Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May 2, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Tucker Carlson Strikes Again—This Time on the Rush to War with Iran


The (almost only) voice of reason on Fox News was at it again Tuesday (May 1). On his prime time program, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Carlson sharply questioned the rising propaganda narrative now earnestly pressing for open military conflict with Iran. In a five minute segment he interviewed retired US Army Colonel, Dr. Douglas MacGregor, a highly respected adviser and noted author on military strategy and history (e.g., Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern War, Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights) about the possibility of war with the Shia-dominated state.

This came after the highly-touted appearances in the American media over the past couple of days of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which Netanyahu produced purloined intelligence documents indicating that when Iran originally accepted and ratified the current nuclear deal (AKA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPA), it had not been completely honest []. In other words, Iran had lied about the scope and size of its nuclear program. Yet, significantly even Netanyahu did not deny that Iran was in compliance with the present agreement, a fact confirmed by American intelligence and other observers, including America’s European partners in the agreement.

President Trump has been, rightly, critical of the agreement—it’s not strong enough, he declares. It leaves too many issues unresolved. Several European leaders suggest—and have suggested to the president—that the agreement could be re-negotiated, and apparently Trump is considering their suggestions.

But the essential questions boil down to these: Is the United States willing to go to war against Iran over an agreement—the present one—which even American intelligence says Iran has complied with? And whose interest would such conflict serve?

The two major players in the Middle East pressing for (American) heightened conflict with Iran are Israel and Saudi Arabia, and in both cases their desire to get America more militarily involved directly relates to their radical opposition to the Iranian regime and their fear of Iranian influence in the region. Thus, the real reason behind their support of Islamic Jihadist terrorists in Syria who oppose the more secular (and more tolerant) government of Bashar al-Assad (who is a protector of Syria’s large Christian minority): Assad is supported by Iran.

In the incredibly complex and “tar baby” politics of the Middle East, wouldn’t it be just grand, they think, to get the United States involved on their side to help fight the other side?

Various Neoconservative spokesmen, pundits and many Republican political leaders echo this narrative: we simply have to get involved on the ground to fight terrorism, they say. For it is Iran that is “the greatest purveyor of terrorism” in the Middle East.

But that charge is false: it has been and continues to be the Sunni states and the Saudis that have bankrolled ISIS and other Jihadist groups—nearly all the 9/11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia, and the complete story of that connection has never been fully revealed. Almost all Islamic terrorism in Europe and the US has been initiated by Sunni Muslims.

It was not Iranians who detonated bombs bringing down the Twin Towers—it was not Iranians who attacked the Boston Marathon or blew up civilians in Paris—it was not the Iranians who created and armed Al-Qaeda and ISIS (the Iranians have been fighting and exterminating them in Syria).

And, lest we forget, it was America that overthrew the largely secular Sunni Iraqi state of Saddam Hussein—and what happened? That action spurred the creation and development of thousands of Sunni Islamic Jihadist groups, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and so on…and the emergence of a Shia-dominated, pro-Iranian state in Iraq.

No—the goal, which is completely understandable, of both Israel and Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states is for America to “pull their bacon” out of the fire, even if that encompasses military action.

But, and this is the central question, is the United States willing to go to war—is it actually in our interest—on behalf of two powerful regional states that are quite capable of defending themselves, and where our interests are not directly involved?

As much as we distrust the Iranian state and its control by the Mullahs, as much as we reject its Shia Islam…still the question must be asked: do we want to travel down that path when at this moment in time our interests (not Israel’s and not Saudi Arabia’s) are not at stake?

Tucker Carlson—still unbowed after his fearless comments on the latest Syrian “false flag” adventure—talks with Col. MacGregor and raises very real and very pertinent questions that should—that must—be raised before we go off headlong into more war, more death, and more American homes without a father, a son, or a brother.

Here is the YouTube clip (a little over four minutes) from last night:

Let’s hope Tucker Carlson continues to weather the Neocons who dominate Fox—his voice is a voice of common sense and reason, and that is sorely lacking among our current punditocracy and jingoistic political leaders.

Finally, I pass on one of Pat Buchanan’s latest columns, discussing some of these issues confronting the United States internationally—America First does not mean “the World First” and some zealous ideological crusade that brings ruin to our country.


America's Unsustainable Empire

By Patrick J. Buchanan   Tuesday - April 24, 2018

Before President Trump trashes the Iran nuclear deal, he might consider: If he could negotiate an identical deal with Kim Jong Un, it would astonish the world and win him the Nobel Peace Prize.

For Iran has no nuclear bomb or ICBM and has never tested either. It has never enriched uranium to bomb grade. It has shipped 98 percent of its uranium out of the country. It has cameras inside and inspectors crawling all over its nuclear facilities.

And North Korea? It has atom bombs and has tested an H-bomb. It has intermediate-range ballistic missiles that can hit Guam and an ICBM that, fully operational, could hit the West Coast. It has shorter-range missiles that could put nukes on South Korea and Japan.

Hard to believe Kim Jong Un will surrender these weapons, his ticket of admission to the table of great powers.  Yet the White House position is that the Iran nuclear deal should be scrapped, and no deal with Kim Jong Un signed that does not result in the "denuclearization" of the peninsula. If denuclearization means Kim gives up all his nukes and strategic missiles, ceases testing, and allows inspectors into all his nuclear facilities, we may be waiting a long time.

Trump decides on the Iran deal by May 12. And we will likely know what Kim is prepared to do, and not prepared to do, equally soon.

France's President Emmanuel Macron is in D.C. to persuade Trump not to walk away from the Iran deal and to keep U.S. troops in Syria. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be arriving at week's end with a similar message.

On the White House front burner then are these options:

Will North Korea agree to surrender its nuclear arsenal, or is it back to confrontation and possible war? Will we stick with the nuclear deal with Iran, or walk away, issue new demands on Tehran, and prepare for a military clash if rebuffed?  Do we pull U.S. troops out of Syria as Trump promised, or keep U.S. troops there to resist the reconquest of his country by Bashar Assad and his Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Shiite allies?

Beyond, the larger question looms: How long can we keep this up? How long can this country, with its shrinking share of global GDP, sustain its expanding commitments to confront and fight all over the world?

U.S. planes and ships now bump up against Russians in the Baltic and Black seas. We are sending Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kiev, while NATO allies implore us to bring Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance.  This would mean a U.S. guarantee to fight an alienated, angered and nuclear-armed Russia in Crimea and the Caucasus.

Sixteen years after 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan, we are still there, assisting Afghan troops against a Taliban we thought we had defeated.  We are now fighting what is left of ISIS in Syria alongside our Kurd allies, who tug us toward conflict with Turkey. U.S. forces and advisers are in Niger, Djibouti, Somalia. We are aiding the Saudis in their air war and naval blockade of Yemen.

The last Korean War, which cost 33,000 U.S. lives, began in the June before this writer entered 7th grade. Why is the defense of a powerful South Korea, with an economy 40 times that of the North, still a U.S. responsibility?

We are committed, by 60-year-old treaties, to defend Japan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand. Voices are being heard to have us renew the war guarantee to Taiwan that Jimmy Carter canceled in 1979. National security elites are pushing for new naval and military ties to Vietnam and India, to challenge Beijing in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

How long can we sustain a worldwide empire of dependencies? How many wars of this century — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen — turned out to have been worth the blood shed and the treasure lost? And what have all the "color-coded revolutions" we have instigated to advance "democracy" done for America?

In a New York Times essay, "Adapting to American Decline," Christopher Preble writes: "America's share of global wealth is shrinking. By some estimates, the United States accounted for roughly 50 percent of global output at the end of World War II. ... It has fallen to 15.1 percent today."  Preble continues: "Admitting that the United States is incapable of effectively adjudicating every territorial dispute or of thwarting every security threat in every part of the world is hardly tantamount to surrender. It is rather a wise admission of the limits of American power."

It is imperative, wrote Walter Lippmann, that U.S. commitments be brought into balance with U.S. power. This "forgotten principle ... must be recovered and returned to the first place in American thought."

That was 1943, at the height of a war that found us unprepared. We are hugely overextended today. And conservatives have no higher duty than to seek to bring U.S. war guarantees into conformity with U.S. vital interests and U.S. power.

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                                                         April 30, 2021   MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey   The Survival of Western Culture...