Saturday, December 08, 2007

Alexander Cockburn on the National Intelligence Estimate absolving Iran of nuclear weapons ambitions

The title link leads to it. Essentially what Cockburn says in "The Coup Against Bush and Cheney" is that government bureaucrats sensitive to the will of the nation's corporate elite have decided to stop cow-towing to Bush's agenda, starting with Iran. Not from the goodness of their hearts but because an attack on Iran would not be a good business decision. I think that if Iraq and Afghanistan had gone better that the corporate elite would have no problem in supporting an attack on Iran, but the business objectives for both of those invasions are still unmet. Afghanistan was going to be a U.S. sponsored shortcut for natural gas coming from the former Soviet Union down. But the Taliban are gaining ground and are still competitors for leadership of the country. Iraq is in chaos, despite the attempts at securing oil production.

With both of these adventures failing, they don't want to take on a third one. Besides, both Afghanistan and Iraq were ruined economies when the U.S. invaded. Afghanistan, subject to sanctions and to the Taliban government's policies, was barely kept together. Their standard of living dropped very far during the Taliban years. Saddam's regime had suffered from sanctions first imposed at the end of the Gulf War, which similarly destroyed the economy, hurting regular people most of all, and reportedly strengthening Saddam's hold because patronage from the Iraqi government was one of the only ways to get work, as decent goods as could be had, etc...Iran, on the other hand, is a fully functioning if somewhat poor country. Poor, but not destroyed like Iraq was by the years of sanctions. It has a full army that's well prepared.

Invading Iran doesn't fit with Wall Street's amoral pragmatism, although Bush may believe he has some sort of basic obligation to do it.

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