Many of our American leaders may assume that since an Iranian nuclear weapon is so blatantly a danger not only to Israel but to the U.S., the Middle East, and to Europe, that the U.S. and the other countries who struck this deal will provide proper surveillance. They may be thinking that even though the Iranians are sneaky and cannot be trusted, the big powers will be smart enough and possess sufficient technological sophistication to prevent a real end run around the deal, and thus, even if at the last minute (the proverbial cavalry to the rescue), the West will intercept and stop any real cheating and Iran will pay heavy consequences.
First, is this reasoning legitimate? Can the West be fooled? Answer: the West in general and the U.S. in particular can indeed be fooled. We have been fooled time and again. Four planes with 19 terrorists on board were allowed to be crashed into three major buildings on 9/11/2001 (with at least one further target saved only by the heroic efforts of the passengers). Hamas has fired thousands of missiles into Israel since Gaza was awarded self-governing as a "move towards peace." More recently, the Boston Marathon bombers were fingered by the Russians as being a threat to our security, but the U.S. ignored the warning. Also, the North Koreans were able to get nuclear capability even though we knew for so long they were "on the verge."
Being fooled is first cousin to being weak. Our defense of Georgia against Russia was nil. We abandoned defense missile systems in Poland. Our stockpile of ICBMs has been radically reduced. The military of the U.S. is being downsized to accommodate only a one-front war, not a two-front war. Base closings begun under Clinton have continued under Obama. Our troops are being withdrawn from Iraq, and Shi'ite (Iranian power) in Iraq has increased dramatically under Nouri Maliki during the past few years, as well as in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and possibly Libya. The Taliban is still being "engaged" in Afghanistan after more than ten years. Gradually the U.S. is being pushed back while downsizing militarily. The thought that we can or will intervene in the case of a catastrophic breakthrough by Iran in nuclear weaponry doesn't seem supported by the facts on the ground. And let's face it: we weren't willing to save our own ambassador in Benghazi, so how can anyone think we are going to stick our necks out for Israel or any other so-called friends in the international community?
Second, Pres. Obama ideologically sees the U.S. military as basically a spearhead of capitalist imperialism, and believes that our military dominance is serving an exploitative motive. The idea that a strong military is necessary for defense is looked upon by the president and his close advisers as a view that is naïve at best. To the inner circle of policymakers in the present administration, the military exists mainly to prop up the capitalist worldwide hegemony, and, under the guise of "defending freedom," actually assures that other countries allow exploitation by multinational corporations and by dictators who can take advantage of their own people. In other words, for the statists now in power in the U.S., Iran is just going through "growing pains" to form a new identity and join the family of nations, and that those who oppose this "growth" and independence have an exploitative, capitalist mindset.
To the leftist crowd, if we are free to develop nuclear arms, then Iran should be free to as well (what's good for the goose is good for the gander). It is impossible to convince a leftist that nuclear proliferation should be stopped worldwide because some countries are more rational and balanced, while others are unstable or "bad." Instead by a twisted logic, the leftist will "accept" the premise that there should be some built-in safeguards against nuclear proliferation, but affirm that other countries' right to act independently must be safeguarded as well even if that "independence" poses an existential threat to our allies or ourselves. This view is as absurd as the police agreeing to provide a gun to a bank robber but telling him that he can only have one bullet and not an entire magazine of ammo.
Thirdly, there is a widespread assumption that the critics of the deal are hysterical because they have prejudged the agreement from an overly-partisan point of view. To the vast majority of people, the dangers posed by the agreement are nonexistent or remote. In our country we believe in talking and compromise, so it is assumed by many that this approach is always a good thing even if it involves certain risks. Most Americans, including our leaders, do not realize that this paradigm does not work at all times and everywhere. Realpolitik cannot be avoided in a dangerous world. Power must be asserted against the wicked ones who would cause bodily harm to oneself, one's family, or one's fellow citizens or allies. In short, wishful thinking is operational here just as if we were living in 1938 when Chamberlain went to Munich. Sadly, events must transpire to disprove a mistaken reliance on "compromise" and "talking" (really what is happening is "manipulation" and "diddling").
Lastly, Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus in the first century, revealed that in some important respects the evils of life are beyond our human ken. He wrote, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers, against principalities, against the rulers of darkness, against wickedness in high places." God is wrestling with all of us just as he wrestled with Jacob in Genesis to reveal to him a higher truth, one which we cannot forget. We are, like Jacob, wounded in the thigh by our traumatic encounters with the terrorist world. We are struggling with God against a great evil that cannot be easily perceived at the sumptuously appointed conferences in places like Geneva. There are evil powers in this world, evil powers of anti-Semitism that have been around for thousands of years. At the annual Zionist Organization of America banquet (Nov. 24, 2013) to honor Gov. Mike Huckabee and others dedicated to a strong and vibrant Israel, Morton Klein, President of ZOA, said we need to continue to believe in miracles as well as action. This observation is very true, and of course we must continue to pray without ceasing.
E. Jeffrey Ludwig is a Harvard University Master Teacher who has published numerous articles, and has taught in many educational settings including Harvard, Penn State, and Juniata College as well as in New York City secondary schools.
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