Sunday, July 26, 2009

Are US Diplomats Giving Hope or Just Covering Biden's Gaffes?

Ron Moreau
Kathleen Parker

I thought that I could take a break about news coming out of Iran, but it's just too fascinating. Maybe I should cancel my subscription to the NY Times: "The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, dismissed two key cabinet ministers on Sunday in the latest fallout of a bitter dispute among conservatives that has exposed Mr. Ahmadinejad’s political vulnerability in the wake of last month’s disputed presidential election.

Mr. Ahmadinejad sacked the intelligence minister, Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ejei, and the Islamic culture and guidance minister, Muhammad-Hassan Saffar-Harandi. Both men had walked out of a cabinet meeting last week in protest of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s promotion of a former culture minister, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who drew fierce criticism last year over comments that were friendly to Israel. He withdrew on Friday, days after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered his removal."
So he sacks the cabinet members that pissed him off and renamed Mr Mashaei as his chief of staff. But his cabinet is only six people, and according to Iranian law, he now has to get a confidence vote from the Parliament before he can refill the three posts and continue as President, and could possibly lead to having another election if he gets a no confidence vote... the question here is, did he get manipulated into this situation, or did he just shoot himself in the foot?

Also contained in the Times article, there was going to be a memorial today for a young man who was demonstrator. It was canceled by his father because of the worry there might be violence between police and the people who showed up to mourn and protest.

Here's where it gets interesting. The young demonstrator had been arrested and put in jail, where he died. His father is one of the most Conservative supporters of the government, yet he is dissatisfied with the circumstances how his son died, and has vowed to investigate until he gets the truth. It looks like one way or another some kind of reform will happen in Iran. It may not become as open as the younger generation wants, but this coming year will be interesting to watch.

Hillary Clinton is coming back from Thailand and India. I wonder if she gave the greenlight for India to launch its first nuclear submarine today. The world is changing awfully fast, can we accept an Indian Navy? George Mitchell is in Israel, after having visited Syria. The US has become a major diplomatic player in the Middle East and world stage.

Hillary has also had to tone down the recent utterings of Joe Biden, bless his foot in mouth approach. Again, from the NY Times: "That Mr. Biden’s remarks followed by weeks a summit meeting meant to highlight a diplomatic warming compounded the confusion. Mrs. Clinton sought on Sunday to smooth the matter over.

Asked whether Mr. Biden’s message was that “the U.S. now has the upper hand when it’s dealing with Russia,” she replied, “No, and I don’t think that’s at all what the vice president meant. We want what the president called for during his recent Moscow summit,” she replied. “We want a strong, peaceful and prosperous Russia.”

But she also underscored parts of Mr. Biden’s message, made after a visit to two countries nervous about Russia’s intentions, Georgia and Ukraine. “We are very clearly not saying that Russia can have a 21st century sphere of influence in Eastern Europe,” she said. “That is, you know, an, an attitude and a policy we reject.”

She added that former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe had a right “to choose whatever alliance they wish to join.”

Weeks earlier, Mr. Biden had been asked about the possibility of Israel’s launching an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. he replied: “We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do” if the country considers its survival at risk. The comment was seen by some as offering a green light to the Israelis, though Mr. Biden’s office later denied that."

Is all this running around the globe meeting with leaders easing tensions and working towards solutions instead of upping the ante for a war between Iran and Israel? Depends on your world viewpoint. It's always good to put disagreements out in the open and let world opinion debate the matters. It raises hope, which combats despair and festering resentments. And the one thing we could use right now is a little hope...

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