Articles in the past week by both Charles Krauthammer and Zbigniew Brzezinski discuss in some detail the pros and cons of a war with Iran.
For neocon Krauthammer, military action against Iran is imperative since “Iran had links to Al Qaida, and is today harboring Al Qaida leaders.”
He also invokes the old canard that “rogue states in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is the single most urgent issue of our time.” (A claim that seems extraordinary given the dearth of evidence in Iraq)
Absent from Krauthammer’s argument is any mention of the assistance Iran has provided to the Bush Administration since 9-11 in the war on terror, or any comment on the fact that Iran is only using its Al Qaida prisoners as “bargaining chips” to mitigate the threat of American aggression. (The US maintains a dubious relationship with the People’s Mujahedin , a terrorist group threatening to overthrow the Islamic Republic)
Krauthammer suggests that multilateralism has been an abysmal failure and has only resulted in Iran edging ever-closer to the development of nuclear weapons. It is taken as an article of faith among Krauthammer and his colleagues that only the US (and Israel) should have a monopoly on these weapons of global terror.
Never the less, Krauthammer asserts that Iran has been caught “red-handed with illegally enriched uranium” (a claim that is still widely disputed) and therefore must be reckoned with.
The Pentagon’s media mouthpiece (aka the Associated Press) has lent support to Krauthammer’s allegations by adding that “Iran once again is building centrifuges that can be used to make nuclear weaponry, breaking the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency’s seals on the equipment in a show of defiance against international efforts to monitor its program, diplomats said yesterday.
Even the Associated Press, however, shies away from Krauthammer’s claims and instead says, “Iran has not restarted enriching uranium with the centrifuges — a step that would raise further alarm.”
Meanwhile, in Iraq, the new Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan has “warned of invading Iran if it did not stop interfering in Iraq’s internal politics.” (Al Jazeera)
“I’ve seen clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran,” said Shaalan. He insists that Iran is sending “spies and saboteurs” into Iraq “in order to kill democracy.”
Shaalan, of course, has no proof to support his spurious claims, so it must be assumed that they are simply being amplified to create the impression among the American public that Iran is trying to provoke a confrontation. This lays the groundwork for engaging in future hostilities.
Any similar protests from the American puppet regime in Iraq should be dismissed outright as merely serving the greater interests of further American aggression.
Krauthammer’s polemic should be understood in the same light. His fulminations against Iran joining the “nuclear club” are simply a diversionary strategy that mask his real intention; promoting the logic of a war with Iran.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take Krauthammer seriously.
To the contrary, however crazy a war with Iran may seem at this juncture, (with America’s military stretched to the brink) the plans for such a war are clearly materializing before our eyes. Media distortions (intended to whip up public sentiment) always precede the initiation of warfare; and those distortions are now appearing with greater frequency.
While Krauthammer’s exhortations may seem like just more right wing blather, they are actually reflective of the groups he represents. (American Enterprise Institute, JINSA, Project for the New American Century) When we read Krauthammer we are actually shedding light on the prevailing views of the people who are at the epicenter of American power.
If Krauthammer is making the case for war, we can assume that many of the Administration’s key players are also “on board”, if only in principle.
Jimmie Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, on the other hand, produced an article this week that recommended we should abandon the idea of overturning the Islamic Republic of Iran. Brzezinski sees the government as firmly entrenched and not likely to be toppled by either covert means or revolution.
In Brzezinski’s “Iran: Time for a New Approach” he states, “Those forces that are committed to preserving Iran’s current system remain firmly in control and represent the country’s only authoritative interlocutors. The urgency of the concerns surrounding [Iran’s] policies mandates the United States to deal with the current regime rather than wait for it to fall.”
Instead of military confrontation Brzezinski recommends “selective political engagement” and “incremental progress”, the operative diplomatic parlance for “exploring the potential for commerce without any real commitment to the other’s sovereign independence.”
Brzezinski continues in this vein by suggesting a “carrots and sticks” approach, which is not only self explanatory, but is the underlying theory of American foreign policy for the last century. (No need for elaboration here)
Brzezinski’s calculations are entirely based on “what is practicable in the present political climate and with our present commitment of forces”.
His position should not be confused a concern for the loss of life that a war might entail. Nor should he be perceived as any less strident in his long range goals of Regime change in Iran than Krauthammer. (Brzezinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard” outlines a strategy for the US seizing the entire Caspian Basin, both Iran and Iraq, as a means of consolidating its absolute power across the globe. It is actually the blueprint for the current Bush foreign policy; not the PNAC as many people believe.)
In fact, Brzezinski is the foremost exponent of “bare-knuckle” Realpolitik in the world today. His ruthless approach to geopolitical objectives even outstrips those of his cohort Henry Kissinger. (When Iraq initiated hostilities against Iran in the 1980s, a conflict that would cost the lives of over one million people, it was Brzezinski who averred, (and I paraphrase) “We see nothing in Iraq’s action that is inconsistent with American interests.”)
Brzezinski was also the architect of the plan to entice Islamic extremists to Afghanistan as early as 1979 to fight the Soviet occupation. This $20 billion CIA scheme resulted in a 20 year civil war and, ultimately, the rise of Bin Laden.
So, when Brezinski takes a less antagonistic approach to Iran than Krauthammer it should not be construed that his long range aims are any different.
They are not.
Both Krauthammer and Brezinski only differ on the methodology not the objective. The determination to secure resources in the Caspian Basin, including 40% of the world’s natural gas which is under Iran’s control, will continue to shape US policy.
The apparent dispute between Krauthammer and Brzezinski indicates that the debate over Iran’s future among American elites, may be reaching a “tipping point”. The disparate voices of reason and peace that don’t agree with this aggressive line of reasoning have no advocate for their cause. It is entirely one-sided.
The question of a war with Iran is further complicated by Israel’s repeated threats to destroy any facility they believe is being used to develop nuclear weapons. In a recent blog by Noam Chomsky, the details of transactions between Israel and the US are cause for growing concern.
Chomsky says, “Not reported but quite important is the dispatch to Israel of 100 F16-I’s, advanced jet bombers, with the very specific announcement that they can reach Iran and return, are updated versions of the F-16s that Israel used to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, and are equipped with “special weapons” (according to the Israeli Hebrew press)”.
There was no mention of the transaction in the western press, but the implications are chilling.
In a recent article “Bush’s October Surprise” political commentator Warren Hastings suggests that Israel’s objectives segue nicely with Bush’s plans to be reelected. He believes that Israel will coordinate with the US to attack (not Bushehr, which is obviously a power reactor) “but heavy water and uranium enrichment plants, the unfinished heavy water reactor; and anything else they are suspicious of.”
“In the following media frenzy, with the electorate absorbed with the news and diverted from domestic issues, Bush will mouth the usual palaver about Israel’s right to defend itself and America’s duty to assist. Kerry will be forced to publicly agree, or contradict his previous pledges to Israel. Bush will then coast to a second term win on a wave of… media applause.”
“Iran will accuse the IAEA of spying and providing target information, and quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty. America will then have an excuse to invade – to relieve Iran of its unverifiable nuclear capability.”
Again, however crazy such a scenario sounds at this point, the increasing media attention devoted to Iran, (as well as the growing debate between political elites) implies that major policy changes may be under way.
Both Krauthammer and Brezinzki represent the core constituencies that are running the country and setting its policy. Their debate informs us, that the question of “regime change” in Iran has already been settled; the only questions remaining are “when, and by what method?”
These developments should alert the world to the fact that Iran needs help. Those nations who grasp the urgency of the situation should be considering military aid. (be that conventional weaponry or WMD)
Iran should be provided with the wherewithal to defend itself against the likelihood of attack. Instead, the UN is more concerned with negotiating the requirements of a “trigger mechanism” with the US; a mechanism that will be used to justify US military action against Iran.
Once again the UN is assuming its traditional role as fig leaf for American warmongering.
It is clear, by the rhetorical battle being waged in American newspapers that Iran is in imminent danger. Leaders who still value the notion of national sovereignty (as well as regional peace) should assist Iran in creating a viable and visible deterrent to further US aggression.
By now, all should recognize that the US war machine will not be deterred by good intentions and lofty language.
Weaponry alone will decide who prevails in the Iran.
We don’t need another Iraq.