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Health Care & Environment

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Duke Prof. Peter Feaver's Take on Iran and Nuclear Weapons

INTERVIEW:

Duke Prof. Peter Feaver's Take on Iran and Nuclear Weapons

by Kourosh Ziabari
First published in Foreign Policy Journal on September 27, 2009

Professor Peter Feaver
"It is not reasonable to expect Israel to give up something that it sees as a vital deterrent before it has seen dramatic changes in the behavior and attitude of its neighborhood," says Prof. Feaver.

A Harvard University graduate, a current Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, and the director of Triangle Institute for Security Studies (TISS), Peter D. Feaver is perhaps best known for his mission under President Bush as the special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council from 2005 to 2007.

The author of “Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States” (Cornell University Press), he is an international relations expert and has long commented on issues pertaining to the Middle East and Iran.

In his recent commentary for Foreign Policy on recent post-election unrest in Iran and the inevitable intertwinement of Iran’s turmoil with the disputed proposal of direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington, Feaver writes: “We want to create and deepen fissures within the Tehran regime — check that, we need those fissures — because that is the only plausible way that a diplomatic deal on the nuclear file could be struck.”

Feaver is one of those American pundits who explicitly favor the imposition of hard-hitting sanctions against Iran so as to persuade Tehran to halt its “nuclear ambitions”. He adds in his Foreign Policy article: “Financial sanctions that activates business pressure on the regime and thereby deepens fissures within the political elite seemed to be our best shot at fissure-exacerbation.”

In Prof. Feaver’s view, the best diplomatic solution on Iran’s nuclear standoff is to endow Tehran with “fig-leafs”; giving Iran some rhetorical concessions by admitting its “right” to develop nuclear energy emblematically and pressuring it to suspend its nuclear program for “some long period of time” concurrently.

In an interview with Foreign Policy Journal, Peter D. Feaver discusses these and other issues.

Kourosh Ziabari: Over the past thirty years, Iran and the U.S. have been embroiled in an unending conflict. Both sides accuse each other of plotting against their interests and threatening their security. Do you believe that the U.S. government has deliberately imposed pressures on Iran to dismantle the Islamic government and bring to power the governmental system it prefers?

Peter Feaver: For over thirty years, the United States has had several intractable disputes with the Iranian regime. The dispute concerns the regime’s behavior, specifically its support for international terrorism, its pursuit of WMD, and its hostility towards Israel. The United States does not have a dispute with the Iranian people per se and the dispute with the Iranian regime is primarily about behavior. So if the regime were to change its behavior, successive U.S. governments from both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle have indicated that the United States would develop more fruitful and cordial relations with that regime.

Ziabari: So is it realistic to believe that Iran’s nuclear program is ideologically a new battleground for the Iran-U.S. confrontation to persist and continue? Why, if the U.S. is concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, doesn’t it take any actions to disarm its Middle Eastern allies and empty their arsenals? Isn’t it then right for Iran and the other non-aligned states around the world to cite this as the exercise of double standards by the U.S. government?

Feaver: The United States views the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear weapon to be substantially more destabilizing than the Israeli nuclear posture.  President Obama has indicated that he would like to reinvigorate U.S. efforts at moving towards what is called the “global zero” option on nuclear weapons. However, until we reach that point, he has also indicated that the United States needs to preserve its nuclear option. I interpret that as meaning to say that if we ever do reach global zero, the United States would have to be the very last country to give up nuclear weapons. I suspect that the Obama team also thinks that Israel would likely have to be the second to last country to give up nuclear weapons.

Ziabari: Is there some special ideology behind that which the public isn’t aware of? Why is there such a belief that Israel should be the second from last? Isn’t it because of Israel’s wide influence on the policy-making process in the U.S. corporate system?

Feaver: Most Americans, including, I believe, most of the key figures in the Obama Administration, understand that Israel faces acute security challenges. It confronts a persistent terrorist threat from well-armed groups that have powerful and rich state sponsors. It is surrounded by states that, with few exceptions, have refused repeated peace overtures and refused to establish normal relations. And some of the regimes of powerful states in the region have pledged themselves to the elimination of Israel. Consider, for example, Ahmadinejad’s pledge to wipe Israel from the face of the map.  Given such a security environment crowded with existential threats, and given the terrible history of the Holocaust, it is not reasonable to expect Israel to give up something that it sees as a vital deterrent before it has seen dramatic changes in the behavior and attitude of its neighborhood.

Ziabari: So, because of the bilateral disputes, do you think that the U.S. government should continue funding opposition groups in Iran whose main objective is to change the current regime? Won’t it probably hinder the continuation of talks between Iran, EU and U.S.?

Feaver: The United States supports reformers throughout the world, including those who are working on behalf of the Iranian people to reform the Iranian political system. There can be a debate about tactics including the nature of that support, but there is no doubt that Americans support the Iranian people and understand their dissatisfaction with the current regime. The failure of the diplomatic track thus far is not due to U.S. support for reformers. It is due to the Iranian regime’s refusal to negotiate in good faith. As relations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War demonstrated, the United States has often conducted negotiations even with hostile regimes while continuing its support for reformers.

Ziabari: Do you believe in the effectiveness of reconciliation between Iran and U.S.? How should a new set of negotiations between the two countries take place? President Obama has put aside the preconditions that the Bush administration had proclaimed as essential for the commencement of dialogue with Iran; conversely, Iran has put forth a set of agendas for the talks, such as the cessation of sanctions and support for Israel by the White House. The second agenda sounds idealistic and impractical; what about the sanctions? Will U.S. ease the tough sanctions against Iran in near future?

Feaver: The U.S. is interested in negotiations as a means toward the end of peacefully dismantling the Iranian nuclear program. The current Iranian regime has repeatedly signaled that it is unwilling to negotiate about the nuclear program. The United States believes it needs tough sanctions as leverage on the Iranian regime; without such leverage, why would Iran negotiate in good faith. Iran believes that it should negotiate only when there are no such sanctions or leverage in place.

"If Iran gave up the ambition of a nuclear weapons program and abandoned its support of international terrorists," says Feaver, "the benefits they would receive from the international community would be extensive."

Given all that, it is hard to have much optimism that negotiations will be fruitful. To the extent that there is any reason for optimism, there is this: the Iranian people have suffered for a long time at the hands of the Iranian regime and, of late, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the regime’s behavior. Moreover, a civilization as old and great as Iran’s does not need nuclear weapons or international terrorism to enjoy global respect and stature; if Iran gave up the ambition of a nuclear weapons program and abandoned its support of international terrorists, the benefits they would receive from the international community would be extensive and would reap untold benefits for the Iranian people. Thus, there is reason to hope that wise Iranian leaders would emerge who see these points and are willing to move Iran on to a better global trajectory.

Ziabari: The domestic proponents of President Ahmadinejad say that the same policy of tension easing and cooperation which you allude to was pursued during former President Khatami’s administration, and that Iran halted uranium suspension for two years voluntarily, but no major changes took place, the sanctions remained in effect, and President Bush eventually labeled Iran as a part of the “Axis of Evil”. What’s your take on that?

Feaver: If the Iranian regime gave up its nuclear program, submitted to the full IAEA safeguards regime, came clean on its past behavior, and withdrew its support for international terrorism, I am confident that those steps would result in dramatic and long-lasting benefits. I am also confident that the Iranian regime has not taken those steps yet.

Ziabari: But Iran and the U.S. have long disputed a number of issues and the nuclear program is simply the newest of them. Iranians still feel uneasy about the U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup which toppled the democratic government of Dr. Mossadegh. Which steps should both sides take to compensate for the past acrimonies?

Feaver: It would be a mistake to begin with these historical grievances. The wiser course is to begin with the current and most urgent concerns, the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and the regime’s support for international terrorism. Once those are addressed adequately, the historical grievances, and we must realize that both sides have historical grievances, can be more fruitfully engaged.

Ziabari: However, the Iranian President has made clear that he would not change his foreign policy over the next four years. What’s the White House’ agenda for this short-term future? Is Washington planning to continue pressuring Tehran through funding the opposition groups and pursuing the clandestine plan of toppling the Islamic system? What’s your prediction about the future of Iran-U.S. relations under Ahmadinejad’s government?

Feaver: As long as Ahmadinejad remains committed to walking further along the destructive path he has already walked, it is hard to see how Iran-U.S. relations can improve much.  However, his path has so alienated Iran from the world, and the regime from the Iranian people. Iran’s leaders need to see this and adjust their trajectory accordingly.

Ziabari: The U.S. has reportedly threatened Iran with a military strike and the idea that “all options are on the table”; meanwhile, the Iranian people whom you believe the U.S. government is trying to support and encourage for their peaceful movements are strongly opposed to another war as they have the bitter experience of the 8-year Iran-Iraq war waged by Saddam. Has the U.S. government come to the conclusion that such an option is contrary to the interests of Iranian people?

Feaver:I know of no influential American voice inside or outside of government who believes the military option is a good one. Everyone would prefer to resolve the nuclear issue and the support for terrorism issue peacefully through diplomacy. However, the military option probably needs to be on the table for diplomacy to have any chance of succeeding. Exercising the military option would be a tragedy for all concerned, including the Iranian people. But if this regime succeeds in its effort to build a nuclear arsenal, that would be a greater tragedy.

Ziabari: Finally, do you see possible common ground for cooperation where Iran and the U.S. can jointly sit at a table to discuss? Now that President Obama has broadcast signals that he recognizes the current political system of Iran, especially in his Nowrouz greeting message, is it possible that the serious direct negotiations take place in the near future?

Feaver:There are many potential areas of common ground. For one thing, the Iranian regime publicly claims that it is not seeking nuclear weapons and merely wants access to peaceful nuclear energy. There is common ground between those public statements and the position of the rest of the world, if the regime would simply accept the numerous proposals put forward by the P5+1 and others. Both sides also have an interest in seeing Iran fully integrated in the international economic and political system. That full participation is the big reward Iran would earn if it finally and verifiably abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for international terrorism.


Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and the author of Book 7+1. He is a contributing writer for websites and magazines in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. He is a member of Stony Brook University Publications’ editorial team and Media Left magazine’s board of editors, as well as a contributing editor for Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine. As a young Iranian journalist, he has been interviewed and quoted by several mainstream mediums, including BBC World Service, PBS Media Shift, the Media Line network, Deutsch Financial Times, L.A. Times and Sky News. He is a contributing writer of Tehran Times newspaper. His articles and interviews have been translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, Italian, German and Arabic. Contact him at kourosh@foreignpolicyjournal.com. Read more articles by Kourosh Ziabari.

Kourosh Ziabari's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.


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This story was published on May 12, 2010.
 

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