Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Cowboy Diplomacy

The Bush administration hasn't changed its preferred modus operandi for the upcoming direct talks with Iran over stabilizing Iraq. An AP report published in today's Sacramento Bee makes that quite clear.

Ships packed with 17,000 sailors and Marines moved into the Persian Gulf on Wednesday as the U.S. Navy staged another show of force off Iran's coast just days before U.S.-Iran talks in Baghdad.

The carrier strike groups led by the USS John C. Stennis and USS Nimitz were joined by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard and its own strike group, which includes two landing ships carrying 2,100 members of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Aircraft aboard the two carriers and the Bonhomme Richard were to conduct air training while the ships ran submarine, mine and other exercises.

The war games - which culminate in an amphibious landing exercise in Kuwait, just a few miles from Iran - appear to be a clear warning to Tehran, coming just ahead of the Baghdad talks and as the United Nations contemplates tightening sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

"There's a link to both events," said Mustafa Alani of the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center. "The Americans are sending a message to Iran that they are not coming to the negotiating table weak, but with their military at Tehran's doorstep."

Washington is also showing Iran that the U.S. military will act to defeat any Iranian war strategy of closing the straits, which Iran shares with Oman, Alani said.
[Emphasis added]

The first direct talks with Iran in nearly thirty years, talks of great importance with respect to the debacle known as the Iraq War, and Mr. Bush decides to warm the audience up with a show of force. That ought to make the atmosphere conducive to a productive meeting of the minds.

I almost made the mistake of using the word negotiation in the preceding sentence, but I caught myself just in time. This administration doesn't negotiate, not with anybody, least of all with one of the members of the axis of evil. The upcoming meeting is clearly a combination of a dog-and-pony show for the nervous folks back home and a thuggish bit of saber rattling for the folks in the Gulf.

I'm not so sure even the "Great Heartland" is ready for yet another war, but it appears that the folks in the Middle East are not happy either, as noted in the AP report:

America's Gulf Arab allies have grown increasingly uneasy with the U.S. stance against Iran, fearing an outbreak of hostilities could bring Iranian retaliation. All lie within range of Iranian missiles.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose alliance of Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, has called on members not to support any U.S. action against Iran, while Qatar and the Emirates have publicly prohibited the U.S. military from launching strikes on Iran from U.S. bases on their soil.
[Emphasis added]

Apparently Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney aren't worried about that at all. They might, however, want to play closer attention: the price of gasoline is a sore spot right now for the American public. A conflagration in the Middle East might cause some serious damage in this country as well.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more force we can show before the talks the better. The Iranians do not understand anything but. They talk out of one side of their mouth and act totally indifferent to what they say. Beware the great evil of Iran!!!

9:04 PM  

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