The Road to War: Democracy Misunderstood
With the world’s attention turned to the ever worsening situation in Syria, little attention is being paid to the dangerous developments in Iran. I know I am at odds with many of the military minds of our country that the President relies on for input on foreign policy decisions, but my prediction is for the United States to be involved in hostilities with Iran by early fall.
We have all heard the old adage “history repeats itself” and this situation in the Middle East is no different. There are striking similarities between the current leadership of Iran and some notorious figures of the not so distant past such as Manuel Noriega of Panama, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Osama bin Laden, and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Like these leaders, and most despots or dictators, the Iranian rulers lack a fundamental understanding of how and why a democracy truly works. When they see demonstrations in the streets, hear arguments between political rivals, political parties, and governing bodies, they see it as a weakness when in reality a healthy open discourse is what makes democracy great.
What I understand from their stated threats and saber rattling is that they view America as being currently divided and see this as an opportune time to attempt to establish themselves as a premier power, nuclear or not, in the Middle East. They viewed the Occupy Wall Street protesters as “the people” rising up against the government of the United States when in fact the protest participants are more politically aligned with the Iranian form of government than mainstream America. This total lack of understanding of democracy has led to miscalculations by the leaders I previously mentioned resulting in unnecessary conflicts with tragic results.
The Iranians see the election year as a particularly good time for adventurism as they feel that our government will be hesitant to respond and suffer political fallout. They have tested the waters with threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, demanded that an American aircraft carrier group not return through the strait, and planned and attempted to carry out assassinations of foreign diplomats both on United States soil and in other countries. The United States response to these actions has been eerily subdued which in my opinion further emboldens the Iranian regime and gives support to their beliefs that we will not respond.
In one of their most recent tirades an Iranian spokesman indicated that if Iran felt threatened they would launch a preemptive attack. With this in mind and according to Israeli intelligence the Iranians are now working on a ballistic missile capable of reaching the eastern coast of the United States, a dangerous enemy is developing. Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive. Yes, the sanctions are having an effect on Iran but I’m not sure that will push the Iranian regime to abandon their nuclear ambitions.
In my opinion what the sanctions are doing is increasing the nationalism of the people, causing them to blame the West for their hardships and not the Iranian government. We have already found out, through the loss of human lives, that the Iranians have excellent abilities at conducting counter-intelligence operations which makes the acquisition of human intelligence extremely difficult. Relying on electronic intelligence gathering methods has never been as reliable as the information we receive from human sources thereby making it extremely difficult to determine what is transpiring behind the scenes in Tehran. We have seen agents of the Iranian government at work in the unrest in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia without fully knowing what their ultimate goals truly are other that the assumption it is related to the spread of fundamentalist Islam.
As recently as Sunday April 22, 2012 The Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of Staff Benny Gantz told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, in an interview, the IDF is prepared and ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. In the interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Gantz emphasized that 2012 was going to be “a critical year” in the heated Israel-Iran crisis. Whether we initiate the military action or are pulled into a wider regional conflict by a unilateral Israeli strike remains to be seen but appears to be inevitable. Either way the United States cannot afford to abandon its ties with Israel, its only true ally in the Middle East.
Whether we like it or not, time is running out for action. Iran’s latest ploy of restarting nuclear talks is nothing more than a stalling tactic because they know as we do that once they develop nuclear capabilities, it is too late. Nothing would be a greater threat to United States interests or world peace and stability than a nuclear Iran.