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Warrior Netanyahu and Worrier Obama

Israelis assert the United States should not wait for Iran to decide on building a
nuclear weapon before it considers military action. Dan Meridor, deputy Israeli
prime minister, says: When is the point at which it should be stopped? Just when the
bomb is assembled on the tip of the missile and is ready for launch? This demands
clarification, to my mind, to make clear that even an Iran that is a decision away
from nuclear weaponry, be it within days or weeks, is a nuclear-armed Iran. Iran
could reach stage of nuclear development which would allow it to make a warhead
quickly years in the future when the world's guard was down.
Hermann Goering used to say the people don't want war, but they can always be
brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them
they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for
exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
Netanyahu is pushing not only for Obama's acceptance of whatever action Israel
decides to take but for stronger language against Iran that goes beyond the
all-options-are-on-the table mantra. But Obama has been working to convince
Netanyahu that a go-it-alone attack would cause only a temporary setback to Tehran's
nuclear ambitions while plunging the already-volatile Middle East into chaos. An
explicit American military threat would be counterproductive right now, especially
due to the potential for further spikes in global oil prices.
Netanyahu hints he will resort to war unless Uncle Sam gives Iran an ultimatum on
curbing its uranium enrichment program, but Obama rebuffs Netanyahu's warmongering.
Meridor praises Obama for his insistence that he will not allow Iran to get nuclear
arms, but he asserts that such shows of resolve must be emphasized.
Netanyahu will not go as far as providing assurances that Israel will consult
Washington - its biggest source of military assistance, before launching any strikes
on Iran, which has called for the destruction of the Jewish state. Anyone who thinks
that Israel is not going to make its own decision, particularly on an issue they
view in existential terms, is kidding himself.
Israelis see the window of opportunity to strike Iran closing as it digs in and
defends its facilities. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak accuses Iran of pursuing
a strategy that would allow it to build a bomb at 60 days' notice. Netanyahu says: I
think the question is when the crucial stage is passed beyond which you will be
hard-pressed to stop Iran from assembling a nuclear bomb.
The noise from Israel over a possible strike is geared more toward pressuring the
international community for further sanctions than foreshadowing an imminent attack
on Iran. Netanyahu would prefer to see a Republican take control of the White House
in 2013 for fear that Obama's re-election would give him a freer hand to push anew
for Israeli concessions to the Palestinians during a second term.
Ron Paul points out that many people have the misconception that sanctions are an
effective means to encourage a change of behavior in another country without war.
However, imposing sanctions and blockades are not only an act of war according to
international law, they are most often the first step toward a real war starting
with a bombing campaign. Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and
Libya, and now more sanctions planned against Syria and Iran are leading down the
same destructive path.
According to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has every right to develop
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Unfortunately, US foreign policy has boxed
Iran into a corner where they may view development of a nuclear weapon as the only
way to maintain sovereignty. They are surrounded by unfriendly nuclear powers and
history has shown that having a nuclear weapon is the best way to avoid being bombed
or invaded. The unintended consequences of our confrontational policies toward Iran
may be to actually encourage them to seek nuclear weapons capabilities. We should be
using diplomacy rather than threats and hostility.
Michael Scheuer points out Washington, Tel Aviv, and London are
already conducting a lethal, covert-action war inside Iran which is killing
Iranian nuclear scientists and destroying nuclear-related facilities, as well as
trying to goad Tehran into reacting with violence and thereby give the West a
casus belli.
Such a war would be a financial and military disaster for the
United States, and would be watched with glee by Russian and Chinese leaders who
? while their countries would lose some trade with Iran during a war ? would
applaud another U.S. self-inflicted wound which further erodes the already
failing economy that is the base of American power.
Moreover, if U.S. political leaders would not permit the U.S. military to defeat
Afghan and Iraqi mujahedin armed with Korean War-vintage weapons, they surely will
not allow the military to defeat a much better armed nation-state like Iran. Thus we
would have yet another politically imposed defeat for the U.S. military.
Ron Paul notes that fortunately there is another way. Nothing promotes peace better
than free trade. Countries that trade with each other generally do not make war on
each other, as both countries gain economic benefits they do not want to jeopardize.
China is a massive nuclear power yet it does not seek military confrontation with
the United States. Trade is much more profitable. Also trade and friendship applies
much more effective persuasion to encourage better behavior, as does leading by
example. Alarmingly, tough new sanctions are under consideration that would also
punish Iran's trading partners, including China, Russia, and possibly our NATO
allies such as Germany.
Conversely, sanctions allow regimes to blame their shortcomings on foreigners,
thereby maintaining a hold on power. They rarely even inconvenience elites in the
target countries. They simply provide a common enemy to rally the people against and
undermine internal dissent. Consider how well the embargo has worked against Cuba.
Fidel Castro and his regime may be annoyed by the inability to trade with their
neighbors just 90 miles away, but American businessmen also lose out in the bargain.
That means less jobs and less freedom at home.
Ron Paul is clear about this: sanctions against Iran are definite steps toward a US
attack. Already we see US warships approaching the region, moving dangerously close.
The tougher sanctions currently under consideration would disrupt global trade and
undermine the US economy, which in turn harms our national security. Foreign
companies or foreign subsidiaries of US companies would be severely punished if they
did not submit to the US trade embargo on Iran. We must change our foreign policy to
one of economic freedom and diplomacy. That is the only way to promote peace and
prosperity. This race to war against Iran and Syria is both foolhardy and dangerous.
Published inCapitalismGlobal IssuesGovernanceImperialismpoliticsUSAWar

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