Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Republicans Blast Bush Over Iran

White House under pressure to open unconditional talks with Tehran


Is the Bush administration in the United States becoming more isolated in its handling of foreign policy, especially its increasingly belligerent attitude toward Iran?

According to California State University professor Paul Sheldon Foote, the answer is simple.

"Yes of course, and that is seen in the opinion polls," he told Tehran-based PressTV in a recent interview, "I myself am a lifelong conservative Republican, Vietnam veteran, but I have no use for the neoconservative policy."

Original article published by Ohmynews International


Despite recent assurances of support from new French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown's reaffirmation of Britain's special relationship with Washington, Bush is coming under increasing pressure to drop preconditions and open direct negotiations with Tehran.

But despite resistance from Russia and China to impose further sanctions, and a lack of conclusive evidence that Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration remains determined to essentially bend Tehran to its will and bully Iran into accepting negotiations on Washington's terms.

But will the continued absence of any "smoking gun" evidence against Iran convince the Bush administration to relax their position?

"Well hopefully they will be forced to accept it," Foote said, "though there are many people remaining in the Bush administration who would prefer an attack by Israel or by America, but there are many other Republicans and Democrats who would like to see talks begin immediately without any preconditions."

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska recently blasted President Bush over his "belligerent" statements toward Iran and warned of a "self fulfilling prophecy" regarding Bush's scaremongering comments on the possibility of Iran being the trigger for World War III.

With opposition to a military solution to the Iran issue growing in Washington, Foote expressed concern that the White House may exploit a possibly unrelated incident and use it as a pretext to launch a strike against Iran.

"I mean look what happened to Syria recently where we still can't figure out whether Israel or America attacked Syria," he said, "All it takes is for one incident for the neoconservatives to be able to twist it in their favor."

Foote agreed with Hagel's assessment of Bush's foreign policy in that it has made the Middle East a more dangerous place and Iran more defiant. Foote said Bush's foreign policy was in fact designed to result in a "self fulfilling prophecy" as described by Hagel.

"Absolutely, and that's what they want to do. The neoconservatives have a long goal of following in their admiration of Trotsky and having endless wars, and this is just part of it."

Gareth Porter, a Washington-based investigative reporter and political analyst had earlier told PressTV's "Middle East Today" program that he believed the Bush administration is engaged in a campaign of diplomatic coercion against Iran in which the threat of war is an essential part.

"My fear is based on how we got involved in the war in Vietnam a generation or two ago. The path they are taking is the path that can very easily lead to war through miscalculation on the part of the United States."

Foote, however, said there was another player behind the scenes urging Bush and his administration to ever more aggressive action against Tehran, whatever positive reports may be made by the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding Iran's nuclear programs.

"This didn't start with Bush," he said. "If you look back to 1995, then President Bill Clinton made a speech to the World Jewish Congress saying that Conoco would not be permitted to accept a massive contract from Iran. It doesn't matter whether you have Republican Bush or Democrat Clinton in power, it's still AIPAC -- the American Israel Political Action Committee -- behind the scenes."

AIPAC is a Washington-based lobby group whose mission statement reads, "To help make Israel more secure by ensuring that American support remains strong."

The New York Times has described the lobby group as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."

Foote said the foreign policy missteps have damaged the standing of the United States in global public opinion. He said America's somewhat ambivalent attitude toward the torture of detainees has further tarnished the country's image.

"I am embarrassed to say that Fox News Channel reported just a few days ago that 40 percent of Americans do support water boarding, 58 percent don't and 2 percent can't make up their minds. It is embarrassing that even 40 percent would support water boarding," he said.

"It makes everyone, every enemy of the United States able to point to the great evil American devil; it just makes us look worse."

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