Purveyors of realpolitik believe that nations are not moral agents and use any means to achieve their national interest. The United States has done this from the Louisiana purchase, Manifest Destiny, Monroe Doctrine, Mexican War, Hawaii annexation, Spanish American War, overthrowing legitimate governments in Congo, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and many countries of the Caribbean, Central and South America.
Its current wars and occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo and support for corrupt and despotic regimes in Saudi Arabia, other Arab dictatorships, Pakistan, Georgia, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are flimsy humanitarian pretexts for controlling oil and gas supplies, pipelines and transit routes by which it has a dominant constricting grip encircling the throat of Japan, Western Europe, South Korea, Southeast Asia, India and to a lesser extent even China.
Obama’s emphasis on an inclusive foreign and domestic policy is idle talk like Bush’s democracy enhancing policy. He has no intention of closing Guantanamo, abandoning rendition, stopping illegal wiretapping or support for the thieving tyrants of Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Jordan, as long as they toe his line; or reining in the crooked domestic banksters, Wall Street crowd or the health barons to help the desperate oppressed of those nations or the citizens of America. His foreign policy may be justifiable in the interest of the nation up to a point, but his total capitulation to Netanyahu’s continued increase in West Bank settlements and lack of humanitarian concern for the Palestinian suffering is detrimental to America’s future and welfare.
It leads to omission of Israeli nuclear weapons and implicit support of its occupation and expansionary policy. Israel’s role as the Amercican gendarme in the Middle East and the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco as imperial lackeys, fuels and fans the flame of fanatic Islamic terrorism. Bush exploited the fears and paranoia of the American public to ruin the nation and Obama seems to be incapable of extricating himself from the trap. Bin Laden used American obsessive fear to expel the US from Saudi Arabia and his cunning scheme to expel it from the entire Middle East is on the road to success. Robert Baer, a CIA official with considerable knowledge and experience of the area has recommended making up with Iran and using its location, population size and Shia denomination to make it an ally and use its historical dominance in the region to promote US interests.
Domestic campaign finance constraints, a strong Israeli lobby and the craven nature of the US Congress and presidents leaves America hamstrung. Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have written extensively on the subject and how this policy is neither in America’s, nor in Israel’s interest. Israel’s security, existence and pre-1967 boundaries must be guaranteed, but not its expansionism or apartheid behavior. As to the Congress and presidents, Mark Twain said that the only native criminal class in the US is the Congress and Truman when opposed by the foreign policy mavens in his support for Israel, is said to have quipped that he was not concerned about the Arab vote in the coming American election, implying that he was concerned about the Jewish vote.
Iran’s Ayatollah’s are shrewd and not idiots like the leaders of India. They are proud of their history and desire their rightful place in their region and in history by their own strength and not while being strung up like the Indian and Pakistani puppets. One can never fathom Iran’s unstated and real intentions, but so far including the most recently discovered new enrichment facility, they have scrupulously (not necessarily openly) acted within the letter of the law and IAEA statutes. US worries are justified that a nuclear Iran may and will lead to a nuclear Egypt and Saudi Arabia and loss of US and Israeli hegemony, but the time for US to build or reinforce the levies was before the hurricane struck.
The two options now available are further sanctions and military attack. Sanctions generally don’t work and cause severe effects on the ordinary population and not the powerful elite. Gasoline sanctions are unlikely to work. Supine and slavishly obedient India has stopped selling refined petroleum products to Iran and ceded a new market to China, a nation with a backbone, unlike India. Thus China and Russia may still not go along with more, tighter or punitive sanctions. They see a wounded America and will push their advantage to usher in a multipolar world just like the G20 replaced the G7. If they do go along with sanctions, they will still increase their arms sales to Iran (S300 air defense system and MiG-29s from Russia and anti-ship missiles like the one used by Hezbollah to sink an Israeli patrol boat in the 2006 Lebanese war, from China). It is payback time for Russia for the Stinger missiles that the US provided to the Afghan mujahedeen during Soviet occupation. Iran will import gasoline from its friendly neighbor Shia government in Iraq or smuggling along the Turkish border.
If the US or Israel bomb Iran, it is sure to retaliate by obstructing the oil traffic through the Strait of Hormuz and showering missiles on the oil terminals of eastern Saudi Arabia to send oil prices to the stratosphere and the world economy and the US dollar in to a free fall with bankrupting of the US. It will step up the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq increasing US war expenditure and US casualties. Iranian youth and even children walked through minefields with a wooden key to heaven during the Iran Iraq war. In asymmetric warfare it is difficult, if not impossible to defeat suicide bombers prepared to die. This unfortunately makes Obama’s tough talk as idle bravado, previously designated by the criminal Mao as the silent roar of a paper tiger.
Obama just loves to talk and leaves thinking and sense behind. He is already in a mess by labeling Afghanistan a war of necessity and asking McChrystal for a military strategy. The general wants 40,000 extra troops and his counterinsurgency strategy would require 200,000 more to bring the total, including the Afghan army and police to 600,000 as prescribed by his COIN manual (Rory Stewart on Bill Moyers PBS show). A majority of the US public wants to wind down all wars. Like any politician whose only interest is in being reelected, Obama will abandon the wars before the next midterm elections like he abandoned the public option in the health plan.
Finally, Obama’s plea for abolishing nuclear weapons in the melodrama of presiding over the UN Security Council, reminds me of an old Irish joke. Pat hated Mike but was otherwise devout. Apparently God came to him in a vision and granted him one wish as long as Pat understood that whatever was granted to him, Mike would get the double of that. The charitable and saintly Pat, like Obama, then said to God, “If Mike is to get twice of what I get, then O God, please take away one eye, one ear, one hand, one leg, one testicle and half my nuclear weapons from me and double that from Mike, just to be fair”.