Thursday, November 4, 2010

War Clouds Gathering: Neo-Cons Vs. Mullahs

Bin Laden could, without careful thinking in Washington, emerge as the real winner of the U.S. midterm elections.

With the U.S. midterm election behind us and the specter of a reinvigorated War Party preparing for a presidential election against a weak, confused, and nearly leaderless Democratic Party that has no structured liberal faction, it is now time for everyone worldwide to focus their thinking on the threat of the world’s first nuclear war, for “nuclear” is exactly the form that outright U.S./Israeli aggression against Iran is likely to take if any direct military effort is launched to destroy Iran’s massive, decentralized, and well-buried nuclear industrial establishment. With the most extreme elements in U.S. politics now once again drunk on hubris, the likelihood of Washington offering Tehran a fair deal is declining. With blatantly discriminatory U.S./Israeli pressure against Iran uniting all Iranians, and thus pushing all Iranians into the loving embrace of the most militant, autocratic, and zenophobic elements in Iran, the likelihood of Iran compromising is also declining. Should Obama fail to pull a diplomatic rabbit out of the hat in the next 24 months, the likelihood of a Republican White House taking a cautious, thoughtful approach to the Iran issue is also declining. The economic swamp in which the U.S. will almost surely still be stuck in two years, will only make the already angry electorate even less willing to think and more eager for emotionally satisfying bravado. In all probability, in two years, the White House will be addressing Iran in one clear and unrestrained language: the language of force. Our so-called friends in power in Israel will surely do little to dissuade us from such a path. [See “The Role of Israel” in Michel Chossudovsky’s “Toward a World War III Scenario.”] Even if the above overstates the eagerness of U.S. and Israeli rightwingers to confront Iran militarily, there remains a huge danger of a war erupting by mistake. Falling into violence is all too easy when both sides insist on marching along the political cliff face.

A timid president desperately trying to govern with the consent and cooperation of the conservatives he defeated even at the height of his influence two years ago is now knocked back on his heels. Ahmadinejad has just won a huge victory, in that the U.S. is now weaker and less able to conduct effective, consistent policy. But this is a very short-term victory, very possibly to be followed in two short years by catastrophe not only for Iran but for the whole world. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that he will take this brief opportunity to protect his country by making a unilateral effort to lower tensions. Nuclear war is not “targeted;” Strontium 90 back in our milk will be the least of our worries if Washington either launches nuclear war against Iran or facilitates Israeli aggression. The real winner is bin Laden—as the probability of the Victory for al Qua’ida Scenario continues to increase. Bin Laden has just moved one huge step closer to the global Western-Islamic clash that he has so skillfully been provoking for the last two decades. In this situation, can Obama pull himself erect and find the inner strength to lead the U.S. toward some accommodation with Iran? Time is short, and Obama is far weaker than he was 18 months ago when he addressed the Muslim world from Cairo.

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