French president Francois Hollande visited the United States this week. Some claim that U.S. president Barack Obama is more actively courting Hollande at present simply because he “can” — implying that his approval ratings are so low abroad that France is the best that he can get; citing allegations that relations with Germany are strained and have swung to all time lows due to recent revelations about the NSA’s wiretapping of German communications. This is politics as usual in our current state of the Union. Speaking of which, for whatever reason, president Obama didn’t get the usual “bump” in approval that most U.S. presidents get in the weeks following a State of the Union Address. But then again, we are in year two of the wounded warrior’s second term.
Historically, U.S. presidents never seem to do fare well in second terms. It will take a few years post-presidency for the general malaise and blame-gaming to stop for Obama, just as it does for all U.S. presidents, and soon the mainstream media will be touting his “countless achievements and unyielding perseverance over numerous adversities” as they prop him up heroically upon the mantle of “the Great Ones” just as they do for every FORMER U.S. president. It’s a taken for granted tradition, a predictable practice — the media seem to believe that the American public NEEDS its former presidents to be heroes.(Though one might make note that such blustery hyperbolic accolades have yet to transpire for former presidents G.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, both of whom remain semi-respected in their own parties, but rather ignored by the country’s general populace and mainstream media). Only time will tell if president Obama will go the way of Bush the younger or Clinton the mythic demi-god who can do no wrong even when he’s doing wrong. Regardless, it is a fascinating spectacle, watching the American public slowly turn on the man that at one time in the not too distant past seemed so beloved that he graced the cover of every magazine on the newsstand — even Gold Digest and various different pet magazines. America hadn’t seen this kind of hero worship since the final days of the Ronald Reagan presidency. But those days are long gone now as more and more grey hairs take over this young president’s once youthful head of hair.
One of the reasons that the White House cited for the French president’s visit to the U.S. was for the two countries to cement their agreement that the country of Iran needed to assure the world that its nuclear program was purely for the purposes of energy and that it would not attempt to create any nuclear weapons. Iran, under the leadership of newly elected president Hassan Rouhani, has for all intents and purposes appeared to cave lately to these demands by the planet’s so-called “super powers” in exchange for their incessant bullying and torment to end. Iran and its people have been under an enormous amount of pressure for over a decade now by a very small select group of albeit very powerful nations, mainly the United States, Great Britain, France and Israel.
They call themselves “the United Nations Security Council” (along with China and Russia — though these countries are much more friendly with Iran). To be clear and fair, the United Nations Security Council is a complete farce. A legal crime syndicate that bosses around and bullies the rest of the countries on earth. If you remember that group of wealthy, good looking bitches in high school who walked around with their noses in the air making fun of everyone else and had a little name for themselves ala the movies Mean Girls or Clueless, that’s essentially what the UN Security Council is. They weren’t elected by anyone. They simply decided that they would form themselves into a little group outside of the confines of the United Nations proper so they could hold the power to veto anything the rest of the countries on earth came to agreement on. And that’s precisely what they do.
How the tiny and entirely new country of “Israel” became a part of this cabal, the most powerful political and military group in the world today, should say more to any intelligent mind about the true nature of Israel than any words can. The fact speaks for itself and does so quite loudly. Over the last ten years, under intense pressure from Israel and the United States, the so-called Security Council has made Iran and its people to suffer enormously. Most people have heard of “the sanctions”, though most don’t actually know what they are or what it implies. The proper term for it in political science speak is “economic terrorism”. A large and powerful country blackmails and bribes as many countries on earth as it can into not doing any business with another country that it is trying to force into doing something. In this case, Israel and the United States have been trying to get Iran to stop their nuclear program (and to be fair, to stop back-door funding terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
The problem that any rational mind would have with this second bit is that the United States and Israel commit much more blatant and atrocious terrorist acts, killing and injuring many more people, on a regular basis than Hezbolla of Hamas ever have or ever will. The difference is that when the U.S. or Israel (or France, Germany, China, or Great Britain for that matter) commit said terrorist acts, they do so openly and overtly and claim that it’s a “justified military act of war in order to defend freedom and liberty”. Small groups like Hezbollah and Hamas claim the same things, but the world isn’t run by people friendly to the populations that these groups serve and protect. So the story gets twisted and manipulated by the powers that be in government and media and voila! “terrorism” turns into “any act of violence committed against the powers that are currently in control of the world at present”.
For the last sixty years, “the power that’s in control at present” has been the United States of America. So it is they who get to write the rules, spin the story, and revise the history that we all pretend to live by. [It would be important to note somewhere, so it might as well be here, that this is the way it’s always been on planet earth as far as we can tell since we can remember. There has always been a dominating power or ruling empire that has controlled the plot and created the rules that the rest of the world pretends to live by. Going all the way back to the early days of recorded human history, one could plot it out: from Sumer to Egypt to Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome to the Goths and Mongols and Turks and Ottomans, eventually Great Britain, Spain, France… all have had their time in the sun for brief periods as the ruling empire of the day. And eventually they have all failed, faltered and fallen. It’s difficult to imagine for instance Egypt or Rome or the UK or especially France as “the ruling empire of the world”. But at one point they were. The fact that one day the United States will fall and lose its power as the current empire of the day is an inevitability. It is only a matter of time.]
But at present, the United States IS that country. Countries like Iran don’t stand a chance at self governance as long as countries like the U.S. remain in control; UNLESS they find a way to gain access to nuclear weapons. The ONLY determining factor in how much a country on earth can be controlled and bullied by the Unites States is IF they have nuclear weapons and how many they have. It may seem a ridiculously inane and irrational notion — since an all-out nuclear war between two nations would devastate the entire planet and render it inhabitable by just about anything except cockroaches — but the powers that be have this contingency under control, or so they believe they do.
The United States, and supposedly Switzerland and a few other major nation-states as well, have built a very large and elaborate underground bunker-style living quarters, deep underground, that can house and feed up to one-hundred thousand of the country’s “most important citizens” should a nuclear war ever transpire. They would have access to everything from electricity and the internet to plumbing and plenty of food. So the threat of a nuclear attack by the United States if you should piss them off, as horrible and deplorable as it may seem, is a real one. After all, as the former president of Iran, Khatami, once reminded me when I was there last, “the United States does itself a great disservice being the only country in the world who has bombed another country with nuclear weapons. So it’s ironic that they should be the one telling others that they shouldn’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons out of fear that they might use them.”
Unfortunately that’s where we are in our current state of evolution. Control and power — even when it comes to self governance of your own land, your own laws, and your own people — is dictated by the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and the largest fiercest military to use them. That is the ONLY thing that determines who is in control at present. That and money. Which explains how and why countries like Great Britain, France, Germany and Israel are able to ride along side the United States beating their chests and brandishing their own nuclear weapons. Without nuclear weapons, any country on earth is literally helpless to the whims and dictates of the more powerful countries that DO possess them. This is how the United States has been able to commit so many terrorist activities around the world and not be held accountable for them by the global community. This is also how they’ve been able to use economic terrorism (sanctions) to achieve their goals — no matter how unfair, unjust or inhumane — against a variety of countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Bolivia, Iraq (where this act killed nearly one-million people, half of them being children), and lately in Iran. They slowly strangle the entire population of the country to death economically till the leaders of that country cry “mercy!” and crawl to the negotiating table to ask what the United States wants from them.
I am often asked by people what exactly “economic sanctions” are and how they work. It seems that just saying “economic terrorism” doesn’t suffice to explain it adequately enough. So I am going to give you an example here of what it looks like, just so this post makes more sense. First you announce it to the world. For instance, this small group of bullies that call themselves the “UN Security Council” will decide to enact “stronger sanctions” against the country of Iran. Not all of the countries who are members of the Security Council will necessarily agree to it — in this instance both China and Russia do not agree with sanctions against Iran, both being friends and partners in trade with Iran, so they will vote no. But that doesn’t stop it from happening. Again the United States writes nearly all the rules for the rest of the world, nuclear weapons being the only thing that protects other countries such as China or Russia, from full on control by the United States.
The United States will then order every bank, financial institution, credit card company, commodity manufacturer (the very basic stuff that keep a people alive, think grains, cereals, milk, soy, cotton, corn, wheat, sugar, oil, natural gas, etc.) and any other company that exists to “not do business with the country of Iran or we will not do business with you and we will convince our allies all over the world to also not do business with you.” Think of very large organizations like the World Bank or the World Trade Organization or Monsanto or Dow Chemical or Kellogg or Conoco Philips or BP (that one especially ironic for those in the know…) or Visa, MasterCard, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, etc. Pretty soon you have just about every company in the entire world refusing to supply you with goods, refusing to trade with you, refusing to sell you things, no matter how much you or your people need it. Food, oil, water purification supplies, sanitation needs, banking, credit card processing, financing for new ventures or even basic needs materials, even things like oil and gas, car companies, airlines, transportation needs such as the trains and trucks to get food and medicine into and around your country… All off limits to you and your people.
What you have then is a people entirely cut off from the world and from the very basics that sustain life. Grocery store shelves go bare. Hospitals begin losing access to medicine and supplies. Banks close because lending stops. ATMS stop working. Credit cards don’t work and don’t exist anymore. When I was in Iran they were not yet quite at the peak of the U.S. sanctions against them, but they were already a few years into them. Store shelves are half full. People are forced to carry around large suitcases of cash in order to pay for everything and anything because they can’t get any credit card companies to work with them. In order to pay an additional fee for one of my flights while I was there, I was not allowed to use my credit cards to do so. Nor was I able to find any ATM machines to get cash. Because of the sanctions. There I was in the airport unable to get on the plane to fly home because I could not come up with the suitcase of cash needed to pay this additional fee being requested. I looked around me and all over the airport were men carrying large suitcases filled with hundreds of thousands of Tumans (their currency). They lift them up onto the counter and begin counting them out. Thousands of them. Just to pay for a flight. And so it is with everything in their country. I was able to pay for my flight eventually because I borrowed the cash from a fellow traveler that I was with who knew better than I how bad things were going to be, so he brought a TON of cash with him. IF it weren’t for him, I would have been stranded there.
So, you might be asking by now, surely the rest of the world wouldn’t do this, not ALL of the companies in the world would take part in such a brutal atrocity?! Well, you’re right. Some don’t. China and Russia and many Middle Eastern countries don’t. But these countries don’t have access to “everything”. Only to limited supplies of a limited amount of things needed to sustain life. Many companies don’t WANT to participate in this economic strangling of an entire people. But if they don’t participate then they are blackmailed by the United States: “if we catch you doing business with Iran, we can assure you that we will get every other major country in the world to immediately refrain from buying your goods or using your services”. This could easily bankrupt a company in a few short weeks. So even companies that do not wish to participate in these Draconian tactics are forced to — simply because of the power that the United States currently wields in the world.
To understand the power and the full implications of these economic sanctions, when the United States did this same thing to Iraq during the Clinton years, it is estimated that over one-million Iraqi civilians died, half of them being children, mostly from starvation or thirst or preventable disease. The rest of the world stood on the sidelines and watched this take place. Some spoke up and tried to stop it; but most are just as afraid of the United States and its power and influence as Iraq was. After all, they could be next. THIS is how the United States is able to control the actions of a country without necessarily attacking it militarily. The only thing that prevents the United States from doing this to larger countries like China or Russia, again, is the fact that THEY have nuclear weapons and a strong army. So the U.S. is smart in who it targets with this kind of terrorism. It knows who to fuck with and who to stay away from. (Besides the fact that China is currently propping up the American economy more than any other country on earth. (In case you were wondering why the U.S. claims to stand for freedom democracy and liberty but at the same time supports the overtly corrupt communist China regime…))
Hopefully this helps explain exactly what “economic sanctions” are. Let us return to our story shall we?
Seeing that Iran does not yet have any nuclear weapons, so it’s prone to just about any bullying by the U.S. that the U.S. cares to dish out, it could only hold out during the U.S. led sanctions against it for so long. The economy in Iran was thoroughly ravaged. And why? Because countries like the U.S. and France and Great Britain and especially Israel do not want Iran to have access to nuclear weapons. Plain and simple. But Iran has moved forward steadfastly with its nuclear energy program. It claims that it will be out of oil by the year 2020 and it needs to create a viable nuclear energy program. It also claims that it has no intention of ever using a nuclear weapon against another country, that it violates it’s basic core values as a nation and of its religion. Of this we cannot be sure. EVERY country on earth “claims” to be good nice and well-meaning. And nearly all of them commit horribly selfish acts of violence against others when it suits their needs. Just as the United States does and has, to be fair, Iran has too. At least according to reports we receive from mainstream media.
One thing is at least certain about Iran. They do not have the greatest justice system in the world when it comes to human rights. They’ll put to death some six-hundred people in a year and imprison thousands more for various different “capital offenses” such as speaking out against the government or being gay or peacefully protesting. So as defenders of civil liberties and human rights and equality, we can’t turn a blind eye to these harsh realities about Iran no matter how much we want the United States to be more fair-minded and even handed with them. It’s not an issue of black or white. It’s all very grey and shady.
But with that said, it still does not justify the treatment the country of Iran has received from the United States and other major nations around the world. The only way that Iran is ever going to rise up to a state of equality in the world is to eventually acquire its own nuclear weapons arsenal. This is just a fact of the current state of the world we live in. Might truly makes right. And everything else too. Right now Iran has no choice but to play the apologetic but proud and noble victim to the brutal dictatorship of the United States and its smaller cronies. Unlike the insane Saddam Hussein regime of Iraq, Iran cares about its people and their welfare. It had to eventually cave in to the demands of the United States led UN Security Council, which in this case means allowing inspectors into its country to verify whether or not it’s building nuclear weapons and also lower the level of plutonium it’s enriching to levels not high enough to build nuclear weapons. It’s a very tricky business. On the one hand, possessing nuclear weapons is the only way Iran (and any other country in the world) will ever reach a state of equality with other countries in the world and be treated with the same level of respect that it deserves. On the other hand, it needs for the time being to reduce the amount of sanctions being levied against it for the health and welfare of its people.
There should be no question and no debate about the state of this quandary that we are in regarding Iran and the issues outlines above. The United States is no more a “friendly country with good intentions that stands for freedom liberty and democracy” than Russia, China or any other major world super power. It commits violent acts of terror all over the world on a regular basis and justifies it’s doing so simply because it’s the most powerful country in the world. We cannot claim on the one hand to be intelligent rational adults and continue to pretend that the United States are “the good guys” and everyone they decide to go to war or fight with are “the bad guys” simply because they say so or because we happen to live here. Just as we cannot pretend to believe that Iran should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons because “they are evil compared to the rest of the world”. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander as they say. If the United States is so adamant about world peace and protecting the world and its people from the threat of nuclear war, then it should give up its own nuclear weapons.
But it won’t. Because then it would have to operate fairly in the world, on equal grounds on a level playing field. So the games and charade continues. But that doesn’t mean that any of us has to play along. One of the greatest gifts the United States ever gave to the world is freedom of thought and freedom of speech. It is one of our most sacred freedoms and probably one that we take for granted a little bit too much since we’re so accustomed to it. Despite what many of our conspiracy theorist friends claim, that freedom is still very much alive and well in America. Especially compared to other countries like China, Russia, Cuba, aforementioned Iran or pick one in the Middle East. As long as that freedom still exists, so too does our ability to speak up about issues like this one regarding Iran and other countries like it.
In fact, I would contend that it’s more than just an ability that we possess, but an obligation that we have. There are people who don’t understand why some of us come off so “anti-American”. They scream and shout and yell at us to “leave if you don’t like it here!” What they don’t realize is that, number one, we are doing nothing but speaking the truth, just not a very common or oft-heard truth, and two, we aren’t “anti-American” at all. On the contrary. We love the United States of America more than most and would like to one day see it rise up to being equal in practice with what it preaches and claims about itself. THAT would give cause for real celebration. I’d love to see it one day in my life before I pass on from here. For that to happen it will take a good majority of us to cry foul when we see one. In regards to our current dealings with Iran, there are plenty of fouls being committed in plain sight. We need to continue to remind each other of this fact and speak up about it. For if we don’t, who will?
To be clear, I’m not saying I desire Iran to have nuclear weapons. If it were up to me, NO country on earth would posses them. We’ve seen what they can do. We know why every country on earth has them and wants them. No good can come from it. What I am saying is that the current state of affairs between the nations of the world and rules by which they all play is dishonest, unjust and unfair. I don’t believe that it’s fair for the one country who possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world to demand that another country not have any, and furthermore especially not if they’re going to do so attempting to act noble and valiant. There is nothing noble or valiant about being the world’s bully and dictator, which is exactly what the United States has turned into. This most recent ruckus with Iran is yet another glaring example of this.
If you’re going to go full-on, all-out deceptive, manipulative and evil, do so proudly ala Nazi Germany or Stalin-era Russia. Don’t hide behind pretense and bullshit like “American exceptionalism” and a bunch of empty clichés like “freedom liberty and democracy”. Don’t lie in everyone’s face, pretending to be the hero when you’re overtly playing the villain. Just boldly pronounce that you want to rule the world for selfish gain and you don’t care how you do it. I and many others would have a lot more respect for the powers that be in Washington if they did that compared to what they’re doing now. At least they’d be an honest villain, one that we could respect. There’s nothing more loathsome and disreputable than a dishonest villain attempting to fool the world into believing they’re the hero when everyone can plainly see they’re not but is just too afraid to say anything. There’s no respect in that. It reeks of the inevitable coming downfall of an empire. And no one wants to be around when an empire crumbles. Only when it’s rising.
So are we going to support the United States in it’s ascent towards true greatness? Or continue to enable it to play the hated fool on the world stage? That’s a question that as citizens we are all obligated to ask ourselves, and once answered, have further an obligation to act. President Obama has come a long way in acting more evolved towards his treatment of Iran than any U.S. president in a long time. And he should be commended for that. But we’ve got a long way to go if we are truly going to deserve the glorifying accolades that we so readily bestow upon ourselves on a constant basis.