There is no time to waste; Government must take action now: we need to bail out
The only alternative may be the loss of the global financial system as we know it. Hmmm...
There is no time to waste; Government must take action now: we need to bail out
The only alternative may be the loss of the global financial system as we know it. Hmmm...
Good governments--big or small--exist to serve; bad governments exist to exploit. That is the issue.
Governments always exist. The issue is not the existence or size of government; rather, the issue is whom the government serves. As long as Americans waste their time debating the meaningless question of how big a government should be, reform will prove an illusion. Perhaps that is why so many who oppose reform insist on raising this straw man.
The first time a local bully demanded subservience as the price of avoiding a punch in the face, government was established...or, one might respond, the first time two neighbors shook hands and agreed to protect each other from roving wolves. When Goldman Sachs wanted its bailout to pay it back for gambling away billions of investor contributions, it demanded Big Government. When Big Oil wants a tax break, it too demands Big Government. And of course when the American voter wants the world’s best superhighway system, he and she also want Big Government. Big Government for me; Small Government for you.
To really understand politics, it is necessary to discriminate between governments for special interests and governments for all (i.e., for “society,” hence the label “socialism,” which has nothing much to do with Cold War communism but just means that the goal is to aid society rather than one group). Some of the shrill voices warning about “socialism” (e.g., Palin) may not know this; many of them do and mean exactly what they say. They oppose policies that are good for society because they badly want policies that favor their little group.
To rephrase, “Big Government” is not necessarily “socialist” nor does Small Government necessarily equate with freedom. That $19B that the American taxpayer will never again see was the ultimate in Big Government but totally capitalist, in the robber baron sense of using government to steal from the masses. The Middle Ages in
When “Big Government” stops Hitler or provides a large free trade zone (e.g, the whole United States), I love it. When it bails out millionaire gamblers or bombs pre-industrial societies to protect stolen oil (no, no, I was referring to Churchill in the early 1920s in
“Big Government” for society has indeed built the world’s greatest highway system in the
The small word "regulation" is of course the elephant in the room of evaluating the quality of government. For one of many horror stories that is effectively being concealed from the American people about the way life is and the terrifying way it could be if government regulation were even worse, read up on the state of America's nuclear plants.
Just for one example, today we in the U.S. (other pre-industrial and industrial societies made different choices) have a health care system designed for health industry profit, i.e., for private gain. It works brilliantly for that purpose. The point of health care reform is to design a system for service. A reformed health care service (as opposed to a health care industry) will, if ever designed, not make a profit. The public education system and the national highway system don’t make profits either. They are not supposed to; they exist to serve society. So should the health care system. It would not offer everything; “everything” is a pipedream. It would offer a safety net—details to be discussed, but for everyone. You are of course free to buy more health care just as you are free to buy a private plane or buy a book. How much "service" the government will provide is open to discussion; the concept of equal access to all is not open to discussion – not with a government designed to serve society.
Assessing a big power’s performance during intervention in a developing world insurgency is inherently difficult because no single, simple measure provides a remotely accurate tool. Here’s the beginning of a metric for the job – an explanation of the dynamics driving the dual, interacting cycles of regime and opposition decline into the chaos of mutual violence. To the degree that your case study of choice fits this Chaos Scenario, the losers include the local populace and all who dream of peace; the winners are no more than those extremists on both right and left who exploit chaos for power and profit.
A conservative regime desperate to hold power relies ever more on brute force (its own weak force buttressed by that of its foreign patron). The more it does so, the more it comes—fairly or not—to be seen as an (inevitably) illegitimate lackey, consequently undermining its authority and thus pushing it further into a vicious cycle of repression, corruption, and loss of prestige. This process, in turn, makes it ever more difficult for the regime to engage sincerely and positively in the cooperation with reformers so vital to focusing it on the needs of the people rather than the narrow, short-term needs of the regime that enable the strengthening of links with civil society.
Contradictions between reformers demanding a share of power and leaders seeking to retain their personal and class positions come to the fore. Protected by the patron, the regime marginalizes reformers, forcing them into the arms of insurgents. A regime that relies on a foreign patron to maintain its position either is likely already to be composed of conservative politicians seeking power for its own sake rather than idealistic liberals. However it starts, its conservative, selfish tendencies intensify under the stress of coping with increasingly vociferous reformers, increasingly violent insurgents, and a populace increasingly alienated by the inevitable regime war crimes. The patron, lacking understanding of local conditions, trapped by its public lauding of the regime, and ultimately more interested in profiting from its intervention than building genuine local independence, is both sorely tempted not to change horses in midstream and manipulated by its client.
Opposing this elitist coalition is a cynical group of embittered activists whose experience has pushed them over the edge from idealism to fanaticism. Now convinced of their own perfection and the pointlessness of trying to compromise with a regime increasingly addicted to its own form of extremism, the activists-turned-radicals-turned insurgents’ particular form of the corruption of power knows no more bounds than does that of the regime.
The longer the contest lasts, the more immoral it becomes as the two sides compete for the title of “bloodiest butcher of them all.”
The above description is all too familiar. Eventually one side will tire, and the other will gain control of the slaughterhouse. The loser will be society, by then crushed morally and physically.
To the degree that this description comes to reflect reality in a Muslim society where the American Armed Forces are at war, not just the local society but also
When taking stock of the Western-Islamic confrontation, this description provides a metric for evaluating the overall course of the conflict. To the degree that it is accurate, “we the people” are losing, and the forces of extremism, of chaos, of exploitation are winning. These forces may be jihadi terrorists or gun-running masters of the military-industrial complex; either way, they are believers in violence, profiteers of chaos. It is this distinction—not “body counts” or the claims of politicians or the emotional drivel of glib media propagandists or battlefield results—that voters need to understand.
To win in Afghanistan, Washington needs a plan. To garner support for the effort, it needs to articulate that plan. Here's a proposal.
The question of how to bringing sufficient peace, stability, and good governance to Afghan society so that the war can end with hope for Afghans and the world has no easy answer, but the first step is to focus our thinking on the underlying principles, and the second step is to set clear priorities.
All the endless debate over tactics is nothing but a sandcastle unless it stands on a foundation of correct principles and priorities. The choice between the goals of a well governed Afghan society on the one hand and some combination of establishing Central Asian military bases for the empire, guarding pipeline routes, or defeating an insurgency on the other is a choice that matters. All the above goals may be defensible, but where to put the focus matters profoundly.
Three core underlying principles should define
· Local Control: Muslim socio-political reform should be managed first by locals and second by neighboring non-Western societies;
· Civil Society First: The method should always give precedence to civil society reform with military action firmly subordinated;
To begin the arduous process of implementing these principles, make the following two steps top priority:
Let those who disagree make their case…but at this level. Before the U.S. can sensibly consider issues related to military tactics or which Afghan politician to support, it needs to determine why it is in Afghanistan and what would constitute an acceptable exit strategy.
Now that a full decade of frontal military confrontation between the West and Islam has passed with no sight of any resolution of the disagrement or, sadly, even of much improvement in mutual understanding, a moment of contemplation of that which we have wrought and its implications is long overdue.
Great attention is paid by all participants in the global confrontation between the West and Islam to the tactical details of which side may be winning the battle of the day, but the really important question of where this confrontation is taking the world seldom gets the attention it deserves. That, at least, is how it seems to me, sitting in the
Now that we are a decade into the depths of a confrontation that perhaps was in some sense unavoidable but should never have been so mismanaged as to descend to the level of Fallujah 2004, Somalia 2007, Lebanon 2006, or Gaza 2008-9—much less the oft-threatened nuclear attack on Iran, we humans desperately need to take a deep breath and contemplate our position and the direction that our behavior is propelling us in.
Iraq. Even if one were to take a narrow U.S. perspective and argue that progress has been made in Iraq because American deaths are down and troop withdrawals are looming on the horizon, in truth the current state of affairs in Iraq does not constitute progress because the soldiers and the violence are merely being transferred to the much more dangerous Afghan front. Shifting the location but continuing the violence is not progress.
Afghanistan. The American invasion of Afghanistan, often justified as a war to protect Afghan women, is (eight years later) turning out so badly that major Afghan women's rights leaders are saying they would rather fight alone for justice than do so with American "help." And
Note, for example, this assessment of a recent terrorist attack in Peshawar from the Pak Institute for Peace Studies:
Experts believe that the involvement of a foreign hand in the said attack could not be ruled out since the use of remote-controlled car bombs is not the modus operandi of the TTP and Al Qaeda which mainly rely on suicide attack.
Whether this is taken as evidence of foreign (Indian?) involvement or simply as evidence of Pakistani perceptions, it still serves to intensify regional intentions. (For a sobering checklist of South Asian conflict zones, see "Armed Conflicts in South Asia: Overview and New Dimensions" by Khuram Iqbal & Safdar Sial.)
Pakistan. Within Pakistan, for the past month the conflict has been killing an astonishing several hundred people a week, as combat heats up in one area as soon as it cools off in another--from Swat to Bajaur to Malakand to Waziristan and all coming against the ominous background of constant political violence in Karachi, undermining any argument that progress is being made. Signs of the improvement in local level governance that would seem the minimal requirement for making such progress are hard to discern.
The summary report on a recent Pakistani conference of journalists found, for example, that:
when participating journalists were asked about the leading causes of extremism in Pakistan in a survey during the workshop, a consensus appeared to have been formed on poor governance, flawed government policies, non-delivery of basic needs to the society, political exploitation and misuse of the religious narrative by the extremist elements as the leading cause of extremism in the society.
Iran. However one views the Iranian front, it is hard to see any progress. From the perspective of the Iranian people, the behavior of the regime this summer evokes memories of the worst oppression of the Shah and, in the 1930s, his father. If one's goal is Iranian power projection, the existential threat being posed by Israel should be more than enough reason to lie awake at night. If one accepts Israeli propaganda about a coming Iranian threat, Iran's steady growth in power gives little reason for joy. And if one sees Israeli propaganda as a cynical effort to distract attention from its anti-Palestinian campaign by tricking Washington into an unnecessary war with Iran, despite the almost certainly disastrous consequences for all, then there is definitely no reason for joy.
The smaller fronts. The problems on “minor” (no insult to the endangered inhabitants is intended) fronts such as
Entanglement with other issues. Moreover, the longer the confrontation with Islamic societies continues, the greater is the risk of its entanglement with other international political disagreements. Israeli arming of
Other links, whose significance is a dark cloud on the horizon, go through former Soviet Central Asia, where the combination of left-over Soviet-style dictatorships and domestic political grievances create a combustible mixture that the Taliban can hardly be expected to overlook forever. Russian Central Asian specialist Sanobar Shermatova provides details.
The confrontation with Islam also provides all manner of enticements for a
The above considerations all point to the conclusion that a decade of vicious war that has caused the death of countless tens of thousands of innocent civilians and wrecked several societies has left the world worse off than it was at the start. Moslems have hardly made any progress in gaining a sympathetic ear for what they understandably perceive as unjust treatment at the hands of Western governments. The security of all in the
It thus seems time to move a bit less quickly, to insult less, to surge less, to shoot less, to scrutinize more carefully the motives of so-called friends, to give so-called enemies a bit more benefit of the doubt. It seems time to think a bit more about the long-range implications of our actions.
Government cannot do this: it simply cannot effectively self-police. It cannot effectively question its own assumptions and motives; it cannot sponsor its own reform. Even now in the post-Bush era, the media remains a hopeless captive of its own self-imposed taboos. The population is in denial; we can expect no Vietnam War-style anti-war movement; no pre-Civil War-style moral crusade (then against slavery, now against reliance on war to solve problems). Whether or not academia can provide the combination of analysis of fundamentals plus leadership to guide American society toward a solution remains to be seen. No other candidate to do the job is even visible on the horizon.
Perhaps the various parties to the Iranian nuclear dispute have begun to figure out by themselves the seriousness of the issue and the superficiality of much of their own behavior, or perhaps they read yesterday’s blog. [Truth in advertising: neither Hillary nor Ali Larijani has personally communicated with me on the issue.] I said yesterday that
In an effort to make up for the shortsighted and amateurish remark by Secretary of State Clinton that the U.S. would make no further changes (as though Washington had been bending over backwards to be understanding!), U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Glyn Davies took a step back from the confrontational cliff, calmly stating:
We want to give some space to
to work through this. It’s a tough issue for them. We’re looking for an early, positive response. Iran
At the same time, reports of
Turkish-Iranian relations are, at the moment, heavily coated in sugar, but the potential for the relationship to turn overtly competitive has hardly been missed by commentators. As long as
The leader of the Israeli war party is finally granted access to the man elected to bring “change.”
As Haaretz put it:
The White House wanted Netanyahu to sweat before being granted an audience with the president, and wanted everyone to see him perspire.
The delays in finding a time to meet, and pushing it to a late hour - after the news programs on Israeli television - make Netanyahu look as if Obama threw him a bone. In such circumstances, it is no longer important what will be said at the meeting, and the extent to which there will be an attempt to present it as an achievement. The prime minister of
was humiliated before all. Israel
For a little context, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad summarized Israel’s situation as follows:
“The source of the problem is the Israeli invasion of others’ land. If there is an invasion, people react. Therefore, the thing to do is to withdraw from the occupied land and sign a peace treaty.”
There is one clear message that
should understand, al-Assad said: “Only peace can protect the Israelis. If they believe they are defenseless, it is not war, but peace that can protect them. The experiences in Israel and Lebanon showed them that they cannot reach a conclusion by military means and moreover, that these means will drag them to failure.” Gaza
A few days ago British Foreign Secretary David Milibrand put it like this:
"Settlements are illegal in our view and an obstacle to peace settlement in the West Bank and
East Jerusalem," Miliband told a news conference after talks with King Abdullah II.
"The settlements challenge the heart of... a Palestinian state."
The Reality on the Ground.
In case you have overlooked the situation on the ground, consider this Haaretz commentary:
I thought they would feel right at home in the alleys of Balata refugee camp, the Casbah and the Hawara checkpoint. But they said there is no comparison: for them the Israeli occupation regime is worse than anything they knew under apartheid. This week, 21 human rights activists from
visited South Africa . Among them were members of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress; at least one of them took part in the armed struggle and at least two were jailed. There were two South African Supreme Court judges, a former deputy minister, members of Parliament, attorneys, writers and journalists. Blacks and whites, about half of them Jews who today are in conflict with attitudes of the conservative Jewish community in their country. Israel
Following up instantly on my thought about Turkey as a neutral guarantor of everyone’s honesty in the delicate negotiations over Western reprocessing of Iranian uranium, El Baradei has proposed the idea only to have Iranian media immediately throw cold water on it, leaving Erdogan just a bit humiliated. That is no way to treat a new friend.
IAEA chief El Baradei’s trial balloon about
The semi-official Iranian PressTV news service quoted an “anonymous” source as coldly observing:
It seems the IAEA chief is trying to take advantage of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to
to gain media coverage on a closed issue. Turkey
If that represents the official
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Chief, suggested some flexibility in Iran’s approach, though without reference to
If we cannot buy 20 percent enriched uranium to supply
’s reactor fuel, we could accept exchange in limited amount provided that we receive 20 percent enriched uranium in advance. Tehran
A detailed Tehran Times review of the uranium exchange issue emphasized that
Turkish leaders have been pouring into
As long as
Iranian decision-makers must judge two issues to determine how to preserve Iranian national security:
Leaving aside all the many issues of psychology, misinformation, cultural blinders, and factional politics, let’s just look at some facts that
To trust an opponent that is refusing to compromise, warning that it is capable of starting a war, already conducting an economic war, and allegedly also already conducting a war of sabotage and murder would take a lot of faith. This leaves Tehran in a serious predicament: if Tehran cannot trust the West to compromise but must take seriously Western threats of attack, then what choice does Tehran have? It can rationally neither compromise nor continue its defiance!
If the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is at the "epicenter" of all America's global problems, then it stands to reason that something must be done about it. Is Israel listening?
National Security Advisor General James Jones recently stated that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the “epicenter” of
Americans, not to mention Israelis, should think carefully about Jones’ remark. He did not say the Palestine conflict was the most important problem but the "epicenter." Of course, the disintegration of
Let us assume that the whole Western world is diligently trying to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue in a way that will bring peace and stability to the
Now, take a look at
One might assume that
Nope, in the midst of the delicate back-and-fro, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak sabotages the negotiations by publicly demanding that
A few days later, after the issue had, with Barak’s encouragement, become a domestic Iranian hot potato causing Iran to back off, Netanyahu came out publicly in support, perhaps hoping that
Given the enormous military superiority of nuclear Israel (a fact admitted by Olmert, Carter, and Gates) over non-nuclear Iran, one might at first glance find Israeli military dominance over the Mideast a rational objective on the part of Israel, but this absolute refusal by Israel to countenance a compromise that would permit Iran to play a normal role in Mideast affairs or be treated by anything remotely resembling a common set of rules looks rather less rational in the light of Turkey’s recent behavior.
And Israel appears determined to provoke Turkey into moving away. The viciousness of both Israel's 2006 invasion of Lebanon and its destruction of Gaza in December 2008, accentuated by its refusal to accept any criticism of its behavior, were hard enough for Turkish leaders to stomach. Then, Israel's rejection of Turkish efforts to broker an Israeli-Syrian compromise were a direct slap in Istanbul's face.
Although NATO member
There would, very simply, be no room whatsoever for Turkish independence or flexibility in the
The Mideast Israeli leaders want would be tightly hierarchical. Two sets of rules governing possession of nuclear arms and technology, even for peaceful purposes, would exist – one for
Imperial overreach in the
Now, mini-imperial overreach threatens to provoke a second realignment by pushing
Today a band of willful men will attempt to pass a bill (H.R. 867) calling on the U.S. Government to stick its head in the sand; to speak, hear, and see no evil; and to refuse to discuss charges of war crimes during Israel’s vicious and equally willful attack on the people of Gaza in December 2008. In a move that would make John C. Calhoun proud, this band will adopt the final defense of the morally bankrupt and instead attack free speech. Knowing well that their position cannot stand in the light of day, they will demand that the charges being brought against them in the closest arena the world has to a court of law simply “not be discussed.”
For a long sad generation, slavery was an issue that “could not be discussed” in Congress, thus allowing the pressures to build to the point that only a horrifying domestic war could resolve the issue. And today it is the barbaric collective punishment of the people of
The right to buy and sell and oppress and murder slaves by Southern plantation owners could “not be discussed;” the right to oppress and bomb and murder Palestinians by the Israeli Army and the extremist politicians who control the Israeli government “cannot be discussed.” Of course not. What else can these so-called American “friends” of
1."No Partner for Peace; Our American Problem" Analysis by Israeli human rights worker Jeff Halper.
Despite the mission’s charges over Israeli war crimes, South African jurist Richard Goldstone actually bent over backwards to protect Israel as much as possible. Thus the report does not mention Israel’s 42-year occupation of Gaza or its three year siege which has left a million and a half Gazans without adequate food, medical care or the basic necessities of life. Nor does it mention the fact that, rather than defending itself, it was Israel which violated the cease-fire with Hamas and refused repeated appeals by Hamas to renew it....
When, recently, I did the rounds of Congress and the State Department promoting a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I was told that “justice” is not an active element in American foreign policy.
Among all the cute phrases dreamed up by humans, perhaps “political science” is the most humorous. (I claim to be a political scientist, so I can say that.) I mean, you have to admit, there is precious little science guiding the actions of our leaders in regards to, say, the war in Afghanistan or health care or the regulation of Goldman Sachs. To be a little more polite, let’s say that “political science” is a goal. To bring us one step closer to that goal, which would presumably enable the creation of decent government, I propose the following simple metric for judging the quality of every official act by politicians:
Was their action on balance “for the elite” or “for the people?”
I am a political scientist; I can make the implementation of this simple heuristic as complex as you like. It can be arithmetic or really mathematical (e.g., based on calculus) or complex or graphical or philosophical. A nice little graduate seminar could be held on the merits of the various methods.
The point remains, however: if a politician does something that advances the interests of the society in general, that politician has done good; if it is just the elite that benefits, the politician has done bad. If you want good government, you need to be able to tell the difference, whether you are a political scientist or a barber…or even a TV news commentator.
Goldman Sachs is sitting pretty, having—with taxpayer help—defeated its competitors and recouped the losses on its gambling debts (which contributed greatly to causing the recession in the first place. And now, the real Obama, who looks more and more like a corrupt Republican every day, is putting into law a program that will ensure that, whatever economic catastrophe may ever occur in the future, Goldman will come up a winner. Carefully avoiding the problem of insufficient government regulation (the open door that led to the recession), the new law will ensure a permanent pipeline of taxpayer funds to protect the millionaires of Goldman Sachs.
Concerning that law-in-the-making, FDIC Chair Sheila Bair testified to Congress:
The oversight council described in the proposal currently lacks sufficient authority to effectively address systemic risks.
Ouch! Would someone please explain to me why Geithner is still employed by the U.S. Government?
Actually, Senator Maria Cantwell has explained this mystery:
...the nation's largest banks are posting record profits....many of these banks have resumed their old habit of using other people's money to gamble with the same risky unregulated derivatives that led us into this crisis.
In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and with job losses and home foreclosures mounting, it's no wonder the rest of us are asking how this can be allowed to continue.
Look no further than the powerful lobbying arm of the financial services sector, which has spent at least $220 million this year lobbying Congress to stave off new rules to prevent another collapse.
For a real lesson in civics as it actually works in modern America, here are the gory details of one particularly egregious case of how your officials in Washington sold you down the river to please their masters on Wall Street.
It's simple - the American people do not control their government. In fact, even the government does not appear to control the government: Wall Street does.
As for the rest of the economy, manufacturing in the
And it is not just
A huge crash is now starting….Occupancy rates are going down. Rent rates are going down and the capitalization rate -- the return that investors are demanding to buy a property -- are going up.
Note that I am citing both Bloomberg and the World Socialist Web Site, sources that you might not expect to be sending the same message.
In case you think I am being too flip or unfairly focusing on the bad news, here, in simple English, is the academic summary of the state of affairs by
Emergency rescue operations have increased concentration in the banking industry, and the too-big-too-fail (TBTF) doctrine may have been abused by many of our once-illustrious financial companies. A variety of miscreants imposed enormous costs on innocent bystanders by dragging the economy down. And taxpayers have been forced to shoulder a variety of huge actual and potential bills. All this suggests the need for fundamentally rethinking the rules and regulations that govern our financial system. [Thanks to Econobrowser for pointing out this paper.]
For the details, consider the Congressional testimony by Robert Johnson, Director of Economic Policy at the Roosevelt Institution, that the House Financial Services Committee is trying to suppress to protect the guilty:
the most important dimension of all of the needed financial reforms is the precise intersection between Too Big to Fail financial institutions and OTC unregulated derivatives….. We have a financial architecture in place governing derivatives that has failed profoundly. The bailout costs, lost output around the world, and breathtaking rise in unemployment are the result of that financial failure. [Thanks to Democracy Now, perhaps the most honest news service in the U.S., for revealing this.]
Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and target of intense hostility from the Washington-Wall Street cabal that brought us this recession, recently put it like this:
we have to close the regulatory gap. ... We cannot afford as a society to go forward with an enormous unregulated market that poses this kind of danger because it’ll happen again if we don't take the appropriate steps. ... We need to take a lesson from the existing futures markets where exchange trading has been safe. As much as possible of the over-the-counter derivatives market should be traded on a regulated derivatives exchange. The transaction should be cleared on a regulated clearinghouse. There should be robust federal regulation of any remaining OTC derivatives market. And personally, I think that remaining market should be limited as much as possible to no more than the customized contracts that are needed for specific businesses to hedge particular business risks.
In case the above make your eyes glaze over, try this even blunter statement from McClatchy, a news source vastly more reliable than the ones you normally pay attention to:
Why didn't Wall Street firms tell potential investors that the bonds they were selling them were rotten? Why did their business partners, including subprime mortgage lenders, ignore glaring evidence that borrowers weren't qualified and give loans to virtually anyone with a heartbeat?
The answer is simple: Because they could.
For the details of how the near-criminal, if not literally criminal, process going from a single tricky mortgage to a naïve homebuyer to large-scale fraudulent Wall Street investments occurred, read the full McClatchy article. But the above quote is the bottom line.
Evidence that Washington is "governing for the elite:"
What would help to change my mind about Washington:
Government for the People
Elizabeth Warren, TARP Superwoman
Sheila Bair, FDIC Chairwoman
Maria Cantwell, Senator
Dennis Kucinich, Presidential candidate 2008 so if you failed to vote for him…
Government for the Elite
Melissa Bean, congresswoman from Wall Street and member of House Financial Services Committee
On October 30, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a joint press conference in Iraqi Kurdistan, saying:
It is time for Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis to rebuild the
Middle East. Therefore, it is time for everyone to take brave steps.
This does not automatically mean equality for Turkish Kurds, of course, and yet, it seems an improvement over the Turkish military attacks of last winter and suggests a real openness in
In a partial answer to those who may think Erdogan is overextending his country, Turkey is moving forward with plans to become the regional energy hub by cooperating with Kazakhstan and Russia.
At the same time as
Although Erdogan may yet face domestic opposition to his effort to move
Erdogan spelled out part of what a Turkish-led moderate bloc would mean a few days before his late-October visit to
We are not in favor of presence of weapons of mass destruction in
and in our region. But it is not fair and unjust to put pressure on Iran while someone else in the region has such weapons. The world must assume a fair attitude. In that case a totally different environment of confidence will emerge. Iran
The vision of a single set of rules to govern regional nuclear rights would fundamentally shift interstate relations, where the region is currently dominated by
Going beyond nuclear rights, Erdogan laid out a general principle that could, if accepted in
has a long-standing political tradition of its own. You cannot ignore Iran and any attempt to encourage negative approaches to Iran will damage efforts to ensure peace in the region. Iran
A Turkish commentator reassured Washington (whose own invitation to Erdogan was postponed because of “a Turkish holiday,” thereby affording Erdogan time to consolidate ties with Iran and Iraq first) by soothing that the new warmth in Turkish-Iranian relations does “not signify a shift toward an Iran-oriented foreign policy.” Perhaps not, but it does signify a shift toward acceptance of Iran as a legitimate player combined with a hint that Iran might facilitate its acceptance by some unspecified shifts of its own. In noting politely that “
But a Turkish-sponsored Western-Islamic compromise remains far in the future, for such a compromise would entail a highly uncharacteristic voluntary Western pullback from its current aggressively militant stance. The astonish shortsightedness of the West in refusing to participate in NATO war games in NATO partner Turkey without the presence of non-NATO Israel and the hostile reaction to the U.N. report on Israel’s war crimes in Gaza bode ill for Erdogan’s hopes to be a regional peacemaker.
And that’s not the sum of the obstacles in Erdogan’s path by far. His hopes of success also hinge on his ability to persuade
’s primary purpose in this visit is not to act as a mediator between Turkey and the West but to deliver an independent Turkish message to the Iranian authorities that Iran is not being convincing about the civilian intentions of its nuclear program to the international community. However, Iran insists it will engage Turkey on this issue as a country which empathizes with Iranian sensitivities. Iran
But Erdogan has a good shot at persuading
perceives no limitation or restriction on the expansion and development of its brotherly relations with Republicof Iran . Turkey
In addition, Ahmadinejad’s just-announced decision to participate in the November 5-9 meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference in
Potential Western Benefits.
Whether or not the West will come in sufficient time to appreciate the opportunity
If Washington is indeed determined to learn from the Dec. 2008 Gaza experiment the lesson that the right way to deal with the Muslim world is military suppression of those who refuse to subordinate themselves to Western preferences plus obdurate refusal to allow independent Muslim entities to participate as equals in the global political system, then that may indeed be the result.
Before the Israeli rightwing cheers too loudly, it might contemplate the implications of a