Monday, January 16, 2012

Seize the Moment

I believe President Obama has a rare opportunity to “seize the moment” and take his place in history as one of the greatest United States Presidents ever. It might well cost him his Presidency, but that would be a small price to pay for the undying fame and gratitude he would reap for furthering the cause of peace in the Middle East.

There is no doubt Obama is under enormous pressure from the Israelis and our well-known neocon hawks to foolishly either attack Iran militarily or at least aid the Israelis in doing so. If this were to happen it would be a terrible disaster that would quite likely tear the Middle East apart, result in hundreds of thousands of more deaths, untold misery for millions, the waste of trillions of more dollars, and would no doubt be an even more stupid and illegal “war” than the one Bush lied us into in Iraq. It seems to me the stage is being set once again for just such an attack, relations between the U.S. and Iran are deteriorating by the day, what with threats to bomb their nuclear facilities, their threats to close the Straits of Hormuz, execute an American spy, and so on. And of course we have been fed nothing but lies for years about how Iran is a threat to Israel, the U.S., and indeed, the world, all nonsense of course. Most of this propaganda revolves around the belief, or assertion, that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear bomb, even if there is no concrete evidence they are, they deny it, and have every legal right to produce nuclear fuel for their reactors. Of course no one actually believes a nuclear bomb is really the problem, even the Israelis know that if Iran had a bomb they would no more use it than anyone else would. The threat is not from Iran’s nuclear ambitions, no matter what they might be, the threat is to European and U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, a situation that would be altered if Iran were to be allowed parity with other nations, especially Israel and the U.S.

President Obama, much to his credit, as near as I can tell from whatever news one can scrape together these days, has so far resisted Israeli demands that he attack Iran or help Israel do so. The Israelis threaten to attack on their own, something I doubt they would actually do, but the threat itself creates a terrible situation, as if they did attack the assumption would certainly be the U.S. would be inevitably dragged into it in spite of any reservations to the contrary. Israeli interests are not linked to those of the U.S., in spite of what they would like you to believe.

Obama could gain everlasting fame and the respect of virtually the entire world if at this moment in time he continues to refuse Hawkish and Israeli demands, and would make it absolutely clear that under no circumstances will the U.S. support an attack or a war with Iran, and, rather than rejecting Iranian attempts at diplomacy as we have repeatedly done in the past, would engage directly in diplomacy with them, recognizing they have legitimate national interests in their own neighborhood and that we do also, interests than must be solved diplomatically rather than militarily. This would not only curb Israel (a greedy, racist nation that needs desperately to be curbed), but would also dramatically change the situation in the Middle East by demonstrating our willingness to give up the use of force in the region to force our will upon all nations that do not happen to share our interests. It would signal an end to the American “empire,” allow us to escape the rogue state reputation we now share with Israel, and once again take up a position of respect in world affairs. Not only that, it would return us to fiscal responsibility, allow us to pay down the horrendous national debt, and save the lives of thousands, maybe even millions of innocent people. Finally, and more importantly, it would signal at last the final dying gasp of Western-European colonialism.

Of course the hawks would be outraged (the military/industrial/political complex panics at the thought someone might take away their candy), the Evangelicals waiting for Armageddon would no doubt flagellate themselves and go through various fits of religious hysteria at the threat of any delay in their mythical event. The Republicans would cry out: Muslim, traitor, coward, socialist, communist, fascist, Kenyan, stranger from outer space, and whatever else they could think of (they could no longer fatten their purses on the deaths of the innocent), but the deed would be done, something that should have rightfully been done long ago, and virtually the entire world would rejoice.

Do I believe something like this will happen? No, not really. But I believe it could and should happen, would be a resounding success, and would dramatically change international relations for the better forever.

But the greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness-each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked-each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.

Herbert Butterfield

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