Conflicts of Interest: Biden Admin Works to Prevent Diplomacy with Iran

On COI #183, Kyle Anzalone discusses how the Biden administration has prevented a return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran recently made an effort to re-engage in the Vienna talks, but the US met this offer with sanctions and threats. Iran has been clear, it will not return to the negotiating table under American pressure and threats. 

Kyle breaks down recent testimony by Gitmo detainee Majid Khan. Khan said his torturers needlessly shoved medical equipment into his anus and sexually abused his genitals. Khan also detailed the waterboarding and other torture he suffered. His testimony was so powerful that a military jury offered a note to the court condemning the CIA. 

Kyle updates the situation in Afghanistan as starving people prepare for a cruel winter. A sudden withdrawal of international aid has pushed those in poverty to the brink of starvation. US sanctions and the Biden administration’s decision to freeze Afghan government funds are largely responsible for the crisis.

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Iran Hawks’ Disingenuous Interest in a Treaty With Iran

Joe Lieberman reminds us that he absolutely does not want any agreement with Iran:

Achieving an agreement with Iran that could get 67 votes in the Senate wouldn’t be easy, but it is worth the effort. It would restore the longtime bipartisan consensus in Washington about Iran that was broken during consideration of the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015.

Iran hawks are not serious when they propose making a treaty with Iran in lieu of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). For one thing, they would oppose such a treaty under all circumstances, so they are setting up any negotiated agreement for failure. For another, previous presidents have withdrawn from treaties on the slightest pretexts, so nothing would be gained. Making an agreement into a treaty guarantees nothing about its durability. The “longtime bipartisan consensus” on Iran before the nuclear deal was reached had achieved nothing except to goad Iran into expanding its nuclear program. This failed approach is what Lieberman wants to bring back.

The Iranian government wants guarantees that the U.S. can’t provide because a large bloc of our politicians and policymakers are dead-set against reaching any lasting agreement with Iran on any issue. The nature of the agreement is irrelevant. They would fight against it tooth and nail whether it was presented as a treaty or as something else. Iran hawks resent the very idea of reaching a compromise that serves the interests of both states, because they assume that Iran should never receive any benefits in exchange for its concessions. This is not speculation. One need only look at how they respond to any hint of sanctions relief to understand that they believe that Iran should get nothing in return for its cooperation. The truth is that Iran hawks want Iran to be coerced into capitulation, and anything short of that will be considered unacceptable “appeasement.”

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Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Conflicts of Interest: Biden Targets the Truth with Assange Prosecution

On COI #182, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the recent updates in Assange’s extradition case. Biden, like Trump, is prosecuting Assange for publishing evidence of American war crimes. The US/UK governments are criminalizing journalism and dealing a fatal blow to the First Amendment. 

Kyle discusses a recent missile test by China. The US deep state is using the test to a new arms race with China and trillions in military spending. Kyle explains the true significance of the missile test and how American provocations are starting a cold war with China. 

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Churchill and the Atrocity of Famine

Michael Gerson doesn’t like Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s new book on Churchill:

The charge that he maliciously caused the Bengal famine – in the sense that Joseph Stalin caused the Ukrainian famine – seems half-baked.

Gerson’s complaint against the book is that he thinks the author is “a snide journalist fishing with a tiny ideological net” and he claims that Wheatcroft supposedly cannot do justice to the subject. This is an unfair cheap shot at the author, and it suggests that Gerson is frustrated that he doesn’t have a serious defense for the ugliest parts of Churchill’s record. It is convenient that Gerson decides that “isn’t possible to consider each of the charges here,” because if he had to consider the charge of Churchill’s responsibility for the 1943 Bengal famine he would not be able to mount much of a defense. At best, Churchill was guilty of horrible neglect that led to the preventable deaths of millions of people living under the rule of the government he led. The evidence strongly supports the contention that the reality was far worse than simple neglect. He did not just “fail” to “prevent” the famine. In his history of famine, Mass Starvation, Alex de Waal comments on the causes of the Bengal famine:

It is also now well established that the colonial government in London bears the greater responsibility for causing the famine [bold mine-DL] by requisitioning food reserves and stopping all waterborne means of transport, including fishing boats, for fear that these might be useful to the Japanese army which was advancing through Burma, and for failing to enact standard relief measures when the famine was underway. Prime Minister Churchill insisted that food supplies to Britain itself should in no way be jeopardized by providing famine relief to a British imperial possession. Churchill’s offensive views of the Indian people undoubtedly played a role in this, the most lethal of British crimes during the war.

Madhusree Mukerjee, author of Churchill’s Secret War, explained Churchill’s responsibility like this:

On August 4, 1943, Winston Churchill made one of his most important but least known decisions:  he declined to send wheat to India, then a British colony, thereby condemning hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions, of people to death by starvation.  The inhabitants of Bengal, an eastern province of India where famine was raging, were of little value to the war effort and in any case they were “breeding like rabbits,” he explained at subsequent War Cabinet meetings (as recorded by Leopold Amery, the Secretary of State for India).

Did Churchill “maliciously” cause the famine? I don’t think we can know if he made the decisions he made out of malice, but he clearly made them out of indifference to Indian lives. If the best defense Churchill admirers can muster is that “at least it wasn’t the Holodomor,” perhaps they should reflect on why they feel the need to make excuses for a mass atrocity. In her history of India’s role in WWII, The Raj at War, Yasmin Khan described the thinking that led to the famine:

Some people’s lives were not seen as worthy of preserving. The state was geared in every way to the war and prioritised this at all costs. Human negligence and failure to prioritise other human lives as equal was the root cause. Certain lives were not seen as worthy of mourning, or as fully valid as others, and the lives of the people of Bengal had been sacrificed towards the greater global aim of winning the war. The lives of the famine victims were a cost of the Second World War, but these casualties were not counted as such.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Valdai: Russia’s Best Political Talk Show

The annual Valdai Discussion Club gathering in Sochi took place over the course of four days during the week of October 17th and garnered a considerable amount of media attention following the delivery by President Vladimir Putin of the keynote address to its plenary session on October 21st. The Kremlin itself characterized the speech as Putin’s most important since his address to the Munich Security Conference in February 2007.

That was the verdict of television anchorman and head of Russian state news broadcasting Dmitry Kiselyov on his widely viewed Sunday show. As we know, the Munich speech went down in history as a turning point in Russia’s relations with the West. In it Putin set out Russia’s rejection of US global hegemony in a monopolar world order, listed his country’s grievances with the U.S. and its allies’ infringement of its national interests and shabby treatment since the mid-1990s. What followed was ever greater confrontation between East and West.

Whereas the 2007 speech set out the military and geopolitical dimension of Russia’s alienation from the U.S. led world order, this latest speech to the Valdai Club addressed the growing intellectual chasm between the adversarial parties. Putin placed Liberal Democracy, globalism, newly formed “progressive” values on issues of feminism and transgender, as well as compensatory “reverse discrimination” in racial relations on the Western side and set against them what he calls “healthy conservatism” and repudiation of extreme or revolutionary changes in values on the Russian side.

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The Arms Sales and Apartheid Accords

The Wall Street Journal ran a propaganda hit piece against critics of normalization agreements with Israel that was ridiculous even by their extremely low standards:

The question is why the regime is getting an intellectual assist from advocacy groups on the American left.

The hit piece is written by Bryan Leib, executive director of “Iranian Americans for Liberty.” This is an organization supported by monarchists and others in the diaspora bent on regime change, and they routinely smear advocates of diplomatic engagement in their pursuit of that destructive goal. Bryan Metzger reported on them earlier this year:

In addition to NIAC, Iranian Americans for Liberty has also attacked other Iranian Americans who publicly support the JCPOA and diplomacy with Iran – including journalist Negar Mortazavi and State Department official Ariane Tabatabai – by accusing them, again without evidence, of being apologists for the regime. 

In typical fashion, Leib’s targets in the latest hit piece are Iranian Americans that rightly object to these agreements because of their detrimental and potentially destabilizing effects. The normalization agreements between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco should be criticized because they are effectively endorsements of unjust policies of occupation in exchange for favors from the U.S. given to abusive authoritarian governments. The Israeli government gets a few Arab governments to ignore their oppressive treatment of the Palestinian people and establish closer ties, and in return those governments get rewarded with more advanced US weapons and diplomatic support for their own outrageous policies. In the case of Morocco, Trump recognized their illegitimate claim on Western Sahara in one of the more gross transactional deals that he made as president. To his discredit, Biden has not reversed that recognition.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.