[News] Is Bibi the Bully wagging the American dog?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Mar 5 12:08:56 EST 2012

Is Bibi the Bully wagging the American dog?
By Pepe Escobar


Even before their fateful encounter at the White House this Monday, 
US President Barack Obama made it clear, on the record, that Israeli 
Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu wouldn't face him down.

Or did he?

No matter what the rhetorical gymnastics performed by Obama, a case 
can be made that Bibi the Bully wags the American dog full-time. 
Worse; the Likud-dominated Israeli administration, single-handedly, 
is playing with dispatching vast spheres of the global economy into 
total depression, as its hysterics progressively hurl oil prices 
towards the stratosphere.

The world is a hostage of Israel's whims even as the 120-plus members 
of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) support Iran's right to enrich 
uranium and BRICS members Russia, China and India, as well as Turkey, 
dismiss the US and the EU's oil embargo - a true declaration of 
economic war - on Iran.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) get-together in 
Washington takes place in an intimidating, cavernous Colosseum where 
the wealthy crowd ululates in unison for Iranian blood. A passable 
tactician but a lousy strategist, Bibi the Bully's only game in town 
is "Bomb Iran".

This is justified by the "existential threat" posed by non-nuclear 
Iran to a nuclear-armed garrison state/settler colony that is 
literally, graphically wiping a whole people (the Palestinians) off the map.

Still one more proof of the "existential threat" fallacy was provided 
last week by Iran's Supreme Leader himself, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 
even before the absolute victory of his supporters in Friday's 
parliamentary elections - which effectively turned President Mahmoud 
Ahmadinejad into a lame duck.

Khamenei's words must be reproduced again and again and again - 
because the baying-for-blood US corporate media simply won't do it.

He said, "The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue 
nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the 
countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear 
weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and 
theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave 
sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, 
destructive and dangerous."

Mr president, tear down this wall

Yet once again, the graphic proof that Israel exercises virtual 
complete control of US foreign policy was the sight of an American 
president defensively addressing the AIPAC Colosseum. Apart from a 
festival of Orwellian intimations, to his credit at least Obama 
emphasized the word "diplomacy", did not specify any "red lines", nor 
endorsed the mere "capability" of Iran to build a nuclear weapon as a 
casus belli. After all, he knows he already has more American Jewish 
voters in the bag than among the US electorate as a whole.

But ultimately Obama did cave in to Bibi the Bully - as the rhetoric 
was not unlike Tony Soprano's and the ominous "military component" 
remained very much on the table.

Still, Bibi the Bully - mimicking his voracity in devouring 
Palestinian land - wants more.

Whatever route they take - overflying Syria and Turkey, and even if 
they hit the crucial targets of Natanz, Arak, Isfahan and Fordow - 
Israel's Jericho missiles have zero chances of paralyzing, not to 
mention destroying, the complex decision apparatus of the Islamic 
Republic. Forget about "humiliation" and regime change. Even Major 
General Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's 
Diplomatic-Security Bureau, acknowledged last October that Israel 
cannot win. That's why Bibi the Bully badly wants to extract a formal 
promise that the US will do the dirty work.

According to a recent poll in Israel, 34% are against bombing Iran. 
But 42% are in favor if the US is at least supporting it. How sweet 
it is to enrol a superpower to fight your fictional "existential threats".

Bibi the Bully badly wants a Republican to take out Obama in 
November. Obama knows he can't be defeated by King of Flip Flop Mitt 
Romney or Ayatollah Rick Santorum. But he can be defeated by the 
proverbial US gas pump. The problem is, submitting or not to Bibi the 
Bully's absolutist demands, oil prices go up; they have already have 
by 20%, and this growth may reach 50% or more if speculators deem an 
attack imminent.

Tehran may hold the key to defuse the whole psychodrama - and the 
demented speculation on oil prices. By late March or early April, 
with his authority immensely strengthened, negotiators on behalf of 
Ayatollah Khamenei will be back on the table discussing the nuclear 
dossier with the P5+1 - US, France, Britain, Russia and China, plus Germany.

Obama himself may also hold the key. He could pull a Nixon - as in 
going to China to meet Mao in 1972 - and offer a face-to-face to 
Khamenei. The industrial-military-media complex, Big Oil, the Israeli 
firsters and especially Bibi the Bully will be seeing all shades of 
red. But it does take balls to really earn a Nobel Peace Prize. 
Obama, will you tear down this wall (of mistrust)?

This is the section of Obama's speech at AIPAC centered on Iran:
Today there is no doubt - anywhere in the world - that the United 
States will insist upon Israel's security and legitimacy. That will 
also be true as we continue our efforts to our pursuit of peace. And 
that will be true when it comes to the issue that is such a focus for 
all of us today: Iran's nuclear program - a threat that has the 
potential to bring together the worst rhetoric about Israel's 
destruction with the world's most dangerous weapons.

Let's begin with a basic truth that you all understand: no Israeli 
government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime 
that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and 
sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction. And so I 
understand the profound historical obligation that weighs on the 
shoulders of Bibi Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, and all of Israel's leaders.

A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel's security 
interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests 
of the United States. Indeed, the entire world has an interest in 
preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran 
would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we have 
done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon 
could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost 
certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their 
own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most 
volatile regions in the world. It would embolden a regime that has 
brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iran's proxies, who 
have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.

That is why, four years ago, I made a commitment to the American 
people, and said that we would use all elements of American power to 
pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. That is 
what we have done.

When I took office, the efforts to apply pressure on Iran were in 
tatters. Iran had gone from zero centrifuges spinning to thousands, 
without facing broad pushback from the world. In the region, Iran was 
ascendant - increasingly popular, and extending its reach. In other 
words, the Iranian leadership was united and on the move, and the 
international community was divided about how to go forward.

And so from my first months in office, we put forward a very clear 
choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin 
the community of nations if they meet their international 
obligations, or a path that leads to an escalating series of 
consequences if they don't. In fact, our policy of engagement - 
quickly rebuffed by the Iranian regime - allowed us to rally the 
international community as never before; to expose Iran's 
intransigence; and to apply pressure that goes far beyond anything 
that the United States could do on our own.

Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever 
before. People predicted that Russia and China wouldn't join us in 
moving toward pressure. They did, and in 2010 the UN Security Council 
overwhelmingly supported a comprehensive sanctions effort. Few 
thought that sanctions could have an immediate bite on the Iranian 
regime. They have, slowing the Iranian nuclear program and virtually 
grinding the Iranian economy to a halt in 2011. Many questioned 
whether we could hold our coalition together as we moved against 
Iran's Central Bank and oil exports. But our friends in Europe and 
Asia and elsewhere are joining us. And in 2012, the Iranian 
government faces the prospect of even more crippling sanctions.

That is where we are today. Iran is isolated, its leadership divided 
and under pressure. And the Arab Spring has only increased these 
trends, as the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed, and its 
ally - the Assad regime - is crumbling.

Of course, so long as Iran fails to meet its obligations, this 
problem remains unsolved. The effective implementation of our policy 
is not enough - we must accomplish our objective.

In that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for 
diplomacy - backed by pressure - to succeed. The United States and 
Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and 
we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. Now, the 
international community has a responsibility to use the time and 
space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this 
July - thanks to our diplomatic coordination - a European ban on 
Iranian oil imports will take hold. Faced with these increasingly 
dire consequences, Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make 
the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into 
the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end.

Given their history, there are of course no guarantees that the 
Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the 
United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved 
diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem 
is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear 
weapons. That's what history tells us.

Moreover, as President and Commander-in-Chief, I have a deeply held 
preference for peace over war. I have sent men and women into harm's 
way. I have seen the consequences of those decisions in the eyes of 
those I meet who have come back gravely wounded, and the absence of 
those who don't make it home. Long after I leave this office, I will 
remember those moments as the most searing of my presidency. For this 
reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I 
only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. And I know 
that Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and 
consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to 
defend their country.

We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, 
Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United 
States, just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to 
make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security 
needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from 
obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and 
I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power. A 
political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to 
sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is 
monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, 
yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.

Iran's leaders should know that I do not have a policy of 
containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear 
weapon. And as I've made clear time and again during the course of my 
presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to 
defend the United States and its interests.

Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of 
these issues; the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for 
the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the 
last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, 
by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their 
nuclear program. For the sake of Israel's security, America's 
security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the 
time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink 
in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have 
built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy 
Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick. As we do, rest 
assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve, and that 
our coordination with Israel will continue. "

Pepe Escobar is the author of 
How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 
2007) and 
Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent 
book, just out, is 
does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com

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