Perfect Storm: In George Bush Jnr’s (world) Tea-Cup.

Iran's President 

Stand first:

George Bush is partly to blame for the troubles in every region the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) report cited as “engaged in brutal combat” in which simultaneous global turning points could initiate an international crisis. I believe all these regions have become trouble spots largely because of the war on terror, and/or George Bush Jnr’s “Axis of Evil” announcements.  I will prove my thesis without mentioning the war in Afghanistan or Iraq, because we all know the roles Bush and Blair played in those “trouble spots.”

By Leejay

So, let us start with Iran. The report states Iran’s nuclear announcement as part of its “strategic deterrent defence” against a possible attack by the west, to compliment diplomatic and other means (actively supporting Iraq’s insurgency), also stating that Tehran’s scepticism of the west comes mainly from American foreign policy endeavours since 1979-80 up to and including the Iraq war.   Supported by Bush talking about the (imaginary-scare tactic for the U.S/U.K public) “axis of evil” being made up of countries like North Korea, Iran and Iraq in the infancy of the first war on terror action in Afghanistan.  Therefore, when Bush invaded Iraq with British support, you can understand why long-time U.S enemy Iran’s leadership believed they were probably next.  When this is clear, you can see why most analysts believe there is a large Iranian involvement in Iraq’s insurgency, it is a logical conclusion as part of an Iranian self-defence strategy.  As likely as Iranian leadership knowing that the Iraq war going badly and turning into a long bloody (war of attrition) battle, would mean Iran was practically safe until the problems in Iraq were overcome.  I believe this support for Iraq’s insurgency was to buy the Iranian leadership time, and then came the sudden announcement that they had successfully enriched uranium, sudden because their enrichment programme had been behind closed doors since the eighties, and the announcement came shortly after first talk of a coalition pullout possibly being closer than people expected.  Now, I don’t know how efficient Iran’s enrichment programme is or how long it will take them to have sufficient amounts of enriched uranium for a weapon or to create energy, but I believe the announcement was to further deter a possible (likely) American invasion.

Another region the report cited as a trouble spot: North Korea, are known to have weapons grade plutonium.  The ISSS report said North Korea had obtained enough plutonium to build between five and eleven nuclear weapons. I say, “If it hasn’t already built them.” The report also mentions that all attempts at a diplomatic solution have failed, largely because, based on his past actions (threaten-use force-think later) and handling of this matter the Pyontang government are suspicious of Bush and his commitment to diplomacy, they believe he has “hostile intent.”

Scaring China with the threat of U.S military action has never really worked either, though the latest method of trying to increase influence by increased trade, while China, cited as another possible flashpoint continues to increase defence budgets and amass WMD’s.  Whether this will increase American influence in Chinese affairs is yet to be seen, but it is already showing other “rogue” states that if you want to be able to do as you please in your own country and make your own interpretations on international law (and you’re not America). WMD’s are the way to go if you don’t want to be invaded.
Iran is another example of this, which, between the two will no doubt lead to others. Despite the escalation of all these regions “troubles” into possible “flashpoints” for international crisis, largely being unintended consequences of Bush Jnr’s Threat first-Use Force-Think Later attitude to foreign policy.  The U.S administration response to the report sounds like the same old message:
The pentagon is changing its emphasis in “a new strategic environment,” with a 46% increase in its military combat power by 2008, emphasis on highly mobile Special Forces, greater precision-strike capability and new naval “expeditionary and littoral” forces.

The U.S administration has clearly learned nothing from Afghanistan and Iraq, or its own message: “direct force should only be used as a last resort in a diplomatic world.”Blair and especially Bush seem keen to thrust diplomacy upon everyone else, (contradicting themselves) with the direct force they advocate.  Democracy by definition is something that is chosen not projected or it will never work for the best, even the U.K fought for many years before establishing lasting democracy. The pentagon demonstrates further stupidity in its (above) “long war” doctrine, by predicting that the “War on Terror” will morph into an indefinite global struggle. I think the IISS report shows it already has, don’t you?

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  1. Chris White said,

    May 25, 2006 at 10:10 pm

    It’s “standfirst”, not “stand fast”.

  2. Leejay said,

    May 25, 2006 at 10:19 pm

    Thank you Chris, the editor of the magazine I write for, and one of her other writers told me that it is standfast.  Again its a shame you chose to pick fault in the small things rather than giving a genuine opinion on my article.

  3. Chris White said,

    May 26, 2006 at 8:50 am

    In every newspaper and magazine office I’ve ever been in it’s “standfirst”. And the point of that comment (which should have been obvious) was that if there are galring errors at the top of a post people will possibly be put off reading on.

  4. BetaRish said,

    May 26, 2006 at 8:52 am

    Liam Bailey’s assertion that George Bush’s policy of ‘force first, think later’ is the cause of all the troubles in the world is a little, if not hopelessly naive. While the US administration has made grave, if not catastrophic errors, their efforts at containing and solving certain geopolitical issues are not as obviously clodhopping as suggested.

    Consider China first. Liam states that:

    “Scaring China with the threat of U.S military action definitely isn’t working either, cited as another possible flashpoint China continues to increase defence budgets and amass WMD’s.”

    And it is perfectly true that the Communist Party has decided that an increased military budget and defence capability are necessary to provide a bulwark against possible threats (a misplaced paranoia, perhaps). However, the US is not in anyway sabre rattling towards China. Rather, the emphasis on a pro-Sino policy over the last 10 years has been to try and embed the Chinese government in the global system of enmeshing treaties and membership of multi-lateral organisations. WTO matters more than NATO, for now at least. It is true that in the long term, the Pentagon sees China as a potential threat. But in the here and now, that threat is being reduced as China’s economy opens – it’s far harder to go to war with one of your biggest, if not the biggest, trading partner.

    Iran is a more intractable problem, and one which has the capacity to end in a manner where Western beligerency wins out over diplomacy. There is a growing sense that Tehran is acting the way it is doing precisely because it has come to the conclusion that regime change happened in Baghdad and not Pyongyang becuase Kim Il Song does possess WMD and Saddam didn’t.

    But Iran has been a source of instability in the region for a lot longer than 1979. A quick reading of any history of the region will show you that the various coups d’etat enacted by the CIA and others (particularly the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953) have been carried out precisely because of the fear of a government that does not act in the best interests of the ‘west’. Brutal realpolitik, yes, but with roots far further back than this current administration.

    Has the ‘war on terror’ (and the wider push for democracy) exacerbated things? Yes, and in a number of perhaps unforseen ways. For one, the very tactic of pursuing war on an abstract noun has given legitmacy to governments of all stripes and characters (from the democracy of Israel to the autarkic, dictatorial regime of Uzbekistan for example) to take unilateral action against those deemed to be threats to national security. Rightly or wrongly, the example of Guantanamo Bay is held up as cover for their often extra-legal actions.

    In some places, there has also been a paradoxical effect of actually rolling back democracy. The recent arrests of members of Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood suggest that Mubarak’s limited experiment with a greater openeness has come to end, while it appears that percieved pressure from the Great Satan was a contributory factor in the election of Ahmedinejad, who it is safe to say, will not pursue the liberalising reforms of his predecessor.

    But, in short, Bush is not to blame for an increase in the number of trouble spots in the world. They are trouble spots precisely because of a long and complex interplay of different societal and geopolitical factors. Has Bush made some worse? Perhaps. But he would be far more to blame if he did nothing.

  5. Leejay said,

    May 26, 2006 at 10:36 am

    You should have pasted the links to the Guardian article my piece was based on Betarish. I didn’t say Bush was to blame for all the trouble in the world!

    I merely state that the trouble spots the IISS report warns could ignite together into an international crisis. And you have given no examples of the Bush administration doing “real” good, as far as I can see it they only “help people” (regime change-help?) if it benefits them in some way.

    As far as China goes, they may not be trying to scare them now, but it has certainly been a tactic before, and isn’t the threat of war/nuclear war always pretty scary. The problem with the other policy you mention of expanding trade, the “if you can’t beat them join them” policy is that it shows the rest of the world’s “trouble spots”, or countries with bad human rights records/current abuses that WMD’s are the way to go (protect yourself). God help us if every nation in the world regarded as a trouble spot were to gain WMD’s.

    This is backed up by your first Iran argument. As for the second, I researched all the Iranian history you mention, but I felt the period since 1979 has been the main contributory factor in anti-American feeling in Iran (support of Iraq’s chemical use during the Iran-Iraq war, other 80’s mistakes etc) and throughout the Islamic world. Which has resulted in the rapid rise of Islamic Extremism, therefore Islamic terrorism rising to a globally massive problem-hence the IISS report, which probably wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for Islamic terror’s rapid rise, followed by the war on terror. Bush has increased the problems caused by the high levels of Anti-Americanism in the Islamic world (Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay) with his “we’re the biggest” attitude.
    All your arguments are wrong here because you haven’t read the articles my piece is based on. You argue on the problems of Iran: “with roots far further back than the current administration” but in the IISS report the main reason Iran has become a flashpoint is because of its nuclear announcement. Which was an added deterrent against the ever increasing threat of invasion, a threat made clear by two invasions and an announcement at the beginning of the first invasion, that Iran was part of the “axis of evil” with Iraq and Afghanistan. As I say in my article the hammer fell on Iraq first, but Iran had to think fast to deter invasion, hence “nuclear” hence flashpoint for global crisis, hence the way I approached Iran in my article. Another example is your covering the situation in Egypt, which is not in the IISS report as a flashpoint for global crisis. Nor did I say Bush was to blame for an increase in trouble spots worldwide, simply (as I said) he was to blame for a lot of these “trouble spots” getting worse, so bad they threaten the entire world. I notice you don’t argue my points on the pentagon’s statement regarding the report, or answer the question I end the article with. If you know the history of Islamic extremism since 1979 and before, then you can’t argue that U.S foreign policy since 1979 has been the main factor in the rapid Rise of Islamic Extremist Terrorism. And all the problems expansion since then, has been tripled by Bush Jnr’s war mongering, which is creating an impression within the Islamic world, that he intends to Invade every Muslim country until terrorism is eradicated. Can You?

  6. BetaRish said,

    May 26, 2006 at 11:31 am

    “The problem with the other policy you mention of expanding trade, the “if you can’t beat them join them” policy is that it shows the rest of the world’s “trouble spots”, or countries with bad human rights records/current abuses that WMD’s are the way to go (protect yourself)”

    Liam, I won’t respond to everything, because frankly, I’m not interested in a willy-waving competition with you, whatever you may believe.

    However I will say this: what’s wrong with trade? Generally people of countries who trade with each other don’t go to war with each other. If countries with poor human rights records are drawn into multi-lateral systems whereby their behaviour can be monitored, and this is done by a focus on trade, then I think this is a good thing. If you believe, as I suspect you do, that human rights abuses are a Bad Thing, and that the attempt to get WMD by unsavoury regimes is a Bad Thing, then you need to look at ways of engagement. Do I think that force should be the first resort? No. Do I think it should be permanently off the table? No. And do I think that being economic friends with certain regimes is a good way of altering their behaviour? Yes.

    And if a focus on economic weapons wasn’t useful, why is Iran trying to avoid sanctions?

  7. Chris White said,

    May 26, 2006 at 11:35 am

    I meant ‘glaring’ errors, of course.

    (Damn. Made a cunt of myself.)

  8. BetaRish said,

    May 26, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Chris, I wouldn’t worry. Seems things correctness are overblown in this new world… (sigh)

  9. BetaRish said,

    May 26, 2006 at 11:57 am

    Obviously, that should be ‘like’ correctness. (Double sigh).

  10. Chris White said,

    May 26, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    Yes, but I’m a pedant. And I spent a good couple of hours last night repeatedly sighing when proofreading other people’s work.

    But we’re getting off topic. I guess blogs are like that.

    Anyway – Liam, sorry if I’ve been a bit harsh over on CiF. Nothing personal like…

  11. BetaRish said,

    May 26, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    I know, Chris, same here. There’s something about this type without thinking directness of the medium that inculcates sloppiness.

    And yes, Liam I concur with Chris: everything I’ve said is in the spirit of trying to make you better at what you want to do.

  12. Leejay said,

    May 26, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    I agree with your views on trade and all the rest, but the trouble is you are talking about China, and there is nothing to uggest that we will hold anymore power over the running of China no matter how much we increase trade channels. Especially as I talked about in the original article, considering the massive arsenal China is developing while we are increasing trade, (giveng them more money for more weapons) so when you put this up against all the other rogue states that now think WMD’s are the way if you want to be able to do whatever you please in your conutry. Maybe increasing trade isn’t such a good thing.

  13. BetaRish said,

    May 27, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    Liam, thanks for stopping by at Being Beta and your two comments. As you’d have seen, the post there was a complete cut and paste of what was posted on the CiF thread. For the record, the quote from Simon Jenkins article wasn’t added later. I posted at CiF first (about 8.10am or so), and then for my own records mainly, I posted at Being Beta about 11.20am.

    For hopefully the final time, I re-iterate what I’ve said before. I did not set out to find fault with your writing. I think your energy is inspiring, and you clearly deserve success. I don’t know how many times I can say it without sounding repetitive, or until you believe me that I’m being sincere.

    But I don’t believe that you, I or any writer can afford to ignore opportunities to get better at our craft. That’s what I was trying to do, help to point you towards. If you don’t believe me when I say that, then I am sorry that I have left you with that impression.

    I disagree with your contention that all we have been doing this week is trying to compete with each other, ‘write better articles than one another’, the last to comment is the winner. I want to understand more about the world, get a better grip on what is going on around us – that’s why I participate at CiF. That I post in a waspish way is my failing, not yours. And if I have been intemperate in what I’ve written today, well its expressing exasperation at what I think is your deliberate misrepresentation of me, and what I wrote. You’ll note that I’ve always tried to take you at your word, and not personalise our discussion. I feel you have, and that saddens me.

    So I chose not to respond to you above, in part because I spent a lovely 24 hours with my girlf. And no doubt the time you spend with your partner is important to you to. Some things are more important to me than trying to beat someone I don’t know in a spurious competition.

    But nevertheless, good luck in all that you do. I look forward to reading you in the future.

  14. Leejay said,

    May 28, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    I only have one problem with you’re reply. You say you are saddened by the fact I personalised the discussion. But you were the one who posted all about me to your blog using my real name. If that’s not personalising it I don’t know what is. I do believe you were trying to help me to a certain extent, but between you and Chris White I think you both got carried away. His saying things like my self-belief far outweighed my ability. I think that went a bit too far as he like you knows nothing more about me than I have told you. It’s one thing giving an at length critique of someone’s work, without any examples of where it was fine or good, just examples of in your opinion what was wrong with it. But to make sweeping statements about my charachter and my talent in one sentence is taking t a bit too far don’t you agree?

  15. BetaRish said,

    May 29, 2006 at 6:06 pm

    Final word, and then let’s agree not to disturb each other again, unless we can be civil (which will be a shame, as you’re clearly an interesting and engaging interlocator.) You personalised by posting numerous links to here, and your Liam Bailey site, non? I apologise for using your real name, but if you didn’t want it to be used you shouldn’t have let people know what it was.

    Critiques by definition don’t always contain positive news, and to believe they always should is naive.

    I know nothing of your character; I only know of your character as expressed through your writing. And for what it’s worth it appears to be a fine and upstanding one.

    But I still stand by my basic tenet: you and your talent as a writer will get better as and when you learn to respond positively to well-meant and well-meaning criticism. That’s all.

    Oh, can I give you a recommendation? Completely off topic, but I’ve started reading Richard Williams’ ‘Perfect 10’, about the best footballers to wear the number 10 shirt. It’s wonderful; I just needed to share that fact with someone.

    Good night, and good luck.

  16. BetaRish said,

    June 4, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    Hi Liam

    Semi apology gratefully accepted. If I can be of any editorial/proofing help or advice, please feel free to get in tocuh/drop me a line at Being Beta.


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