Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The policy of selectiveness

Following his visit to India & Pakistan " President George W Bush has indicated the US has dropped its staunch opposition to a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan. "
How generous of him especially when we recall that :"The US had previously stated it was "absolutely opposed" to the gas pipeline, even indicating Pakistan and India could face sanctions if the project got under way. "
So we realise that nothing is absolute and everything is possible since the US government still needs Pakistan as an 'ally' on terror in the region therefore we cannot be surprised at this about face from the previous stance, as it [ the US] needs to keep Pakistan a little bit happy and calm India's energy fears. You get treated with respect when you are a nuclear least that is what the layman sees.

"The $6bn project for the 2,600km (1,625 mile) pipeline will bring Iran revenue, Pakistan transit fees and India energy. "

Am I the only who finds it strange that the US even has a say on this matter? This pipeline is concerned with Iran, Pakistan and India right? It will run on their soil and not on the American continent....why oh why do 3 supposedly sovereign countries need approval to carry out a project from a 4th unrelated country unless there is something I have missed ( maybe they want the US to finance it in India and Pakistan?)...Would India have a say in any project that the US wishes to undertake in Canada or Mexico or even in New York ?


Non-Blogging Anonymous said...

Highlander, I interpret this in a slightly different way. The US (and any other country) can and has the right to have an opinion (for or against) on such issues, yet it doesn't mean that India, Pakistan and Iran would need US approval for such a project. The only case where I can think that approval would be needed would be if the US banned using US technology there because of US sanctions against Iran. I don't know if it's the case here. Someone else knows?

In case you're interested in reading what kind of idiocies economic sanctions can lead to, an example making every sensible person shake his/her head is this: .

So, having an opinion is not the same as having a say. For example, I do have an opinion on almost everything but unfortunately no say in almost anything LOL.


Anonymous said...

Some background info:

The Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) was a success, as far as Libya is concerned, because this country gave up WMDs and joined the ranks of the 'good guys' again.

While I perfectly understand that it will draw no sympathy for the US if they fiddle in contracts of three independant countries, I do think that it is worthwhile to isolate Iran. I hope very much that it will end like it ended with Libya, i.e. peaceful and everyone happy.

highlander said...

NBA , while I agree with you on the principle that a 'say' is different than 'approval', we must admit that the US govt usually acts as if it is not just an 'opinion' but really has the power ( and the right) to veto projects in 'sovereign' states. However, I must say that one is not really sovereign when one must accepts foreign aid right?

highlander said...

Anonymous 8.55 PM ,

your point is interesting but maybe you are mixing things here a little ?

I was not talking about sanctions here but about actually magnamiously 'allowing' Iran to have this pipeline because of Pakistan and India. Sort of dealing with the devil .....Approving this deal is not a sanction if I understood well. But maybe you could elaborate your idea for me .

Anonymous said...

The Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) forbids more than $20 million of investment in Iranian oil and gas projects. The violator can be deprived of US economic assistance and may also face sanctions.

(That is behind the link I had in my previous posting.)

So, in fact, this pipeline story is about isolating Iran. And this is why India & Pakistan were threatened with sanctions.

But I have very mixed feelings about sanctions, to be honest. Libya is the only positive example. Most other leaders rather preferred to have their population starved than to give in. Sactions do only work with leaders with some consideration for their people, and I am not quite sure that this is true for the current Iranian government.

NBA said...

Highlander, we seem to be both wrong. The US indeed does have a say here if you read the article linked by the anonymous reader. Nasty as it is, a sovereign state can decide whether it wants to trade with another one... as Libya has the right not to trade officially with Israel however stupid that is.

I'm quite much against economic and cultural (including sports) sanctions myself. Read the Cuban case I linked to. I'd laugh if it wasn't actually serious. How stupid can you get..? (Here I'm referring to the culprits in the article, Highlander, not you ;-))

The US is by far not the only country imposing sanctions and economic threats. Remember the recent, quite similar case of an energy pipeline between Russia and the Ukraine, for example. Russia is clearly trying to give its 'good' (read: obedient) neighbours better prices than for the 'bad' ones (and they have a long history of bullying among other the Baltics and Southern Caucasia). China tries to halt normal cooperation between the more or less democratic Taiwan and the rest of the world by its one China policy, and the world is really full of all kinds of threats. The behaviour of some Islamic countries during the recent cartoon clash was nothing but a nasty way of trying to interfere in other countries' internal matters by threats and harming their economies.

There's no really sovereign country in the globally connected world. Not only accepting foreign aid makes a country more vulnerable to lose a part of its sovereignty but also loaning from abroad. See the cases where a country is so much in debt that an outside country or financial institution can interfere in the countries' economic policies.

Unfortunately, the examples I know of countries which very hard tried to be 'sovereign' as of trying to avoid foreign aid and loans were catastrophes. If I'm right, Communist Albania (by far the most horrible Communist dictatorship in Europe after Stalin's death) didn't borrow from abroad, and in Romania, Ceausescu tried and if I'm right managed to pay all their foreign debt in a hasty timetable. Both cases led to tremendous suffering for their own citizens.

If the two cases above are the alternative to being in debt or receiving foreign aid, sad as it is, I'm ready to offer a part of my sovereignty.

gatorbait said...

Highland fling:-)

When did the sanctions originally go into effect vis a vis this pipeline?

The US is the economic big dog in this hunt and we can offer a great deal to help both India and Pakistand thrive and prosper. Most Americans like that idea. I know I do .

programmer craig said...

Hi Highlander,

You get treated with respect when you are a nuclear least that is what the layman sees.

I thought it was oil that caused countries to be treated with respect? :P

Imagine how much the world would respect Iran if it had nukes AND oil!? :O