Posts Tagged ‘iran nuclear program’

Barack Obama Meets Neville Chamberlain And Joseph Stalin? Unsettling Parallels With The Infamous Munich Agreement of 1938 And Its Aftermath

July 15th, 2015 Comments off

President Obama has made America’s worst strategic blunder by empowering the anti-American regime in Iran, acquiescing in its burgeoning hegemonic role in the Middle East, while legitimating its status as a nuclear threshold power. In all probability, this will mean the attainment of full nuclear weapons capability in a decade, if not sooner, by the theocratic dictatorship in Iran, unless a power other than Washington decides to stop them.

In the wake of the nuclear deal with Iran consummated officially by the P5 plus 1, but in reality between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, political adversaries in Washington are weighing in on the nuclear treaty, their positions largely pre-determined by their partisan politics and ideologies rather than by a cogent analysis. This applies to those supporting and opposing Obama’s Iran deal. What is being ignored is the true basis for President’s Obama’s historic gamble on Iran and its implacably anti-American regime.

In a private meeting with leftwing progressive activists in the Democratic Party held in January 2014, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, spelled out the administration’s intentions. Unknown to Rhodes, his confidential briefing was secretly recorded, and details would subsequently leak out ( The core of what he had to say about the negotiations with Iran:

“So no small opportunity, it’s a big deal. This is probably the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.” He went on to say, “We’re already kind of thinking through, how do we structure a deal so we don’t necessarily require legislative action right away. And there are ways to do that.”

Largely in secret, and based on a belief that the American people lacked the sophistication to fully understand the Iran issue as thoroughly as President Obama and his expert advisors, a policy decision was apparently made to engage in a grand act of appeasement, allowing Iran to maintain intact its illicit nuclear infrastructure designed solely to fabricate fissile materials suitable for ultimately only one purpose–manufacturing nuclear weapons. A fig leaf of a 10-year moratorium on full-scale use of that capacity by Iran, with a supposedly strict inspection regime that is obfuscated by a complex treaty that is so arcane, it allows Iran numerous opportunities to thwart its intent and cheat successfully, has been presented as largely a public relations exercise. The real intent of the Iran deal, as Ben Rhodes suggested 18-months ago, is to transform Iran from an adversary to a regional ally of America’s and serve as the Middle East policeman, allowing the United States to finally extricate itself from military involvement in that region.

This is where parallels with the Munich agreement of 1938 resonate most strongly, for reasons largely forgotten. Neville Chamberlain signed an agreement with Adolf Hitler, sacrificing Czechoslovakia in a grand act of appeasement, not solely to achieve “peace in our time.” The British political establishment of that era viewed communism and Soviet Russia as a far greater menace than Nazi Germany. It was their hope that the Munich agreement would focus Hitler’s attention towards the East, and use Nazi Germany’s military power against Stalin’s Russia.

It was the reaction of Soviet dictator Stalin to the Munich agreement that resonates with the contemporary thinking of the Obama administration on Iran. He decided to play his own game of appeasement with Hitler, signing the notorious Soviet-German non-aggression pact that enabled Hitler to launch the Second World War. Stalin was fully aware that in Nazi ideology, the Russian people were viewed on the same level as the Jews, with Hitler boasting in Mein Kampf of his future intentions to destroy Russia as a nation and conquer its lands. Stalin convinced himself that the non-aggression treaty ushered in an era of pragmatism in German policy towards Russia, and Nazi ideology had faded away. As history was to reveal, he was fatally wrong is his calculation, and the result was that his country was nearly annihilated, and escaped total destruction at the cost of tens of millions of lives.

Barack Obama, John Kerry and Ben Rhodes apparently believe in a manner similar to Stalin’s that the Ayatollahs’ vehemently anti-American hatred is not a core value of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and will be sublimated by pragmatism. Yet, even as the Iran Deal was being finalized, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei publicly chanted “death to America!” American flags were burning on Iranian streets as Kerry and Zarif exchanged smiles. And the regime’s most militant instrument of power, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was staging naval exercises that involved the “sinking” of a replica of an American aircraft carrier.

President Obama has apparently convinced himself that Tehran’s hostility is only a passing phase, and that in time it will become the trustworthy guardian of the Middle East, protecting the United States from what the administration seems to regard as the unruly Sunni Arab world. Decades of alliances with the broader Arab world, and especially Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, along with Israel, are in the process of being abandoned, in what must be regarded as the most reckless crapshoot in American geo-strategic planning.

Unfortunately, the administration has lulled itself into sleepwalking with a hegemon whose core ideology, as the leaders of the Islamic Republic have repeatedly stated, is centered on hatred of the United States. Unless other forces can prevent what at this point seems inevitable, the ultimate outcome of the Iran deal is that Americans will one day awaken to the reality of an apocalyptic regime pointing nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles at their shores.




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The New York Times And Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Journalistic Appeasement?

September 11th, 2012 Comments off

An important op-ed piece has appeared in The New York Times regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. Authored by Bill Keller and entitled “Nuclear Mullahs,”  the op-ed column does not question the view of all serious actors involved in the issue, which is that Iran’s nuclear program is a weapons program. Rather, Keller focuses on the central policy question connected with Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions; should Tehran acquire a nuclear arsenal, can it be deterred in the manner of the former Soviet Union  and United States during the cold war? In the words of Keller, “Why would Iran not be similarly deterred by the certainty that using nuclear weapons would bring a hellish reprisal?

As the former executive-editor of The New York Times as well as being a current op-ed columnist, Keller’s voice will likely be interpreted as a reflection of mainstream thinking on the Iranian nuclear issue by policymakers who are influenced by his newspaper. The views of The New York Times still carry some weight in certain circles on Capitol Hill, so for that reason the views expressed by Keller are highly relevant. What is it, therefore, that Keller espouses on this menacing issue?

After warning that,  “Anyone who has a glib answer to this problem isn’t taking the subject seriously,” Keller than does precisely that.  He raises the salient points that have been analyzed by decision makers in several countries concerned with the potential threat posed by Iran being transformed into a nuclear-armed state, then dismisses them with simplistic rationalizations devoid of substance or deep analytical thought. Here are some examples.

Keller accepts that a nuclear-armed Iran would be emboldened to create more mayhem in the Middle East through its puppets, such as Hezbollah, but then quotes a former diplomat who suggests that an Iran deprived of nuclear weapons through military means would be even more meddlesome. On the surface, this is a self-contradicting argument. Then, Keller raises an often-mentioned risk identified by strategic experts; an Iranian nuclear weapon would unleash the proliferation genie, creating a nuclear arms race in a region already beset with instability and political volatility. While acknowledging that Saudi Arabia would seek nuclear arms, and may purchase such weapons from Pakistan (“not a pleasant thought,” muses Keller), he then ignores the implications while dismissing the other Middle East actors as  having “strong reasons not to join the race,” without specifying those reasons or taking into account the deep Sunni antagonism and fears towards Iran’s Shiite ideology and perceived ambitions for regional dominance.

On the matter of Israel’s perception that a nuclear-armed Iran represents an existential threat, Keller writes, “The regime in Iran is brutal, mendacious and meddlesome, and given to spraying gobbets of Hitleresque bile at the Jewish state. ” Yet, Keller in his piece maintains an iconoclastic belief bordering on religious messianism that Iran’s nuclear weapons program cannot  possibly represent a danger of annihilation to Israel. To buttress his conviction, he resorts to claiming that history proves that nuclear-armed states somehow behave more rationally.

The question I would put to Bill Keller is this; would Nazi Germany have behaved more rationally if it had become nuclear-armed? Would Imperial Japan have refrained from attacking Pearl Harbor if it had possessed atomic bombs?

The central flaw in Bill Keller’s op-ed on the Iranian nuclear issue is that it totally ignores the character and substance of the Iranian theocratic regime, its grand strategic vision and world view, and how nuclear weapons fit in with their ideology. This is a barbarous, ruthless regime with extreme ideological imperatives dominating its tactical and strategic thinking. To have hope that acquisition of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction would somehow transform such a regime into a responsible regional actor contradicts all historical parallels. It reminds one of the policy of appeasement adopted by the Western democracies in the 1930s towards Nazi Germany. It was hoped  back then that allowing an ideologically driven dictatorship to rearm and expand would somehow moderate its extremist views and lead to more rational behavior. Among the strongest supporters of the policy of appeasement back in the 1930s were the major newspapers of the Western world.

Now, it is The New York Times that is suggesting, through Bill Keller’s piece, that preventative military means be taken off the table in regards to the Iranian nuclear issue. He doesn’t want a nuclear-armed Iran, but is unwilling to use force to prevent such an outcome, and ends his piece with calls for diplomacy and a “Nixon-to-China” moment. As in the 1930s, the world is approaching a moment of truth, and just as back then, important voices within politics and journalism are desperately groping for unattainable answers short of military confrontation, not realizing until it is too late that the diplomatic option with an extremist totalitarian state was illusory.






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Economic Projection 2010: Iran is the Wild Card

January 11th, 2010 Comments off

The global economic crisis has already inflicted crippling blows on major advanced and emerging economies. Only massive levels of public indebtedness, and wanton quantitative easing by central banks, has prevented (temporarily, in my view) the onset of another Great Depression. However, geopolitical events of an unpredictable nature can  upset even the best laid plains of a Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and their counterparts across the globe. The wild card in the mix is undoubtedly Iran.

I have commented before on the Iranian nuclear program, and the possibility of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. I’ll repeat my earlier conclusion, which is, apart from the demerits or merits of using military means to address the Iranian nuclear challenge, the inevitable response by Iran’s regime will create economic havoc, particularly with respect to oil prices.

The current issue of The Economist has an illuminating piece, entitled “The gathering storm,” which makes a persuasive case for 2010 being the year that something definitive will happen on the Iranian nuclear front. Should that prove to be the case, the resulting geopolitical reverberations may be the final nail in the coffin of the global economy. Worst case scenario: regional war in the Middle East, massive disruption of oil shipments from the Persian Gulf, resulting in a severe global economic depression. Not even money-printer Ben Bernanke will be able to dodge that bullet.