Ed,

 

I personally don’t think these kinds of posts are appropriate for the Zen
Forum.

 

I read the post and thought it was very informative and interesting.  I’m
better informed for reading it.  But…the better we focus the posting on the
Zen Forum to zen, I  think the better the forum will be.

 

If the forum gets too ‘general’ then it runs the risk of being diluted and
might soon become just another general bulletin board rather than a forum
focused on zen.

 

…Bill!

 

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of ED
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:45 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Zen] Should we disturb zazen practice with issues like this?

 

  

 

September 28, 2010


The Sin of Independence 


Why Doesn't the US Talk to Iran? 


By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH and KARLA HANSEN 

The unrelenting diplomatic and geopolitical standoff between Iran and the
United States is often blamed on the Iranian government for its
"confrontational" foreign policies, or its "unwillingness" to enter into a
dialogue with the United States. Little known, however, is the fact that
during the past decade or so, Iran has offered a number of times to
negotiate with the United States without ever getting a positive response
from the U.S.

The best known of such efforts at dialogue, which came to be known as Iran's
"grand bargain" proposal, was made in May 2003. The two-page proposal for a
broad Iran-U.S. understanding, covering all issues of mutual concern, was
transmitted to the U.S. State Department through the Swiss ambassador in
Tehran. Not only did the State Department not respond to Iran's negotiating
offer but, as reporter Gareth Porter
<http://www.antiwar.com/orig/porter.php?articleid=8778>  points out, it
indeed "rebuked the Swiss ambassador for having passed on the offer."

Since then Iran has made a number of other efforts at negotiation, the
latest of which was made by President Ahmadinejad ahead of his recent (2010)
trip to the United States to attend the annual meeting of the UN General
Assembly. Regrettably, once again the United States ignored President
Ahmadinejad's overture of meeting with President Obama during his UN visit.

The question is why? Why have successive U.S. administrations been reluctant
to enter into a conflict-resolution dialogue with Iran, which could clearly
be in the national interests of the United States?

The answer, in a nutshell, is that U.S. foreign policy, especially in the
Middle East, is driven not so much by broad national interests as they are
by narrow but powerful special interests—interests that seem to prefer war
and militarism to peace and international understanding. These are the
nefarious interests that are vested in military industries and related
"security" businesses, notoriously known as the military-industrial complex.
These beneficiaries of war dividends would not be able to justify their
lion's share of our tax dollars without "external enemies" or "threats to
our national interests."

Embezzlement of the lion's share of the national treasury was not a
difficult act to perform during the Cold War era because the pretext for
continued increases in military spending—the "communist threat"—seemed to
conveniently lie at hand. Justification of increased military spending in
the post–Cold War period, however, has prompted the military-security
interests to be more creative in inventing (or manufacturing, if necessary)
"new sources of danger to U.S. interests."

Thus, when the collapse of the Soviet system and the subsequent discussions
of "peace dividends" in the United States threatened the interests of the
military-industrial conglomerates, their representatives invented "new
threats to U.S. interests" and successfully substituted them for the "threat
of communism" of the Cold War era. These "new, post-Cold War sources of
threat" are said to stem from the so-called "rogue states," "global
terrorism" and "Islamic fundamentalism." Demonization of Iran and/or
President Ahmadinejad can be better understood in this context.

Now, it may be argued that if it is true that beneficiaries of war-dividends
need external enemies in order to justify their unfair share of national
treasury, why Iran? Why of all places is Iran targeted as such an enemy?
Isn't there something wrong with the Iranian government and/or President
Ahmadinejad's policies in challenging the world's superpower knowing that
this would be a case of David challenging Goliath, that it would cause
diplomatic pressure, military threats and economic sanctions on Iran?

These are indeed the kind of questions that the "Greens" and other critics
of Ahmadinejad's government ask, rhetorical questions that tend to blame
Iran for the brutal economic sanctions and military threats against that
country—in effect, blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator.
Labeling President Ahmadinejad's policies as "rash," "adventurous" and
"confrontational," Mir Hossein Mousavi and other leaders of the "greens"
frequently blame those polices for external military and economic pressures
on Iran. Accordingly, they seek "understanding" and "accommodation" with the
United States and its allies, presumably including Israel, in order to
achieve political and economic stability. While, prima facie, this sounds
like a reasonable argument, it suffers from a number of shortcomings.

To begin with, it is a disingenuous and obfuscationist argument. Military
threats and economic sanctions against Iran did not start with Ahmadinejad's
presidency; they have been imposed on Iran for more than thirty years,
essentially as punishment for its 1979 revolution that ended the imperial
U.S. influence over its economic, political and military affairs. It is true
that the criminal sanctions have been steadily escalated, significantly
intensified in recent months. But that is not because Ahmadinejad
occasionally lashes out at imperialist/Zionist policies in the region; it is
rather because Iran has refused to give in to the imperialistic dictates of
the U.S. and its allies.

Second, it is naïve to think that U.S. imperialism would be swayed by gentle
or polite language to lift economic sanctions or remove military threats
against Iran. During his two terms in office (8 years), the former president
of Iran Muhammad Khatami frequently spoke of "dialogue of civilizations,"
counterposing it to the U.S. Neoconservatives' "clash of civilization,"
effectively begging the Unites States for dialogue and diplomatic
rapprochement between Iran and the United States. His pleas of dialogue and
friendship, however, fell on deaf ears. Why?

Because U.S. policy toward Iran (or any other country, for that matter) is
based on an imperialistic agenda that consists of a series of demands or
expectations, not on diplomatic decorum, or the type of language its leaders
use. These include Iran's giving up its lawful and legitimate right to
civilian nuclear technology, opening up its public domain and/or state-owned
industries to debt-leveraging and privatization schemes of the predatory
finance capital of the West, as well as its compliance with the U.S.-Israeli
geopolitical designs in the Middle East. It is not unreasonable to argue
that once Iran allowed U.S. input, or meddling, into such issue of national
sovereignty, it would find itself on a slippery slope the bottom of which
would be giving up its independence: the U.S. would not be satisfied until
Iran becomes another "ally" in the Middle East, more or less like Jordan,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the like.

It is ironic that Green leaders such as Mousavi, Rafsanjani and Khatami
blame Ahmadinejad for the hostile imperialist policies toward Iran. For, as
mentioned above, U.S. imperialism showed its most venomous hostility toward
Iran during the presidency of Khatami while he was vigorously pursuing a
path of friendship with the United States. While Khatami was promoting his
"dialogue of civilizations" and taking conciliatory steps to befriend the
U.S., including cooperation in the overthrow of the Taliban regime in the
neighboring Afghanistan, the U.S. labeled Iran as a member of the "axis of
evil." This outrageous demonization was then used as a propaganda tool to
intensify economic sanctions and justify calls for "regime change" in Iran. 

In the face of President Khatami's conciliatory gestures toward the United
States, many Iranians were so outraged by its unfair and provocative
attitude toward Iran that they began to question the wisdom of Khatami's
policy of trying to appease U.S. imperialism. It is now widely believed that
the frustration of many Iranians with Khatami's (one-sided) policy of
dialogue with the United States played a major role in the defeat of his
reformist allies in both the 2003 parliamentary elections and the 2005
presidential election. By the same token, it also played a major role in the
rise of Ahmadinejad to Iran's presidency, as he forcefully criticized the
reformists' attitude toward U.S. imperialism as naïve, arguing that
negotiation with the United States must be based on mutual respect, not at
the expense of Iran's sovereignty. (For a detailed discussion of these and
related issues please see "Reflecting
<http://faculty.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh/papers/Iran%27sPresidentialElec
tion.pdf>  on Iran's Presidential Election.")

In its drive to provoke, destabilize and (ultimately) change the Iranian
government to its liking, U.S. imperialism finds a steadfast ally in the
Zionist regime of Israel. There is an unspoken, de facto alliance between
the U.S. military-industrial complex and militant Zionist forces—an alliance
that might be called the military-industrial-security-Zionist alliance. More
than anything else, the alliance is based on a convergence of interests on
militarism and war in the Middle East, especially against Iran; as Iran is
the only country in the region that systematically and unflinchingly exposes
both the imperialist schemes of Western powers and expansionist designs of
radical Zionism.

Just as the powerful beneficiaries of war dividends view international peace
and stability inimical to their business interests, so too the hard-line
Zionist proponents of "greater Israel" perceive peace between Israel and its
Arab neighbors perilous to their goal of gaining control over the Promised
Land. The reason for this fear of peace is that, according to a number of
the United Nations' resolutions, peace would mean Israel's return to its
pre-1967 borders, that is, withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But
because proponents of "greater Israel" are unwilling to withdraw from these
territories, they are therefore fearful of peace and genuine dialogue with
their Arab neighbors—hence, their continued disregard for UN resolutions and
their systematic efforts at sabotaging peace negotiations.

So, the answer to the question "why is Iran targeted?" boils down to this:
because Iran has broken the mold, so to speak, the pattern of imperialist
domination in the Middle East (and beyond). Iran's only "sin" (from the
viewpoint of imperialist powers) is that it tries to be an independent,
sovereign nation. All other alleged "offenses" such as pursuit of nuclear
weapons or support for terrorism have proven by now to be harebrained
excuses that are designed to punish Iran for trying to exercise its national
rights as a sovereign country.

Under the influence of the hawkish Neoconservative pressure groups
(representing the interests of the military-industrial-Zionist forces) the
U.S. has cornered itself into a position that is afraid of talking to Iran
because if it does, all of its long-standing accusations against that
country would be automatically exposed as lies and baseless allegations. It
is in the nature of lying that forces the liar to continuously tell more
lies in order to cover the previous lies; more or less similar to the
situation of a bike rider who needs to keep pedaling ahead in order to keep
from falling down. Furthermore, the powerful
military-industrial-security-Zionist interests need Iran as an enemy in
order to justify continued increases in military spending and continued
occupation of Palestinian land.

It is worth noting here that while the powerful special interests that are
vested in the military-security capital benefit from (and therefore tend to
advocate) war and military adventures in the Middle East, the broader, but
less-cohesive, interests that are vested in civilian, or non-military,
capital tend to incur losses in global markets as a result of such military
adventures.  Evidence
<http://faculty.cbpa.drake.edu/hossein-zadeh/papers/ChapmanPaper.htm>  shows
that foreign policy-induced losses of the U.S. market share in global
markets are huge. Militaristic American foreign policy is viewed by
international consumers as a significant negative. Representatives of the
broad-based civilian industries are aware of the negative economic
consequences of the militarization of U.S. foreign policy. And that's why
leading non-military business/trade associations such as The National
Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and U.S.A*Engage <http://www.usaengage.org/>
(a coalition of nearly 800 small and large businesses, agriculture groups
and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of
aggressive U.S. foreign policy actions) have expressed disappointment at the
recently expanded U.S. sanctions against Iran on the grounds that such
sanctions would significantly undermine U.S. national interests.

Sadly, however, U.S. foreign policy decisions, especially in the Middle
East, seem to be driven not so much by broad national interests as they are
by narrow (but powerful) special interests, not so much by "peace dividends"
as they are by "war dividends." These powerful special interests,
represented largely by the military-security-AIPAC forces, tend to perceive
international peace and stability, especially in the Middle East, as
detrimental to their nefarious interests. Instead, they seem to prefer an
atmosphere of war and militarism in order to justify their lion's share of
our national treasury, or their occupation of Palestinian land. This
explains, perhaps more than anything else, the unjust demonization of Iran
and the relentless preparations for an all-out war on that country. If this
argument sounds like a conspiracy theory, it is not because it is false;
rather, it is because the U.S.-Zionist policies in the Middle East are so
evil that they defy tender logic, civilized comprehension, or decent human
intuition.

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, author of The
<http://www.amazon.com/Political-Economy-U-S-Militarism/dp/0230602282/ref=ed
_oe_p/105-1298000-8724441>  Political Economy of U.S. Militarism
(Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des
Moines, Iowa. 

Karla Hansen, director-producer of Silent Screams
<http://www.silentscreams.info/home.php> , is a social worker and peace
activist from Des Moines, Iowa.

 





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