Must Iran Be Strangled to Protect Israel and Enlarge the American Empire?

Obama is negotiating with Iran. Now he encounters the neocon counterattack, seeking to stop the talks.

The neocons want to strangle Iran. Why? Must Iran be throttled to protect Americans? Must Iran be strangled to protect Israel? A “yes” answer to either question is senseless.

There is some disarray at Obama’s highest levels. His own Treasury Under-Secretary (David Cohen) and chief negotiator (Wendy Sherman) ask Congress not to impose further sanctions, but one hour later Cohen adds a bunch of companies to the sanctions list. McCain and others in Congress again threaten new sanctions. Iran wisely says it will continue the negotiations, despite these pinpricks. Obama says nothing and bides his time. He has won some backing in Congress for negotiations, namely, Tim Johnson and Mike Crapo.

The warmongers in Congress are a serious menace to Americans. Their threat to Americans is far, far greater than any known terrorist threat and certainly immensely greater than any threat emanating from Iran. There is every opportunity to reduce any conceivable nuclear threat of Iran, now or future, to zero, a nullity, nil. The warmongers are dead set against such an action.

There is less of a clear and tangible opening to eliminate the threat posed by the anti-Iran and anti-peace warmongers who inhabit Congress and the Executive. They need to be identified by name and removed from office. John McCain, Robert Menendez, Bob Corker, and Mark Kirk are four speaking out lately against Iran.

Add Eric Cantor, who unbelievably called the interim deal “dangerous”, when the U.S. made almost no concessions whatever to Iran. He’s simply scared that a deal will eventually be reached and a peace break out in which Israel’s status is reduced and Iran’s raised.

Add Ed Royce, who didn’t think the interim deal protected the U.S. and its allies (Israel presumably) and called for ratcheting up sanctions. Add Eliot Engel, who wants Iran 100% out of the uranium enrichment business, no matter what treaties allow it. Add Michael McCaul, who thinks it’s dangerous to lift sanctions and who has misrepresented the U.N. resolutions. Add Brad Sherman, who thinks the U.S. should keep ratcheting up sanctions during negotiations. Sherman has openly said that he wants sanctions that will hurt the Iranian people.

These men are all indulging in wild exaggerations about the safety of Americans being placed in jeopardy by Iran, with or without negotiations. They are making irresponsible statements that totally ignore the concessions that Iran is now making, has already made, and is proposing to make. These men are stupidly ignoring the internal politics in Iran. These men are holding on to irrational hatreds based upon the 1979 revolution, stirring fear of Islamic terrorism while voting for aid to Islamic insurgents when it suits the Empire’s power plays. These men are endangering the talks and the prospects for peace. These men are proposing senseless policies, because any country pushed into a corner is more, not less, likely to arm itself and then to pose a real threat. These men are making every effort to scuttle Obama’s negotiations with Iran.

Why? The only end game that their drive has is to reduce Iran to a nonentity and a powerless country. That’s what they want. That can only be done by violently overthrowing its system, i.e., by a costly war. And what would such a war win for Americans? Generations of costly grief in an effort totally to prevent the possibility of Iran’s having or developing a nuclear weapon. This makes no sense when that country already is willing to negotiate a commitment to that effect now. Why aim at reducing Iran to rubble when it has no nuclear weapons program and, even if it did, poses no threat to America?

The answer of these anti-Iran officials is to protect Israel. But that’s not a sensible answer either, for many reasons. Israel has an abundance of armed forces and a stockpile of nuclear weapons to defend itself. Israel is not the 51st state of the Union. With the U.S. behind Israel, the U.S. becomes the puppet that can be drawn into a serious war not of its own making. No major power should have such an important decision as war being contingent on what some minor country or ally does or does not do. Iran is not building up armed forces to attack Israel. It could not defeat Israel even if it wanted to or tried to.

The U.S. needs to extricate itself from that entire region, not get more deeply involved in it. The Cold War is over. U.S. policy should be aimed at peace with Russia and China, not antagonism, not military buildups at their borders, not at controlling every country on their borders. The U.S. should not be letting its foreign policy be shaped by Israeli influences and voting blocs inside this country. The U.S. shouldn’t be supporting a government that systematically adds territory and devalues Palestinians. The more that the U.S. supports Israel, the less willing are the Israelis to find and sign on to a stable peace in that region.

The blank check protection of Israel that has so often been voiced by officials of the U.S. government is a senseless policy. That blank check should not be so broad as to cover a U.S. policy of starting a major war on Iran or trying to reduce Iran to a position of abject inferiority. Acting on behalf of Israel to that extent buys nothing for Americans but costs them dearly.

If the forcible suppression of Iran makes no sense in the face of Iran’s desire to negotiate an end to its possible construction of a nuclear bomb, why then are there so many anti-Iran voices seeking to scuttle the talks? I believe that, while Israel and its lobby are very important reasons for neocons, they are not the only reasons. The neocons want U.S. global hegemony, and they think that this can be accomplished by military and political means. They think that the U.S. is the sole superpower in the world and should lever its status as such to expand its dominance. They are willing to throttle Iran or any other country that stands in the way of this ancient ambition for world control.

The Cold War ended in 1989. The Cold War order, built on global military bases, the CIA, regional alliances, the IMF and World Bank, nuclear threats and fear, lives on. This order lives on because it remains the basis of the superpower status of the U.S. Useful only for those narrow and powerful interests that serve and compose the empire, these institutions and policies  serve no useful purposes for Americans who form the broad public. Economic stagnation is their consequence as resources are drained into costly wars.

The old Cold War order has matured into an American-led Western Alliance of which NATO and the EU are components. When NATO was not scrapped but instead transformed into a European adjunct of the U.S. empire (1989 to 1995) that was willing to expand its membership and make war in Yugoslavia, it became an American-European joint venture. When it sent forces to Afghanistan and invaded Libya, it showed its teeth, its reach and its ambitions.

The U.S. needs to end the War on Terror, which is an excuse for funding military contractors, special forces, bloated military forces, drone wars, revolutions, spy agencies, and militarization of domestic police.

The U.S. needs to scrap its grandiose ideas of building democratic states in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and elsewhere in the name of anti-terror, stability, building up international institutions or any other grand sounding goals. These are excuses for extending the empire that was built during the Cold War.

There is no necessity and no need to strangle Iran for the sake of protecting Americans or Israel. Neither is there any necessity or need to to strangle Iran for the sake of global American hegemony, which is not a policy of peace but a policy of expansionism backed by force.

Those voices in Congress and the Executive who want to dictate to Iran, not negotiate with Iran, stand for policies that drain American resources and sap the country, not strengthen it. Their policies of expansion expose Americans to huge risks of being drawn into serious wars all over the planet. Old Cold War alliances and commitments with Japan, South Korea and others have not been cancelled or revised. Why not? It’s because these representatives and officials are busy attempting to change the past era of superpower confrontation into a new era of sole superpower dominance.

Their vision is one of controlling the world’s destiny according to their own crude notions of how societies and states should be structured into a world order. They are taking the old industrial and war-making ideas of authority, hierarchy, bureaucracy, financial and military control to a new level in which the U.S. employs these methods to create the U.S. world order. Sanctions on Iran are part of their toolkit, and if that fails to achieve their aims, then brute force explicitly remains their option. They are acknowledged advocates of war if other methods fail.

If it’s prosperity that Americans want, then peace, not war, should be U.S. policy. If Americans want to end the National Security state, they need their government to end the Cold War’s institutions and renounce the empire constructed during that episode in history.