Letter from the USA
US changes strategy on Iran?
Fazle Rashid from New York
BAFFLED and stunned by Iran's stubborn defiance of the calls from the world capitals to put a cap on its nuclear ambitions, United States is planning to incite dissidents for a regime change in Teheran. The State Department refuses to paint the move as a regime change or see it as meddling in the internal affairs of another country. The move is for the promotion of democracy.
The State Department is seeking an allocation of $75 million for what it said 'promote political change inside Iran by subsidising dissident groups, unions, students and the electronic media'. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice appearing before Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that the government has worked out plan to skip an US law that forbids providing financial assistance to Iran. The US fund will be directly channelised to groups working for changes in Iran. We will use this money to develop support networks for the Iranian reformers, political dissidents and human rights activists, the Secretary of State said. All these were reported by the New York Times on Thursday.
The State Department is requesting for $75 million in addition to $10 million already appropriated for promoting democracy in Iran. 'We are going to begin a new effort to support the aspirations of the Iranian people', Condi Rice said. The Pentagon and the Vice-President's office are said to have resigned to a nuclear-armed Iran and argue that the best way to wrangle the problem is by pressing for democracy and reforms in that country.
Among US measures will be upgrading American broadcast in Iran via Voice of America and tap any Persian language TV network to carry on propaganda. The break-up of the US fund is as follows; $25 million will go to dissidents, labour unions and human rights activists, $50 million for 24-hour TV programmes in Persian, $5.0 million for helping Iranian students to study in US or any other West European nation and $5.0 million for setting up Internet sites.
The White House has requested for an additional allocation of $72.4 billion to meet operational expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan. The additional fund will bring the total price tag for Iraq and Afghanistan missions to almost $400 billion.
Pakistan's ties with the US is not as cozy and comfortable as many tend to think. Pakistan is America's strongest ally in later's war against terrorism. The United States have strong presence in Pakistan. Yet, media here in the US are suspicious about Pakistan's real intentions.
Pakistan was squarely blamed for helping and engineering the recent spates of bomb attacks inside Afghanistan. The United States will take on any country that does not toe the Washington line.
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Using unusually strong language the Bush administration said it would exert more pressure on China to adhere to global trade rules. The US trade deficit with China galloped to a staggering $201.6 billion in 2005. Free trade has played a havoc to the US labour market. The shift of production to lower wage countries like China has resulted in the loss of American jobs. The office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is devising means to force China to go with the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The pace of outsourcing the job is gathering momentum. A recent study said more and more research work at corporations will be sent to fast growing economies with strong education system like China. About 38 per cent of the 200 multinational companies that came under the study said they plan to change substantially the worldwide distribution of their research and development work over the next three years with booming market of China. Lower wage is not the only reason for outsourcing. It is a major factor but more attractive is the tax incentives.