Obama, Iran, Israel, and the World as we know it

News Editor

As many students, including myself, begin the dreaded month of April, filled with stressful paper deadlines and 100% exams, it behoves us to reflect on the fact that not in the too distant future there looms the possibility of another international war. This time the primary parties seem to be America, Israel, and Iran.

Since World War II, the principles of deterrence and mutually assured destruction (with the ironic acronym MAD) have ensured that the world has not seen a major war between any major political powers. However, with the recent threat of an Iran nuclear program and Israel’s continuing existential paranoia, tensions are growing and words can turn into action at anytime.

Speaking about the possibility of an Iranian military nuclear program, Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, although sharing the same concern as many within his government, unequivocally stated his position that Iran has only been conducting itself in a manner that is consistent with its best interests. In other words, Iran has been acting just as any other rational actor would. Dempsey, undoubtedly, took his fair share of criticism from the political left and right after he made those comments. President Obama, in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) unapologetically espoused his support of Israel while cautioning Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government that diplomacy should be exercised to exhaustion before any military action. Despite outwardly claiming to support Israel in any decision it makes concerning a strike against Iran, anyone who knows Obama’s previous views on the Middle East crisis or understands the necessities of pandering to influential lobby groups during election time such as AIPAC knows that the US Government’s policy towards Israel after the presidential election will likely change. It would be surprising if Obama’s second administration maintains its current level of support for Israel’s military aspirations against Iran—or any other ethnic Middle Eastern group confronting Israel’s existence.

Leaving aside the current political positioning pre-election, a more important point to consider is why the Israelis, or the Americans for that matter, are so concerned about the prospects of Iran having a nuclear program—for strictly energy needs or otherwise militarily. America boasts thousands of nuclear weapons and is the only country to ever make use of them. Israel, despite its relatively small population, also possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons. Fears about Iran using a nuclear weapon against any of its neighbours are simply unwarranted, if anything else, for the simple reason that there is absolutely no evidence that Iran has any intentions to build a nuclear weapon. Furthermore, taking the Iranian president’s words that he would like “Israel wiped off the map” is not reason enough to insinuate that Iran will launch a military attack against Israel. Admittedly, Israelis have valid reasons to be paranoid considering that the Holocaust was preceded by a dialogue of hatred and prejudice. But, to analogize the current situation to the one leading up to the Second World War is simply incorrect, especially since the Israeli people enjoy a growing state that is backed by many of the world’s most powerful countries. In addition, Iran, other than a few off-the-cuff comments by its president (it’s not like any American or Canadian politicians haven’t made some politically incorrect statements) has not illustrated any ideological instability characteristic of a country that will indiscriminately bomb another nation it plainly does not like. Iran’s human rights record and its insistence on imposing a draconian government system upon its people are abominable. But the fact remains that Israel’s and America’s current tactics are nothing more than fear mongering fed by the continuing desire to identify a political enemy—real or perceived.

If my advice meant anything to any politician of any repute, I would say that it’s time to lay off Iran and give up the military industrial complex. I would say that it is time that Israel and America worry about their own economies, neither of which are doing rather well currently. These countries, as well as Iran, would do well to listen to the needs and desires of their own citizens rather than keeping the world in a perpetual arm wrestle in which every nation must concertedly pick which side they are on.

So, if you’ve made it through this article, in between studying for exams and writing research papers, take a moment to pick up a newspaper or watch a current affairs program to further understand the dismal state of geopolitics that continues to hinder our progress on to a more humane, united and prosperous world.