Wednesday, September 04, 2013
More about Syria
It finally dawned on me that the question of whether the Assad Regime in Syria has actually used chemical weapons on its own people is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that the intelligence may have been tweaked to provide a desired result. The United States doesn't care two cents about Syria. The point of attacking and punishing Syria is to convince two difficult men that the United States is a real threat and not just a paper tiger. These men are the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the head man in Iran, and Benyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. We must convince those two men that our President Barack Obama will order a suitable military strike against a country that Mr. Obama believes has one something expressly forbidden by the American Government. Syria must be attacked to convince Khamenei and Netanyahu that the United States does not make idle threats. From that viewpoint it doesn't matter what the truth is. What matters is what Mr. Obama believes and what he is willing to do about it.
I think this is a neocon or neoliberal argument. It's an extension of what President Kennedy used to say: we have to show vigor.
I have no use for the argument. I believe we must manage somehow to negotiate an agreement with the leaders of Iran. We should discard our concern about Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons in Pakistan are real and they are a bigger threat to us that real nuclear weapons in Iran. If Iran produces a nuclear weapon, we will adapt to it. It is not likely that Iran will start a nuclear war with us. I think it's unlikely that Iran would start a nuclear war with Israel. Rather, it would use the fact of such a weapon as a lever to force Israel to agree to the existence of a Palestinian State with agreed international borders. Such a lever would decrease the influence of the United States as Israel's Defender and might actually cause the Likud government to stop the growth of "illegal" settlements.
I have little use for this argument, either. I present it only as a possible alternative to our present policy of playing "chicken."