17 February 2006

The US decides to help fix Iran

US to promote change in Iran

The Bush administration, frustrated by Iranian defiance on its nuclear program, has proposed spending $85 million to promote political change inside Iran by subsidizing dissident groups, unions, student fellowships and television and radio broadcasts.
The problem is, we've made ourselves so poisonous to Muslims that none of the recipients can be seen to be accepting help from Americans.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice...said Wednesday that the administration had also worked out a way to circumvent U.S. law barring financial relations with Iran to allow some money to go directly to groups promoting change inside the country.
Gee, waddya think that way was? Did Bush decide he didn't have to follow that law, either?
Senior State Department officials said that they did not intend to publicize recipients of the financing, for fear that they could be jailed or even killed.
See, that's the sort of thing that might make you a little reluctant to accept this money.
...the United States has been cautious about supporting dissident groups, fearful that Iranians, even those sympathetic to the West, might view these efforts as an echo of past U.S. meddling in Iran's internal affairs.
Yup, when you take anti-democratic actions while preaching democracy, people tend to think you're less than sincere. In Iran, in particular, the US-backed ouster of the democratically-elected Mossadegh and installation of the autocratic shah hasn't been forgotten. Together with US support for the military takeover of Algeria, support for Israel's clearly anti-democratic actions against the Palestinians, support for Musharraf in Pakistan, Mubarak in Egypt—I could go on and on—the US just doesn't have much credibility in the region.
...some conservatives at the Defense Department and Vice President Dick Cheney's office are known to be resigned to a nuclear-armed Iran and to argue that the best way to address that problem is by opening Iran to democracy and reform.
I think at this point they're right. I'm disturbed, but unsurprised, at the implication that the ideological purge of the military policy-makers (isn't it disturbing how Stalinist the US is sounding these days?) has left only "right-thinking" conservatives in place.

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