Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pakistan Out of Balance

Pervez Musharraf recently defied requestsfrom the Bush administration to promote more democracy in the country. Musharraf declared a state of emergency in his Pakistan, arrested about 500 protesting activist and fired the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Musharrafrecently won reelection in his country but the Supreme Court will review it. He has also jailed opposition party leader and the opposition candidate, Benazir Bhutto, could stand to be arrested Pervez Musharraf, leader of Pakistan and a close ally of the US in the “war on terror” herself if she leads protests to resist. Bhutto is the former Pakistani prime minister whom the Bush administration hoped would restore order. (Musharraf pictured right)
I searched out blogs to see what others were saying about Musharraf and the situation. Basically I believe Musharraf represents continual mistakes in how the US conducts foreign policy, that is giving support ( Pakistan gets about $10 billion, just third behind Iraq and Israel) to dictatorships that serve short term interests. The same is true of the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein. Setting up a democracy should not mean propping up a puppet government. The US always seems to pay for it in the end.
I posted on two blogs, a “moderate” political blog called Obsidian Wingsand Sepia Mutiny, a blog that focuses on South Asia.

Comment 1
While I agree that the a democratically weak state benefits no one, I believe that is what the US already has in Pakistan. The overall problem is US credibility. The US cannot claim to support democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq while denying it in Pakistan. In fact Musharraf seems to be fueling more violence and radicalizing Islamists more than he is stopping it. News reports show the insurgency is gaining strength along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Unfortunately this situation is bad no matter what happens, but I believe if Musharraf remains in power the politics will grow more extreme and anti-Western. That is the last thing the US needs, a radicalized nation in possession of a nuclear weapon. (protesters burn effigy of Musharraf pictured left)

Comment 2
Great post with a lot of information. You are right Musharraf is an American puppet and from the looks of it so is Benazir Bhutto. The former prime minister returned to Pakistan at the behest of the Americans and British more so than the Pakistanis. And as noted by Imran Kahnof the Telegraph, Bhutto already supports Musharraf and his policies. Bhutto is alienating the government from the people the way Musharraf is. An article from the Pakistani newspaper states “ To implement its agenda America needs someone who would allow it to attack our tribal areas and control our nuclear assets. It marketed the idea that Benazir was the icon of moderation best equipped to take on the extremists.” The US needs to stop continually propping up corrupt or inefficient dictators who serve short-term interests. Otherwise we will continually have to deal with the aftermath such as Saddam or the Islamic Revolution in Iran following the removal of the Shah.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Real Culture Warriors: Anthropologists on the Front Lines

With superior military technology and a belief in democracy, the US armed forces and the White House jumped head first into two Muslim nations. What they found was a complex network of tribal alliances, bitter rivalries and foreign customs that confounded all military personnel from the highest ranking officers to the infantryman patrolling in the street. Where firepower has failed, cultural anthropologists may succeed. The Army recently developed a program in which anthropologists use their cultural knowledge to help foster peaceful interactions between soldiers and local populations. Dubbed the Human Terrain System (HTS), the program name sounds like a totalitarian nightmare but in reality may be an effective alternative to ending the violence. A team of five anthropologists called a Human Terrain Team (HTT) provides commanders “support in the form of ethnographic and social research, cultural information research, and social data analysis that can be employed as part of the military decision making process,” according to an article in the US Army Professional Writing Collection. The article looks at the value of anthropological research from a purely strategic standpoint but it does draw the conclusion that military superiority cannot produce victory in an occupation-type situation like Iraq. Insurgencies most often sprout from the ideologies of the society being occupied, and who better to handle to understand this concept than those studying culture: one of the most abstract and difficult concepts to grasp. (Indiana the famed archeologist is back, above left)

Many anthropologists responded by denouncing the use of cultural scientists by the military. Roberto J. Gonzalez and other academics are concerned the “war on terror threatens to militarize anthropology. For Gonzalez it is an ethical issue. He feels that information passed from the researcher to the military could result in the deaths of the very people they are studying. Gonzalez believes the practice of using anthropologists for the military will hurt the discipline in the long run. “When they participate in secret military operations that taint the reputation of all anthropologists, they are engaging in scorched earth fieldwork, for they make it impossible for future researchers to establish the trust necessary for establishing rapport with research participants,” Gonzalez wrote in an article for Counterpunch. He also charged the CIA of misusing anthropological research for counterinsurgency and propaganda campaigns.

The American Anthropological Association(AAA) organized a commission two years ago investigating the ethics of cultural research for national security. There is also an organization called the Network of Concerned Anthropologists that opposes using cultural research to aid the US in combat. They believe covert ethnographies that violate the trust of the studied population also compromises the ethical standards of the discipline. Their criticism is understandable. The relationship between anthropologists and governments has been controversial. Anthropologists were gain insights into colonial subjects. According to the AAA statement on race, “early in the 19th century the growing fields of science began to reflect the public consciousness about human differences.” The idea of race born from science helped legitimize the strategy for dividing, ranking, and controlling indigenous people. (example of an Iraqi geneology above right, geneologies are a focus of study for many anthropologist)
However anthropologists who oppose using cultural field work in Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be doing so more on political beliefs than on professional ethics. The AAA called for an end to the Iraq war last year. Also the Network of Concerned Anthropologist say it would support the military in humanitarian operations but not combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan because they fear human subjects would be harmed. But the need for more cultural understanding between the Middle East and the commanders and politicians could not be more pertinent. The endless violence that fuels the insurgency stems from the ideologies cherished by indigenous cultures, a culture most soldiers and civilian workers are clueless about. Just as people speaking two languages cannot communicate, opposite cultures with no understanding of each other cannot negotiate. Anthropologist Montgomery McFate said in the San Franciso Chronicle “the military is so willing to listen now ... and for anthropologists to sit back in their ivory tower and spit at these people that are asking for their help -- I think there's something unethical about that," she said. "If you're not in the room with them, you won't influence their decisions." (left, Marcus Griffin an anthropologist researching in Iraq)

A colonel with the 82nd Airborne already credits anthropologists with allowing the unit to decrease 60 percent of its combat operations. In one instance an anthropologist observed a high number of widows in one Afghan village. Because of her cultural knowledge she knew the widows’ sons would be pressured to provide for the family; with no jobs available the boys would likely have to join the Taliban. The US military promptly developed a job-training program to discourage recruitment. This type of cultural knowledge can save more lives among local populations and troops than any political statement by the AAA. Anthropologists are in a unique position to build a bridge between the US military and insurgents. The US military is slowly learning (with the help of anthropologists) that respect and dignity can yield powerful results. Cultural researchers should jump at the opportunity to finally have the influence to fix policies they have disagreed with.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Perfect Pair?: Using Military Contractors For Humanitarian Missions

Private military contractors (PMC’s) have become an integral part of the Iraqi war effort. Contractors have also been blamed for impeding the war effort; military firm Blackwater USA has been involved in several shooting incidents that resulted in the Iraqi government calling for their removal, and Army general are even callingA the presence of private security firms counterproductive. According to Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution contractors are hated in Iraq and represent a negative factor to the US presence and the overall mission. “The US government needs to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate its use of private military contractors,” said Singer who has studied the private military industry for over a decade. Compounding the industry’s negative image is the fact that the business of war has never been so profitable; current estimates are that the private security industry reaps about $100 billion a year. (peace activist, right)

On the flip side are peace activists and human rights groups that have worked tirelessly to inform the world about the genocide occurring in troubled areas like Darfur. But full knowledge of Darfur’s dark secrets has done very little to spur the global community into action. Some international observers feel that only a well-armed peacekeeping force can effectively end the violence. But so far the US and NATO have chosen not to become militarily involved. Since the world’s nations have failed to stop the bloodshed in Darfur as well as past conflicts in countries like Rwanda and Somalia, could the answer to the peacekeepers’ prayers be in a grizzled, gun-for-hire mercenary? (private contractor, left)

Sending troops is not only an expensive venture, it can also be politically damaging to nations deploying armed forces. When soldiers are killed during a mission, the peacekeeping force is often withdrawn before any meaningful negotiations can take place. In the case of Rwanda, most of the 2,500 member force withdrew after ten Belgian soldiers were killed. The genocide continued unabated and the body count mounted to an estimated 800,000. Similarly in Somalia, the Clinton administration decided to withdraw American troops soon after eighteen soldiers were killed in Mogadishu. Private contractors on the other hand have no political ties to a particular nation and would likely not draw public backlash if violence ensued during the course of the peacekeeping mission. Deborah Avant, director of the Institute for Global and International Studies at George Washington University, wrote that ““”it is politically less costly to field private security contractors. Private contractors are seen to be working for profit, of their own choice, and sending them abroad is not held to the same standard than sending national troops, working for their country.” PMC’s can also deploy more quickly than the US military because political bureaucracy does not tie them down. This means a heavily armed force can rapidly stop violence when it flairs up and stay as long as need be, or as long as they are paid. (private contractor in helicopter in Iraq, below left)

Blackwater USA even proposed sending a small rapid-response force to places like the Sudan. Chris Taylor, the firm’s vice president, was quoted in the “Boston Globe” as saying “When traditional peacekeepers can’t provide an adequate response because of their home country obligations, there’s an alternative that should be openly and frankly discussed.” The idea was rejected by UN undersecretary general Kofi Annan. But sooner or later the humanitarian community must realize that relying on military support from more powerful nations has failed to stop some of worst violence in modern times. Using PMC’s to help solve humanitarian crises is of course not a magic or even glamorous solution. As security firms in Iraq have shown, there is serious accountability and legal issues that need to be addressed (see my previous post). Contractors need to follow clearly established rules of engagement and be punished when they are negligently broken. Also, while the contractors’ main goal is profit, the overall mission should be peace. For this reason the international community and the UN should be in charge of the peacekeeping mission, ensuring the PMC’s are doing their part to save lives and minimize violence, not spread it. Private contractors should not be used offensively but deployed solely for security in order to minimize bloodshed and give negotiators time to establish a lasting peaceful solution.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Private Soldiers, Public Concern: Accountability of Privat Military Companies in Iraq

On Christmas Eve 2006 a drunk Blackwater USA employee shot and killed the bodyguard of the Iraqi vice president in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The private military company fired Andrew Moonen for “violating alcohol and firearm policy,” according to Blackwater CEO Erik Prince. Moonen was able to leave the country and shortly after was hired by another US defense contractor, Combat Support Associates, to work in Kuwait. The State Department and Blackwater kept the incident quiet and off Moonen’s record, said a spokesman for Combat Support Associates. If he were a uniformed soldier in the US military Moonen would likely be standing trial, but since he was a privately contracted security guard Moonen has yet to be indicted. (above,Blackwater bodyguard protecting Paul Bremer)

Private military contractors make up a large portion of the Iraqi war effort. An article by Renai Merie for The Washington Post states there are 100,000 government contractors in Iraq, about 10 times the number of contractors deployed in the 1991 war. The amount of contractors almost equals the number of US troops in Iraq, about 140,000. However unlike the US troops, private contractors operate under their own regulations. According to a 2005 Government Accountability Office report, the lack of coordination between contractors and the military results in accidental shootings. Private defense firms also lack the same standards placed on US soldiers. William L. Nash, a retired Army general and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told the Washington Post, “If you’re trying to win hearts and minds and the contractor is driving 90 miles per hour through the streets and running over kids, that’s not helping the image of the American army. The Iraqis aren’t going to distinguish between a contractor and a soldier.” (Blackwater CEO , Erik Prince at right)

Also, if an armed guard in Iraq is not subject to the same rules as everybody else who establishes the limits on what they can do? Contractors work in relative obscurity, under the jurisdiction of the company rather than the US military or State Department. With no oversight there is less pressure to exercise discipline on the trigger finger which results in more incidents and deeper mistrust of the US occupation. Collateral damage is a horrible yet unavoidable reality in any war, but soldiers accountable under the law know they face consequences if they fire at people indiscriminately.

Contractors have been operating in Iraq since the war began in 2003, and only now is the Pentagon and the State Department looking into how to police defense contractors, according to a Reuter’s article. The investigations began after a shooting incident involving Blackwater USA claimed the lives of 11 Iraqi civilians in September. Iraqi investigators say the number is higher, 17 people killed and 27 wounded. The New York Times reported that investigators could not find evidence that Blackwater guards were provoked while escorting a convoy. Spokesman for the prime minister, Ali al-Dabbagh, called the shooting a “deliberate crime.” Some Iraqi politicians even want Blackwater banned from the country because of past incidents. But the company has long-term plans to stay, according to an American official. This almost sends a worse message to the Iraqis than the shooting incident. Americans are communicating that they are above the law; a counter productive signal to send in a country where the law is desperately trying to be established. By ignoring the government’s concerns for safety, the US is fueling suspicions that Americans do not have the Iraqis best interest in mind. (above, Blackwater guards in helicopter above Baghdad)

Rep. David Price, D-North Carolina, got the ball rolling on fixing the private sector problem by sponsoring a bill that places military contractors overseas under US jurisdiction. The bill was approved by the House. Another representative, Jan Schakowsky D-Illinois, told CNN “Is it US policy that contractors can get away with murder? In the short-term, we need to bring private military contractors under the rule of law. In the end, military functions belong to the military.”
Private military firms are not going away any time soon, especially as the war continues and US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are stretched thinner. But outsourcing combat duties should not be an excuse to circumvent the law.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Terror Vision: Is the news a medium for terrorist propaganda?

Osama bin Laden fired off warnings and threats in a new video tape released a few days before 9/11; the first time the al-Quaeda leader has appeared in public for more than a year. Much of the media hype that followed the release focused on bin Laden’s newly dyed beard and how much younger it made him look. But a much larger debate surrounds the release of al-Qaeda videos.

Since September 11, 2001the media have aired terrorist videos (example of video on right). But should networks give terrorists access to massive audiences, especially since it plays right into the terrorist strategy of using violence to gain media access.

Taking most of the heat for broadcasting terrorist messages is the Middle Eastern news network al-Jazeera. If a video by an Islamic fundamentalist is aired, chances are al-Jazeera had the video first before passing it on to the other world news organizations. Dorrance Smith of the Wall Street Journal said there is a strong relationship between terrorists and the al-Jazeera.

The Bush administration has accused the channel for being inaccurate and having a biased, anti-US slant. Another reason for the US government’s stance against Al-Jazeera is the fact the network has the ears of millions in the Arab world who are already critical of US policy in the Middle East.
Al-Jazeera defended the practice of broa
dcasting bin Laden videos by saying that any news network would jump at the chance to air the tapes. A spokesman for the Middle Eastern network correctly states that “We don’t believe anyone can argue about the newsworthiness of Osama bin Laden’s latest recording.”

American media networks on the other hand viewed airing bin Laden videos as unpatriotic. Shortly after the September 11 attacks ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC announced they would not air live broadcasts from bin Laden. Instead the networks aired edited messages from the video.
But giving the al-Qaeda leader any air time proved controversial. The White H
ouse warned the networks not to air messages from bin Laden’s videos because “At best, Osama bin Lden’s messages are propaganda calling on people to kill Americans, at worst he could be issuing orders to his followers to initiate such attacks,” according to Ari Fleischer, the former White House spokesman.
The Whit
e House and other media critics accuse the networks of being a tool for the terrorists to spread jihadist ideologies.(Zarqawi's al-Qaeda recruitment photo left) Gaining publicity is central to the terrorist strategy. A movement cannot gain momentum if no one hears about it, and an enemy cannot be defeated if it does not feel afraid. By broadcasting radical messages the speaker can threaten millions of people. Giving terrorists air time is an incentive for them to commit more acts of violence because they know people will pay attention. According to critics, the media is being used for propaganda.

However all politicians, businesses, movie stars or anyone with any kind of personal interest use the media every day to get a message out to the public. As news critic Howard Kurtz points out, reporting what people say is part of any news organization’s job.

“When CNN and other cable networks provide live coverage of President Bush’s speeches, Ari Fleischers’ briefings, and Donald Rumsfeld’s news conferences, they are obviously given them a forum to get out the American message,” Kurtz said. “I’m not saying that terrorists deserve or should have an equal platform, but if the networks stopped airing the propaganda from all sides, there wouldn’t be very much left on the air.” (Photo of Bush news conference right)

Terrorist activity is important, and people like Osamba bin Laden are influential in shaping the Middle East. As the spokesman for al-Jazeera stated earlier, there is no arguing the newsworthiness of bin Laden. There is also no arguing the President's Middle East policy and his speeches on that policy. Therefore the "propagandist messages" should still be broadcasted because they are essential to understanding the issues.

But broadcasting just a message alone is not news. When t
he president calls someone “evil” or announces a decision to go to war, journalist should be asking why instead of just taking the message at face value.

Many in the media viewed any sort of objectivity in the wake of 9/11 as unpatriotic. A good example is Judith Miller and her reporting on weapons of mass destruction. She was criticized for reporting only what the administration told her about the weapons in Iraq despite contradictory intelligence.
Everyone using the media will give a slanted story; the duty of the media is to expose the holes in the story.

An article by Jane Kirtley in the American Journalism Review commented on the media’s reaction to Bush’s request not to air bin Laden videos.
“So the networks have made the “patriotic” decision. As a statement from Fox News Channel put it, they won’t allow themselves to be used as tools of propaganda for those ‘who want to destroy American and endanger the lives of its citizens.’ They will use their journalistic judgment to d
ecide what they will air. Let’s hope they will apply that judgment just as rigorously to the material they receive from US government sources.” (US Marine recruitment picture left)

The bottom line: any message meant to sway public opinion must be reported objectively and held up to scrutiny if it is to be considered news, otherwise it’s just propaganda.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shooting the messenger: The effects of violence against journalists in Iraq

According to the media group Reporters without Borders 203 journalists have been killed in Iraq (cartoon of targeted journalists on left). More disturbing is the fact that reporters are being targeted by terrorists and armed factions in Iraq. This has made news gathering in the country nearly impossible for foreign journalists and just as dangerous for Iraqi journalists. As the ability to report becomes hindered, journalists must rely on the scripted teleconferences given by US generals or the rhetoric spewed over the internet by Islamic extremists. Reporters cannot gather raw information on their own to tell audiences exactly how they are observing the situation. I searched blogs to see how journalists are dealing with the violence in Iraq and what they feel about gathering news in Iraq. The first blog I commented on was MediaChannel.org- a media watchdog blog- which posted an article about journalists in Iraq being trained to protect themselves, and possibly carry firearms. The second blog I commented on was written by Richard Engel, the Middle East bureau chief for MSNBC, which he posted on the network’s Web site. The article was written just after the deaths of two members of network’s camera crew in Iraq. Engel is reflecting on why there is so much violence against journalists and if the media should continue to report in Iraq. Below are the comments I contributed.

"Survival Skills for Reporters"


The article brings up the complex issue of journalists carrying firearms. I can clearly understand the need for journalists to protect themselves in a war zone, especially one in which they are targeted. However there are more risks facing journalists if they do carry firearms.
I was a Marine infantryman serving in Iraq. Training and common sense told us to arrest anyone we found concealing a weapon bec
ause they could be a potential enemy. The insurgents are no different. Journalists in Iraq must cross check-points set up by soldiers fighting on all sides of the conflict. At many of these checkpoints journalists will be searched. Without weapons there is good a chance that the combatants will be convinced the journalist is who he or she says they are. But upon finding a weapon that journalist will no longer be trusted and it is more likely they’ll be arrested or executed. Carrying a weapon in a war zone destroys any question of journalistic neutrality, making an attack against journalists more certain than if they had not carried a gun (memorial for killed journalists at right).

Other members of the media are echoing the same concerns. Jean-Francois Julliard, from Reporters Without Borders, mentioned in an article for Radio Free Europe that security guards working with CNN exchanged fire with insurgents. Julliard said these types of incidents would “expose the press to more violence.”
Rodney Pinder of the International News Safety Institute told The Guardian that the press is being targeted for violence because they have lost their status as neutral observers.
I agree. If journalists begin carrying firearms in Iraq they will cease to be journalists and become another armed camp running around Iraq fueling the violence to protect its own interests.

"Is Iraqi Reporting Still Possible"


You make a good point in connecting technology with the increased deaths of journalists. I believe you are correct in saying that the insurgents or terrorists no longer need journalists to get their message across for them. With a camera phone and a laptop literally anyone can be their own production studio. Journalists make better victims than communicators now that the insurgents can broadcast their own message. Reporters are easy “soft” targets for the insurgents to kidnap or execute as a way to gain political leverage. It is not surprising that more and more are captured and killed. (ABC journalists killed on left)
Keeping jo
urnalists from reporting in Iraq has grave consequences for people who care about the outcome of this war. It would be a tremendous loss because information would freeze. Not only that but it would raise the volume on the voices of extremism since they would be the ones controlling the airwaves. With journalists out of the picture in Iraq the controllers of information would either be the insurgents or the Pentagon, neither one an impartial participant in the outcome of the war. News would be skewed to fit a viewpoint even more so than what pundits are already accusing the media is doing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nuclear Iran: How a tougher US stance could be speeding up nuclear proliferation

Since the Iraq war began in 2003 it has dominated headlines. But looming at Iraq’s border is the country of Iran and the threat of another Middle Eastern war. At the heart of the issue is Iran’s attempt to obtain a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies building weapons but has also refused UN demands to halt uranium enrichment ( photo of Iranian nuclear facility on left) .

According an article in the British newspaper The Observer, the U.S. will present a plan to stifle Iran’s nuclear weapons program by appearing before the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. wants a resolution condemning Iran for continuing its weapons program as well as increased sanctions. However Washington appears to have problems mustering support for its plans from other nations with diplomatic ties to Iran (Russian, Britain, and Germany).

The inability to halt Iran’s nuclear program have shifted favor in Washington away from negotiation and toward confrontation. A more hawkish stance against Iran will likely send a message to the Persian nation that a war is inevitable, forcing Iran to speed up rather than halt its nuclear program.

France is also taking a tougher, more confrontational stance against Iran. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner urged the world to prepare for a war with Iran. Kouchner said a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the whole world and, like the United States, it is seeking stricter sanctions on Iran through the UN Security Council.

Another reason for a tougher stance on Iran is the hope of stemming its growing influence in Iraq. General David Petraeus reported before the Senate that Iran’s export of weapons and fighters is the primary source of instability in Iraq. President Bush cites Iran as one of the leading factors for a US military presence in Iraq. According to Bush, Iran “would benefit from the chaos and would be encouraged in its efforts to gain nuclear weapons and dominate the region.”

Although Bush announced the withdrawal of soldiers as soon as conditions in Iraq improved he stated no plans of withdrawing the 130,000 troops that make up bulk of US forces in the country. The Pentagon also wants to build a base on the Iran-Iraq border to capture supplies of weapons flowing into Iraq.

A nuclear Iran could catapult the Middle East into a nuclear arms race according to Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center. Iran’s nuclear power would pressure other Middle Eastern nations who feel threatened by Iran, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to build their own weapons. Israel could also go public with its nuclear armament in a show of force.

Adding to the fear of Iran’s weapons program are statements made by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (at right from photo on Middle East Online) that Iran would wipe Israel from the map. A nuclear deterrent in Iran could also embolden Hezbullah to increase attacks against Israel, said Daniel Brumberg, Iran and Middle East expert from Georgetown University.
Pentagon analysts say the US approach to so far have been to use psychological pressure and bluffing to control Iran. However President Bush approved Conplan 8022 in 2003. The plan calls for air strikes, including nuclear weapons, against strategic targets in states posing a nuclear threat such as North Korea and Iran.

For now a pre-emptive strike against Iran seems unlikely because US troops are tied down fighting an Iraqi insurgency and the war has become increasingly unpopular. But the Bush administration's pre-emptive strike policy has created a catch 22 situation. On one hand the US must take a tougher stance against Iran because its leaders continues to defy world demands for halting uranium enrichment. On other hand, Iran fears an imminent US invasion and feels compelled to build a weapon to act as a deterrent. The Bush administration could launch a strike if Iran continues to call its bluff.

By vowing to halt all Iranian nuclear develop, the Bush administration is making threats it cannot back up as was the case when North Korea detonated an atomic bomb against Washington’s wishes, according to Nathan Gonzalez an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus. Instead the administration should announce that it will be committed to the nuclear defense of its Middle Eastern allies of Israel and Saudi Arabia, both legitimately concerned over Iran’s growing power. The US commitment will act as a deterrent to an Iranian attack on US allies as well as allowing the US and Iran to engage in talks to bring about stability in Iraq. Security experts predict Iran will not have the capabilities of building a nuclear warhead until 2015, enough time for a diplomatic solution to take root. However, Iran could speed up its nuclear program if threats persist. By assuming a less confrontational posture, the US will be able to engage in constructive negotiations with Iran to stabilize Iraq as well as buy more time needed to negotiate and end to Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.