Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Iran and the Bomb

The weather is again dominating the local news, however on the international scene the Iranian nuclear desires are the big ticket item along side the continuing war against the oppression and medieval forces of ISIL. There is a deal in the works that is explained in basic terms in the NY Times article, The Nuclear Talks

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke before a joint session of Congress yesterday describing, from his vantage point, the problems with the negotiations and ending the sanctions against Iran in exchange for assurances that they will not pursue nuclear weapons.

I was able to watch parts of the address as it was carried live on FoxNews. 

What amazes me this morning is the uneven, partisan coverage of the address and the impending agreement with Iran. The substance of the speech is not being addressed on a factual basis, but rather from an emotional point of view. This is a recipe for failure.

I am reminded of the late 1930's and the Prime Minister of the UK, Neville Chamberlain who attempted to appease Hitler. That policy had tragic results resulting in Chamberlain's resignation in 1940 and the occupation of much of continental Europe by the Nazi forces before the combined militaries of many nations were able to liberate conquered peoples.

As I read the responses to the speech this morning in the press, I am appalled at the lack of historical context the writers possess and I am concerned that they do not see what is happening in the world today.

For instance, Iran is conducting operations in Iraq against ISIL and these operations were not well coordinated with the United States led coalition as reported on FoxNews and by others. While it may appear they are integrated and assisting, perhaps they are working to achieve their own objectives apart from the combined efforts of the coalition.

In an effort, I presume, to show balanced coverage, the New York Times published an OpEd piece written by Gholamali Khoshroo Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. In that piece, Mr. Khoshroo writes,  "alarmist rhetoric on the theme has been a staple of Mr. Netanyahu’s career. In an interview with the BBC in 1997, he accused Iran of secretly “building a formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles,” predicting that eventually Manhattan would be within range." I found this statement to be particularly revealing since The Unites States Institute for Peace characterizes Iran's ballistic missile program as follows: Iran has the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East. (Israel has more capable ballistic missiles, but fewer in number and type.) Most were acquired from foreign sources, notably North Korea. The Islamic Republic is the only country to develop a 2,000-km missile without first having a nuclear weapons capability.

This issue will continue to play out on the international stage and within the partisan halls of the U.S. government and bears watching by concerned citizens.

There is a lot more going on that the snow expected to fall outside my windows beginning tonight. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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