The Great Debate

Iran sanctions and wishful thinking

May 7, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate
– Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

So what’s so difficult in getting Iran to drop its nuclear program? All it needs is a great American leader who uses sanctions to break the Iranian economy so badly that popular discontent sweeps away the leadership. It is replaced without a shot being fired.

That simplistic solution to one of the most complex problems of the Middle East was part of a keynote speech greeted with thunderous applause by 6,000 delegates to the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The speaker: Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

In the fourth month of the administration of President Barack Obama, who favors talking to America’s adversaries rather than ousting them, the Gingrich prescription sounded like a throwback to the days when neo-conservatives predicted that the U.S. troops invading Iraq would be pelted with flowers and sweets. Wishful thinking at its finest.

But in panel discussions and forums at AIPAC, one of the most powerful lobby groups in the United States, the idea of sharply tightened sanctions had plenty of proponents. The preferred lever: cutting off gasoline supplies to Iran, which relies on imports for around 40% of its domestic consumption.

On the final day of the conference this week, several thousand AIPAC activists converged on Congress to press their representatives for passage of pending legislation to sanction companies that sell, ship, finance or insure gasoline exports to Iran. Firms that continued dealing with Iran would be banned from doing business with the U.S.

Would an additional layer to a stack of sanctions imposed since 1995 get the Iranians to drop what the West insists is work toward a nuclear bomb? There is no reason to believe it would. There is every reason to believe more sanctions would inflict hardship on the Iranian people.

“With all the economic pain sanctions have imposed on the Iranian economy, there has not been a single instance in which that pain has translated into a desirable change in the Iranian government’s policies,” Trita Parsi, the president of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, told a congressional hearing last month. “The Iranian people have suffered the brunt of the economic pressures.”


That tends to be the case with most sanctions that seek to change a government’s behavior or its ouster. A case in point closer to Washington than Tehran — Cuba. Almost five decades of U.S. economic sanctions have failed to bring down Fidel Castro or the brother who succeeded him.

Iran introduced gasoline rationing in June, 2007, a move that sparked riots in Tehran, with angry citizens setting ablaze gasoline stations. It was one of the most visible demonstrations of anger against the Iranian government since President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad took office in 2005.

But by and large, say Trita and other Iran experts, a good deal of the people’s anger over economic duress is directed against the United States, more so because the nuclear program has become a matter of national pride. It enjoys such broad public support that no politician running for office would risk advocating its termination.

So it would be naïve to expect public Iranian concessions on the nuclear front before the June 12 presidential elections. Registration for candidates opened this week and Ahmedinejad is expected to run for another four-year term. His most serious challenger to have announced his candidacy so far is a moderate, Mirhossein Mousavi, who was prime minister during the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988.

When he campaigned for the presidency and announced he was prepared to open a dialogue with Iran, Barack Obama said he would do so without “self-defeating preconditions.” But he also spoke in favor of sanctions, including the idea of throttling gasoline supplies. Overall strategy is still a work in progress.

As far as “self-defeating preconditions” go, setting an August deadline for Iran to curb its nuclear program, as did Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week, must surely rank at the top of the list. It’s an either-or proposition which makes a mockery of the word diplomacy.

It remains to be seen whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on that timeline when he meets Obama in Washington on May 18. So far, they don’t seem to be of one mind on Iran, an absolute priority for Netanyahu, part of intertwined Middle East problems (including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) for Obama and his team.

Robert Satloff, head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israeli think tank, put it in stark terms at an AIPAC panel discussion when speakers were asked to predict the state of U.S.-Israeli relations in a year’s time: “I fear that if we and the Israelis are not totally on the same page from A to Z on this issue…next year we may be dealing with the most serious face-to-face disagreement in the 61 years of this relationship.”

Next year, if not before.

130 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Edward I’d like for us to have high standard and compare what we have to what we’re capable of, rather than comparing us to governments we know we’re more humane then.

I guess I’m just not as quick to defend that bastards in Washington as you, the only reason our government is any better than others is because of the genius insight of the founding fathers. We’d be the exact same otherwise.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

I still don’t see myself as defending Washington so much as taking the critics to task. If people mindlessly criticize how is that any better than to slavishly defend?
If you want to compare our government to some unobtainable ideal normative model than it will always fail. The ideals only exist in theory and in text books. The real world is far murkier and unpleasant and if you act on principle in an unprincipled world all you do is end up a principled sucker. Is it right, is it admirable, no, is it pragmatic and unfortunately necessary..sadly yes.
I will agree that the Founding Fathers had it right and it becomes more clear with every year that the growth of the Federal government is stealing that genius. It becomes clearer and clearer that the wrong side won the Civil War (and if you think that war was about slavery you are more naive that I thought). The United States is supposed to be just that, a union of states and the loss of state’s rights to the national government is the root of most problems nowadays. However the Supreme Court allowed the corruption of the commerce clause to allow the Federal government into our daily lives shows that the Constitution is barely worth the paper it’s written in these days. It was envisioned as limited national government with the state’s holding the balance of the unenumerated powers, but once the court’s began their activist broad readings it ceased being that and now it’s the states that have to fight to assert their own powers before the might of the overreaching thieves in Washington.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

In response to Roy Fisher’s naive comment…

Why shouldn’t Iran have a nuclear program….Look around the world at the nuclear powers, none are bent are on the destruction of another nation. Israel’s ambiguous stance on its own nuclear program is not an existential threat to any country. Israel has fought more wars in its 61 years of existence quite possibly than any other country, and not once has their been a threat of nuclear war, rather it is a deterrent. When the leader, the elected leader, of a nation declares another nation a “one bomb country” implying that all it would take was one nuclear weapon to quote, “wipe it off the map”, that is cause for alarm. When that same country is a supporter of multiple terrorist organizations in terms of arms and monetary support, that are operating not only in Israel but other allies such as Egypt and Jordan, this is cause for alarm Mr. Fisher. It is absurd that you would compare the need for Iran’s nuclear program in line with Israel’s. Iran is under no threat what-so-ever if it chooses to abandon their weapons program. If an attack were to come, it would be against Iranian military/nuclear installations. Compare this to the terrorist organizations who take orders from Iran, who fire at innocent civilans. Israel on the other hand faces Iran’s call for its destruction, Hamas (an Iranian proxy) has it written in their charter for the destruction of Israel and Jews everywhere. Further, an Iranian nuclear capability would spark an arms race in the Middle East basically throwing out the NPT. With a Shiite country in control of the bomb, there would undoubtedly be a sunni country working on getting once to balance this. Sure Mr. Fisher, why not arm every country with nuclear capability. I suggest you read up more thoroughly on Ahmedinejad, Iran’s hand in terror, and the history of the Middle East. So Mr. Fisher, you suggesting Iran should be “left alone” is unintelligent, dangerous, and frankly proves your lack of any sort of background on the situation at hand. Reuter’s deeming this the “best comment”, perhaps most foolish is more fitting.

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Edward I think we agree on the state of the US Gov’t, I guess I just don’t get offended when people bring up the mile long list of it’s faults if they’re all accurate. We’re the country and gov’t with the most power in the world, so we should be subject to the most criticism.

The wrong side did win the Civil War, I would’ve preferred that all the crazy religious kooks got to keep their own gov’t and had an eventual slave uprising. That would’ve really limited the power of this gov’t and we certainly wouldn’t be so quick to warmonger and nation-build cuz we wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Well fine, don’t get offended when they list all the faults, but how about listing some faults of others? How about our accomplishments? Self hate is the worst hate of all. I don’t hate America, nor do I feel one shred of guilt for being born in a great nation, as many liberals seem to feel. No one gave me anything, I made myself what I am and I don’t feel the need to apologize for being American. Am I proud of our legacy of dirty tricks and regime change in many places, no, but I also ask myself, would it be better if the Soviets had done it instead. It’s easy for people to look at things done during the cold war and not put them in context. For some people the cold war is something they read about in books. For me it was a very real thing and living under the threat of nuclear armageddon makes you look at things differently. Would I have approved of what we did or made the same choices, I would like to think not, but it’s easy to judge looking back.
It’s funny how people speak of things they would die for, well in my mind there are also things I would kill for. It’s easy to judge actions with the luxury of time and with knowledge of how things turned out, harder to make the decision at the moment. I guess that’s why I get offended, when armchair quarterbacks want to judge from their ivory towers without perspective or relativity. America is not perfect, far from it, we may not be even the closest, but we are a product of an imperfect world. The Europeans ask who appointed us “world police”, I’ll tell who did, they did when they abdicated their responsibilities and slept meekly under our protection. Should we be intervening everywhere in the world, emphatically NO, but don’t pretend if we didn’t get involved that many of these crises would fester and grow or other opportunistic nations wouldn’t and they certainly wouldn’t be doing it for any less self interest than we do.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Edward, there’s an ENORMOUS difference between being proud to be an American and being proud of our government. I love this country 100% because of our civilians, the passion and the love for each other, I hate our government and give them zero credit, every big politician in our government now can go right to hell.

Keep in mind though while the government was making you fear the Soviets, they were also arming and writing blank checks to Osama. Him being in power has led to the deaths of 8000 Americans, 120,000 Iraqi’s, 8,000 Afghani’s, tens of thousands of injured americans, Iraq and Afghanistan in shambles, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who can’t sleep at night and can’t live normally due to mental illness, contributing to the worst economic timeframe of both our lives.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Peter H,
Let me try again.
You accuse me in dismissing IAEA as irrelevant. It’s not as simple as you try to present it.
In case of Iran, IAEA is relevant, though I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively. Here’s why.
Firstly, because it works inside a totalitarian state, and therefore is limited in the scope and timing of access. Can you claim that the inspectors can go whenever and wherever they want, and talk to whomever they want without notifying the regime first? I highly doubt it.
Secondly, IAEA is politicized, and each IAEA employee has their own agenda, which is sometimes personal, but more often it’s the agenda of the country that individual represents, or a mix of the 2. Therefore, it’s as inefficient as any organization with competing agendas. Also it’s not impartial, again due to its members pushing, overtly or covertly, their agendas. Particularly, ElBaradei (that’s how it’s spelled @ Wikipedia) keeps invoking alleged Israeli nukes as often as Cato used to repeat “Carthaginem esse delendam” (“Carthage must be destroyed”, in case you don’t recognize the phrase in Latin). He (or maybe certain circles in Egypt and/or wider Arab/Muslim world that made possible for him to be what he is) is so obsessed with Israel, and spends so much energy on this issue, that it seems he lacks time and energy for anything else.
Here we come to another issue – what relevance has IAEA with regard to Israel. The answer – none whatsoever. Israel is not, has never been, and has no plans to be a party to NPT, and therefore IAEA has no jurisdiction over it. I repeat – none whatsoever. No more than it has jurisdiction over India or Pakistan. Yet nobody on this forum ever hinted that India (or even Pakistan, for that matter) is a pariah state, while every second post keeps piling it on Israel, even though there’s no proof of Israel having (or not having – that’s the beauty of ambiguity!) the nukes.
I, for one, would be more concerned with Pakistan. Its nuclear arsenal is proven to exist, its government is unstable, the army and security apparatus are unreliable, and Islamic fanatics are openly challenging the government with armed assaults every now and then. And Bin Laden allegedly hiding there and waiting for his Taleban friends to overthrow Bhutto and get their hands on nuclear tipped missiles. And then – who knows – instead of launching the rocket at India as it was intended, it can be loaded onto a rusty innocent-looking freighter, sailed to NY (or London), and there detonated by the crew of suicide bombers. Oh, by the way, here IAEA is also irrelevant – Pakistan has nothing to do with NPT, either.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment Anonymous. I agree with you suggestion that the IAEA is imperfect, and I would add to that the UN (and the EU). I don’t see this as a reason to dismiss them, I see it more as a reason to rectify the problem.
I also agree that Pakistan is a major problem as it spirals out of control (a repetition of a section of a previous comment here). And to make it worse is that not only do they have nuclear war-heads up for grabs, but also suitcase bombs which don’t even need a ship to transport them, although obviously their explosive footprint will be appropriately smaller due to the smaller nature of the weapon.
My main concern over this AIPAC attempt to include Iran in the quagmire that is evolving in that part of the world is that the winner will not be Israel, it won’t be Iran, it won’t be America, it won’t be any of the big oil companies, it won’t be any of the NATO, APAC (not to be confused with AIPAC) countries who get drawn into the vortex, it won’t be any of the UN member states who join on the side of whatever coalition AIPAC can whip into action, and it won’t be any of the smaller nations in the region. Now who does that leave left?
I totally reject the oft repeated assertions that I am either anti-Semetic or anti-American (although must admit to the probability I am “irrelevant”). I will come clean and confess that I have grown to be completely anti the New Labour “government” which has done such an awful job in discharging it’s responsibilities in the UK, which does not make me anti-British, quite the opposite otherwise I’d be anti-myself!
The way I see it is that the entire world is what, for the purposes of illustrating my point, I will describe as a bicycle with bent wheels, a crocked frame, wonky handle-bars, worn-out brakes, a stretched chain, knackered gears and bald tyres. It is not to late to rebuild the bicycle. A bent worn out bicycle will never provide a smooth safe ride, it needs to be straight, with good tyres, a good steering system, a good propulsion system AND A GOOD BRAKING SYSTEM. (And no that does not meant to be breaking). History is littered with advanced, superior forces been wiped out by hairy barbarians, an non-to-flattering description of my ancestors [not that they have a monopoly of wiping out advanced civilisations!)

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

I find that people who are actually “anti” something rarely admit they are, they often don’t even realize they are, yet their words give them away. Self hate is just sad, no matter how one attempts to parse it.
I wonder also if sanctions don’t work, what exactly are the purposes of these international organizations, since sanctions seem to be the only thing they can use against violators.
Iran has mastered this regime of useless, toothless and biased organizations. They continue to play this game and edge closer and closer to their obvious goal of becoming a nuclear armed power. Whether that goal is legitimate or not is a distinct issue, but whether that is their goal is only disputed by the most naive.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Israel’s policy of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ ended when former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted the Jewish State does indeed possess a nuclear arsenal.

Officials were quick to dismiss his comments as a slip of the tongue, but it simply confirmed what many, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, knew all along. Gates often lists Israel within the nuclear club whenever he discusses the dangers of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has used its nuclear weapons to blackmail Washington. It has used its various nuclear alerts to gain unfettered access to state-of-the art military equipment, intelligence briefings, a blank cheque, and a green light to terrorize its neighbors.

Israel’s increasingly aggressive behavior towards Iran suggests that Netanyahu expects nothing less than total obedience from the Obama administration (and U.S. taxpayers) to maintain Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East.

Posted by Nu'man El-Bakri | Report as abusive

Hello George, you’re comments are very good. I find them mildly amusing and won’t take offence as I must pay all due respect to your very great age and vast experience which no doubt eclipses everyone else’s. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they are genuinely a prime example of something that is truly irrelevant, but you may be reassured by my commitment to give them due thought and consideration; before dismissing them.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

May 12th, 2009 2:02 pm GMT – Posted by Michael Ham

“1.) Those who have money have better governments and use that money to buy influence and prop up puppet governments that bow down to them and to make examples of those “evil” countries.”

I agreed on “better governments” more suited to have nukes.

My point about global security not about what you see is good or bad. While I don’t see how “puppets gov” related to this topic. I have nothing against pets.
Who must be prevented from having nukes:

Poor countries that struggle to feed own people. (Seams to be unstable)
Regimes that killed own people.
(Seams to be uncontrollable)

Posted by SKV_USA | Report as abusive

“I wonder also if sanctions don’t work, what exactly are the purposes of these international organizations, since sanctions seem to be the only thing they can use against violators.” – Posted by Edward M. Blake
Looks like we agree on this one. There is no way to impose on Iran sanctions that would make its economy much more miserable than it is under the sanctions already in place. So you are right, IAEA and UN are toothless.
Sanctions tend to be efficient when they’re delivered by F-15. B-52 would be even better – it carries larger payload. Too bad BHO has no guts to sanction this kind of action, and F-15 is the largest plane IDF has. But hopefully even F-15 will suffice.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Anonymous – 8th May

“So why is Iran building further secret facilities”….maybe you have information that IAEA & CIA or MI6 don’t have which you would want to share; because no one has identified secret nuclear facilities and the declared sites are inspected continuously – Isfahan continuously and Natanz 23 times minimum these past 12 months.
Mate, you need to go and educate yourself before coming out with these tired and frankly pathetic lies.

And yes, Iran does not give unfettered access to IAEA inspectors, because it is not obliged to; she has not signed the second protocol. Same as Israel is not inspected because it has not signed the NPT. With Israel threatening Iran every other day….of course not reported by the Western press , but blazoned galore on Jerusalem Post and Haaretz…..there will be no signing of the 2nd protocol unless Israel submits herself to the NPT also. As for Iran’s leaders not being rational, well they have played some of the most amazing games of regional diplomacy and power politics by a 3rd world nation in the past 50 years; they are highly rational alright, they just got the upper hand and the US/EU govts don’t like it.

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

Wow I thought this article was about Iran, but it seems all the people who want to see Iran get the bomb only want to talk about Israel. Much like the Iranian government, rather than address problems at home would rather talk about Israel as well. Why are some people so prepared to take what Iran says at face value? Intelligent and educated people really believe this is about civilian nuclear power? Wow Iran certainly has the upper hand if they can convince people of that, but I’m sure it’s more about the anti Israel and anti American issues that people even put up the facade of peaceful uses. I’d have more respect for the Iranian government if they would at least admit what their real goals are.
But seriously, aside from slandering other countries do people really delude themselves that the end goal of the Iranian program is peaceful? If so I have a ponzi scheme you might be interested in.
I guess religious fanatics are rational by some people’s definition, I don’t know how they reach that conclusion based on the totally irrational basis of religion, particularly the brand that they practice but whatever, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

The question here is whether or not sanctions would be effective. I can’t think of a single instance of one country punishing another with sanctions, starving them or whatever that made the majority of citizens turn to each other and say ‘We better do what they want or they’ll hurt us’. People of other countries react the same way we do. How would we react if OPEC cut off the oil to force us to do something like drop support of Israel? It’s simple psychology. Bombing the Germans didn’t make them stop supporting the Nazis, it made them angry at us. Punishing the people of Iran will not bring them to heel.

Posted by Davidfromcali | Report as abusive

Bombing the Germans did not stop them supporting the Nazi’s. It just made them angry. Same with sanctions.

Absolutely correct. The Nazi’s were only stopped by being completely overpowered by the Allies.

There is only one way to ensure Iran does not make a nuclear bomb, if it refuses to stop due to UN sanctions.

And that is a swift war. Reduce the nuclear plants, military forces and political leadership to smoking craters. Then pull out and leave it to the UN.

Posted by anon. | Report as abusive

I’m just curious as to how many ties we’re gonna take off before we realize shooting ourselves in the foot doesn’t work.

Two wars have left the world hating us, for some reason a lot of foreign leaders like Obama (for now) so this is the last time we should be looking to destroy another middle eastern country.

The only way I would approve of war with Iran would be if I thought they were an imminent threat, which no one with any number of operating brain cells thinks.

Anonymous you’ll have to tell me the big difference between the Bush and “BHO” (these ppl just can’t get over his middle name) foreign policy. Bush was already pulling out of Iraq so you can’t be mad at Obama for that, Obama just send a massive amount of soldiers over to Afghanistan and with your pro-war strategy you have to approve of that.

My prediction is like every other Republican all that matters to you is speeches, not policy. Bush was always blathering about “axis of evil” and needing to raise “terror alerts” and what not. You don’t have to worry though, soon enough Obama will create some excuse that “imminent terror” is upon us and he’ll be ready to waste plenty more of my and your tax dollars on some nation building project.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

*Toes* in the first sentence, not ties

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

“…“BHO” (these ppl just can’t get over his middle name) …” – Posted by Michael Ham

Somehow the Democratic (but for whatever reason not Republican) Presidents of late went down the history books by their initials. FDR, JFK, LBJ – why not BHO?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Anonymous i know why 99% of Republicans say BHO, it’s to emphasize their point of view that he’s muslim and scary and they want everyone to be reminded of his middle name. That’s unnecessary, just remind everyone of all his policies and his budget, that’s plenty scary enough. If you’re part of the 1% who actually says it just in reference to him than my apologies.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Edward M Blake @13th May …. several things would explain why you do not understand the Iranian angst and why they are so far apart from your view point: (1) there is a very robust economic rational for developing nuclear energy in Iran that never gets a hearing in the West (2) Iran has been threatened by Israeli nuclear subs from the Gulf of Oman since 2000, so if they react to Israel, there is a pretty sound reason for that, (3) Iranians are dealing with their internal issues, but of course what you get on Western media is a vision of a country and leadership obsessed with annihilation of the other…why this deliberate distortion? (4) it is a delicious irony that you call Iranian leadership fanatic – irrational because they are religious and have a faith-based approach to the world; well you have exactly the same factless, faith-based approach towards Iranian nuclear issue and intentions and advocate violence on the back of it. It is a shame you have not learnt the lesson of stumbling into Iraq quagmire and > 100k dead, not to rely on just gut-feeling. The day you can show me an Iranian nuclear weapons program, I will believe you, until then you are crying wolf. And that tells more about you, than it says anything about the Iranian’s intention.

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

Where did I indicate violence was the solution? Another supossedly well informed poster who doesn’t even read my post. Sort of makes it clear that your information isn’t very well researched. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I still am when people trust a theocracy’s word for anything. The very basis of their government and religion is utterly irrational. I have never said Iran doesn’t have the right to a nuclear weapon either, although I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea. All I ever do is try to bring some balance to the constant America and Israel bashing that goes on whenever this subject is broached. I just want some honesty, I mean other than gullible people, everyone knows that the Iranians are seeking nuclear weapons. By your logic show me an Israeli nuclear weapon or you are crying wolf. I know the Israeli’s have nukes as solidly as I know Iran seeks nuclear arms.
You can try to demonize into something I’m not and if that makes you feel better than good for you. I simply don’t accept the conventional wisdom that America and Israel are always nefarious. I know that must mess with your whole sad world view, but too bad. All you haters can gather and back slap each other about how evil America and Israel are, but how does that advance any real issues other than blind hatred. I don’t hate the Iranians, I don’t think they are evil and out to wreak havoc, I do think they are a repressive fanatical illogical regime that seeks nuclear arms to protect themselves from regime change and seeks to expand their power in the region. Much like America and Israel, I just don’t let blind hatred and ideology warp my vision. Read what I actually posted, not what you want to attribute to me to weaken my real points.
You believe what you like and you get your news from your “trustworthy” sources that have no bias, LOL.. I will get use my own intellect to judge based on a broad reading rather than rely on the ideologues you let twist your opinions.
I know people don’t like to admit that they are only getting one side of the story, but you are. You choose who to believe, I’ll actually get multiple sources, because it’s always good to have perspective, unless you don’t want to ever have to think for yourself.

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

REMIND!!! He IS a Muslim. Why do you DENY!

Not only that he is DANGEROUS for FREEDOM!

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

Hey wait a minute, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, and if you don’t believe that they’ll cut off your head or stone you for disagreeing.

Posted by Frank Castle | Report as abusive

You want the truth, Mr Ham?

Obama has three main differences to Bush.

1. His speech gaffes are not widely publicised.
2. He says ‘hope’ a lot. Or at least he did.
3. His administration is based on the swirling hate held for the previous administration.

Obama still supports the missile shield in Europe. He still understands the need to win in Afganistan and Iraq. He understands the need to maintain American interests as the main superpower in the world. He is still ready to support Israel, even when it needs to take hard (and possibly harsh) action.

And he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb.

Obama is only biding his time. He wants to get to the end of his first term without war, and possibly pull out of Iraq first.

But when push comes to shove, you better believe that Obama will be ready for war. Iran refuses to negotiate at it’s peril.

I do not live in America. You could consider me to be a very right-wing person in my political views. And I believe that Obama used his speaking skills to manipulate public opinion.

But that aside, I am confident that Obama will do what needs to be done. His supporters might not be happy with the result, though.

Posted by Anon. | Report as abusive

Edward M Blake …methinks you are protesting too much: are you wriggling at the end of a skewer?

Posted by Raad | Report as abusive

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemes; thou annointest my headwith oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. and I will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

May 15th, 2009 4:22 am GMT – Posted by Raad

Edward M Blake …methinks you are protesting too much: are you wriggling at the end of a skewer?

That’s the best you can do? Ask I suspected, nothing but the same sad nonsense. I understand you’ve got nothing to say but America is the Great Satan, so I won’t hold it against you. I wonder if all these folks who fall for the Iranian line will come out and say they were wrong when they detonate their first test bomb, I doubt it, most likely just say they needed it to protect themselves for the big bad Americans or to balance the Israeli arsenal. No answer to that religious issue either I see, tough to argue that one rationally huh?

Posted by Edward M. Blake | Report as abusive

Any proposals of sanctions against Iran and the issue would immediately become religious not politicial. The implication then spreads to all countries around the world with a substantial muslim population.

Politicians around the world would have to wake up to the religious ideaology and have to decide on where they stand, normally they prefer not too and remain silent.

I am surprised the media even raises this issue as like a politician it remains conveniently silent.

Posted by M Deacon | Report as abusive

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