Saturday, 16 January 2016

Two nations from the axis of evil: contrasting treatment and outcome

It’s interesting to reflect that George Dubya Bush, who has to be in the running for dumbest US president ever – a position only likely to be challenged if Donald Trump is elected – lumped Iran and Iraq together, with North Korea, in what he saw as the “axis of evil.”

Two of those three nations have been the target of intense action by the US.

It was Dubya himself who turned his guns – literally – against Iraq, with the invasion of 2003. Thirteen years on, the nation is a shattered patchwork of regions in conflict with one another. At the centre is a weak government dominated by none other than Iran. To the north, the Kurds form an autonomous region which is independent in all but name. Both the Baghdad government and the Kurds are in a state of continuous war with what has to be the world’s most brutal terrorist group, ISIS, an organisation that grew strongly in the power vacuum Bush’s war created.

There is no reliable estimate of the deaths caused by the war. Those available range from over 100,000 to over a million.

Iran, on the other hand, never enjoyed the privilege of invasion by a US-led coalition. It continued in its evil ways, but as it toyed with developing nuclear weapons, it came in for some tough and highly effective economic sanctions. At the same time, the US and other nations engaged in intense bouts of diplomatic activity with succeeding Iranian governments.

As I write these words, the International Atomic Energy Authority seems poised to publish a report officially recognising that Iran has abandoned its military nuclear programme. As a result, a prisoner exchange is to take place between the US and Iran – a small, symbolic gesture, but symbols matter, especially as there’s bitter opposition to the deal from the backwoodsmen in the States (aka as the Republican Party). A symbolic release will be a significant success for Obama, though his opponents, and in particular Donald Trump, won’t give him credit.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and
Mohammad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister
Most significant of all, the deal would allow Iran back into the world economy.

Iran and Iraq may have been lumped together at one stage. But their histories in recent years have diverged starkly. Above all, that’s been due to the different policies adopted towards them by the West.

The problems in South Africa and Iran were approached through a mix of sanctions and diplomacy. In Iraq, Lybia and Afghanistan, on the other hand, the West took military action.

Compare. Contrast. Learn a lesson.

And, friends in America, for heaven’s sake – for all our sakes – keep Trump out of the White House.


Faith A. Colburn said...

And our Congress, in its wisdom, will do everything possible to sabotage this agreement.

David Beeson said...

Alas, the Republican Party has been taken over by fundamentalists.