Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Is Obama risking a world war?
By Bill Wilson
Firing a broad shot at Iran, Barack Obama on Feb. 6 issued an executive order freezing Iranian assets in the United States, including those of its central bank, enforcing provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The move comes atop a third carrier group being sent to the Persian Gulf after Iran threatened to blockade the Strait of Hormuz if the U.S. imposed more sanctions over its nuclear program.
The NDAA also authorizes Obama to implement sanctions against financial transactions for oil purchases from Iran. The move to freeze financial assets indicates that Obama is preparing to implement an oil embargo on Iran, as the current action applies to state-owned oil companies. Adding to the escalation, the European Union has already voted to impose an oil embargo against Iran.
The moves are designed to deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear program. They do not appear to be working.
Shortly after the Europeans enacted their embargo, Iranian oil minister Rostam Qasemi told reporters “We will not abandon our just nuclear course, even if we cannot sell one drop of oil.”
And in a move to dodge the sanctions, India has reportedly agreed to pay for Iranian oil with gold, with China expected to follow suit. Instead of isolating Iran, it appears the sanctions are pushing the state closer to her top trading partners.
The episode harkens back to the breakdown of U.S.-Japanese relations leading to America’s entry into World War II. Then, in July 1941, the U.S. imposed an embargo on oil shipments to Japan, which was 90 percent dependent on imports. By December, Japan had attacked the nation at Pearl Harbor, and U.S. involvement in the war was assured.
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