Lions and Tigers and Zionists, Oh My!
James Hall, From the Left
This prattle about Zionists makes about
as much sense as the haunted forest in The Wizard of Oz. The lion Dorothy discovered there turned out to be less than formidable.
Today’s Zionists are just as toothless and ineffective. Look at
Israel today, a country divided on a peace policy and futilely trying to wall itself away from its enemies. That’s the power of today’s Zionism.
There are people in America defending
Zionism and Israel today, but they are not Zionists—they are fundamentalist Christians who have decided that the occupation
of the Holy Land by Israelis is part of God’s Plan. Some of them, like
televangelist Pat Robertson, have even criticized efforts by Ariel Sharon and his supporters to continue the land-for-peace
We need to be involved in the Middle
East, but our presence there is not dictated by Zionists, fundamentalist Christians or even oil-hungry Kissinger realpolitick. It’s dictated by our own national interest. The Middle East is the most dangerous place on the planet, a focal point for religious
extremisms of all stripes—and into this volatile mix now add intermediate range missiles and nuclear weapons.
All experts agree that Israel is nuclear-armed. Saddam’s nuclear aspirations in response were enough to bluff George W. Bush
into his ill-fated occupation of Iraq. But Iran’s very-real technological
abilities, fueled by its oil wealth and close trade ties to Russia and China, make it likely that this nation will join shortly
Pakistan as the second nuclear-armed Muslim nation in the world. Iran has also
been testing intermediate range missiles, technology provided courtesy of its trading partners. And its leader has called for the destruction of Israel.
So, you say, no big deal. What’s a small nuclear war over there to us?
There’s a lot at stake. Iran could lob nukes at Israel, Europe, Australia, and at U.S. forces deployed in
Sunni Iraq or Afghanistan. Israel and perhaps the Europeans might respond in
kind, as might we. If the Middle East goes up in nuclear flames, it will play
havoc with our economy and perhaps start religious wars that would sweep the globe.
Iran has close contacts with terrorist groups, and terrorists may even get their hands on nukes, or Iran might marry
its nukes with an already-acquired long-distance missile capacity to shoot at U.S. bases in Europe and Asia.
What’s to keep Iran from developing
intercontinental ballistic missiles, the logical next step in its program? Then
it would have the capability of reaching us directly.
At a minimum, Iran’s defiance
of the nuclear proliferation treaty would start likely start a nuclear arms race in other countries where there exists a technological
capability do develop nuclear weapons. A world where every other nation is a
member of the Nuclear Club is a much more dangerous world than the one that exists today.
When we faced a Communist enemy, we
had the assurance that our enemy wanted to live in this world. Kruschev blinked
in Cuba; Breshnev balked, and Gorbachev gave in. But religious fanatics believe
they’ll inherit a heavenly paradise even as they turn this earth into a cinder.
It’s for this reason that we can’t turn our backs on the Middle East and let the fundamentalists fight
it out there—they’re much too eager for Armageddon.
President Bush has to get involved
and has to get the rest of the world, which has a stake in this, involved as well. We
have to be prepared to act to take out Iran’s fledgling nuclear capability. Because
a nuclear-armed Iran is a much scarier idea than a haunted forest in a fantasy world, and nuclear war is not a happy ending.
Cooperation, Not Domination
What a minute, who said anything
about world domination? We don’t seek to dominate the world, and the proof
is that we’ve had that opportunity, many times, and each time we’ve moved in the direction of world cooperation,
forging alliances of democracies, not seeking world domination.
What we are working towards is not
a U.S. solution to the Iran problem, but a world solution. Remember that Iran
seeks to break an international agreement, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its
case has been investigated by an international organization, the IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency), and that agency
has referred Iran to the U.S. Security Council for a decision on possible sanctions.
Any sanction, when and if it comes, will be carried out according to U.N. resolutions and international law.
We didn’t even take the
lead in dealing with this problem. In an effort to resolve this situation, Iran was first approached by the European nations
France, Germany, and Great Britain. The Russian Federation and China also offered
solutions to Iran and have each offered compromises that the U.S. has accepted in principle.
No, this is hardly a U.S. problem,
nor will the solution be a U.S.-only one.
I will grant my opponent’s point
that the Middle East is a morass, a tar pit capable of dragging the strongest predator under.
Every time we meddle over there risks involvement getting in over our heads.
But we really have no choice, where
nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles are concerned. We can’t let a fanatical
regime get their hands on them.
Neither can we claim some kind of neutrality
with a nation that already regards us an enemy. A nation that has held Americans
hostage and prays daily for our destruction is not one that we can trust with nuclear weapons, nor can our allies and friends
in Europe and the Pacific, who would come under direct threat from a Nuclear Iran.
Undoubtedly Israel will play a role
in this situation, too; mainly because it can’t permit an enemy that close to it to have nuclear weapons. It seems clear that Israel will act if we do nothing, and their involvement could easily lead to a widespread
Middle Eastern war, and widespread disaster to a world economy dependent on Middle Eastern oil. That’s just reality, and one doesn’t have to be buddy-buddy with the Israelis to realize this.
If we do make the decision to intervene,
it will not be to protect Israel. We will do it because the international treaties
that protect the world from nuclear proliferation can’t be flouted, our friends can’t be threatened, and our values
can’t be compromised by giving a terrorist regime the weapons it wants. That’s
just common sense.