Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to talk to Iran

Photo copyright Associated Press

"I don't see why the most powerful nation in the world can't talk to the leaders of Iran (and) put some pressure on (them)...When I was in Europe, I talked to (Yugoslavian President) Slavodan Milosovich and told him that if he didn't get in line he would be bombed"

Thus spake General Wesley Clark, former commander of NATO, former Democratic Party Presidential candidate, and political pundit. He was criticizing the State of The Union Address and the current administration's refusal to talk to the leadership of Iran to find a solution to the dual wars in Iraq. Of course, we know that NATO went to war with Yugoslavia, and Milosovich's country was bombed incessantly after Clark's talks with the wayword President. Clark's talks didn't amount to much.
It sounds to me as if Clark, who has expressed fear that the United States may engage in armed conflict Iran, is advocating war. This wasn't the only comment in which General Clark seemed to be contradictary. "We don't have to talk to (Iranian President Ahmadinejad), there are other elements in Iran we can talk to."
But none of these "other elements" are in a position to make or influence national and international policy in Iran. Certainly, as did the Iraq Study Group, individual "moderate" ayatollahs on the Supreme Islamic Council, can be spoken to, but not in the element of official policy. The Supreme Islamic Council, as the ruling body of Iran, cannot, by their perception of their religion, speak to representatives of the United States in any official capacity, because such representatives are "dhimmis" and not of the correct standing to speak to in such capacity.
Nor can the dissident or shadow government of Iran be a viable party in such talks. Those who are not in prison or in exile may be allowed to speak to representatives of the United States, but they dare not go contrary to the government's policy for fear of imprisonment or death. Besides, what purpose would that serve?
There is a glimmer of hope for future relations with Iran in that there has been some talk about impeaching, or at least reigning in President Ahmadinejad. This may mean a more moderate stance on the part of Iran, and, if it does, then it could be possible to have meaningful talks with that government. However, the Supreme Islamic Council will most likely not change its stripes, and the US will still be "The Great Satan," and untouchable in the minds of the ayatollahs.
That does not mean that Iraq can't establish relations or agreements with Iran. It should be up to that government to establish relationships with its neighbors. The Iraqi government first needs to be secure, though, before it can do so, otherwise it has no leverage.
We don't have to fear war with Iran. It is very possible that within forty minutes of the moment that Iran announces that it has a nuclear weapon, it will be green-glassed by Israel. Israel is the target of threats by Iran, and Israel, with a reported two-hundred warhead nuclear arsenal, will not hesitate to strike preemptorily to prevent its own annihilation. Hopefully, the ayatollahs realize that, and, eventually, will give in to the rest of the world and accept the light water nuclear technology which has been offered them.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Job Nazis Strike Again

The people who are against Wal-Mart are not for the working class. They are elitists who don't care if you have or need a job. All you have to do is ask any organizer of an anti-Wal-Mart movement in any municipality, and he or she would tell you that "it is better not to have a job at all than to work at Wal-Mart." Part of what they are saying is on behalf of the labor unions, but much of what they are saying is that if you don't have a six-figure income, you're not welcome in, for example, Chalene, Washington.
"Chalene is a beautiful don't want to mess it up by putting a Wal-Mart there," a spokesman for recently said on Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto.
Note that this spokesperson isn't from Chalene--the people of Chalene want the Wal-Mart. The building has been built, the shelves have been stocked, and the employees, two-hundred of them, have been hired. The argument that Wal-Mart takes away other jobs is moot in Chalene, because the apple industry there is failing, and not as many people are being hired to work for the apple growers. The people who were hired by Wal-Mart needed those jobs.
But the Stop Wal-Mart people, whether they represent the unions, the International Communist Party, Target, Kreske, or their own agenda, succeeded in halting the opening of the store through a court order, claiming that the building permit was never legally issued. They don't want those people to have jobs. They use catch phrases such as "globalization," "worker abuse," and "unfair wages," in their argument against Wal-Mart.
But the people who work for Wal-Mart don't feel abused, or poorly paid. They want the job, and they work at the job. In order to be oppressed, you have to feel oppressed. The average wage for the Wal-Mart employee is eleven dollars an hour, about the same as the starting wage for a union retailer such as Safeway or City Market, which, after union dues comes out to about nine dollars an hour--the same as the starting wage for the Wal-Mart employee. Union workers somehow don't feel oppressed either.
Wal-Mart doesn't sell automobiles, which come from the type of manufacturing jobs the anti-Wal-Mart people claim Wal-Mart is putting out of business, or sending oversees. Workers in the United States do not get the twenty five dollars an hour making toys, clothing, or electronic equipment. However, the workers who are "victims of globalization" in other countries find themselves making far above the average wages in their respective countries in jobs which manufacture merchandise for Wal-Mart. Even without Wal-Mart, manufacturing plant employees in the United States would still average about ten dollars an hour. Nobody is taking away their jobs.
If it wasn't Wal-Mart, it would be Target, Circuit City, or Best Buy. The anti-Wal-Mart folks don't care who they attack, as long as it is Capitalist. They are largely people who don't really care about the worker, rather they are people seeking power, who feel as though they are doing something important for themselves, to get their name in the news, and to receive large sums of money from competitors, unions, and politicians.
These people could be compared to the dictators of the world--Qadafi, Saddam, Mubarak, Chavez, Jong Il,and the like. If you don't do things their way you don't get to do it at all. The dictator wants the people to meet the approval of the dictator, as opposed to a free society in which the government has to meet the approval of the people. Likewise, according to the unions, if you don't contribute part of your pay to the six and seven figure incomes of the national level union leaders and representatives, you don't deserve to work.