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Are We Even Sanctioning The Right Country?

March 30, 2012

It’s fair to say that the American people are fed up with war. After a decade of wars which frankly haven’t been as rewarding as some might have hoped, the last thing any politician should be clamoring for is more military action.

But if there is any sacred US policy position that could goad us into another military adventure, it would be the need to defend Israel at nearly any cost. This is especially true if her aggressor is Iran. (Boo! Hiss!)

Of course, since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has previously threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, (except that he didn’t say that),  those nuclear weapons they’ve got, or will have very soon, represent a real threat to the State of Israel, right? Let’s just see what President Obama has to say:

our assessment, which is shared by the Israelis, is that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt.

… And the only way, historically, that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. ( Jeffrey Goldberg- The Atlantic, emphasis mine)

Nonetheless, the US and United Nations have imposed sanctions on Iran to apply pressure to help them arrive at that conclusion. However, if you put any stock in the pronouncement of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that decision has already been made:  “holding these arms is a sin as well as useless, harmful and dangerous”.

As Peter Certo over at Foreign Policy in Focus says:

By its own assessment, then, the United States is sanctioning Iran over a nuclear weapons program that neither the Mossad nor the CIA nor the president of the United States himself believes to exist. And they’ve repeatedly promised military action if the sanctions “fail” to make Iran give up a program that no one believes it has in the first place!

Just so we’re clear, these sanctions hurt the Iranian people (you know, the very people we rally behind and cheer for as they struggle against an oppressive regime?) As sanctions mount (and the US continues to press for even more), it’s the Iranian public who are being crushed by soaring prices and a collapsing currency.

So what’s up? Despite the fact that there are plenty of US politicians who would dearly love to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran“, I don’t believe this to be true of the Obama administration. Certainly, were I just a tad more cynical, the case could be made that these sanctions, which will inevitably fail, are nothing more than a pretext to war. But I’m not buying that. If G.W.  were still in the White House, then it might be a different story. Obama, on the other hand, talks tough because he has to. (All Democrats have to , to combat that whole ‘wimpy Dem’ thing.)

The only real explanation is that the US is pushing sanctions against Iran merely to placate Israel. (Where Prime Minister Bibi Nettanyahu is practically drooling to attack Iran.) Peter Certo again:

According to the president, then, the primary purpose of U.S. sanctions on Iran is to persuade Israel that both the United States and the international community are committed to Israel’s security—and, therefore, that there’s no need for Israel to do something rash like unilaterally attacking Iran.

Put another way, Obama is sanctioning Iran to influence Israel’s behavior. One could almost forgive Iran for feeling a little burned up about it. (emphasis mine)

Sorry, Iranians – but we’ve got this diplomacy thing figured out.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2012 5:34 pm

    we should bomb Israel and Larijani has clfraiied that it is not our policy and certainly not militarily. What he meant was that the good will prevail on evil in the end. This is a Shiite Islam worldview and is not literal nor is it immediate. The shiite Imams were killed centuries ago and the Shiite Islam is still in hope of eventual victory over those who have usurped their rule. However, the nuclear technology is of far more strategic importance without even being used for weapon development. Iran has no nuclear weapons and it is agreed among experts that they are not yet building weapons. The point is that I feel that the question of weapon development will never become crucial as we are going to be bombed far before the capabality is matured.So the whole point is? Well, everyone can form his or her opinion on why a counry chooses to go down the road to destruction. It is not easy to figure this out and it needs considerable knowledge about the world and most importantly about the people who live in this world. I have formed my own ideas.In my current old age there are very few things that can impress me, but still it is pleasantly interesting to be treated to kind words, good cop,,, you know what, it is the right thing to do, just like the war itself.

  2. March 30, 2012 2:09 pm

    I agree with the assessment, the people would and have suffered more than the government and are victims of feudalism.

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