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Iranian Alert - January 4, 2005 - Influencing Iran's Nuclear Activities through Major Powers
Regime Change Iran ^ | 1.4.2005 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/03/2005 11:37:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn

Top News Story

Number 936

December 30, 2004

Influencing Iran's Nuclear Activities through Major Power Cooperation

Patrick Clawson

This is the second part of a two-part series on diplomacy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and discusses the role of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, with particular focus on Russia and China. The first part appeared as PolicyWatch 928 on December 16.

The Iran nuclear issue will be on the international agenda in the coming months. The often-postponed visit to Tehran by the head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency (Minatom) Alexander Rumyantsev to sign an agreement on the delivery of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power plant is now set for January. Meanwhile, early January will see the second round of negotiations between the Europeans and Iran, which is insisting it will end its voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment unless there is significant progress within the three-month timeframe set in the November 15 Paris Accords. That is no easy matter, given that in response to Iran's demands that the negotiations cover a wide range of security and economic issues, the initial European position evidently was to raise the full set of concerns which led to suspension of EU-Iran talks about a Trade Cooperation Agreement, namely, terrorism (such as al-Qaeda), Middle East peace, human rights, and all of Iran's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

While it will be difficult for Europe to reach agreement with Iran in the current talks, the record shows that when Iran has been convinced that it faced a united insistence by the major powers, then it has made major concessions. That was the lesson of the October 2003 Iranian suspension of uranium enrichment and of the November 2004 Paris Accords. Now, the key issue is what are the stances of the permanent members (P-5) of the Security Council, especially Russia and China. Securing their cooperation should be the focus of U.S. diplomacy regarding Iran's nuclear program in the coming months.

Major Powers Can Agree About Non-Proliferation, Not about Iran

If the Iran nuclear issue is framed as a question of geostrategic cooperation with the United States to limit Iranian influence, the chances of either Russian or Chinese assistance are slight. Russia is not necessarily interested in helping the United States right now, given disagreements about such issues as the recent developments in Ukraine. And unlike its many challenges to U.S. interests, Iran has done little to threaten Russia in such vulnerable areas as among Chechen Muslims, plus it is a valuable trading partner for Russia.

China also has reasons to want to limit U.S. influence, which could lead it to enjoy complicating U.S. efforts about Iran. Plus China is eager to cultivate political relationships with energy suppliers, rather than simply relying on market forces to assure access to the ever-increasing oil and gas imports China's growing economy needs. In October, the Chinese state oil firm Sinopec was awarded development rights to Iran's Yadavaran oil field, slated to produce 150,000 barrels a day, in return for agreeing to purchase 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas a year (equivalent to about 240,000 barrels a day) for 25 years in a deal the Chinese media valued as worth $70 billion.

But if the issue is framed as nuclear proliferation rather than Iran, the issues posed by Iran's nuclear program look quite different for Russia and China. Both of those powers have reasons to oppose nuclear proliferation by medium-sized powers. Russia's claim to be a great power rests in no small part on its nuclear arms; were a dozen or more countries to have long-range nuclear missiles, then Russia's status would be less unique. If the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) were to be grievously weakened and nuclear proliferation to be common, then China would have to worry about the intentions of several East Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan, both of which have extensive nuclear capabilities from which they could readily build large numbers of weapons.

Iran's nuclear program, if unchecked, could well lead to further proliferation. The most obvious concern would be among Iran's neighbors. Mustafa Kibaroglu of Bilkent and Harvard Universities warns, "voices are starting to be heard from within Turkish society promoting the idea of going nuclear" in response to developments in Iran (Kibaoglu, "Iran's Nuclear Program May Trigger the Young Turks to Think Nuclear, " Carnegie Endowment Non-Proliferation Project, December 22, 2004). A September18, 2003, report entitled "Saudis Consider Nuclear Bomb" in the British Guardian newspaper was based on serious Saudi thought about the implications of Iranian developments, as analyzed in PolicyWatch 793 ("Toward a Saudi Nuclear Option" by Simon Henderson, October 16, 2003, exploring the substance behind widespread rumors Pakistan might help Saudi Arabia on nuclear matters).

Given the common interest of the great powers in preventing a breakdown of the global counterproliferation regime, there is much basis for diplomacy to encourage China and Russia to quietly inform Iran that they would not stand in the way of Security Council action if the current Iran-EU negotiations break down. China could remind Iran of its long-standing position that it will not block a consensus among the P-5 on issues unrelated to China. Or as Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said when asked about this at his November Tehran joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, "Veto cannot be used excessively since there are special limits to that." One hopes that Director of the National Security Council's foreign policy committee Hossein Moussavian was correct when he told Kayhan newspaper his assessment of Li's visit was, "We would be mistaken if we thought China would ever stand up to the Americans and engage in an embroilment over Iran's nuclear activities."

Russia holds a particularly powerful instrument for influencing Iran. Moscow strongly supports Iran's nuclear power program. Disagreements about the 1995 contract for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and related facilities -- initially to include enrichment facilities -- were a major issue in U.S.-Russian relations all during the Clinton years, despite several U.S.-Russian agreements to limit Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran to just that one power plant. The Iranian leadership has placed great political importance on the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which -- after many delays from the original completion date of 2000 -- is now due to be fueled and begin operations in mid- or late-2006. If Russia were to quietly inform Iran that Bushehr cannot be fueled if the talks with Europe break down, that would be a strong incentive to Tehran to reach agreement with the EU. Such a Russian position would be a logical outgrowth of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's agreement to the G-8 statement on Iran at their last summit in Sea Island, Georgia, last June.

Turning the Nuclear Fuel Question into an Opportunity

The West could provide Russia with additional reasons to reinforce the G-8 common position about Iranian nuclear activities if it were to address Russian commercial interests about nuclear fuel. In theory, Iran's enrichment program should be a worry for Russia, in that if Iran can enrich its own fuel, it would not need to buy Russian fuel. But in fact this has not been a potent factor in Russian thinking. Iran has been prepared to commit to take Russian fuel for at least ten years -- not surprising, since the Iranian enrichment program is much more suited for producing the smaller amount of highly enriched uranium (HEU) needed for nuclear weapons than the much larger amount of low enriched uranium needed for a power plant.

Instead of working for the West, the nuclear fuel issue has been a problem in persuading Russia to cooperate about Iran. Britain, France, and Germany (the E3) included in the October 2003 accord with Iran the phrase, "Once international concerns, including those of the three governments, are fully resolved, Iran could expect easier access to modern technology and supplies in a range of areas." In light of Iranian reports this meant access to nuclear technology and supplies, some Russians interpreted that to mean the E3 wanted to sell Iran nuclear fuel, thereby cutting Russia out of the market. That concern appears to have been largely addressed by European diplomacy to assure Russia that in fact the EU would support -- perhaps even financially -- Russian fuel sales to Iran in the context of an Iranian agreement to end, rather than just suspend, uranium enrichment and reprocessing.

Russian-Iranian negotiations of a fuel deal have been long and difficult, bogged down about the return to Russia of the spent fuel. The Iranians have insisted that since they are buying the fuel and the radioactive material in the spent fuel is valuable, they should be paid for shipping the spent fuel to Russia -- a position rather at odds with the experience of most power utilities around the world, which have been prepared to pay large sums to dispose of spent fuel. Meanwhile, the West -- especially the United States -- has pressed to have the fuel well safeguarded (to prevent diversion, since the fuel can be quickly made into bomb-grade HEU) and the spent fuel returned quickly (since it contains readily extractable plutonium suitable for a bomb). The Iranian stance in the negotiations is not encouraging. Russian reports say the two sides are talking about returning the fuel "in about a decade due to technological reasons." If Russia is going to provide fuel -- which should happen only if Iran has fully addressed concerns about its nuclear program -- then return after one year would be much preferable, though expensive because the fuel would still be quite radioactive.

Iran has been sensitive to implications that its fuel supply has to be subject to special rules. But the Iran case could be used as the occasion to formulate a new global policy of enhanced safeguards about spent fuel, to be worked out before the first shipments to Bushehr in about two years. Not only could such a new universal standards address Western concerns about the proliferation risk of the fuel, but the new global safeguards could also be used to resolve an issue in which Russia has a strong commercial interest. According to Minatom, shipments of U.S.-origin spent fuel to Russia from power reactors in Europe and Asia could earn Russia a billion dollars a year in storage fees. Such shipments of U.S.-origin spent fuel to Russia have been advocated by Thomas Cochran, a phyicist at the Natural Resource Defense Council, and promoted by The Nonproliferation Trust established by a group of U.S. and German companies, which has signed agreements with Minatom. Putin has endorsed the concept. While there are many technical and economic issues involved, the essential problems have been political, meaning primarily U.S. reluctance to see the spent fuel going to Russia and Washington's hopes to leverage this issue in order to stop Russia's work on Bushehr. In light of past failures, it is time to consider a more modest U.S. position, offering more significant advantages to Russia and asking for more limited cooperation about Iranian nuclear activities, specifically, no fueling of Bushehr in the absence of a EU-Iran deal.

How the United States Could be More Active

Much of the talk about a more active U.S. role at resolving the Iran nuclear issue is misguided. Any U.S. offer to engage Iran would only sideline the EU-Iran negotiations, when Europe is better placed to take the lead, given the history of distrust between the United States and Iran. Furthermore, bilateral U.S.-Iran talks would bog down in bitter disputes, as would any attempt to reach a "grand bargain" addressing all the complaints each side has against the other.

Where Washington can play a useful role at facilitating the European-Iranian negotiations is to promote P-5 unity about Iran's nuclear program. The ideal would be to take advantage of some international venue, such as the May NPT Review Conference in New York, for the P-5 foreign ministers to declare their common concern about Iran's nuclear activities.

Patrick Clawson is deputy director of The Washington Institute.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: armyofmahdi; aurora; axisofevil; axisofweasels; ayatollah; azadi; binladen; callingartbell; cleric; elbaradei; eu; freedom; germany; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iraq; irgc; iri; islamicrepublic; japan; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; lsadr; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; napalminthemorning; neoeunazis; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; religionofpeace; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; russia; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; ufo; us; vevak; wot

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1 posted on 01/03/2005 11:37:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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2 posted on 01/03/2005 11:39:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

U.S. Planes Violate Iranian Airspace: Reports

U.S. warplanes flying out of bases in Afghanistan and Iraq have committed a string of violations of Iranian airspace, Iranian press reports said Jan 3.

According to the Aftab newspaper, the latest violation came Jan. 1, when a U.S. fighter flew at low altitude over an area in the northeastern province of Khorrasan which borders Afghanistan.

Other press reports said the overflight followed a recent intrusion by F-16 and F-18 fighters over the southwestern province of Khuzestan which borders southern Iraq. Papers said the planes appeared to be spying on nuclear sites.

No further details or official confirmation were immediately available.

Last month the Iranian army’s chief General Mohammad Salimi said the Iranian military led by the air force has been ordered to stand ready to defend the country’s nuclear sites in case of attack.

Israel and the United States accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, leading to speculation over the possibility of military strikes. Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly peaceful.

3 posted on 01/03/2005 11:40:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

An Iranian Student Makes His Escape In Face of Charges

BY ELI LAKE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 3, 2005

WASHINGTON - A key student leader of the Iranian referendum movement has fled the Islamic republic amid a court investigation into his organizing activities.

In a phone interview last week, Akbar Atri, an organizer of the movement in Iran to win a national vote on the legitimacy of the Islamic republic, said he managed to slip out of his homeland last month despite an open government investigation into his efforts to gather signatures for a petition demanding the referendum.

"The court is saying I am attempting to overthrow the Islamic government. In another case they are saying I am guilty of making propaganda against the regime. For the propaganda charge I have been sentenced to four months of jail, but this is being appealed," Mr. Atri said.

"It is common in Iran to have an open charge against political activists in order to intimidate us," he said. "They can bring these charges to the court anytime they want. I was surprised I got out so easily. Usually people with open charges against them cannot leave the country, but there was obviously a loophole in the system this time. So I got out."

The recent charges against him are not Mr. Atri's first brush with the law. In the interview yesterday he said that in 2000 he was beaten so badly by the plainclothes religious police known as the Bassij that his jaw was broken and he lost two teeth. When his case was finally heard by a judge, the court ruled that he owed his attackers money for assaulting them.

"The judge ruled that I owed the traditional Islamic penalty, the price of a camel," he said. "When I finally heard the sentence I thought that camels have become very expensive."

Mr. Atri is a member of the central committee for Tahkimeh Vahdat, a national student organization whose leaders support the referendum movement. Mr. Atri and his colleagues have publicly called on their government to allow a referendum vote, a strategy first reported by The New York Sun last month. The referendum would be on whether Islam should be the basis of Iranian law and politics, almost a mirror image of a 1980 referendum, which the Iranian regime to this day touts as proof the 1979 Islamic revolution had popular legitimacy. If the opposition leaders' referendum push succeeds, they expect to reverse the 1979 uprising led by Ayatollah Khomeini, not only stripping the constitution of the extraordinary powers accorded the supreme leader but also declaring that Iran is not an Islamic state.

In the interview, Mr. Atri said that he believes some mistakes have been made so far in the political strategy of the opposition, but he was confident the referendum would gain support from the people. "The referendum is not yet on the lips of most people," he said, "but we think by the May presidential elections this will be seen as the only alternative."

Mr. Atri also said he wished there was more support from the purged reformist legislators still loyal to the lame-duck president, Mohammed Khatami. Last February, most of Mr. Khatami's allies in the legislature were barred from standing for office.

"The first stage is to get people discussing the referendum and to know the reform movement has been defeated and there is no hope for it," Mr. Atri said. "It is a very difficult and bumpy road, because the hardliners and many reformists are against us for now. The opposition abroad has not been fully committed to us yet."

In particular, Mr. Atri singled out the Iranian-language satellite television and radio stations based in Los Angeles for not endorsing the call for a referendum. Several American legislators have pushed in recent years for government money to go to those stations. "Some people are upset because they are not the leader of the movement," he said, referring to monarchists and other exile oppositionists who have not yet signed the call for a referendum.

Mr. Atri's harshest words, though, were leveled at Mr. Khatami's allies. "Some of the reformists in particular are not with us yet because they still hope the conservatives will give them a chance to become part of the system," he said. "When will they learn that their plan has not accomplished anything?"

Nonetheless, the call for the referendum has slowly begun attracting support from outside Iran. Last week, parliamentarians from Sweden's Folkpartiet Liberalerna signed the petition, as well as new student organizations. "We see progress every week," he said.

Mr. Atri said that organizers of the referendum also had for-now-silent support from some members of Iran's military and security services. Support from within such institutions is critical to the success of nonviolent movements seeking to topple dictators. It took not only an unprecedented coalition of groups in Ukraine, for example, to overturn November's elections there, but also the agreement of the state police and military not to suppress the crowds of protesters who stormed Kiev in the aftermath of the fixed runoff vote.

Mr. Atri said he was watching closely the developments in Kiev. "I am sure many people in our military and other government agencies support this movement," Mr. Atri said. "This is not going to affect only Iran, but also the region. Just like the Ukraine, this will work. We announced before, that we are longing for a nonviolent movement. The Ukrainian movement proved the nonviolent approach was successful. But if our movement is violent then it will usher in a government worse than we have now."

For now, Mr. Atri said, the greatest need from the West was solidarity. When asked about American government support at first, he answered the question in terms of support from the world.

"I expect people of the world to support the democratic movement in Iran," he said. "Right now, the Iranian people are suffering from a lack of information. The 20 Iranian satellite networks, mostly controlled by the monarchists, are not helping the referendum. I think the American media should give the message of the Iranian people to the world."

When asked about a new proposal from the Committee on the Present Danger to try persuading Supreme Leader Khamenei to allow for free and fair elections through formal negotiations with the State Department, Mr. Atri said he doubted it would work.

"This will never happen, the mullahs will never leave like this," he said. "The Islamic republic will give up anything to foreign countries, just so long as they stay in power. But they will not give anything to the Iranian people. I hope the world will consider the interests of the Iranian people, our human rights, and to live in a free country, before anything is signed with the Islamic government."

4 posted on 01/03/2005 11:40:32 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

This is the Chinese Century

January 03, 2005
William Rees-Mogg

The 18th and 19th centuries were the British centuries, in which industrial, political and imperial development in Britain shaped the world. The 20th century was the American century; the United States changed the world, providing a margin of victory in two world wars, and developing all the major new technologies: telephones, automobiles, television, jet aircraft, the internet and so on.

We all assume, as Washington undoubtedly assumes, that we are still living in the era of American hegemony, though it is already clear that China may be an emerging superpower.

I think that we may be missing an idea familiar to economists, which was developed in the second half of the 19th century. That idea is “marginalism”. It is one of those concepts universally accepted by professionals, but little understood outside. All that the “marginalist revolution” really amounted to was the recognition that economic change is determined by what happens at the margin of transaction. The extra apple sets the price for all apples; if there is one apple short, all apples cost more; one surplus, and they all cost less.

The most popular explanation is Mr Micawber’s: “Annual income £20, annual expenditure £19 19s 6d, result happiness. Annual income £20, annual expenditure £20 0s 6d, result misery.” Mr Micawber was an economist of the marginalist school.

Clearly, the United States is still by far the largest and most powerful economy on earth, with the most powerful defence technology. Yet it is China, not the United States, that is changing the global economy.

As a producer, an exporter and as an importer, the growth of the Chinese economy is changing the marginal levels of global supply and demand. Over the weekend I was reading many forecasts by eminent economists of the world economy in 2005. I was also listening to similar forecasts on television, including CCTV International, the Chinese 24-hour news service. The unanimity was astonishing, as one buzzed from channel to channel, subject to subject, and economist to economist.

What is the prospect for the dollar? That depends on China. The euro? China. The oil price? China. Industrial commodities? China. Global equity markets? China. Bond prices? China. World trade? China. World growth? China. In each case, forecast was not based on the absolute size of the Chinese economy, which is still much smaller than that of the United States. The forecasters, looking at their different markets, were all convinced that marginal changes attributable to China would be the decisive factor. That and low Chinese costs.

Some of the figures I found quite unexpected. In the past two years the growth of Japanese exports to China has accounted for 80 per cent of the growth in the Japanese economy. If one measures world trade, the United States and China together account for half of the growth. That certainly makes the United States and China the engines of growth for the whole world economy; by comparison, Europe is a miserable slowcoach. Yet China’s economy is growing at twice the rate of America’s.

In the past 30 years the whole Asian economy has averaged growth which was 3 per cent higher than the rest of the world. China is outperforming the rest of Asia.

On Saturday all the quotas on textile imports were lifted by the World Trade Organisation. This will be an extraordinary opportunity for Chinese textile and clothing manufacturers. Their current share of the US market is about 17 per cent; that is expected to rise to 50 per cent. China’s share of the European Union market is expected to rise from 18 to 30 per cent. We already buy Chinese toys; we shall soon all be wearing Chinese clothes.

Yet China is not content to remain as a producer of low or middle-technology goods. As the purchase of IBM’s personal computer division shows, China is equally a competitor in areas of advanced technology. China has an educational system designed to produce scientists and technologists for the 21st century. Except at the very highest university level, Chinese scientific education has outpaced that of Britain.

China is not only a highly successful exporter, but has also become a very large-scale importer, both of oil and raw materials and of goods from other Asian countries. In Asia, China is a net importer, not only from Japan, but also from other neighbouring Asian countries. Japan also has the benefit of being a major investor in the development of Chinese industry. The big surplus in China’s trade is with the United States, and the surplus in trade with Europe is expected to grow.

In 2008 the next Olympic Games will be held in Beijing. That will be a celebration of the development of China both as an economic power and as a major power in international affairs. There is, inevitably, a long way to go. Deng Xiao Ping’s free-market reforms were initiated only in 1978.

No less than 60 per cent of the Chinese population still works on the land, at low wages and usually with peasant levels of productivity. Yet that gives an indication of the reserve of manpower that still remains to be brought into the modern economy. The Chinese economy probably still has another 25 years of high growth ahead of it. Before it reaches full maturity, the Chinese economy will be a multiple of its present size.

My own optimism is not only based on the growth of the economy, though that is the outstanding economic growth record of the past two decades. China has also understood the important of domestic and international freedom of trade and the need for the best possible relations with trading partners. With direct material and financial support, China has been one of the large contributors to the relief of the Indian Ocean countries after the tsunami disaster. The economic maturity of the new China has been accompanied by increasing political maturity. That is the best guarantee for the future of what is beginning to look like the Chinese century.

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5 posted on 01/03/2005 11:40:58 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn


By PETER BROOKES January 3, 2005 -- WITH each passing week the news from Russia be comes increasingly glum. First, there was Moscow's meddling — and blustering — over the recent Ukrainian presidential elections.

Then, there was the sell-off and nationalization of Yukos, one of Russia's largest private oil companies. And now the latest bad news: Russia's growing military cooperation with Asia's rising superpower, China.

According to Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Ivanov, "For the first time in history, we have agreed to hold quite a large military exercise together with China on Chinese territory in the second half of the year."

Ivanov, who just returned from his second visit to Beijing in three months said Russian exercise forces will include limited ground troops and "state-of-the-art weapons" from the navy and air force "to practice interaction with China in different forms of military maneuvers."

The unprecedented nature of these military exercises — and the possible long-term implications for American interests in the Pacific — is mind-boggling. After years of relative stagnation, a troubling sea change in Sino-Russian strategic relations is underway.

But why the change? From the Russian perspective, cuddling up to Beijing has more to do with Russia's frosty relations with the West than the chill of the Russian winter.

Decrying the American "dictatorship of international affairs" during a December visit to India, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to gently remind Washington (and the West) of Russian power — and trouble-making potential.

Bristling against NATO's expansion in Europe, Russia is looking for some way to increase Moscow's sagging global standing, as well as balance Western power. ...

So, what better way to fortify Moscow's increasingly weak strategic position in Europe than by teaming up with China to bolster Russia's standing in Asia?

As China's No. 1 arms supplier, Russia is already a player in Asia. Moscow has sold over $5 billion of advanced fighters, missiles, submarines, and navy destroyers to Beijing over just the last five years.

The upcoming military exercises provide an opportunity for struggling Russian arms merchants to strut their wares before lustful Chinese buyers — undoubtedly enamored with the prospect of additional sales.

But what accounts for China's warm embrace of Russia? Plenty.

China has been seeking closer strategic cooperation with Russia for some time to balance — and eventually supercede — America's unparalleled post-Cold War power in the Pacific.

In a recently published defense report, China warned that it faced growing "uncertainty, instability and insecurity." Beijing (naturally) blamed the situation on the American military presence in the Pacific region.

China is also looking for support on the Taiwan unification issue. In the same report, China said that relations with Taiwan are "grim," vowing to accelerate its military buildup (unquestionably with Russian assistance).

China wants to ensure Taipei's eventual unification with Beijing, but a peaceful union may not be in the cards. If Beijing opts for force in dealing with Taiwan, it would have to deter, delay or deny American intervention in a cross-Taiwan Strait military contingency.

And what better way to complicate an American military response than to garner active Russian support for a Chinese decision to attack, or coerce, Taiwan into accepting unification?

In addition, Beijing is betting that a cooperative Sino-Russian military partnership will improve Chinese clout throughout East, South and Central Asia, making "the Middle Kingdom" once again the regional hegemon.

And no doubt that Chinese intelligence will consume Russian military doctrine and tactics like dim-sum, preparing the Chinese People's Liberation Army for possible future clashes over disputed territory with regional rivals such as Japan.

Until recently, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership has been a relatively hollow construct, confined to political rhetoric, trade and weapons sales.

But after Putin's October visit, Chinese President Hu Jintao asserted that "Sino-Russian strategic coordination has attained an unprecedented high level, " while Putin proclaimed that the relationship had reached "unparalleled heights."

For some time, there was broad agreement among foreign-policy elites that both Beijing and Moscow were more interested in developing good relations with Washington than with each other. This may no longer be the case.

Recent developments indicate that the tectonic plates of Sino-Russian relations are shifting. We better pay attention.

Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow. E-mail:

6 posted on 01/03/2005 11:41:25 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn


Liberté, Egalité, Absurdité


Published: January 3, 2005


LA plus ça change. In 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson sent marines to the Dominican Republic to protect American citizens during a violent civil war, President Charles de Gaulle of France condemned the intervention. In a secret message to Washington, however, he asked for help defending the French Embassy. Johnson did so, but never heard a word of thanks, in public or private. Instead, de Gaulle went on to demand that the United States withdraw from Vietnam and, eventually, to pull his own forces out of NATO.

George W. Bush must know exactly how Johnson felt. Shortly after Mr. Bush's re-election, the current French president, Jacques Chirac, called the post-Saddam Hussein world "more dangerous," announced that the United States doesn't "return favors" to Europe and even accused Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld of "a lack of culture." He managed to stuff all these comments into a single interview, which happened to coincide with Mr. Bush's firm support for a French military crackdown in the Ivory Coast, where antigovernment insurgents have endangered French citizens, the last remnant of Paris's colonial regime there.

Yet it's a mistake to assume that Mr. Chirac's rhetoric was just a clumsy expression of pent-up frustration with American voters. French foreign policy in the 1960's was not driven by a leader's personal antipathy for a brash Texan in the White House, and neither is today's. Regime change in the United States might have led John Kerry to slap Mr. Chirac on the back and say, "Lafayette, we are here!" - but nothing would have altered the underlying fact that France has for decades viewed the United States as a unique threat.

The root of the problem is Gaullism itself. More than just a form of nationalism, Gaullism insists that France must exert an outsized influence on the course of human events. During the cold war, de Gaulle spoke of his country leading Europe as "one of three world powers and, if need be one day, the arbiter between the two camps, the Soviet and the Anglo-Saxon." Hence de Gaulle developed a nuclear arsenal, threatened to destabilize the dollar and criticized American military actions.

Mr. Chirac and his neo-Gaullists recognize that France can no longer serve as a fulcrum between East and West, but they believe their country still has a vital role to play in containing the world's "hyperpower," in their pejorative labeling of the United States. On the cultural front, this agenda can manifest itself in bizarre rear guard actions. Most ridiculously, a French court has declared that the film "Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles" ("A Very Long Engagement") is not eligible to compete in French film festivals, despite having being filmed in France, in the French language, with hundreds of French actors and technicians. Its offense: receiving financial backing from Warner Brothers.

In world politics, the French are much more aggressive. Before the invasion of Iraq, Paris didn't just express reservations - it tried to sabotage American goals in every feasible venue, from the chambers of the Security Council to the committee rooms of NATO. Since then, it has issued a raft of demands, including the hasty transfer of sovereignty to an ad hoc Iraqi government, as well as a date certain by which the United States will remove its troops, no matter the circumstances.

Mr. Chirac's diplomats even spent October lobbying unsuccessfully for Iraqi insurgent groups - the ones now killing American troops and Iraqi civilians - to be represented at the international summit in Egypt in November. It is difficult to see how French interests are furthered in any way by this behavior, unless France is understood to believe that its own aims are advanced whenever American ones are thwarted.

Dean Acheson once was asked to recommend a course of action with respect to de Gaulle. He advised an "empty chair" policy - that is, French-American relations would improve only after de Gaulle had left the scene. This wait-and-see approach may have made sense at the time, but not today. While Mr. Chirac is 72, he might seek an unprecedented third term in 2007. Even if he doesn't, his successor could be Dominique de Villepin, the former foreign minister who under heavy questioning found himself unable to say he hoped for an American military victory in Iraq. Whatever happens, neo-Gaullism will continue to inform French attitudes.

Condoleezza Rice, now Mr. Bush's nominee for secretary of state, was quoted in 2003 as telling colleagues that the United States should "punish France." This is a tempting tactic, for it holds out the promise of vengeful satisfaction. It was also the motive behind the recent campaigns to boycott French products. Unbeknownst to most of the participants, however, the consumer strategy was tried without much success in the 1960's. In truth, Paris isn't worth a boycott.

Thinking otherwise only buys into the Gaullist claim that France should occupy a place of reverence in the community of nations. But why should its views matter any more than, say, Italy, whose population and economy are nearly the same size? The United States may choose to work with France on a few areas of mutual diplomatic interest - Haiti and perhaps Iran - but in general, the marginal amounts of aid and peacekeeping help Paris can offer hardly merit concessions on our part. And if France threatens to undermine American interests with its Security Council veto, we should call its bluff, pointing out that such behavior merely weakens the institution that is the prime source of France's undeserved prestige. (Despite all the bluster, France has not used its veto power unilaterally since 1976.)

Moreover, making an example of the French is precisely the wrong approach because it elevates France in the eyes of the world's anti-Americans, who will always be with us. The one thing France and the neo-Gaullists can't possibly abide is being ignored. Perhaps that's punishment enough.

John J. Miller is a writer for National Review and co-author of "Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France."

7 posted on 01/03/2005 11:41:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Persian Gulf CC wary of Iran nuclear activities

United Press International - World News
Jan 3, 2005

Riyadh -- Officials of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council said Monday they see no justification for Iran's nuclear program and are skeptical about it.

GCC Secretary-General Abdel Rahman Attiya was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Watan as saying, "Saudi Arabia and the other GCC countries can't find any justification for such nuclear activity which poses great dangers for all the peoples in the Gulf region."

"We are actually seeking to make the region free of weapons of mass destruction," he added.

Attiya expressed hope that countries of the Gulf region, including Iran and Iraq, "would reach agreement over a regional security order based on a balance of interests."

"In view of the existing imbalance of powers in the region, certain GCC countries have worked out security arrangements with outside parties to restore a certain balance with neighbors who appear to have regional ambitions," he said in an obvious reference to Iran.

Attiya ruled out granting full membership in the GCC to Iraq, Iran and Yemen saying "this is very unlikely in the foreseeable future."

8 posted on 01/03/2005 11:42:21 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

"The Islamic republic will give up anything to foreign countries, just so long as they stay in power. But they will not give anything to the Iranian people..".

That quote sums everything up...

9 posted on 01/03/2005 11:46:42 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; sionnsar; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; Valin; ...
Great Quotes

"I expect people of the world to support the democratic movement in Iran," he said. "Right now, the Iranian people are suffering from a lack of information. The 20 Iranian satellite networks, mostly controlled by the monarchists, are not helping the referendum. I think the American media should give the message of the Iranian people to the world."

"The Islamic republic will give up anything to foreign countries, just so long as they stay in power. But they will not give anything to the Iranian people. I hope the world will consider the interests of the Iranian people, our human rights, and to live in a free country, before anything is signed with the Islamic government."


10 posted on 01/03/2005 11:48:23 PM PST by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; nuconvert; F14 Pilot; Grampa Dave; MeekOneGOP
U.S. Planes Violate Iranian Airspace--Dangerous Rays Emitted from Women's Hair Reported

11 posted on 01/03/2005 11:53:03 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn

Paris, Leave us kids alone!

12 posted on 01/03/2005 11:54:03 PM PST by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: PhilDragoo


13 posted on 01/03/2005 11:54:27 PM PST by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: DoctorZIn


U.S. jets buzz Iran airspace
Warplanes said to spy nuke sites, test defenses

Posted: January 3, 2005
9:20 p.m. Eastern

© 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. military warplanes flew over Iranian air space, raising Tehran's concerns preparations are being made to knock out its nuclear facilities, according to Iranian news media reports.

The U.S. jets reportedly flew out of bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, with the latest coming Saturday when a fighter buzzed at low altitude an area in the northeastern province of Khorrasan, which borders Afghanistan.

Other reports of overflights cited intrusions by F-16 and F-18 fighters over the southwestern province of Khuzestan, which borders southern Iraq. Papers said the planes appeared to be spying on nuclear sites.

The U.S. military was silent on the veracity of the reports. However, one source said he would not be surprised if the reports were accurate, given the building international tensions over the state of Iran's nuclear weapons program. "The circular maneuvering of the two American fighters indicated them as carrying out spying sorties and controlling the borders," said an Iranian official.

Less than a week earlier, Iranian air force chief Brig. Karim Qavami was quoted as having ordered his forces to open fire and shoot down any unidentified aircraft violating the country's airspace.

"Given that the intrusion of enemy aircraft over Iran's airspace is possible, all fighter jets of the country have been ordered by the army chief to shoot them down in the event of sighting them," he said.

In August, five U.S. warplanes entered Iranian airspace from the southwestern Shalamcheh border and overflew Khorramshahr. Iranian military specialists believe the intrusions are designed to assess the capabilities of Iran's anti-aircraft defenses.

Army chief Gen. Mohammad Salimi also said the Iranian air force has been ordered to defend the country`s nuclear sites in the event of an attack.

"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," the daily Iran quoted Salimi as saying, adding the air force had temporarily suspended all its maneuvers to focus its capabilities on patrolling the skies over Iran.

Such statements have raised the stakes in a war of words amid foreign press speculation about possible Israeli and American attack on Iran`s nuclear facilities. Iranian military commanders have warned of grave consequences if any such attack takes place.

14 posted on 01/03/2005 11:55:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot


15 posted on 01/04/2005 12:02:57 AM PST by Cindy
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To: DoctorZIn


16 posted on 01/04/2005 12:56:57 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: DoctorZIn

Hey, it looks like the Americans have been busy. Good for them!

Also looks like we know what the "UFO's" are now... I suspected the Americans all along. The Iranians are definitely nervous. If we can fly in Iranian airspace without getting shot down (so far, at least), then perhaps the Iranians will think twice of causing mass death before the historic January 30th elections.

There are also possible advantages to an American warplane being shot. The US could yell about Iran shooting at one of their aircraft. Iran could counter with saying that the Americans violating their national soverignity (true, but you've been violating Iraq's soverignity for a long time now). If nothing else, it'll get some attention in the mainstream news. Perhaps similar to when the Chinese knocked our propeller-driven recon plane out of the sky in April 2001.

This is also diplomacy, cowboy-style! Iran thinks it won a great victory when Europe willingly let Iran deceive and steal everything from them (I think this month the EU's going to start negiotiating on building a nuke reactor in Iran!!!). Well, the US says, "Not so fast." The Iranians see American warplanes in their skies. The Bush Administration publically hasn't been hard enough on Iran, I think, but warplanes drives the point home. It shows that the Americans are serious. Disarm or the bomb bay doors may open.

Again, military action is definitely not desirable, but you have to do whatever it takes. But I definitely would like to see the American "progaganda" machine firng on all cylinders. We want regime change from within if at all possible. If they can organize themselves, then it could happen... Easier said than done.

17 posted on 01/04/2005 7:18:53 PM PST by JWojack (Rice for President in 2008!)
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To: JWojack

It is EU stealing from the people of Iran by supporting the regime in Tehran

18 posted on 01/04/2005 8:50:02 PM PST by F14 Pilot (Democracy is a process not a product)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

19 posted on 01/05/2005 12:23:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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