FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Netanyahu and the War Mongers

by SHELDON RICHMAN

The best way to keep Iran from building a nuclear bomb is for the Obama administration and its nuclear client Israel to stop threatening the Islamic Republic.

Look at recent history. In 2003 Iraq’s government had no nuclear weapons (or other WMD). The U.S. government invaded, and before long Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hanging from a rope. In 2011 Libya’s government had no nuclear weapons. The U.S. government led NATO on a bombing campaign to help a group of rebels, and before long Libyan Col. Muammar Qaddafi lay dead on a roadside. Today Syria has no nuclear weapons. The U.S. government and NATO are currently aiding rebels seeking to overthrow (and likely kill) President Bashar al-Assad.

On the other hand, North Korea has nuclear weapons, and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un appears safe from any regime change sponsored by the U.S. government and NATO.

Lesson for foreign leaders who are in the doghouse with the U.S. government: Get a nuke.

Therefore it follows that not threatening a foreign regime is a good way to keep it from following the yellowcake road. And it sure beats threatening war, which all too easily can become actual war.

Iran is not building a bomb. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies have said so repeatedly. The Islamic Republic, unlike Israel, is a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is thus subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, the Islamic regime long ago issued a fatwa, invoked many times since, condemning WMD as immoral.

Furthermore, a nuke would be useless as an offensive weapon for Iran. (Iran has not attacked another nation in hundreds of years, but it was attacked by U.S.-backed Iraq in 1980.) Israel has an arsenal of at least 200 nuclear warheads, some mounted on submarines for a second-strike capability. The U.S. government has thousands. Say what you want about the Iranian leadership, but it is not suicidal.

Thus, the only value for Iran in having a nuclear weapon would be in deterring an attack. Stop threatening an attack, and that value vanishes.

Why then do President Obama and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, refuse to take war against the Iranian people off the table? The Israeli government wants to prevent any change that would limit its freedom of action in the region — which has included repeated mass violence against the Palestinians and the Lebanese — and the U.S. government, largely for domestic political reasons, backs Israel to the hilt. President Obama and Vice-President Biden are only the latest American politicians to declare that “no daylight” exists between the United States and Israel — despite the absurdity of that claim.

In fact, the American people and the Israeli government have entirely different interests with respect to Iran. Americans have no interest whatever in war with Iran. Countless noncombatants, not to mention U.S. military personnel, would be killed or maimed, and economic well-being would be shaken by the disruption of oil production and trade. This wouldn’t be good for the people of Israel either, although their hawkish ruling elite and its boosters in America, including in Congress, apparently think otherwise.

It’s more and more obvious that this issue isn’t really about nuclear weapons at all. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is trying to reassure the West and Israel about its civilian nuclear program. (This is not the first time.) His foreign minister is meeting with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) in order to strike an agreement that would include lifting the economic sanctions — a form of warfare under international law — which deprive innocent Iranians of food and medicine. Progress in the talks had been reported, but France, with Israeli backing, reportedly threw up roadblocks, among other reasons, due to a conflict of interest, namely, its lucrative military ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia (the U.S.-allied Sunni kingdom that is a rival of Shiite Iran).

But perhaps more important, the Obama administration made an interim agreementunacceptable to Iran by refusing to recognize its prerogative under the NPT to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. (In this video interview, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes tells NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Iran has no “right to enrich” uranium even to produce electricity — a deal breaker for the Iranian government.)

Despite early signs of progress in the negotiations, Netanyahu and his biggest supporters in Congress want even more sanctions, as they talk down the potential for a peaceful settlement. One gets the feeling that they will never take yes for an answer to the question of nuclear weapons; they want war and regime change, no matter what the Iranian government does.

The warmongers must be thwarted. Peace is the priority.

Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).

 
More articles by:

Sheldon Richman, author of America’s Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail