Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without – Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Obama Iran’

The Illusion of Attacking Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 13, 2012

By Deepak Chopra and Sir Ken Robinson

War is where illusions go to die. This was true of Vietnam and the war in Iraq. It is being ground into us every day in Afghanistan.

At this moment, those who want Israel to mount an air attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities are counting on mass amnesia. But forgetting the lessons of past wars won’t save the next bout of military adventurism.

War with Iran is a real possibility, and yet there has been no real debate on its consequences. The rest of the world may cast Iran as the villain of the peace, but Muslims are at best ambivalent. Considering the firestorm that arose from the burning of the Quran at a U.S. base in Afghanistan, it was wily religious politics for the Iranians to build the Fordow Uranium Enrichment Facility right next to “Qom,” the center of Shi’a scholarship globally and the site of the Holy Shrine of Fatema Mae’sume, sister of the Imam Reza (789-816 AD). It is a significant destination of pilgrimage.

An attack on Qom is equivalent to an attack on Mecca for the Sunni Muslims, which most people agree would be catastrophic for the West. Even if the Israelis show remarkable precision in their air strikes, as they have in the past, targeting the area will certainly galvanize and nationalize the Shi’a in a way that George Bush’s “axis of evil” speech only suggested. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are We on the Brink of War With Iran?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 11, 2012

This post originally appeared on The Nation.

Only 12 minutes into his presidency, Barack Obama reached out to the Muslim world and Iran, offering America’s hand of friendship if Iran would in turn unclench its fist. Yet three years later, we are closer to war than we were in the last years of the Bush administration, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta telling the Washington Post there is a “strong likelihood” of an Israeli strike this spring. How did we get here?

Conventional wisdom in Washington is that Obama’s diplomacy with Iran failed. It did not. As I argue in my new book A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy With Iran, it was prematurely abandoned. Obama’s intention was genuine, but his vision for diplomacy was soon undermined, for four reasons: pressure from Israel and its powerful allies in Congress, and to a lesser extent from Saudi Arabia and France, to adopt a confrontational policy; the June 2009 election mayhem in Iran and the subsequent repression and human rights abuses, which hardened the regime in Tehran and narrowed Obama’s space for diplomacy; Obama’s early adoption of a contradictory “dual track” policy, combining diplomacy with escalating pressure on Tehran; and Obama’s unwillingness to create more domestic political space for diplomacy by challenging a status quo in Washington that is set on enmity. Read the rest of this entry »

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