Posted by Joshua on Friday, October 12th, 2007
Jimmy Carter calls Cheney a "disaster" for U.S and on "wrong side of debate on Syria."
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday denounced Vice President Dick Cheney as a "disaster" for the country and a "militant" who has had an excessive influence in setting foreign policy.
Cheney has been on the wrong side of the debate on many issues, including an internal White House discussion over Syria in which the vice president is thought to be pushing a tough approach, Carter said.
"He's a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world," Carter told the BBC World News America in an interview to air later on Wednesday.
"You know he's been a disaster for our country," Carter said. "I think he's been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he's prevailed."
In a newspaper interview in May, Carter called the Bush administration the "worst in history" in international relations.
Carter did have kind words in the BBC interview for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "I'm filled with admiration for Condoleezza Rice in standing up to (Cheney) which she did even when she was in the White House under President George W. Bush," Carter said, referring to Rice's former role as White House national security adviser.
"Now secretary of state, her influence is obviously greater than it was then and I hope she prevails," Carter added. © Copyright 2007 Reuters.
Forget victory in Iraq, go for stability "of all the parties involved, Syria is uniquely positioned to help bring it about"
By Joschka Fischer
The only way out of this dilemma is to set a reachable and realistic goal. Instead of victory, the goal must be a minimum of stability – and this still seems achievable. Indeed, a US military withdrawal from Iraq can be accomplished without causing a major regional catastrophe only if America manages to establish such minimal regional stability. What this requires is a sustainable consensus that includes all the parties involved.
… now the largest and most important power in the world is facing only bad options….
Iraq's future, if it still has any, will depend first and foremost on Iraqi Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds, and, secondly, on Iraq's neighbors and their interests and risk calculations. But even if Iraq does fall apart after US withdrawal, it will be of vital importance to contain the consequences of its disintegration within Iraq's own borders. This will require a regional consensus that only the US can bring about.
It is hard to understand why the US does so little to advance the goal of regional stabilization, especially since it still retains considerable leverage in this respect. As no regional power is strong enough to win a war of succession outright, all of these powers could only lose if a conflict ensues. Indeed, all will be threatened by internal destabilization as a consequence of such a confrontation.
Certainly, talks and conferences make little sense without a coherent policy. But with appropriate preparation, a regional solution is possible, and, of all the parties involved, Syria is uniquely positioned to help bring it about. Syria is the only Arab country allied with Iran, and, as Iraq's direct neighbor, it is crucial for Iraq's stabilization. Moreover, Lebanon's security and independence hinges on Syria, and Syria is one of the main actors in the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Finally, economically and politically, Syria is in a weak position and its interests are by no means congruent with those of Iran.
It's incomprehensible, then, why the US, having succeeded in striking a deal with Libya, vehemently rejects any initiative toward Syria. If Syria changed sides, the situation in the region would be fundamentally transformed. This would be true for Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq and, above all, Iran.
For Iran, this development would be tantamount to a strategic worst-case scenario, bringing about its definitive isolation. Should it become a realistic prospect, a decisive approach to Iran would make sense. The ensuing "grand bargain" should concern the stabilization of Iraq, Iran's nuclear program, and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If successful, the bargain should also aim at a total normalization of relations between Iran and the US.
To be sure, even a decisive regional strategy by the US and its Western partners will not stop terrorism and violence in Iraq or, indeed, in the Middle East overnight. But it would be a decisive first step toward changing the regional balance of power that would enable the stabilization of Iraq and the region as a whole. Only this can make a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq realistic in the foreseeable future. Continue…
Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, led
Open Democracy highlights these two articles:
- Ankara ready to act: With fifteen of its soldiers killed in the last two days by Kurdish rebel fighters – the worst loss of military life since 1995 in Ankara's struggle against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) – Turkey is more seriously considering an attack on PKK positions in northern Iraq. A bomb exploded at a ferry station in the outskirts of Istanbul, injuring several people. Similar blasts last week struck the port town of Izmir.
- Azerbaijan on board: Political analysts in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, suspect that a recent visit by a top CIA official was part of a wider White House strategy targeting Iran, the country's neighbour to the south.