17 June 2019   Leave a comment

Paul Pillar is one of the most perceptive analysts of US foreign policy. While with the US CIA, he accused the BUsh Administration of “cherry-picking” evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq (Paul was also a personal friend of mine while we were students in College). He has written a short essay on the current tension between the US and Iran. He blames the US policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran as the reason for the spike in tensions:

“Despite the continued uncertainty, Iran may well have been the perpetrator. Assume for the moment what the administration wants everyone to assume, which is that the Iranian regime attacked the ships. It is in asking why Iran might have done so that Pompeo’s statement is most questionable. Twice Pompeo applied the term unprovoked to Iranian actions (“40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations” and “these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security”).

“Unprovoked”? The Trump administration reneged completely over a year ago on U.S. commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that has restricted Iran’s nuclear program and closed all possible paths to a nuclear weapon. Since then the administration has waged economic warfare on Iran, despite Iran continuing for a whole year to observe its obligations under the JCPOA. The administration has piled sanction upon sanction in a relentless effort to cripple Iran’s economy, make life miserable for Iranians, and weaken Iran in every way possible. It has pressured countries around the world not to do any business with Iran. The administration has accompanied this campaign with unlimited hostility, threats of military attack, and saber-rattling that has included escalating military deployments in Iran’s backyard. If this isn’t provoking Iran, then the term provocation has lost all meaning.”

I doubt that the essay will receive the attention it deserves, but we should remember his words as the rhetoric against Iran increases in intensity.

The Guardian has started a special series called “Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America’s dirty secret” It is a revealing investigation, tracking US exports of plastic to many different countries. China used to take most of US exports of plastic waste, but stopped importing it last year. Since then, the US has tried to find alternatives and is now sending its plastic waste to countries that are poor and have very weak environmental laws such as Bangladesh, Laos, Ethiopia and Senegal. The UN passed a new treaty last week regulating the export of plastic waste. According to the treaty: “Exporting countries – including the US – now will have to obtain consent from countries receiving contaminated, mixed or unrecyclable plastic waste. Currently, the US and other countries can send lower-quality plastic waste to private entities in developing countries without getting approval from their governments.” The treaty was signed by 187 countries, but the US was not among the signatories. The dangers of plastic waste and the process of recycling plastic waste are legion and well-documented by the NGO Gaia.

Plastic waste on the beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Posted June 17, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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