Powered by WebAds

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bush helping Ahmadinejad?

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, Michael Rubin argues that President Bush's newfound embrace of diplomacy with Iran is propping up a regime that would otherwise be drowning in its economic failures (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
Diplomacy is not wrong, but President Bush's reversal is diplomatic malpractice on a Carter-esque level that is breathing new life into a failing regime.

The Iranian government has spent billions of dollars -- money that might have been better spent on refineries and gas turbine power plants -- on a nuclear program that has failed to produce a single kilowatt of electricity.

Now, as the regime rations fuel and the city institutes roving blackouts, Iranians realize the price of the Islamic Republic's adventurism.

Even with record oil prices, mismanagement has driven the Iranian economy into the ground. On July 14, the Ministry of Housing reported an "historical" 125% rise in housing prices. The same day, Tabnak, a news Web site run by a former head of the IRGC, admitted foodstuff inflation had reached 50% annually. On July 8, 2008, a National Iranian Oil Company executive acknowledged in the Iranian press that, without significant investment in infrastructure, Iranian oil production would decline each year by 300,000 barrels a day. But those investments are not coming from abroad. Almost every headline-grabbing energy contract remains unfulfilled.

Nor is oil Iran's only flagging industry. According to the Iranian press, carpet exports have dropped 10% and pollution has decimated the caviar-producing sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. State-owned factories owe workers weeks of back wages. Bus driver Mansour Ossanlou, Iran's Lech Walesa, remains in prison after forming the republic's first independent trade union. In the past month alone, Iranian workers have struck for unpaid wages at the Khodro automotive plant (which assembles Peugeots), the Alburz Tire Company, and the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane factory.

The State Department places its about-face in the context of multilateralism. This is nonsense. By agreeing to suspend its demand for a cessation of uranium enrichment, Washington is signaling to Tehran that it need not adhere to three current U.N. Security Council resolutions. Rather than reinforce diplomacy, the White House reveals that its red lines are illusionary.

While European diplomats hope regime pragmatists might reinject responsibility in the Iranian debate, Ms. Rice's State Department has bolstered Ahmadinejad and his fellow travelers. As Ahmadinejad begins his re-election campaign, he can say he has successfully brought Washington to its knees through blunt defiance, murder of U.S. troops in Iraq, and Holocaust denial. Should he win re-election in 2009, he will have Mr. Bush's whiplash diplomacy to thank for his greatest -- and, given the state of his economy, perhaps only -- victory.
If Saturday's meeting in Geneva truly indicates a turnaround in administration policy then I agree with Rubin - it's disastrous. But I am still holding out hope that Saturday's meeting is an end and not a beginning. Maybe Saturday's meeting is Bush's way of telling his opponents in the US that "I told you so" and there is no hope of reaching an agreement with Iran to give up uranium enrichment. If so, that would be a good thing. But if Saturday's meeting marked the United States' appearance at the bazaar, Rubin is right: It's diplomatic malpractice on a Carter-like level.


At 5:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yep. Even Israel, which is native to the region has proved to be a babe in the woods when it comes to navigating the intricacies of the Middle East bazaar.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

While I am opposed in principle to meeting with the Iranians, Bush accomplished something I did not think possible- he made clear the Iranians want the bomb and negotiations are pointless.

Iran has opened the door to real sanctions against them.

War is going to happen. It may begin with an Israeli raid on Iran or economic warfare via a UN embargo on gas, but the war is coming and the fascist clerics will not get their holy bomb.

Hang onto your hats the next few months are going to be a wild ride.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger Jay.Mac said...

I tend to agree- Bush can now say to the world that he tried to negotiate with Iran. It didn't work.

Given that the US Navy is moving its anti-missile Aegis system off the coast of Israel and that Israel's Air Force has apparently tested itself against Greece's anti-aircraft missile defence system (similar to Iran's apparently), it seems like trouble might be just around the corner.


Post a Comment

<< Home