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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?]

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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]

07.10 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

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

Justice Matters

07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

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

International & Futurism

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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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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