Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Neocon Bait And Switch

By Cernig

I've a question.

Can some neocon explain why, when Iranian diplomats make a pronouncement about their own plans - like denying arming groups in Iraq or denying intending to develop a nuclear weapon - we should disbelieve every single one of their lying words? Despite there being no actual hard evidence they are lying. But when Iranian diplomats make a pronouncement on plans they have absolutely no direct involvement in - such as Putin's thinking on offering a radar site in Azerbaijan for missile defense - their words should be taken as the gospel truth. Despite there being no actual hard evidence they are telling the truth.

The answer has far more to do with the conservative need to construct simplistic, black-and-white narratives and their need to demonize their perceived enemies than it has with making sense.

The AP today is offering an Iranian statement to the effect that Putin wasn't serious about his offer.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday that Russian officials had indicated to Tehran that Putin would not allow the plan to go through.

"It seems Russia does not plan to make decisions that may cause instability and insecurity in the region, where it (Russia) is located," said Hosseini. Azerbaijan shares borders with both Russia to the north and Iran to the south.

Russia has not publicly altered its offer for the U.S. to use the Gabala radar station.

Hosseini said Iran had summoned the Russian and Azerbaijani ambassadors to Tehran to discuss Putin's proposal. He said Iranian ambassadors in Moscow and Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, had also discussed the issue with their host countries.
"Captain" Ed Morrisey is on the case!
So Putin has been exposed -- again -- as a double-dealer. He never intended to sponsor American military assets in Azerbaijan, especially a missile shield. That would give the US a very strategic position with which to monitor Russian activity in the Caucasus, and we already have too many of those positions now for Putin's comfort. He wanted to trip Bush up at the summit and burnish Putin's image as a reasonable autocrat.

...The big-mouthed Iranian diplomats have probably scrapped the Putin gambit to divert American efforts to build the missile shield. Putin's frustration will continue, and he will look for the next method to split Europe from the US over the shield. That will come through extortion over energy supplies, probably when the summer heat taxes electrical power. Expect the next move to be against Europe in late July.
His very first commenter points out the obvious: "Why on earth would Putin confide his plans to Iran? And if he *did* tell Iran his Good Secret Stuff, why on earth would Iranian diplomats pass it along?"

Putin made his offer because it creates a win-win situation for him. Either he gets access to U.S. missile defense technology and systems or he gets a PR victory where he can paint the U.S. as not being interested in co-operation in the cause of world peace. But the former is a bigger prize. Putin has every reason to hope the U.S. accepts his proposal. The Iranians are trying to disrupt Putin's plan for similiarly obvious reasons - the proposed radar site would give massively comprehensive coverage of the goings-on in Iranian airspace and so would be a useful adjunct to any U.S. attack plan as well as being a counter to the Iranian missile force's deterrent effect (whether or not it is nuclear tipped). They have every reason to put a spanner in the works.

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