Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey gave an interview to CNN yesterday. No surprise that he said an attack on Iran would be "destabilizing," "imprudent," and fail to achieve "long term goals." We know the US administration is against a military attack.
But then he declared, “We are of the opinion that Iran is a rational actor...."
Come on! Can the top military man in the US, along with his cohorts, military and civilian, really believe this? Have they totally ignored all of the experts who attest to the irrationality of the Iranian leadership, which founds its actions on fervent Islamic fundamentalism? The analysts who proclaim Iran exceedingly dangerous precisely because its leaders are not rational?
Just days ago I wrote a piece on Islamic ideology (http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/17/islamists-for-palestine/), in which I quoted the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Following years of exile, he had returned triumphantly to Iran, in 1979, when the Shah was overthrown. Shortly thereafter, he declared, "I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke. We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah."
This perspective is "rational" if the global spread of Islam is the ultimate goal. And only if. It would accept an economically weakened Iran (with its suffering people promoted as "martyrs") as long as it were possible to secure the bomb that would advance Islamic hegemony in the world.
But this is not the "rational" that Dempsey had in mind. He was alluding, most certainly, to a logical national self-interest that would convince the Iranians that it's too damaging to the country, because of the impoverishment being imposed upon it by sanctions, to continue to pursue the bomb. But we see no sign of this, in spite of the increasing deprivation. As of now, they are defiantly continuing their nuclear pursuit in spite of everything. Because the caliphate and shari'a (Islamic law) trump nationalism.
Short of a military attack, only a stringency in sanctions well beyond what the world has been willing to impose is likely to have the effect of stopping Iranian nuclear development. A stringency that would bring Iran to its knees and render it unable to function, or bring it to the cusp of successful revolution. But consider... Not only are China and Russia resistant. Such an ally of Israel as India continues, as I write, to receive Iranian oil and to trade in commodities such as rice.
On the other hand, Dempsey may really know better, but may be espousing this position to bolster the argument that Israel should not hit Iran. If this is the case, I would suggest that Dempsey and company are also irrational.
Dempsey further said:
"We also know, or we believe we know, that the Iranian regime has not decided to make a nuclear weapon."
"...we believe we know..." Interesting. A Freudian slip? Seems he's admitting that what they "know" is based more on wishful thinking than hard Intelligence.
In any event, he's skirting the main point: The prevailing opinion among experts is that Iran is working to have the capability to build a weapon, so that when its leaders decide to do so, they can achieve this goal speedily. Whether the Iranians have yet decided becomes moot. For it is surely not prudent -- not "rational" -- to allow Iran to reach that point of having the capacity, in the expectation that they can be coerced or convinced never to actually develop a weapon. That would constitute very foolish risk-taking.
The greater wisdom would be to ascertain that a religiously fervent Iran, which espouses values antithetical to all the West stands for, does not achieve that capability.
US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has arrived here in Israel and will be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening. The major subject on the agenda, quite obviously, is Iran -- with all possible pressure to be brought to bear on us.
In his interview yesterday, Dempsey acknowledged, "I wouldn’t suggest, sitting here today, that we’ve persuaded them [the Israelis] that our view is the correct view and that they are acting in an ill-advised fashion." To that I say, Baruch Hashem, and may we ever remain strong. But obviously Donilon's task is to try to convince us that the US is correct.
The White House released a statement regarding the visit of Donilon, claiming it was "part of our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security."
Nor is this the end of on-going US delusions:
Over a year ago, Iran conducted ultimately fruitless negotiations with the international group known as P5+1 -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US. The talks broke down in January 2011. In October 2011, the EU reached out to Iran in an attempt to restart negotiations.
Now, four months later, on February 14, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, responded in a letter to the EU’s foreign policy head, Catherine Ashton:
“We voice our readiness for dialogue on a spectrum of various issues which can provide ground for constructive and forward-looking cooperation,” said the letter, according to a translation on Bloomberg. Talks on the nuclear issue, which should begin as soon as possible, in a mutually acceptable venue, should be approached "on step-by-step principles and reciprocity..."
Yesterday, after meeting with Ashton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a press conference at which she said, "We think this is an important step and we welcome the letter."
Thus we see that the top foreign affairs official in the US may actually believe that Iran might be brought, via negotiations, to a place of ceasing its nuclear development. Or else, adopting Obama's line for pragmatic internal political reasons, may pretend to believe it.
In any event, not a good scene. Surely Clinton knows that all previous "negotiations" with Iran were utilized by its regime as a method for buying time while proceeding with nuclear development.
And what sort of "reciprocity" does she imagine they are seeking?
Just days ago, Iran threatened to cut off all oil supplies to Spain, France, the Netherlands, Greece, and Portugal. This is not exactly a sign that a chastened Iran is becoming more conciliatory -- as the recipients of the letter from Iran would like to imagine. Rather, this is a sign of a somewhat beleaguered Iran showing defiance and determination to fight back. It is likely not an accident that the letter was preceded by the threats. The "constructive cooperation" alluded to in that letter may be a veiled reference to this mind set.
Clinton and Ashton may convince themselves that the letter signals that sanctions are working and thus Iranians are prepared to talk about curtailing their nuclear program. I would suggest that sanctions are causing Iran to hurt and so its leaders are amenable, at best, to the ploy of holding talks in order to curry Western favor, forestall further damage and secure time.
It is possible that neither Ashton nor Clinton is familiar with taqiyya -- the Islamic principle of lying or deception in certain circumstances, sanctioned by the Koran.
As Raymond Ibrahim writing in the Middle East Quarterly in 2010 described it:
"Regarding Qur'an 3:28, Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), [a] prime authority on the Qur'an, writes,
'Whoever at any time or place fears … evil [from non-Muslims] may protect himself through outward show.'
As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's close companion Abu Darda, who said,
'Let us grin in the face of some people while our hearts curse them.'
Westerners, to the detriment or their interests, have trouble wrapping their heads around this.
While we are on the subject of the Obama administration, we have this from the new Internet source, The Times of Israel, founded by David Horovitz, recently editor of the JPost:
"The Obama administration formally announced its intention to ask Congress to waive a ban on funding UNESCO over its recognition of Palestinian statehood.
"'The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the US assessed contributions to UNESCO,' says a footnote in the budget that the White House submitted to Congress this month.
"The footnote was quoted in a press release issued Wednesday by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, who says she plans to oppose such a waiver...
"US funding for UNESCO, the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization, was stopped late last year because of laws banning US funding of any international organization that recognizes Palestinian statehood in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel.
"The Palestinians launched a bid last year to achieve statehood recognition through the UN and its affiliates.
"The bid’s virtually only success was with UNESCO, which granted the Palestinians membership. But after the US stopped funding for the body, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned against Palestinian efforts to push for recognition in other UN bodies.
"At the time, State Department officials had suggested they would seek a waiver on the funding ban.
"Ros-Lehtinen said that waiving the provision could start the statehood ball rolling again.
"'Any effort to walk back this funding cutoff will pave the way for the Palestinian leadership’s unilateral statehood scheme to drive on, and sends a disastrous message that the US will fund UN bodies no matter what irresponsible decisions they make,' she said in a statement."
http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-seeks-waiver-to-unesco-funding-ban/ (Thanks to Chana G.)
What was that about Obama as the most pro-Israel president ever?
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.