Beyond the Cusp

September 19, 2012

Iran, Obama and Inertia

There have been countless articles and discussions about President Obama, the Ayatollahs, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Israel, and Prime Minister Netanyahu. There are numerous predictions and explanations and we may as well jump in as well. The real standoff that is the most important has almost nothing to do with the Iranian Ayatollahs or President Ahmadinejad but between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and largely United States President Obama and the Europeans whose passive approach is due to their almost psychotic avoidance of the use of force and their lack of significant military options being available. The world may as well just tell the Europeans that their assistance will not be required unless they care to demand a part in any actions which may become necessary and allow them to take a seat and leave the discussion. That leaves the only two forces which have an option beyond talking the problem to death, Israel and the United States. So, where do these two sides stand going forward, especially concerning the plan for preventing the Iranians achieving nuclear weapons capability which both leaders have stated publicly they will definitely not allow.

Determining Israeli Prime minister Netanyahu’s position is pretty straight forward; he has stated that an Iranian nuclear weapon is an existential threat to the continued existence of the nation and the people of Israel. His position is actually supported by the Iranian Ayatollahs and President Ahmadinejad who all have stated on numerous occasions that they mean to develop any and all weaponry necessary for them to annihilate all of Israel and then continue on to finish the job of killing every Jew on Earth. The one statement heard in reference to the Iranian threats which rings true, unfortunate but true, has been that when anybody threatens to kill Jews, any Jews, it is best to take them at their word and then move Heaven and Earth to prevent their efforts. What is also true is that one of the founding ideas about Israel to Jews, and especially Zionists, is that finally there will be a nation which will fight the fight when it becomes necessary to save the Jews from the next Holocaust. No other country would or will make that promise and keep it for all time, and that is something every Israeli knows deep in their hearts. Israel is the hope that Jews in the Diaspora look to when things turn bad and they are in need of saving. This was true for the Jews who survived the Holocaust in Europe, true for the refusenik Jews of the Soviet Union, true for the Jews when they were being set upon in Ethiopia, true for Jews for the many centuries since the Roman dispersion of the Jewish people in an attempt to end their existence for all time, and will remain true for every Jew anywhere who is facing threats of any nature. This is part of the responsibility which Netanyahu and many other of the Israeli leadership are extremely aware and it is an intricate and vital piece of the puzzle.

President Obama is not as personally involved or attached in any visceral means to the Iranian situation. His position is not even as deep as it may have been to numerous other Presidents of the United States as he does not consider the United States to be the defender of freedom and liberty or as the country which has a responsibility to lead from the fore. To President Obama the situation with Iran is predominantly an Israeli problem first and only remotely a direct threat to the United States. The only challenge Iran poses to the United States is should they gain ascendancy in the Middle East they would have control over much of the world’s oil reserves which would pose to inflict economic uncertainty for much of the world and especially Europe and thus the United States. President Obama is also in the unenviable position of having to support Israel as well as the other Middle East countries such as Saudi Arabia and the members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) which all feel some degree of threat from a nuclear armed Iran. President Obama is also facing some pressures from the American public to take whatever actions may be necessary to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear weapons, especially in reference to Iran and the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad. The pressure from these voters has to be tempered with the fact that the majority of these people are not his supporters and thus can be slighted as long as President Obama can speak the part and give those supporters who need reassurance that he understands their concerns, even if he has little intention of ever taking actions. From all appearances, President Obama has one overriding concern vis-à-vis Iran and the entire Middle East, push it off until after the elections in November. Beyond the election, it is difficult to measure President Obama concerning the entire issue as one has to also measure how much of his bristling is due to his dislike of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and how much of his reluctance is due to his innate abhorrence to taking action without exhausting every possible angle and option first. The problem with President Obama’s avoidance to commit to a military option is that Iran will not slow down come anything short of being forced and left absolutely no other option. From appearances, that is going to take the same kind of resolve that was required to put an end to the piracy by the Ottoman Barbary Pirates, but then President Obama is no Thomas Jefferson.

What everybody wants to know is what will happen going forward and there are likely as many scenarios out there as there are articles, so no predictions this article, just probabilities. As things stand at the moment, President Obama will go to whatever lengths it takes to submarine the Israelis in any attack they may plan on implementing. This has already become established fact and was made obvious by the numerous leaks from members of the Obama administration that have revealed any plans or preparations the Israelis have made. So, if the Israelis are going to take any action of any sort, one can bet that there will be no notification made to the United States out of necessity. The only possible indication that the Israelis may be considering an attack would be the still calm and quiet that often comes before a storm. Most people would say that the first sign that the United States would take military actions to end the Iranian nuclear program would be the election of somebody other than Obama as President in November. Actually, there is another case which may trigger the United States to take military action, the infamous October surprise that many political commentators keep claiming is to be expected every single Presidential election cycle. There is the possibility that should President Obama find he is losing measurable support, the election doubts are reaching desperation levels and the Iran issue has risen to the point of near boiling, then President Obama might come to the conclusion which has been beaten to death over the years, that the United States always rallies to the support of a President at war. Thus, President Obama and his advisors might decide to take the military option off the table and place the blame squarely with the Iranian Ayatollahs and President Ahmadinejad who were willing to sacrifice their nation and people in an insane race to make weapons of mass destruction with intent to actually use them. Reelection may not be the best of reasons for attacking the Iranians and destroying their nuclear weapons program, but then many might believe that any excuse is better than taking no action and allowing Iran to attain nuclear weapons capabilities. What the question should be is whether the actions taken were sufficient to assure that Iran not only does not attain nuclear weapons capability in the near turn, but that there has also been a change in the views of the Iranian leaders to not pursue nuclear weapons any time in the future. If reaching that goal means a new government in Iran, then removing the current leadership should be included as one of the goals. There is no needs to nation build, simply allow for any remaining leadership from the election demonstrations in 2009 to form an interim government and allow for elections and new governance. As much as I despise the United Nations, this would actually be one of the reasons that that organization was formed, but perhaps it might be prudent to have some combination of NATO and the United Nations to work together to assure the elections and formation of new governance is carried out fairly and without any corruptions. The one result that must be prevented is a nuclear armed Iran which would use their nuclear threat to protect their surrogate terrorist entities and loose them on the world, particularly Israel, the United States, Europe, the other Western nations and eventually Asia and possibly any country not under Islamic rule, possibly even any country not under Shiite Muslim rule. That is what is at stake here at the worst of options. The other result almost as equally foreboding would be a Middle East replete with numerous nuclear powered nations bristling and threatening each other and the rest of the world. So many evilly bad things start with a nuclear armed Iran that it boggles the mind with a fright of an unknown that can only produce evils.

Beyond the Cusp

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