Republicans start swinging McCain. His fear mongering over Iran and his truly worrying
By ERIC MARGOLIS
Facebook Digg Del.icio.us Google Stumble Upon Furl Newsvine Reddit Technorati Blinklist Feed Me Yahoo Socializer Ma.gnolia Raw Sugar Simpy Squidoo Spurl Blink Bits Rojo Blogmarks Shadows Netvouz Scuttle Co.mments Bloglines Tailrank Sitejot + Help
The Republican attack machine went after Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama last week, and it was not a pretty sight.
After Obama sensibly proposed direct negotiations with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and described any potential danger from Iran as "tiny," Republican candidate John McCain accused him of being reckless and inexperienced.
"The threat the government of Iran poses is anything but tiny," thundered McCain -- the same "experienced" McCain who mistakenly claimed Iran was supporting Sunni fighters in Iraq.
President George W. Bush echoed McCain's accusations during a speech to Israel's Knesset last week, an oration so fulsome and simplistic, many worldly Israeli legislators were left looking embarrassed.
Bush insinuated Obama was a dangerous pre-Second World War type "appeaser" for daring suggest talking to Iran. Neocons blasted Obama as unpatriotic for not wearing an American flag pin and hinted he was a closet Muslim. Obama was so flummoxed by these violent attacks, he foolishly flip-flopped and agreed Iran was indeed a grave threat.
All this came as the danger of a U.S./Israeli attack on Iran to preserve Israel's Mideast nuclear monopoly was growing. Israel's PM Ehud Olmert called for a U.S. naval blockade of Iran, an open act of war.
If the Second World War must be dredged up, a more appropriate reference would be Nazi Hermann Goering's famous formula for fascism: "All you have to do is to tell them (the people) they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
McCain is an able, savvy domestic politician, but his absurd claims about Iran bring into question his understanding of foreign policy.
Iran has no long-range missiles, nuclear weapons or bombers. Its decrepit air force barely flies. Iran's so-called navy is a lightly armed coast guard.
Its ground forces are immobile and lack all forms of modern weapons. Tehran's defence budget is the size of Poland's or Norway's, and 100 times smaller than U.S. military spending.
It's the great Iraq scare all over. Republicans again are playing to the least-educated Americans by frightening them with fairy tales and outright lies. Iranian mad mullahs determined to shower A-bombs on Memphis and Dubuque have replaced Saddam and his Drones of Death. Should the U.S. talk to enemies? Of course. Diplomacy is one of three primary tools of statecraft along with military and economic power. Only arrant fools do not make use of it.
Just because the Bush administration largely relied on military power in foreign policy does not mean this Soviet-style approach need continue.
To whom does one negotiate if not with one's enemies and rivals? Besides, war is waged to attain diplomatic objectives, not win military victories. The greatest threat to world peace is not pipsqueaks such as Iran, Cuba or, even more laughably, Venezuela. It is the breakdown of normal diplomatic relations.
As Democrats rightly noted, the U.S. fruitfully negotiated with the Soviet Union and China when both powers threatened America with nuclear destruction.
The Bush administration has been making progress in nuclear talks with "pariah" North Korea.
All sensible nations talk, either through normal or back door channels. Israel kept in touch with Iran after its revolution, secretly sold Tehran $5 billion of arms, and still maintains links today. Israel also has discreet links to Hamas and Hezbollah through third parties such as Egypt. Israel and old foe Syria just announced talks.
McCain should be reminded that hysteria is not a viable foreign policy, even if it is election silly season.
He is wrong to keep promoting the image of America as a spinster atop a chair, screaming in fear of a Muslim mouse called Iran. This is unworthy of the great United States.
If anyone is being reckless and inexperienced in foreign affairs, so far it's McCain. His fear mongering over Iran and his truly worrying