Sunday, November 13, 2011

GOP Candidates are Clueless About Iran

Last night’s debate demonstrated how ignorant the Republican candidates are with regards to the Iranian nuclear program.  The simplistic responses of attacking Iran and if Barack Obama remains President it guarantees Iran will have nuclear capability demonstrate that these knuckleheads, with the exception of Jon Huntsman, watch too many action movies.  The red meat based dieters also think that a military strike will have the same results as the Israeli attacks against Iraq and Syria.  Also, the chicken hawks actually believe regime change in Iran will bring an end to the nuclear aspirations; when in fact gaining nuclear capability is a nationalistic goal of Iranians.  Finally, it is not Israel that will be the target of a nuclear armed Iran.  The Iranian government’s intent is to control the region especially the flow of oil to the rest of the world.  It wants a Shia dominated region.
During a campaign it is difficult to differentiate between pandering rhetoric and intended policy.  The fact that the sycophantic Republican candidates are trying gain favor with the most fervent radicals on the right is equal parts alarming and amusing.  Last night the wannabes charged President Obama with failing to contain the Iranian nuclear program and even ventured into the insane land of attacking Iran. 
Well here is some cold water of truth.  The current Republicans believe the U.S. should shoot first and aim never, after all that mindset has served us so well in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Further, the belligerent Axis of Evil tone set by George W. Bush, turned out to be, with respect to Iran, an empty bluff because that genius got us mired in Iraq and effectively relegated US might to tough talk and covert sabotage.  To make matters worse the trumped up evidence that Bush and team put together to justify the Iraq invasion cost the U.S. global credibility and the next time we try to rally the globe against a threat we will need more than satellite imagery and the word of politicians.  That was not lost on President Obama and his national security team who quickly started forging a global coalition with moderate Sunni Arab states, Europe, and others to start isolating Iran.  China and Russia will always be obstinate obstructionists because they see a weakened U.S. a bonus to their existing profitable trade with Iran, but global pressure applied will yield results.
As for attacking Iran or hoping the Israeli’s do it is pure folly.  While the delusional Rick Santorum thinks an attack on Iran can be carried out like the Israeli attacks on Iraq and Syria.  In the case of the Israeli attacks, they targeted incomplete above ground reactors, not hardened subterranean centrifuge manufacturing facilities, in nations with inferior air defense systems.  If that wasn’t enough, the Iranian nuclear project is spread about multiple cities and even the Israeli’s admit that an attack will only set the Iranians back 2 years.  Hardly worth the price of reuniting the Iranian people behind their leaders.
The Iranian people are very proud and they look at their nuclear program with pride and envy.  An attack on Iranian sovereignty will unify the people behind Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei just like the Saddam Hussein invasion did in the 1980’s.  Overthrowing the regime will be done only through soft measures and while President Obama could have been more vocal in supporting the Iran protesters in 2009, the Republican belief that an overthrow was imminent is silly. 
The real issue that the GOP and just about everybody else has miscalculated: what is Iran’s intent?  It is not to threaten or even destroy Israel.  What does Iran gain by deploying a nuclear weapon against Tel Aviv?  The response from the rest of the world would leave Iran isolated, if not destroyed.  Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric regarding Israel is a distraction to keep Islamic nations on his side while propping his stature at home.  The real target is not the Jewish State, it is the moderate Sunni nations in the gulf.  The oil rich moderate Sunni nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, etc.  A nuclear Iran will control the flow of oil out of the region and establish itself as the true Islamic power in the region much to the chagrin of Turkey and its egocentric Prime Minister Erdogan.  If you think oil prices spike when Libya and Egypt went through regime change, what do you think will happen if Iran controls the region?  This is why, just as described in the WikiLeaks files, the moderate Sunni nations are begging for U.S. intervention.
So when the uneducated pandering obsequious candidates get up on the stage and talk trash about the President and beat the drums of war DON’T LISTEN TO THEM.  Yes it’s politics, but is also dangerous.   These Conservatives can’t help themselves from getting played by Islamists and when they do they take us down with them.  The only way is through U.S. led coalitions and a mix of force and diplomacy.  The American Way.  The Obama Way.

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