Monday, September 17, 2007

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

France Continues Pressure On Iran

Sarkozy's government is keeping the pace moving, he seems to be the driving force right now. That's good, because no one else seems to give a damn, not anyone that has any leverage, that is. This is what has to happen, in order for this thing to have any chance of succeeding this late in the game. It should have happened sooner, when the threat was first realized. But, nevertheless, I am just glad someone is doing something. (It may not be much, but it's something.)



Iran Responds To French Pressure

"We hope that such statements are superficial and do not reflect France's realistic and strategic points of view," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said Monday, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.


Okay. I am going to try and help here. I don't know how much good I can do, but I'll try anyway:

Now would be an excellent time for Germany, Britain, and the rest of Europe to speak with one voice. Now would a great time for them to validate their support and show unity. Many in those nations have wanted this experiment, AKA the EU. This is the only way this is going to be resolved, it's the only way anyone will respect. If we keep getting mixed signals from the rest of the member states (or inaction, altogether), the message will get diluted.

The message needs to be clear, because time is wasting. It'd be nice if Russia and China would do it too, but this is not likely at this point. So, it's really up to Europe to take this torch, run with it, and guard it.



China, Russia Spying On U.S.

Like this is some new development. This went on for years and it goes on now. So what? The key in all of this is, we have known about it for a long time. Both of them ignore the threats that they should be concerned with, and stress over us. That's called straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.



Leahy Threatens To Obstruct AG Confirmation

So says the Politico:

The early reviews were notable for the restraint, if not outright optimism, shown by all sides in the fight over a successor for what has become one of the most politically charged federal agencies.

One key exception was Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who suggested in a statement Monday that he won’t schedule confirmation hearings until the White House provides more information about the nine controversial U.S. attorney firings and the administration’s terrorist surveillance programs.


Is anyone really surprised?

13 comments:

Rocket said...

Personally, I don't think that France would be ready to back up by military action what the Foreign Minister is expounding through rhetoric. Already today, they are downplaying what Kouchner said. It has nothing to do with the French are cowards blah blah blah argument but more so with the current view of this French administration to raise it's diplomatic level at breakneck speed and have it's voice be heard on the international scene as quickly as possible. I hope that the American Administration will put this all into perspective and try to avoid naiveté and not start wagging it's tail at the thought of having France on board militarily.

LASunsett said...

Hi Rocket,

It's not the war talk that I am lauding here. It's the talk that there is a need for sanctions. That's what is needed.

I think Kouchner's statement was misinterpreted by some. I think what he was saying was sanctions need to be tried, but if they do not work, then we must all be prepared for the worst. Sanctions have to be in place for awhile before they can have any level of measurable effect.

Europe is the only entity that can really put a hurt on Iran, barring China and Russia (and you know that's not going to happen). The US doesn't do business with Iran anyway, so for us to threaten sanctions would be a waste of good rhetoric.

rocket said...

Hi LA

"I think Kouchner's statement was misinterpreted by some."

Sorry LA but no misinterpreation on this issue

from the followng link

http://rue89.com/2007/09/16/kouchner-et-la-guerre-en-iran-attention-danger

Bernard Kouchner est allé un pas plus loin, hier sur LCI: "il faut se préparer au pire", c'est-à-dire, a-t-il précisé, "la guerre".

Today, while in Russia he has already backed down from the statement of war. It is on all the news here.

http://www.newsone.ca/hinesbergjournal/stories1/index.php?action=fullnews&id=60206

There was an interesting debate on this on this morning's news LCI channel. To say the least it was agreed that France's verbal belligerence would certainly be carried out by either Israel or the US but NOT and I repeat not by France

LASunsett said...

Rocket,

The original statement from this article is the one I am referring to:

Bernard Kouchner said that while "we must negotiate right to the end" with Iran, if Teheran possessed an atomic weapon it would represent "a real danger for the whole world".

The world should "prepare for the worst... which is war", he said.


What I am saying here is, this statement has been misconstrued to mean that France would be the one at war. But according to his words, he said the world.

I think you are right, France would probably never go to war alone, maybe they wouldn't if the rest of Europe did either.



As far as Kouchner backing down from his statement. I don't read French so I have not kept up with his statements in Russia or in France.

Greg said...

Obviously Kouchner doesn't want war. In fact, I think it's obvious that he is lobbying other allies for more stringent sanctions that have a hope of altering Iran's behavior. He is saying to them: "Look, agree to stiff sanctions, or the worst thing of all is sure to happen (war). Stop pretending you can ignore the problem and it will go away."

I think it is a message that needs to be sent.

LASunsett said...

//He is saying to them: "Look, agree to stiff sanctions, or the worst thing of all is sure to happen (war). Stop pretending you can ignore the problem and it will go away."

I think it is a message that needs to be sent.//


Exactly. No one wants more war. But, if we do not take this threat seriously, this is what we will get. Sanctions are the way to go, right now. And the sooner, the better.

Rocket said...

All fine and well but if push comes to shove who's going to send the bombers. Israel! or the US. And who's going to get the payback in the aftermath in terms of civilian deaths! Israel or the US.

IN a nutshell. Let him keep his mouth shut unless he is ready to engage French forces!!!!!!!!!

Rocket said...

Greg

"He is saying to them: "Look, agree to stiff sanctions, or the worst thing of all is sure to happen (war). Stop pretending you can ignore the problem and it will go away."

Right Greg!, we have heard this all before. If the US weren't so locked up in Iraq, the Iranian nuclear question would already be a done deal. I mean the damn nuclear center would have already have been destroyed and by who. Either the US or Israel.

With Russia breathing down France's neck, the French will not lift a finger. It's called protecting one's ass.

What has Europe done? Years ago they Brits and the French were singing victory. The Americans never believed it. I used to listen to the news every week on my way to the east of France on the French news channel.

Now where are we today? Back at square one because of that asshole Chirac who was too much of a coward to lift a finger to jeopardize any type of business contract in the Arab world. And Sarkozy, I like the guy but he has yet to prove he has balls. Lots of talk and Israel and the US take the heat as usual.

When I see the Mirages return to their bases with bomb bay empty, I'll believe the hype!

PS - My code word to post was praay. There is a certain justice in what I have said.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Yes it would be ideal if Russia and China would do the right thing here. Unfortunately, the world body has successfully made a demon out of only one country - the US. This leaves virtually zero pressure on Russia and China to do anything but what they darn well please.

LASunsett said...

Hi AICS,

We've missed you around here.

//This leaves virtually zero pressure on Russia and China to do anything but what they darn well please.//

If there were no United States, that's pretty much what Europe would have to contend with (Russia, China, and the Middle East). One of the things I find very sad is, we helped both get jump started on their transition from communist economics to free markets through investments, partnerships, and projects. Both would stand to gain much if the U.S. were severely weakened.

Anonim said...

Here is a relevant Spiked Online article:

France is now more gung-ho than America
As he threatens war on Iran, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner is living up to spiked’s warning that he is 'the most dangerous man in Europe'.
by David Chandler
September 18, 2007


Some excerpts...

"Kouchner, like Blair before him, is able to make grand statements of foreign policy mission in the knowledge that responsibility will have to be taken by someone else – the United States."

"For Kouchner and the new French Sarkozy government, it appears that US problems in Iraq and divisions over Iran are an opportunity to stake a claim of French leadership. Like Blair’s approach to the Kosovo crisis in 1999, this activist foreign policy depends on the fact that the US has already talked up the threat and is the only country with the capacity to carry out the threats that are made by others."

"Kouchner’s confidence in taking a warlike stance over Iran stems from irresponsibility rather than responsibility. Free from any final decision-making - or any substantial military role if there is a conflict - Kouchner’s warmongering rhetoric can only increase the tensions in the region, further destabilising the relationship between the US and Tehran. Rather than a moral or ethical stand, Kouchner’s position seems both craven and parasitical, both exploiting the US position and willing to risk thousands more lives in a region already torn apart by Western grandstanding."

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

It's no surprise that his statement has been a lightning rod to many that are already critical of the Sarkozy government. There are plenty of criticisms of him and his stances, on Spike and many other sites. But in my view, it beats the wishy washiness of Chirac, any day of the week.

Anonim said...

LA, I see your point. But, to me, the observation that this is essentially claiming a stake in an enterprise that France is not believed to risk life or limb, was noteworthy. Besides that, there is of course the upping of tensions by this newfound French hawkishness. You may find this as supportive of a certain American policy streak, hence preferable. But I don't know about that. I fear that a military move against Iran a la Iraq would be an unmitigated disaster, incomparable to Iraq as we have so far seen.

In any case, this is a tough nut to crack. I certainly don't believe wishy-washiness with the mullahs is sound policy. And I wouldn't want a nuclear Iran. I wonder how much of the mullahs' desire for going nuclear has to do with gaining 'psychological' equivalence with Israel. I said 'psychological,' right? Please anyone: no lectures about real or declared threats, defensive-aggressive stances of the said countries.