Rice on Iran

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or who has read this blog with any regularity that I wasn’t a fan of the choice of Condoleeza Rice for the new US Secretary of State. On top of her many failings around the Iraq war, her very clear partiality and lack of fans overseas don’t mark her out as someone who’d make for a good diplomat. It’s not come as much surprise to see her quickly demonstrating her knack for double-speak on that new stage.

According to the BBC, the latest comments she’s made have been to warn Iran of possible UN sanctions. It’s the latest in a string of jibes at Iran perhaps best summed up by her call for Europe to share common purpose with the US on the issue. True to form, she didn’t call for discussions resulting in a common purpose based on concensus, she called for the rest of the world to share her purpose. Similarly having joined her administration buddies in dismissing UN sanctions as ineffective in the case of Iraq, and being hyper-critical of the UN in general, she’s now invoking them as her pawn and promoting them as a serious threat.

It’s a familar fundamentalist refrain to suggest that anyone who doesn’t respond to an issue in your preferred manner doesn’t care about that issue. Just like we were told that anyone who opposed war with Iraq didn’t really care about human rights abuses, it now seems we’re expected to buy the idea that the European governments who entered into dialogue with Iran last year clearly don’t care about Iran having nuclear weapons because they’re not simply condemning the Iranian government and issuing threats.

Clearly the West can’t simply ignore the possibility of Iran becoming nuclear capable, but the last thing we need is to shut down the conversation. The way Rice is approaching the issue is certainly not going to promote conversation, and my expectation is it will simply raise the tone of the rhetoric coming back from the Iranian regime. Rice has unsurprisingly squandered an opportunity to join Europe in dialogue (to share a common purpose) and may just have made the European nations’ task harder.

On a related note, it’s clear that many are already gearing up to try and prevent a US-led war on Iran. Notes of an Iranian Boy looks like it could be interesting, and Another Irani Online links to two anti-war group blogs: No War On Iran and Iranians for Peace.

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