Am I the only one who thinks it's out of line for the Director of National Intelligence (or any of our Defense departments) to be musing about and formulating policy around oil exports and trade? Not so unusual, I suppose, if you already consider that all of the U.S. military adventures into the Middle East are driven by an obsession for oil, as well as for power.
The Bush regime saw the prospect of Russia's shifting alliances as threats to the U.S. 'national security'. The administration would have liked nothing more than for Russia and China to be regarded as pariahs in the world community. Bush and Cheney (and Rice) would have been more than satisfied to isolate Russia, and China with a manufactured pall of suspicion and fear, making oil-producing nations reluctant to do business with them out of fear of U.S. retaliation and making existing deals with Iran appear sinister and threatening.
Now it appears that the Obama WH is content to allow the prospect of the realization of Bush's destabilizing, cynical deployment of these dubious 'missile interceptors' overshadowing their promised diplomacy with Iran. It's a departure from the posture President Obama assumed while campaigning. Candidate Obama had responded to Iran's reported missile tests with a call for direct diplomacy and economic sanctions, if necessary.
In contrast, his republican opponent, John McCain, had called for an acceleration of Bush's efforts to persuade Eastern European countries to sign on to the administration's paranoid missile defense ploy. Obama said at the time that he would listen to his national security team to decide whether Iran's reported tests "indicated any new capabilities on Iran's part." Likewise, early in the transition, Pres. elect Obama's courtesy call to Polish President Lech Kaczynski resulted in reports from Kaczynski's office that Obama had assured him that "the missile defense project would continue."
The Obama transition team quickly put out a statement denying such a promise was made to the Polish president: "President-elect Obama made no commitment on it. His position is as it was throughout the campaign -- that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable."
The last part about waiting for a 'workable' missile defense system was the hook I had relied on to convince myself that Obama had no intention of committing the U.S. to such a destabilizing boondoggle. It appears that the rhetoric about missile defense from Mr. Obama throughout the campaign - always couched in the 'workability' argument - was designed to give voters the impression that the new administration would walk away from Bush's obviously mischievous provocation. I bought it, anyway.
Now, with a hedge about accepting a missile defense system that "works and is cost-effective," all that stands in the way of moving forward with Bush's destabilizing ploy is some assurance given by the holdover cronies in the Pentagon that the bugs have been worked out and the system is good to go. Whether the god-awful things actually work is certainly important, but the Obama administration's most vital concern should be whether these destabilizing systems are being deployed in response to an actual threat, and, if that perceived threat can, instead, be lessened or eliminated by the careful diplomacy promised in the campaign.
Even as then-president Bush worked to undermine the new neighborly relationship between Iraq and Iran, which produced economic agreements as well as pledges to ensure each others security, the August 8th image of Maliki and the Iranian president emerging from their meeting holding hands was an undeniable refutation of whatever threat republicans claim Iran poses to Iraqis.
There was even less solace for then-President Bush in the normalization of economic ties between the two former enemies as Iran and Iraq inked a deal on an oil pipeline which would carry oil from Iraqi oil fields to refineries in Iran. Iran's ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan to expand its economic and military ties with Iraq -- including an Iranian national bank branch in the heart of the capital -- even as the Bush administration had been warning the Iranians to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs.
If we took Bush at his word (and his present conservative minions). . . that, he was really concerned with Iran's influence in Iraq then he really blew it. There is nothing more responsible for, and enabling of, Iranian influence in Iraq than his destabilizing invasion and occupation. There was nothing more empowering of 'extremists' in Iran that both administrations worry out loud about than the reflexive response of the residents of the Middle East to Bush's threatening military expansionism.
Nothing has encouraged support in the region for extremists bent on harming Americas and our interests more than Bush's strident, imperious coup in Iraq. Whatever political atmosphere now exists in Iran was first sparked by all of Bush's saber-rattling and threats against the primary spoke of his 'axis of evil'. If Bush and his conservative acolytes wanted a moderate Iran, they clearly didn't take the influence of their own pernicious militarism into account.
Apparently aware of the contradictions and duplicity in the American position toward Iran, Obama's Secretary of State Clinton warned Iranians this week against exploiting the President's withdrawal. That warning, however is as hollow and transparent as our nation's entire policy toward the sovereign country. The administration knows well that Iran has no need for any sort of military coup, or for any type of destabilizing takeover of the Iraqi government to be able to assume ultimate and decisive influence in in the war-torn nation.
More importantly, Iraq knows, appreciatively, that if they need either military or economic assistance from their obliging next-door neighbor Iran, all they have to do is whistle.