Representative Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the US House of Representatives International Relations committee was interviewed on BBC World Service last night, as the confrontation between “the international community” and Iran continues to heat up. As the interviewer sat negligently by, the representative made a series of statements that belied the reality of that situation, and betrayed his ignorance of the realpolitik.
There are many, particularly in Britain, who would have a lot of sympathy with the understanding of power implicit in his claim that
the US allowed Europe to negotiate with Iran (nb: I wasn’t able to find a recording or transcript of the interview, so quotes are paraphrased from memory), but I doubt that such a statement is how the British, French or German (EU3) governments would like to see the situation portrayed. Beyond that, it is a statement that clearly reinforces the portrayal of the US government across the world, but particularly in Iran, as an Imperial power that manages the world through its proxy states in western Europe. If the United States want its claims that its stance against Iran in the current situation is anything other than a power play, its senior politicians would be wise to avoid so blatantly contradicting that.
Rep. Lantos went on from there to claim that the United States has been working by all the usual means available to resolve the situation, but neglected to offer any evidence. It is apparent that Russia has been working hard to peacefully resolve the situation, that India and South Africa have both tried their hands, that the EU3 negotiators have given up many nights’ sleep to work out a deal, and that many diligent staff of the IAEA have been doing whatever they can. The same cannot be said of the United States. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has made a series of inflammatory statements, and other politicians like Rep. Lantos have sought to take credit for the actions of other governments. Such actions are not negotiation, and are not the behaviour of a party that truly desires peace.
That none of the truly invested parties have been able to negotiate a settlement and that Iran is to be reported to the UN Security Council is a serious turn of events, but the rest of the world would do well to distance themselves from the United States’ destructive attempts to claim itself a role in the proceedings.