One of the scariest phrases that I have heard spoken by various voices in just about every recent administration has been, "All options are on the table." It may, in fact, be one of the most overused (or should I say misused) phrases in public statements regarding U.S. relations (or lack thereof in many cases) with other nations.
Despite President George W. Bush's ridiculous claim that his first choice in dealing with Iran's nuclear program was diplomacy, he made it clear (in 2008) that "all options are on the table." We saw the futility of the Bush approach to "diplomacy" with Iran.
During her run for president, Hillary Clinton (in 2007) said that she would not rule out a military strike against Iran to take out its nuclear weapons production capabilities. While she spoke of "reaching out" to U.S. allies to work together, she said (regarding Iran) that "all options must remain on the table."
Recently the Pentagon updated its plans for using military force against Iran at President Obama's request. When asked about the possibility of use of military force against Iran in relation to its alleged nuclear weapons activities, Defense Secretary Robert recently Gates said, "...as a result of our dialogue with the president, we've refreshed our plans and all options are on the table." Ooh, isn't that refreshing???The United States should, after decades of interventions (both covert and overt) around the world (and, of course, Iran), understand the futility of intervening in the affairs of other sovereign nations. In Iran's case, we have been eating the bitter fruit of our meddling that goes back to 1953 with the U.S. organized coup that deposed the democratically elected Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq. But we (in the U.S.) are poor students of history, and our collective amnesia now has people in this country screaming for freedom for the Iranians.
Ironically, as Chris Hedges reminds us in a very recent article, "Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government." The title of Hedge's article, Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away, sums things up, and the article provides us with a context with which to evaluate our [U.S.] hypocrisy in foreign policy. Essentially, our foreign policy has far too often been conveyed through the barrel of a gun, and if you didn't like it - TOO BAD!
The U.S. government will not change its methods of dealing with other nations on its own; the needs of the all-consuming National Security State far outweigh any desire of a president or other politicians to change direction. It will require pressure from every possible progressive organization and support from large masses of the populace. The question is, do we have the nerve to take it on. I sincerely hope so.
So let us remember that as much as the people of Iran want some form of democracy, they also do not want any foreign intervention; they remember Mossadeq. Right now we can send a clear message to Washington that the U.S. must stay out of Iran's internal affairs. CLICK HERE to sign the petition at Just Foreign Policy urging President Obama to continue a cautious approach with Iran and to continue efforts to engage Iran diplomatically.
We must remember that there are NO viable military options if we are to build a peaceful world. No matter whether we are dealing with elections or nukes, the only options are those of diplomacy and goodwill. Anything else is a disaster in waiting.