… If the inspections go through in addition to the talks, we’re seeing at least some intent to let diplomacy work. We’ll have to see how the IAEA reacts to this characterization of the agreement.
However, I do fear that, while President Obama had the clear goal of stopping Israel’s rush toward unilateral action, he may have chosen a middle course that will constrain him down the road, as Michael Tomasky explains:
We are going to war with Iran. Maybe not by November, maybe not even under this president. But just because I added that last phrase, don’t dismiss this lightly. The central fact of this past week, which seems to have escaped everyone’s attention (which itself boggles my mind), is that Barack Obama, in his speech to AIPAC Sunday, as in his interview with Jeff Goldberg before it, all but made war someday inevitable. How? By saying that containment of a nuclear Iran was not an option. Americans need to be clear on the full implications of this statement [...]
The important part of the speech, the sentences that historians might be ruing and Americans regretting 15 years from now, was this: “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”
Here’s why this is important. Ironclad vows like this tend to lock a nation into a position from which it cannot later retreat. If you were already thinking “Truman Doctrine,” give yourself a point.
Tomasky goes on to explain how the Truman Doctrine committed the US to action in Vietnam, and how a stated policy against containment lays the groundwork for war. Paul Pillar, in a provocative piece for the Washington Monthly, looks at what a containment strategy would look like in practice, arguing specifically that “we can live with a nuclear Iran.” But we may have already gone past that point. Israel, the US, and the discussion around this topic has raised the stakes to the point that even a minor incident would lead to war, and it’s all based on a faulty premise, that Iran with nuclear weapons would somehow be an apocalyptic scenario. Pillar begs to differ, but sadly, perception is reality in this case.
Certainly, the Republican candidates for President wouldn’t back down from a “no containment strategy.” They’re actually aping the Administration’s strategy when it comes to Iran, while pestering him for being “weak” on the issue, which just feeds more belligerence. There couldn’t be a worse possible time for the world for all this war talk. And while by deed, Obama wants to put out the near-term fire of unilateral Israeli action, by words, he may have committed the US to an inevitable conflict.
That’s scary. Another war that will kill, maim, and disrupt the lives of millions of innocent people and will accomplish nothing good may be on the horizon.
PS. Tonight’s episode of ‘Moyers & Company’ is an encore episode.
Your humble correspondent is perplexed at the priorities of his government.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ever stalwart proponent of one of the most bizarre human rights agendas one can imagine, has bravely taken on the mantle of global cheerleader for the right of Saudi women to drive Mercedes Benz’. Being an American feminist, I can only bow before her courageous outpouring in support of those oppressed women. But that’s where the praise fades to black, to the sound of an Israeli navy bullhorn announcing it’s pending attack on an American vessel and it’s occupants.
“We’ve made clear [to the Saudi government] our views that women everywhere, including women in the kingdom, have the right to make decisions about their lives and their futures,” Clinton said. “They have the right to contribute to society and provide for their children and their families, and mobility such as provided by the freedom to drive provides access to economic opportunity, including jobs, which does fuel growth and stability.”
Tis a pity, then, that these same considerations do not apply to Gazan women seeking to care for their own children. Indeed, it doesn’t even apply to Americans who seek nothing more than to extend those rights to their fellow human beings. The trick, it seems, lies in how one parses the Clintonian usage of “human beings” and whether or not certain people fall into that category. Via Mondoweiss and others, we’re finding that the current regime is rather picky about who gets to enjoy that label. Because in the case of the delightfully irony-enhanced name MV Audacity of Hope, we find those hearty travelers don’t quite pass muster with the administration’s usage.
“And we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves,” Clinton said.
Not helpful. Trying to provoke. The Israelis apparently enjoy the right to defend themselves from unarmed peaceniks bearing a cargo of dangerous foods and medicines. This, of course, is the standard issue boilerplate “Blame The Soon-To-Be Victims.” But it gets worse.
The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel… On May 31, 2010, nine people were killed, including one U.S. citizen, in such an attempt.
We have made clear through the past year that groups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that entail a risk to their safety.
(emphasis is Think Progress’)
Putting together these two sets of remarks, it’s pretty clear Hillary Clinton hates Americans. Or something. In any case, she’s perfectly fine with the IDF violating the rights of such “threats” as 87-year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, even if that includes murder. She is a threat, you see. A threat to what, Empress Clinton will not say.
Not to be left out of this orgy of moral bankruptcy, even the White House has to get in on the act.
The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on activists planning to challenge Israel’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, warning that they will face action from Israeli authorities and that American participants may also be violating U.S. law.
The U.S. State Department said Friday that attempts to break the blockade are “irresponsible and provocative” and that Israel has well-established means of delivering assistance to the Palestinian residents of Gaza. It noted that the territory is run by the militant Hamas group, a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, and that Americans providing support to it are subject to fines and jail.
So to sum up:
- Saudi women seeking to enjoy the pleasures of mall traffic (they’re not allowed to work or even speak, for the most part, are they?) = Double-Plus Good.
- Americans risking their lives in opposition to ethnic cleansing = Bad, Bad, Bad.
What the brave souls of the MV Audacity Of Hope fail to realize is this: In order to qualify as a Humanitarian Mission, they have to lob cruise missiles at Tripoli. According to Barack Obama’s own statements, disgorging thousands of tons of ordnance on another country does not qualify as “hostilities” or “war.” Indeed, it’s all very, very Humanitarian!
So if they are not murdered by the IDF, they may also face prison terms in the US. This is how the US Government treats it’s own law-abiding citizens.
I can’t wait to see how the Obamatrons spin this one.