November 27, 2013

Americans And Iranians Say No To A Catastrophic War; Israel Is An Obstacle To Regional Peace

In a historic embrace between America and Iran the power of evil has been diminished, but do not discount its influence just yet since the vicious rulers in Israel and Saudi Arabia still loom in the background with the intention to make war. Source: Patrick Chappatte.

The American-Iranian peace deal signals the emergence of positive trends in US-Iranian relations.

This change was initiated by the American and Iranian peoples, at least on some level. Americans re-elected President Obama partly on the promise that he would end US wars in the Middle East, and so far he has kept this promise, although barely.

Iranians elected President Rouhani because of his moderate foreign policy and his willingness to tame the messianic radicals in the regime who stand in the way of a historic rapprochement with America and the West as a whole.

Read this excerpt from, "It Is Public Support For Diplomacy That Pushes Obama" Moon of Alabama, November 26:
When Obama wanted to strike Syria 59% opposed such an attack with only 36% supporting it. While only 20% oppose negotiations with Iran 75% support them.
Public opinion in both America and Iran is clearly in favour of this peace deal. The benefits for both sides are hard to ignore or belittle. Read this excerpt from, "Obama going big in the Middle East" by Geoffrey Aronson, Al Monitor, November 26:
Dead enders and those who look forward by looking backward take note. The ripples of detente between Tehran and Washington may well reverberate in places long considered immune to effective diplomacy and cooperation — for example, the role of Hezbollah in Lebanon and even its blood-soaked relationship with Israel. The message of condolence sent by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the wake of the Nov. 19 bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Dahiyeh may be off-putting to many of those steeped in the decadeslong confrontation between Washington and Tehran, but Kerry’s response is indicative of an improvement in US-Iranian relations that will necessarily draw in Hezbollah as well.

Most of the noise, however, has been coming from Washington’s camp, notably from Israel but also Saudi Arabia, both of which see no reason to tamper with the existing regional rules of the game. It is of more than passing interest that Obama has few champions from within the region for his effort. Indeed, his most vehement opponents are his closest historical allies, who are suspicious of the changes Washington and Tehran are cooking up through secret diplomacy.
People who are against this peace deal on the grounds that war is a better idea need to take a hard look in the mirror. War is not a solution as it was in the past when rulers did not possess lethal chemical and nuclear weapons as they do today and when the people were not as enlightened.

The peoples of the Middle East deserve a better fate than unending war. Ending animosity between nations and groups is now the job of informed and disinterested citizens, especially in an age when the mass media, journalists, governments, and politicians have taken the opposite stance and do everything in their power to increase hatred, fear, misunderstanding, and hostility between peoples.   

Here is an excerpt from an article published on November 3, 2012, called, "End of The Great Satan Narrative: Why An American-Iranian Truce Is Not So Far-Fetched":
An American-Iranian peace deal will improve the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, calm regional tensions, transform Muslim attitudes about America, and restore credibility to American power in the region.

Hillary Mann Leverett, a former National Security Council official, is the most passionate and consistent public advocate of an American-Iranian rapprochement. She spoke at the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington on October 26, presenting the case that America has gotten the Islamic Republic of Iran all wrong because American thinking is guided by mythology instead of reality. Here is an excerpt from her talk:

"for over 30 years, we in the United States—and particularly here in Washington—have put forward a series of myths about the Islamic Republic of Iran: that it’s irrational, illegitimate, and vulnerable. And in so doing, we have consistently misled the American public and our allies about what policies will work” to deal with the Islamic Republic."
Helping to end Washington's anti-Iranian propaganda is only half the battle. The Ayatollahs in Iran must also end their anti-American propaganda and stop labeling the United States the Great Satan. Both sides must play nice and learn to cooperate with each other.

Leaders in Iran, America, and Israel have to stop walking on the old path of extremism and war. For the sake of peace and co-existence among nations, they must create a new path. The moderates must rise and make themselves heard.  
A year later, the moderates have risen and the hardliners are being shown the exits.

The details of the deal matter, but not as much as the fact that there is a deal we can speak of. This is a good stepping stone. It was necessary for both sides. Neither country is being awarded a gift here.

The Iranian clerical elite sensed an immense flood of popular discontent underneath them, and responded to this potential legitimacy crisis by selecting a moderate political mullah that would work to draw Iran back into the concert of nations, temper the hostility of Western and European nations towards Iran, and rebuild confidence in the Islamic Republic both inside Iran and outside in order to improve its economy.

The leaderships of America and Iran did what their peoples specifically requested them to do: make peace, reduce hostilities and fear, and improve the quality of life. But it is still too soon to congratulate American and Iranian leaders on their accomplishment because at some point down the road they could easily backtrack, cut up the deal, accuse the other of deception and trickery, and restart tensions with talk of war.

And, obviously, as long as the warmongers in Israel and Saudi Arabia remain in the picture, it is not a good idea to ride this wave with the hope that it will take the region to calmer waters. Much more needs to be done to solve the problems of the Middle East, beginning with Israel.

A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is absolutely necessary for a long-term relationship between America and the Muslim world to flourish economically, socially, and politically.

The deal resolving the Iranian nuclear issue is really a mask. The Iranian nuclear program was never geared towards building a nuclear bomb. There was no real controversy to begin with. It was an example of hyped international political theatre to distract the world's attention from the failing peace process in Israel-Palestine. The media's eyes were taken away from Israel's illegal settlement construction on Palestinian land and turned towards Iran's legal construction relating to its nuclear program.

Now that this deal is done and out of the way, the world must turn its attention to other issues, and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis once and for all. The hardliners and radicals in all camps, Jews and Muslims, Americans and Iranians, must be cut off from this delicate process.

Can this be done? History says no.

Read this excerpt from, "Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others?" by John Fonte:
"The perennial conflict between transnationalists and independent sovereigntists might be said to begin in the Hebrew Bible. Talbott notes that ancient Israel in the Western imagination is the first self-governing political entity, the prototype of the sovereign nation and independent state that faced a succession of imperial foes. It broke free of various transnational empires (Babylonian, Egyptian, Hellenistic) and fought a series of conflicts with imperial foes (Greek, Roman). It was under imperial rule for thousands of years, but was reconstituted as a democratic nation-state in the twentieth century.

Talbott's language suggests less empathy for the ancient Hebrews or for modern Israelis than for the transnational powers that have attempted to subjugate them. He portrays the ancient Hebrews as narrow and insular, saying that "in Exodus, as in Genesis, a universal, inclusive, polytheistic divine order has become a national, exclusive, monotheistic one." On the one hand, he remarks that biblical law promotes tolerance for minorities, for example in the passage from Leviticus that says: "The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you." But here, "pluralism has its limits," Talbott says. "If 'the stranger' worships other gods, then his sojourn in Israel will be that of an outsider, and his graven images will, presumably, suffer the same fate as those of Israel's enemies."

Talbott also emphasizes that the ancient Hebrews were rather warlike, quoting biblical passages such as this one from Deuteronomy: "[T]hou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them." As for the "Babylonian kings and Egyptian pharaohs" who were vilified by Hebrew scribes as "tyrants," Talbott argues that they were, "in important respects, just and tolerant rulers and pioneers of the novel idea that peace was preferable to war in relations among god-kings."

Similarly, Talbott sees the modern democratic nation-state of Israel as problematic, a "chronically vexing example" of "both the strength and weakness of nationhood itself." He characterizes "the fate of Israel and its Arab neighbors" in the post-World War II international system as a "nagging reminder" that while multinational imperialism had its flaws, "it also had its not quite-saving graces as a means of bringing together many nations spread over huge distances and sometimes on different continents."

Talbott is a sophisticated observer, well aware of the place of Israel, both ancient and modern, in Western political thought and world history. Israel stands as a roadblock to the global governance agenda---historically, intellectually, symbolically, culturally, religiously, morally, and strategically. If the political supranational or transnational project is to advance, Israel must be taken down a peg, metaphysically as well as materially." [Source: John Fonte, "Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others?" Published by Encounter Books, 2011. Pg. 16-18].
The challenge of bringing Israel into the international community is ten thousand times tougher for the United States and the world than making a nuclear deal with Iran. The IAEA has been in Iran for years, so this latest breakthrough led by the Obama administration is more symbolic than anything else.

It is foolish to be overly optimistic about this new deal, but a deal is a deal, and shaking hands over anything is better than vilifying each other, focusing on the negative past, and unnecessarily waging war.