Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Blunder/Betrayal of Unprecedented Proportions

This is a guest post from my cousin, Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, the Chabad Lubavitch rabbi for Chabad at La Costa, in California.

The United States has led world powers into an agreement with Iran, which officially allows Iran to enrich uranium. The consequences of this deal will necessarily be earth-shattering, and not in a good way. Some points to ponder: Why does the oil rich nation of Iran need to enrich uranium? Who has a greater knowledge and appreciation of Israel’s security situation and existential threats to it, the United States or Israel?

Why Threaten Israel?

Why have Iranian leaders repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel from the map? In other words, the two nations do not even share a border, why does the Iranian regime harbor such animosity against Israel? What has Israel ever done to Iran?
What would motivate anyone to entrust a nuclear capability to the single largest state sponsor of terror in the world? In other words, who would possibly believe the Iranian protestations that uranium enrichment is for peaceful purposes?
Who could imagine that Iran’s numerous regional enemies, like Saudi Arabia, will not now be forced into their own pursuits of a nuclear capability to protect themselves? In other words, the world powers have forced an arms race in the most volatile region in the world, a veritable tinder box of radicalism and instability.

Why Not Double-Down?

If the sanctions were working – like all parties claim other than the Iranians themselves – why not double down and strangle the Iranian regime until they completely give up any pursuit of a nuclear capability? What is there to lose by doing everything humanly possible to peacefully try and destroy the Iranian nuclear project in its entirety? Let us try now to answer each question: The oil rich nation of Iran does not need to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. However, if it wishes to strike a deadly blow against the United States (who they continue to call the Great Satan) or Israel (who they continue to call the Small Satan), or against their mortal enemy Saudi Arabia (the preeminent Sunni power as opposed to Iran who is the preeminent Shiite power) they need to enrich uranium. Perhaps it is ‘only’ meant as a deterrent, so that they can continue and even ramp up their terrorist activities around the world, and now the world powers will fear striking Iran, much as the world is afraid of North Korea now because of its nuclear capability. Israel has a greater knowledge of its own security situation and what is or is not an existential threat than does the US. It is arrogance and nothing less for the US and/or other world powers to dictate to Israel what is in its best interests. As opposed to Iran, Israel is a liberal democracy, and its leaders are elected freely by a peace-loving, law-abiding population. It is irresponsible for the US to gamble with Israeli security, especially in light of the recent history of the Jewish people and the world’s inaction during the Holocaust.

Rational Actor?

The Iranian Mullahs hate Israel and the Jewish people, as they hate Christians, secular nations, and non Shiite Muslims for religious reasons. There is no valid reason (and by valid I mean according to Western thought and logic) for the implacable hatred on constant display by the Iranian regime towards a country a thousand miles distant. There is, however, a strong religious reason for this hatred. Because it is a religious hatred it is not subjected to the considerations that appeal to Western thought and philosophy. A worldview that welcomes the advent of the apocalypse is not one that can be rationally dealt with. To be clear; Israel has never done anything to Iran other than exist, and the same can be said of all Western nations and non Shiite nations (meaning essentially everyone else). This is perhaps the most troubling of all questions. There are only a couple of possibilities as to why the US would choose to allow a bloodthirsty, tyrannical regime a nuclear capability. At best it would seem to be a naïveté of epic proportions. This level of naïveté rivals Neville Chamberlin when he proclaimed, “We have peace in our time,” due to his historical (read hysterical) deal with Adolph Hitler (which directly led to World War II and the death of tens of millions of people), and that of a previous administration that welcomed the Ayatollah Khomeini and this regime into power trusting their promise of democracy. We have suffered for more than 30 years because of that blunder with countless terror attacks and a general destabilization in the Middle East. A nuclear capable Iran is a mistake that will take at least as long to undo, unless more aggressive, non-peaceful means are employed. At worst it demonstrates a perverse desire to empower the Iranian Mullahs. Perhaps this desire emanates from a misplaced feeling of guilt for Western successes over the past thousand years. Perhaps it is part of a cynical ploy to further isolate Israel, forcing her into painful and dangerous concessions, or simply out of existence, G-d forbid. Perhaps Jeremiah Wright, the race-baiting, America hating spiritual mentor of so many was correct when he predicted that before the end of this administration’s time in power Israel would be exposed to some new realities. Or maybe fear motivated this capitulation?

Arms Race

Now that the harness has officially been lifted there is no way that this cannot lead to an all-out arms race in the Middle East. Unfortunately the only regime in the neighborhood that shares our western ideals of liberal democracy will be surrounded by nuclear capable, theocratic, western-hating regimes as a direct result of this deal. Does Washington possibly think they can control all of the countries that will now be racing to acquire a nuclear capability? Are they so morally confused as to think mutually assured destruction will keep us safe? So why did this administration give up on the sanctions that were taking a bite out of Iran’s nuclear aspirations? Perhaps the best answer is, “All of the above.” There is no logical explanation that we have been made aware of for the capitulation of the 21st century. I shudder to think of the reasons we have not been made aware of. Do we trust the president with his assurance that, “I have Israel’s back?” I have just one question: “How can we?!”

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