Napoleon Bonaparte famously said that there are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest and this is most visible in the Iranian nuclear issue. As the pressure on European countries to adjust their policies in the era of Trump grows, do the Europeans have enough interest to overcome their fear and salvage the deal with Tehran? To discuss this, Oksana is joined by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.
by Serban V.C. Enache
This is a brief case of why I think Iran should leave the JCPOA, in spite of all the bad press it’s going to get on the international stage. The seizure of the Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria should be the last straw. It was nothing short of piracy, completely illegal under international law. Teheran’s strategy of patience vis-a-vis the Western powers was tried and it failed; that’s clear as daylight and any more pussyfooting around will scarcely delay the inevitable [i.e. a permanent cold war situation]. The UN and other international organizations, like the IAEA, simply don’t matter if the Hegemon has set its mind, facts and honor be damned.
The biggest pushers for an Iran-US conflict are the neoconservatives, and sadly, that course of action has support at grassroots level among the Christian Zionists – we’re talking here about the Right, not the Far Right [KKKers and Neonazis]. Despite all efforts made by the likes of Tucker Carlson to educate the Conservative American public about the real situation in the Middle East, many of them remain brainwashed by mainstream propaganda – as is evident in this particular comment section of Newsmax. Here’s a taste of it: ‘If Iran gets a nuke, it will surely use it on Israel’ – ‘Muslims will lie to everyone to get their way’ – ‘They should do what Trump tells them, or have their oil taken as war spoils’ – ‘What have the Iranians done with the billions we gave them?’
That last comment is the type of inquisitive thinking that can’t be raised to Saudi Arabia and Israel – both sponsors of regional instability, terrorist tactics, and terrorist organizations – and the latter [Israel], a big customer of US “aid”. As for the claim that the ‘crazy Iranian jihadists’ will nuke Israel if they get the A-bomb, that’s one of the more easier things to debunk. In over two hundred years, Iran has attacked, get this, ZERO countries. The same can’t be said of the USA or Israel. There is no precedent in history in which a country possessing nukes dropped nukes on another nuclear power. There is no precedent in history in which a country possessing nukes was invaded by a power that had or hadn’t nukes. There’s no better guarantee that you won’t get invaded. Can the West, or better yet, the world as a whole, deliver guarantees that a country won’t be invaded if it disposes of its nukes and nuke-manufacturing facilities? In a rational and just world, yes – such guarantees would exist de jure and de facto. But we’re not living in such a world!
The Right in the US is hungriest to do Israel’s bidding in the Middle East, geopolitical ventures popularized and waged at the expense of US capital and US soldiers’ lives. Bill Maher, years ago asked Netanyahu what’s Israel’s secret for waging speedy wars. Netanyahu answered quickly and truthfully “Our secret is the US.” And no, I haven’t forgotten about the fake doves among the Democrats. Here’s Jimmy Dore utterly destroying Kamala Harris’ hypocritical, hawkish rhetoric.
What trust can the Iranians put in the European powers, let alone in Washington, who betrayed the deal first? The Europeans announce Instex, a system which was developed at a crawl, and one that won’t work if it doesn’t extend to oil sales [which it doesn’t in lack of an accord between Washington and its European allies], and immediately after that, an Iranian oil tanker is seized in international waters. The European signatories of the JCPOE, the actors who allegedly desire a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation, haven’t condemned that blatant act of piracy. Worse still, Iran is the target of false flag operations, designed to make it appear as a rogue state that’s asking for “it” [to be bombed and or invaded]. Iran should swiftly pull out of the nuclear agreement, stating objective reasons for the move and just wish everybody a pleasant day.
The West’s double-standards and warmongering are painfully obvious, or they should be to anyone possessing a fraction of a neuron inside their heads. Countries like Pakistan, India, and Israel are not signatories of the non-proliferation treaty, and you don’t see anyone in the Western or Eastern press calling for sanctions against these countries, based on the fact they have nukes and the capability to produce more.
But won’t the Iranian economy suffer if the country pulls out? It is suffering already, and the more it tries to be patient and negotiate with parties only concerned with their own image on the international stage, who aren’t in truth interested in establishing a functional deal, Teheran’s policy will remain unsuccessful.
Iranian imports from and exports to the West aren’t insurmountable market losses. Teheran should pursue closer cooperation with the few strategic partner states it has and should dramatically expand import substitution programs. Consumers are going to pay higher bills, yes, but in the medium term the situation will stabilize, and long term Iran will benefit from fully matured industries in terms of labor skills, output capacity, and know-how [technology level]. As I wrote in a past article, The Sovereign Nation State, in reference to the wisdom of Friedrich List on historical economics, a nation’s true wealth is the full and multifaceted development of its productive powers, not its current exchange values. For example, the nation’s economic education is more important than immediate production of value, and it might be right for one generation to sacrifice its gain and enjoyment to secure strength and skill for future generations. All measure of achievement is attained through sacrifice. The art of statecraft is knowing which sacrifices to make…
Yet the threat of military confrontation remains either way. Eternal vigilance seems a cliche, but I can’t come up with anything better. Iran, through all channels, private and state-run media, especially alt-media channels, needs to debunk all the false flag operations, it needs to shed an inquisitive light on the past deeds and motivations of its would-be attackers today, the past crimes of US administrations, all the hypocrisy, all the double-dealing, all the mythology surrounding the War on Terror, everything. So long as a majority in the Western audience remains wise against the war propaganda, Western governments will have a tougher time selling their hawkish plans, a tougher time engaging in bombing campaigns and invasion. Sanctions will remain, to be sure, they’ll even get harsher – but no enemy can rob you of your will and spirit.
US-China talks are back on track, but a second front has opened up. US-Europe trade is heading into a storm. Iran is again at the center of the debate. The Instex payment system, alternative to Swift, was designed explicitly for European companies to do business with Iranian firms. But Washington is none too pleased and reiterated its warnings. Also, the circus has come to town and it’s called the Democratic primary. CrossTalking with Dmitry Babich, Marcus Papadopoulos, and Alex Christoforou.
My comment: I disagree with Marcus Papadopoulos on the question of which side will China take in the US-Iran conflict. He claims that China will pick the United States over Iran, simply due to the large volume and value of trade with it. Marcus invokes Deng Xiaoping’s legacy on Chinese development, stressing the pivotal role the US market had on China’s economic ‘miracle.’ While no doubt that’s true, there was a geopolitical downside. As the Chinese were exporting more net goods to the US in exchange for net US dollars [electronic entries that sit on the Federal Reserve’s ledger], the US was busy encircling China militarily. I don’t believe China will dump Iran to save its trade with the US. Why? It’s good to diversify trade partners, especially oil countries [like Iran] who can fuel your industries with oil, refined oil in particular. At the same time, it’s good to support a partner state who, in turn, ensures a counterweight to US geopolitical influence. Iran and China could help each other tremendously, and again I affirm my belief that Beijing won’t dump the Iranian market and the Iranian state to appease Washington. Instead, China will seek a middle-ground between the two.
Regarding the second half of the show, the clown show of the Democratic primaries… I don’t know who started the label… but I did watch a little bit of Infowars and saw Alex Jones’ sarcastic rendition of the Democrat candidates [Tulsi Gabbard was absent from his list of caricatures]. It was absolutely a clown show! As Christoforou and Lavelle pointed out, the only presidential candidate on the Democratic stage was Tulsi Gabbard. Kamala Harris clearly set herself up to play the victim card against ‘sleepy, creepy Joe,’ invoking an issue that’s been dead for 40 years. Lavelle, Christoforou and Babich noted the very little air time given to Gabbard and to Andrew Yang. Pat Buchanan’s recommendation was invoked and supported, that Trump should trade Pence for Gabbard and it will be a slam dunk. I’m fully behind that idea as well. Here’s why…
As for the Democrats trying to sell Medicare For All, man, they’ve got zero skills in sales… First of all, Medicare For All will never pass in the US if it’s advertised alongside a tax hike. But there’s hope if Democrats would try to sell it alongside a tax cut [a tax cut for labor in particular]. Why a tax cut? Because M4A will trigger redundancies in the [insurance] bureaucracy. One of the best ways to sell a Government reform is by telling people it will lay off busy bodies and reduce bureaucracy – which is what M4A does! M4A is inherently a deflationary policy; it will cause unemployment. And it will cause even more unemployment if it’s paired with a tax hike [a tax hike on the wealth creation side of the economy, not the rent extractive side]. Given its deflationary nature, that’s why M4A should be introduced alongside a tax cut [on the wealth creation side].
Here are the benefits of the program, which, sadly, don’t get air time at all in the mainstream. Doctor-patient time is doubled as doctor-insurance company time is eliminated. Diagnosis, treatment options, and treatment costs are discussed between doctor and patients, instead of with an insurance company. This increases the system’s capacity and the quality of service without increasing real costs. The program’s nominal cost is estimated at around 10 percent of GDP, which is less than being spent today, and even assuming the ugliest outcome, the numbers aren’t financially disruptive and can be easily adjusted. M4A eliminates medical costs for businesses, thus removing price distortions and medical legacy costs. It eliminates problems regarding receivables and bad debt for hospitals and doctors. It wipes out the majority of administrative costs for the nation as a whole; while patients are free to shop around for medical services and prices. M4A is fully compatible with capitalism. Capitalism runs on sales. Sales are fueled by spending, government sector spending, domestic private sector spending, and foreign sector spending. When people don’t have money to buy output, sales decline, and capitalism goes stale [unemployment, poverty, bankruptcies]. M4A puts money into people’s pockets and the people use that money to pay medical service providers [firms that create tangible output, unlike insurance companies].
I’d like to make a very important observation about M4A… so long as the Democrats include abortion coverage irrespective of context, M4A will face strong opposition from pro-life groups and moderates / independents. And they’ll have only themselves to blame. Ditto if they support extending M4A to illegal aliens. Regarding ‘where will the money come from?’ question, the stupid ‘tax & spend liberal’ will never be able to give an honest response. They have to be prepared to say, we’ll deficit spend, the program will get financed and there isn’t going to be inflation. A more elaborate answer than that really isn’t necessary for the audience at large and it’s never given on issues like Defence Budget hikes or bank bailouts – because the source of the funding is the Government sector itself [the Treasury + the Central Bank].
On the matter of medical costs, though, this reform in and of itself is not enough. The Big Pharma cartels have to be smashed, all those markups ranging in the tens of thousands percentage-wise need to be eliminated. But nobody has the guts to fight rent-seeking [patents included], usury, and cartels.
As for Student Debt Cancellation and Free College… Student Debt Cancellation is a sectional policy, and many people will claim it’s unfair that students get debt write offs, but others who are not students, but have debts, don’t get anything. As a principle of fairness, a debt jubilee should cover a large portion of the population, not a minority. As for Free College, it’s a good policy, but only if it has a direction. Not all diplomas are the same. The State should prioritize nurses, medical doctors, engineers, and the like – not professions that are superfluous [so-called Mickey Mouse degrees]. The State should prepare students for the job market of the future. Free College without a clear vector is bound to fail in my opinion.