English 302 (new rules revision req.)
September 1, 2012
Israel, Please Don’t Follow the Bush Doctrine
Iran appeared to increase their belligerence towards the international community by shutting down inspections of a rumored nuclear enrichment facility Friday the 24th of August, 2012 (Jahn). This led to apprehension spiking among interested parties, as did the information that the number of centrifuges located in Fordow is double what was previously reported (Torbati). Such a seemingly dramatic increase in confrontational activity, given the historical rhetoric of the rogue state towards Israel, show Iran to be an existential threat to the Jewish state, America, and its allies (Kessler).
However, empirical evidence that a nuclear-armed Iran can or will ever exist is weak and unsupported. No weapon is known to exist, no weapon is likely to exist soon, and no weapon, once (inconceivably) developed, can be delivered via ICBM by Iran in any meaningful timeframe. Current sanctions and other regulatory efforts are isolating Iran even from its allies. The “loose talk of war” is a strategy used by the American Right intended to paint the current administration as weak on foreign policy to spice up an exceedingly weak Republican nominee. Israel should avoid the Bush Doctrine of first strike.
In a Boston Review article, MIT professor Ted Postol stipulates that the “ideological assumption of the extreme right of the Republican party” is that there is a nation out there somewhere that can get a weapon of mass destruction, find a way to deliver it and then deliver it, all without America ever noticing. This nation does not care if it is destroyed, being so hell-bent on destroying Israel or America. It is a ridiculous notion that Israel feels threatened given America is its ally. Besides, this idea that Iran is incapable of rational action is without successful precedent (Postol).
Continuing, now speaking of dangerous men faced down by American might (Hitler, Mao, Stalin), Postol is unambiguous:
“They certainly showed a high degree of rationality with regard to the dangers these weapons posed, even though I don't think that many people would regard them as having been relatively gentle with their adversaries. So I don't really see a sudden emergent threat of this kind: a threat of an irrational political leader, who controls a state, does not care if the state is destroyed, has weapons of mass destruction, and the ability to put those weapons on ballistic missiles. And if you did come up against a threat of this kind, then you would have face the facts about feasibility.”
There is more than enough time for sanctions to continue-- six, maybe as long as eight years that start anew each day America and Israel maintains their vigilance. There is more than plenty of time for the current diplomatic agenda to continue pushing towards compliance those partners, allies and even American corporations that are working against Israel, America, and their joined interests. The Royal Bank of Scotland (an 82% taxpayer-owned British Bank) and Germany’s CommerzBank are both involved in current investigations; this willingness to cooperate with American authorities to discover and rectify any misdealing with Iran epitomizes American might (Scuffham and Gould).
China, impossible to understate in importance as a trading partner, is also making moves to skirt the more recent and tougher sanctions. From a New York Times article dated August 30th:
“Prosecutors say they have unearthed evidence in recent international money-transfer investigations that Chinese banks may have flouted United States sanctions against Iran. Now, as they investigate global banks suspected of funneling billions of dollars through their American branches to Iran and other sanctioned nations, the prosecutors are looking for transactions that could offer more information on the banks’ dealings with Iran” (Silver-Greenberg).
In February of this year, a “Bloomberg Markets investigation [has] found that Koch Industries -- in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East -- has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism” (Loder and Evans). It would do voters well to remember that the owners of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, have pledged in excess of $400 million to defeat the incumbent American President (Allen and Vandehei).
The stated goal of the American Right for this Presidential Election season is to smear President Obama as an ineffectual and unwise leader in foreign policy by describing separation between Israel and America where there truly is no daylight. Rachel Tabachnik, an author and expert on the impact of the Religious Right on foreign policy, says, “The U.S. population is war weary, but some Americans view Iran through the lens of End Times prophecy and believe that war with Iran is part of that timeline.” These are the voters Condoleezza Rice was likely reaching out to when, at the Republican National Convention, the former Secretary of State intimated that Barack Obama was “muting” America’s voice by not assigning military might to intervene in support of Israel. Former Bush advisor Karl Rove and current Romney senior advisor Ed Gillespie gave a strong admonition in March of this year that the best Republican hope to win the general election is a nationalistic campaign depicting the President as naïve or incompetent on foreign policy. The intensifying of rhetorical violence between perennial enemies, given the relative impossibility of a weapon existing or being delivered, is reasonably seen more as a campaign strategy and less a surfacing threat to America’s ally (Rove and Gillespie).
Nothing is as nationalistic than war-mongering, and rarely has it been so proudly on display as it was during Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech to delegates at the Republican National Convention Thursday night (“RNC 2012”). The would-be President took aggressive verbal swipes at Iran, China, and Putin too! The current President showed exceptional leadership in this area when he warned earlier this year that “loose talk of war” only serves to embolden Iran and their position (Cooper).
Eight former senior military officials took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post in March 2012, advising against military intervention in Iran (“Former”). Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey also has lobbied publicly and consistently for patience of the part of Israeli leaders. Romney, on the other hand, has surrounded himself with advisors split on the issue (Rogin). Voters will do wise to take this into consideration as well when discussing possible World War with their families, neighbors, and communities at large
No, Israel should not strike any suspected nuclear facility in Iran. Let America be exceptional, let America lead, let America continue leading through sanctions enforcement and promised military might. The threat America and her allies face is indeed a “muted voice” should Israel preemptively strike Iran.
Allen, Mike and Jim Vandehei. “GOP Group Plans Record $1 Billion Blitz.” Politico. Politico LLC, 30 May 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2012
Cooper, Helen. “‘Loose Talk Of War’ Only Helps Iran, Says President.” Middle East. The New York Times, 4 Mar. 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2012.
“Former Senior Military Officials Sign Full-page Ad Opposing ‘War Of Choice With Iran’.” Huff Post Iranathon. The Huffington Post.com, Inc., 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.
Jahn, George. “UN Agency Confirms Iran Expands Nuke Work and Shrouds Site, ‘Significantly’ Hampering Probe.” Newser. Associated Press, 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2012.
Kessler, Glenn. “Did Ahmadinejad Really Say Israel Should Be ‘Wiped Off The Map’?” The Fact Checker. The Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.
Loder, Asjylyn and David Evans. “Koch Brothers Flout Law Getting Richer With Secret Iran Sales.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg L.P., 3 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Aug. 2012.
Postel, Theodore. “What’s Wrong With Missile Defense: An Interview With Ted Postol” by Joshua Cohen. Boston Review, Oct/Nov. 2001. Web. 28 Aug. 2012.
Rice, Condoleezza. “2012 Republican National Convention.” Live Broadcast. MSNBC. 29 Aug. 2012. Television.
“RNC 2012: Mitt Romney Speech To GOP Convention (Full Text).” WP Politics. The Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2012.
Rogin, Josh. “Romney Advisors Disagree On Iran.” FP: Foreign Policy. The Washington Post Company, 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Aug. 2012.
Rove, Karl and Ed Gillespie. “How To Beat Obama.” FP: Foreign Policy. The Washington Post Company, Mar./Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Aug. 2012.
Scuffham, Matt and Jonathan Gould. “RBS, Commerzbank Drawn Into U.S. Iran Money Probe.” Reuters.com. Thomson Reuters, 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2012
Silver-Greenberg, Jessica. “Prosecutors Link Money From China To Iran.” Business Day. The New York Times, 29 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Aug. 2012.
Tabachnick, Rachel. Personal Interview. 30 Aug. 2012
Torbati, Yeganeh. “Iran Threatens Israel; New EU Sanctions Take Force.” Reuters.com. Thomson Reuters, 1 Jul. 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2012.