Must the U.S. Remain a Tool To Be Exploited by Other Nations?
The election crisis in Iran began May 18th when President Obama granted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a White House press conference. From that high profile pulpit, this Likud Party leader announced that Iran was Israel’s top priority and that Israeli settlements would continue to expand despite U.S. objections.
By providing that opening to right-wing Israeli interests, Obama enabled a geopolitical manipulation that would not mature until a month later when a post-election crisis in Iran provided an opportunity to vilify Tehran while proceeding with the settlements.
The catalyst for this crisis was a social network “Twitter attack” in Iran that began June 13th, the day after the election. “IranElection” was the most popular keyword for tens of thousands of tweets, half of them featuring the same profile photo. Over 40% of the Twitter.com users came from the U.S., lending plausibility to the charge that this was not an Israeli but a U.S. operation meant to destabilize Iran by spreading charges of election fraud.
Mainstream media declined to mention that pre-election polling showed President Ahmadinejad a two-to-one favorite. Nor was there any reference to his opponent’s plans to privatize the oil and gas industry. Aware of how that path led to an entrenched oligarchy in Russia, it’s easy to see why mainstream Iranians rejected that future.
Asked about Tehran’s response to the protests, Netanyahu said “the true nature of this regime has been unmasked….this is a regime that oppresses its people.” The crisis also enabled him again to portray Iran’s nuclear program as “an international danger” that “should be dealt with by an international effort led by the United States.”
For those concerned at Israeli influence over U.S. foreign policy, Obama’s comment on June 23rd offered hope. In assessing this multi-front crisis, he noted that the U.S. “is not a tool to be exploited by other nations.”
If not Israel, what nation can exploit the U.S.—from the inside? What nation benefits from this crisis? If not Tel Aviv, what government has the means, motive, opportunity and stable nation state intelligence to conduct such operations?
If the U.S. is induced to invade Iran, no plausible outcome would be successful at preventing the conflict from spreading—lending plausibility to the widely touted Clash of Civilizations. Just as Israel seeks to delegitimize and vilify Iran, so too an attack on Iran would see the U.S. discredited and despised for allowing itself—yet again—to be exploited by Israel.
For Tehran to enrich uranium poses no threat to U.S. interests. President Kennedy saw the real threat. He sought in June 1963 to ensure that Israel did not develop nuclear weapons. His assassination brought to office a president with different priorities.
Citing an “existential threat” from Iran, a nuclear-armed Israel now deploys increasingly transparent efforts to exploit its “special relationship” with the U.S. to advance its interests. Yet war game strategists agree that an attack—any attack—would ignite a wave of anti-Americanism, further weakening us financially, militarily and diplomatically. That outcome is well known both in Washington and in Tel Aviv. These same pro-Israeli exploiters induced the U.S. to invade Iraq with the allure of a quick victory more than six years ago.
By June 23rd, Netanyahu was sufficiently emboldened to announce that even arguing about the settlements was “a waste of time.” Meanwhile Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave the green light for a settlement covering 212 acres of Palestinian farmland far from the main settlement blocs and several miles inside the West Bank.
While insisting “our hand is extended for peace,” Tel Aviv once again insisted on conditions certain to preclude peace. For veterans of this duplicity, this behavior is all too familiar. During the 1956 Sinai war, a captured Egyptian colonel conceded that his troops were put on high alert every time David Ben-Gurion insisted “our hands are extended for peace.”
To his credit, Obama has not—as yet—allowed himself to be drawn deeply into the fray in Iran. It’s unclear how much of the credit is due to a national security team familiar with how Tel Aviv exploits its allies to wage wars for Greater Israel. The Joint Chiefs may well stand united in their opposition, hardened by their experience with pro-Israelis who fixed the intelligence that induced our invasion of Iraq.
Barack Obama enabled this behavior by granting an Israeli leader a global platform. Is this ‘candidate of change’ advising Americans to no longer view Israel as an ally? That’s the change Tel Aviv most fears. Is he signaling what the facts confirm: Israel is neither friend nor ally but a deceiver and an enemy within? Is this president prepared to put a priority on holding accountable those who gave aid and comfort to these exploiters?