Mistakes with Iran

by Travis

The following piece was submitted to various newspapers for print; I’m squeezing it in onto the website now, as it fits between two other related pieces. Enjoy.

Every four years, during the presidential debate season, the Islamic Republic of Iran re-enters the American political spectrum. Conservatives are pressuring the President to act in order to disrupt the rekindling Iranian nuclear capability. It is prudent to review the history of the Iranian regime to properly understand the situation we now face, and the dangers of callous actions.

Founded in 1979, the former Persian Empire became an anti-American theocratic regime under the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini, and a handful of mullahs, when the Iranian people overthrew the monarch Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who in 1953 had been installed as Prime Minister to continue providing cheap oil to the British, Iran’s former colonial ruler.

Iran was further aggravated by American support of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the eight-year Iraq-Iran War. Fifteen years later, as the world’s largest Shiite nation, Iran was emboldened by the American toppling of the Sunni Ba’athist Party during the 2003 Iraq War.

Since 2004, Iran has appeared to be the imminent national security threat, as it has led a “Shia Revival,” extending to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Violent Islamism – and the vehement Anti-Semitic language that accompanied it – did not sit well with the Iranian people: In 2009, the moderate Iranian public showed their disdain for their extremist regime by protesting the fraudulent presidential election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Some protestors gave their lives in the struggle.

During this period of opportunity, American officials largely sat silent.

Today, America faces a renewed threat, with a more desperate Iranian regime.

Although Iran has not initiated a military strike against another nation since it was under British rule, given the recent plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador on US soil, last month’s hijacking of a US Drone, and the likely Iranian assassination of a Houstonian student last week, the threat is real. Our actions today, however, are counterintuitive to toppling the regime; furthermore, conservatives are making critical errors in pushing Obama to action with Iran.

Our first mistake is imposing massive economic sanctions, crippling not the regime, but the entire nation. The EU recently joined the US in these efforts, with the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton saying: “The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table.”

The financial embargo is destroying Iran’s currency, and their gasoline imports have been cut in half. These actions do not accomplish the goal of stopping the Iranian regime; in fact, we are arbitrarily turning those moderates who protested Ahmadinejad toward their regime, and away from us. When an embargo becomes a blockade, sanctions become an act of war. Make no mistake: Forced starvation will lead to aggression. We are essentially radicalizing an enemy.

Our second mistake is confusing what is acceptable from the Iranians, and what is not. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has explicitly stated the Iranians are not developing a nuclear weapon, but are pursuing a nuclear capability. It is understood that an Iranian nuclear capability could pose a threat to Israel, but we have not specified whether or not Iran’s return to nuclear energy – which they had until 1979 – is acceptable. A nuclear weapon in the hands of this particular regime would be a threat to our national security, whereas nuclear power is not.

Furthermore, Iranian naval exercises in the Persian Gulf have riled Defense officials.

In direct retaliation against sanctions, the Iranian regime – as of this writing – has sworn to “definitely” block traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. I understand the seriousness of the situation; in the US Navy, I drove a $5 billion warship through that Strait, was followed by the Iranian missile silos ashore, P-3 aircraft overhead, and coastal patrol vessels afloat, and can attest it is a contentious area, through which roughly 25 percent of the world’s oil flows.

Iran’s closing of the Strait in response to a blockade would indeed be an act of war, and would require action. A hasty counterstrike, however, would lead to an asymmetric and chaotic naval war. The Revolutionary Guard commander Brigadier General Jafaari has threatened: “The enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called asymmetric warfare methods… our forces are now well prepared for it.”

Irregular war with Iran poses the largest threat to our ally Israel. While the Arab Spring was promoted by the Obama Administration – and emboldened the Administration’s circumvention of the Congress in warfare – it destabilized Israel. Defense Secretary Panetta has warned an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites would be “catastrophic” to the region. I disagree. A true friend to Israel would back off and let Israel take care of itself. With over 300 nuclear warheads of its own and the best intelligence agency in the world, Israel should be allowed to act in sovereignty and in accordance with its own national security.

It is unclear whether the United States has the resources, or if the American public has the willpower, to escalate to another war, without being struck first. It is clear, however, that our federal government is actually inviting war with Iran; that is why we deliberately confuse our “red lines.” That is why we restrain Israel. That is why we are provoking Iran, to incite them to act first, in order to generate instant American support for another war.

Why would our government want a war with Iran? The reasons are simple.

When asked what the greatest threat to American national security is, former JCS Chairman ADM Mike Mullen said not Iran – nor any other nation – but our national debt. Because the federal government lacks both the willpower to cut government spending and the capacity to tax the American public any further, it is preparing to hyperinflate our way out of this financial mess. Doing so will destroy what is left of the US Dollar, which is in a downward spiral, as the world slowly gives up on it as reserve currency.

This week, India dumped the US Dollar for gold in purchasing Iranian oil; a week earlier, Russia did the same. To understand why the world is abandoning the Dollar, it is critical to note that while the price of a barrel of oil is high, it has remained constant compared to the position the US Dollar holds to gold. The Dollar has been devalued by 95 percent since the 1913 advent of the Federal Reserve, which now holds the majority of US Treasury bonds.

Engaging in war with Iran would shroud the Fed’s actions while the maturation of these bonds destroys that final 5 percent, enabling a transition to a global currency and monetary standard progressives have wanted for decades.

If you are still not convinced the federal government would welcome war with Iran, consider this: Since James Madison, no wartime President has lost reelection. War with Iran ensures four more years of President Obama’s social control and class warfare. Obama will pretend as though he doesn’t want war with Iran, up until the point he must act, which I would wager to guess would be around October of 2012.

History teaches that free trade and the advancement of ideas would spur the people of Iran to topple their own regime. Irregular war with Iran would come at the expense of the American soldier and the Iranian citizen, while the Iranian regime could escape unscathed. Conservatives must consider the consequences of pushing the President to reelection and plunging the nation into another war.

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