
to get into yet another war that will cost us billions of dollars and ensure the political demise of those in our country who take the hardest line
against you". I'm sure Putin cries himself to sleep wondering what he's going to do about that, right?
We didn't dare hold trade over China's head, we didn't threaten to do anything about their friends in Sudan, etc. Russia depends on the US, Japan,
and South Korea for a combined 13% of its imports- we could have bribed our friends to apply economic pressure by using their tax codes to affect
prices, particularly prices of medication. We also could have threatened them via Ukraine, as Russia holds on to them only through Ukraine's energy
dependence, and with our support Ukraine could have put twice as much economic pressure on Russia as we could alone.
Our administration has been asleep at the wheel for a year, it has failed to send the message that working with us is profitable and opposing us is
expensive, and now we'll be sending warships to the Persian gulf, which carries with it a small but extremely worrisome possibility of either war by
miscalculation or by America getting worse than it expected in a war that it intended to start, not even to mention the potential oil shock.
I hope you'll all join me in posing the following question to our leaders... WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?