The Nation: Bush Creates "Crisis" with Iran

Sherwood Ross

The Bush Administration has created “a premature crisis” with Iran that is “distracting public attention from Iraq” and “stiffening Iran’s defiance and maybe even accelerating its efforts to enrich uranium,” a New York-based liberal weekly “The Nation” editorializes in its May 22nd issue.

The magazine, long critical of President Bush, claims his Administration “is exaggerating the threat Iran poses” and “making demands that go beyond Iran’s treaty obligations”. Whether you agree or not with the magazine's point of view, the sabre-rattling by the Bush White House is doing more than just inflating oil prices for American motorists. It's undermining the ample opportunities for diplomacy that still exist.

The publication warned in any showdown with America, “Iran has good reason to believe it could prevail in an extended conflict by encouraging Shiite attacks on US forces and by driving up oil prices to well over $100 a barrel by threatening shipping and oil facilities in the Persian Gulf.”

The Nation added, “It makes no sense for the Administration to threaten Iran when we’re so vulnerable to Iranian retaliation. It is simply unrealistic to expect Iran not to take advantage of our vulnerabilities when Washington is pushing sanctions and apparently preparing for regime change and military strikes.”

The editorial pointed out that Iran is poised “to complicate the already difficult position of U.S. forces in Iraq” as it has significant influence with the main Shiite factions in the Iraq government and because “American forces are highly vulnerable to Iranian-sponsored guerrilla warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The magazine goes on to say, “The more the U.S. pushes Iran to stop uranium enrichment, the more it is likely to turn the nuclear issue into a cause that’s all about defending the country’s sovereignty and dignity.”

“American efforts to deny Iran what neighboring countries, including Israel and Pakistan, already have can be portrayed as yet another injustice at the hands of Washington,” it said.

By contrast, the editorial noted, “Good statecraft is about creating the conditions that expand the choices for peace and security. By hardening Iran’s national resolve around its nuclear program, the Administration is narrowing the choices to war or capitulation.”

“Saner voices must offer an alternative to the Administration’s endgame: an alternative that recognizes that the international community has time to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and also that we must address legitimate Iranian security concerns, taking seriously the idea of a region free of all weapons of mass destruction,” the editorial continued.

“This larger vision would require the United States to be willing to give up its own nuclear option, and thus won’t be realized overnight. But this is the kind of diplomacy we should demand of our national leaders, not diplomacy that leads to more war and instability,” The Nation concluded.

© 2006 by Sherwood Ross

Sherwood Ross contributes to national magazines and publicizes worthy causes.
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