Thursday, January 5, 2012

Get a fucking clue, GOP

Not surprisingly, I've been thoroughly annoyed by the GOP primary race for the past several months.  I fundamentally disagree with all of them, except Ron Paul, when it comes to foreign policy.  The Iran issue that has been front and center in this election cycle has pushed the limits on how inane this debate can possibly be.

Although the neoconservative foreign policy does annoy and frustrate me, I can at least respect that there intelligent neoconservative arguments to be made and a lot of them that I can sympathize with.  On the whole, these arguments fall well short of persuading me.  But with Iran, the entire issue is so out of touch with reality, my skeptical nature demands that I question whether these politicians really believe a single word they are saying.

Ron Paul has been under attack for his views for months now, but as he continues to steadily rise in the polls and especially threatened to win in Iowa, he's out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News today and made this statement about Paul:  "[He believes] Iranians can get a nuclear weapon and it doesn't matter, and if Israel disappears, well, bad things happen."  He further implied not only that he believes Paul is wrong on the issue, but that he "doesn't care about the safety of the United States."  This is demagoguery at its finest.

First, only if you cherry-pick reports and seek out single sentences from pages of information can you suggest that the Iranians are on the verge of possessing a nuclear weapon.  So already, the GOP establishment hacks are behind the 8-ball in this debate.  Michele Bachmann, in the last debate, basically resorted to making things up about an IAEA report.  Unfortunately for her, Ron Paul had actually read the report and threw her arguments back in her face.  Nevertheless, she pushed on--afterall, what are the chances any of the voters would bother to look into an IAEA report?

Secondly the idea that Iran would be a threat, even if they do get to that point is pretty low.  For one, the United States is the military power of the middle east, no question about it.  Because people like Newt Gingrich are incapable of abstract thinking, they can't imagine any scenario where this would not be true.  They are apprehensive about Paul's plan to bring troops home from Germany!  (Neocon defense:  insert Neville Chamberlain metaphor here).  When considering Paul's position of bringing the troops home and not acting preemptively against Iran, you have to first understand who would step into the role of dominant military power in that region:  Israel.

In 1981, Israel acted against Saddam Hussein when they had evidence he was pursuing nuclear weapons at that time.  The Washington establishment condemned these actions because the United States does not respect Israel's sovereignty and believes that all military action, everywhere, by anyone, must first be cleared by the US State Department.  So, for the Republicans to pretend today they are standing up for Israel is absurd.  They are instead standing up for United States global hegemony.  Of course, Ron Paul stood  alone in 1981 against condemning Israel and against interfering in Middle Eastern affairs, out of a principled respect that a) the US must not police the world, and b) Israel is entitled to act unilaterally in its own affairs and defense.

Again, I want to repeat that under Paul's plan of bringing troops home, Israel becomes the military power in the region.  Israel, Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons and have adopted a tense adherence to the mutually assured destruction principle.  If Israel is threatened by an Iranian nuclear program, they have shown in the past a willingness to act unilaterally, even in the face of condemnation, and they posses a nuclear arsenal and world-class intelligence to make quick work of it.  Any argument from the GOP candidates that implies an Iranian nuclear program would mean the end of Israel is indicative of stupidity or political gamesmanship of the worst kind.

Finally, this view is less controversial in Israel than in the US.  As far as the GOP is concerned, anyone who dares to question the US hegemony is a vile anti-Semite.  Yet when Benjamin Netanyahu states that Israel would be better off if the US would allow them some independence, or when Israeli newspapers publish editorials touting Ron Paul's message, it is a normal foreign affairs debate to them.  Of course, the GOP talking heads aren't interested in empathizing with their Israeli counterparts and they aren't interested in Israel's ability to defend itself.  They represent American exceptionalism, a patriarchal view of the world where the President of the United States lives up to the billing, the most powerful man in the world.

It's time the American people demanded better from these candidates.  Or at least the American media!  I don't expect much from CNN or Fox News, but this level of journalistic ineptitude is incredible.  How they continue to allow this inane damsel-in-distress portrayal of Israel to persist is just beyond the pale.  Israel, if allowed its due independence, is strong, competent and determined, and it's time Americans respect that.

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