Friday, November 09, 2007

Senator Hagel (R-NE), Slams Bush Policy Against Iran

The United States and Iran:
At a Dangerous Crossroads

Left: Senator Chuck Hagel delivered a speech about U.S.-Iran relations at a CSIS event, November 8, 2007.

(wmv 42:45)

"Is the U.S. pursuing a policy that could very well produce a self-fulfilling prophecy of the President’s warning of World War III?" Hagel asks in the speech.


"Over the last few weeks, the world has witnessed a disturbing series of events.

Martial law declared in Pakistan; state of emergency in Georgia; Turkey threatens to invade Iraq; six members of the Afghan parliament along with scores of others killed in one of Afghanistan's largest ever suicide attacks; an escalating drumbeat of U.S.-Iran tensions; seventy six U.S. Senators supported a resolution urging the President to designate an entire branch of Iran's military as a terrorist organization -- and the President announced unprecedented unilateral sanctions against Iran's forces; and, finally, President Bush warned of World War III unless Iran acts to stop its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

These events are one frame of a broad confluence of events occurring in the world today. In the Middle East, Iraq is mired in a deep and dangerous civil war, with dim prospects for national political reconciliation. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers and worsens, and intra-Palestinian divisions present a pivotal obstacle, creating uncertain prospects for a U.S.-hosted peace conference. Syria is ostracized and insecure. Lebanon is paralyzed by a devastating political deadlock; Iran casts an unpredictable and ominous shadow over the region; and Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are trapped in this dangerous net.

Globally, our relations with Russia have sunk to a new post-Cold War low. U.S.-Turkey relations are in tatters over our inability to translate Turkey's 21st Century Government and objectives into a relationship of mutual interests that has been the case since World War II. The U.S.-India civil nuclear assistance deal has been set back and is now in a state of uncertainty. Afghanistan continues to lose ground -- including record-breaking opium production -- and Al Qaeda has re-emerged stronger than at any time since it was ousted from Afghanistan six years ago. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan represents the most dangerous zone in the world -- and we have little control and limited influence over it. Nuclear armed India casts a wary eye on its nuclear armed neighbor to the west.

And, the price of oil edges close to $100 per barrel. Record-breaking energy prices and surging demand are reshaping the global geopolitical economic power landscape -- from Russia, China and India -- to Angola, Nigeria, Venezuela, Norway -- and the United States. The world is witnessing a diffusion of power never seen before that will increasingly be the norm for the 21st century.

Events are overtaking governments as they swirl in wild gyrations around us. All too often, we mistakenly try to compartmentalize and isolate events and issues, and do not stop to consider how a series of events are interconnected and impact the world. No nation can affect these events acting alone. Unless nations work to shape, influence and guide the course of global events, events will shape themselves -- and the world, leading to an ever more dangerous planet.

The uncontrollable and combustible developments of the past few weeks present the reality of a world at an historic crossroads. This reality has forced some hopeful and positive recent events that can guide us to a new consensus in world affairs. Progress in North Korea as a result of the Group of Six working through a difficult and frustrating diplomatic-economic process appears to be bearing results -- Secretary Rice's recent meetings in Turkey to address the future of Iraq with its neighbors -- her meetings in the Middle East to establish a bold, breakthrough framework for a Middle East peace conference in the United States -- strong and encouraging comments by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas about the prospect for peace -- and the leaders of Turkey, France, and Germany here to confer with President Bush on the great challenges of our time. The world is moving toward a consensus of common interests.

We must not squander this moment."


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