08 February 2012

American Evangelicals Beating the War Drum Against Iran Part 2

Americans view Iran as the aggressor but imagine if you will...China conquering Canada and Mexico and sailing warships along our coast, tailing our ships etc... and then in the Chinese media the United States is denounced as dangerous and an aggressor, a threat to China. Asserting the United States was in a position of aggression would of course be laughable, and the United States would be taking drastic action I assure you. The Iranians are in just such a situation.

In 2002 George Bush identified Iran as a member of the Axis of Evil...coined by an Evangelical speech writer of course. Iraq fell shortly thereafter; North Korea went nuclear and even though they've been far more aggressive toward South Korea than Iran has toward any other country....and guess what? They're left alone.

Iran would be irrational not to pursue a nuclear deterrent. Why should they de-weaponize or end their nuclear programme? Of course it hasn’t been proven their nuclear programme will be converted to produce weapons but I’ll grant the probability. Look at what happened to Ghaddafi? He got rid of his weapons and tried to reenter the international community after 2003. He did all that he was supposed to do. But then the people rise up against him and he no longer has any threat or any deterrent against an invasion from outside…and NATO comes in, and he's done for.

American Hawks like Santorum do all they can to portray the Iranian regime as mad and suicidal. There are many propagandists like Joel Rosenberg and Joseph Farah at work in Christian circles trying to tie in Shiite apocalypticism with the goals of the Iranian regime. The Iranians want the bomb so they can attack Israel and they'll do this knowing that Tehran, Qom, Isfahan, Mashhad, and perhaps Tabriz will be eliminated? Actually no one knows what the response will be...would the United States really wipe them out? I'm sure Israel would if they were still able to retaliate. It's hard to say, I don't think anyone knows but an Iranian strike against Israel would be perhaps the greatest crisis since 1962 if not 1914.

But is this what Iran wants to do? That's part of the debate. There's a lot of psy-ops activity going on both sides. Part of the problem is there are really no diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran and this creates a very dangerous situation. I will at least give Obama credit that he has made attempts to remedy this situation and was rebuffed. Lack of communication is dangerous. American Conservatives refuse to even entertain establishing diplomatic ties, because doing so grants legitimacy and recognition. But not doing so runs a greater risk. One incident can cause a kind of chain reaction and put the two nations on a path to war. It's the Guns of August all over again.

There are some in America like Santorum who really want this. For some it's ideological. It can be tied in with American Imperial policy, doctrine concerning Israel, and it would certainly represent a complete domination of the Middle East by American interests. This was their hope as they pushed for an attack on Iran during the Bush years. He had lost too much political capital both at home and abroad and they were disappointed.

Now the situation has become so dynamic they may reach out to grab power and find it slipping away from them. It would also lead to Blowback undoubtedly on the scale of another 11 September and a sharp uptick in Islamic extremism. Of course I wouldn't be alone in suggesting the Hawks on the Right would eagerly embrace such a scenario. Fear and instability allow them to act with impunity.

The Iranian regime would appreciate a small scale war and a permanent state of low-grade threat, because the resulting precarious security situation allows them to maintain power. Security leads to leisure and leisure leads to discontent and the threat of instability. Low-scale external threat real or not helps to empower a regime...that’s no less true for Empires. In fact an external threat is viewed by many political strategists as an absolute necessity.

Americans in general and certainly the American public seems to be quite naive and simple when it comes to the language of geopolitics. Few Americans realize placing a sanctions regime on another country is an act of war. Ron Paul again is the lone voice in national politics arguing this point. America is diplomatically masterful and has an impressive historical record of forcing adversaries to fire the first shot. This allows the White House to establish the narrative in terms of the moral high ground. They might even find a few lemmings to tell them they've met the criteria for Just War Theory to be applied. American policy toward Iran is very reminiscent of what Roosevelt was doing with the Japanese prior to 1941.

By cutting off oil exports, the regime's economy is placed in jeopardy. Destabilizing the shipping on the Straits of Hormuz, even as silly as the prospect of an Iranian blockade is...nevertheless forces oil prices up, and if the Iranians are selling less of it...the consequent result is an increase in their profits. It makes economic sense to agitate the situation and raise the price of oil. It decreases the effectiveness of the sanctions. And, the elevated security threat once again strengthens the regime. But in the Western Media it’s portrayed as raw aggression and indicative of the fanatical nature of the regime. Actually it’s far from fanatical or aggressive…in light of what’s happening it makes sense. And remember they’re the ones in the vice, not the other way around.

Some debate over whether or not the American State Department understands this...that sanctions strengthen the regime they're being imposed on. It allows them to consolidate power and the people are really the only ones who suffer. The people don't rise up; instead they are forced to depend on the regime doling out the strained and restricted resources. The siege (for that's what it is) is supposed to break the people inside, so they'll rise up and overthrow the regime, but it has rarely worked. And the price can be terrible. An estimated 1.5 million people died in Iraq from 1991-2003 as a result of American policy. The Americans admitted it and did not shy away from the claims that 500,000 children had died. Madeleine Albright famously said, 'it was worth it.' And that's not even touching on some of the long term environmental issues the Americans have unleashed through their methods of warfare.

But once again, the sanctions didn't work. Saddam was not even close to losing his grip on power. It never worked with Cuba either. Even with their failed economic system and heavy-fisted government, they've kept on. Castro must laugh. He's outlived his enemies. He probably wishes he could live another forty years and watch the United States disintegrate. The Republican candidates have made it pretty clear, they'd like to deliver him a parting shot. He's humiliated the United States throughout much of the Cold War and power elites don't forgive or forget.

Some might point to South Africa as a success story for sanctions, but their internal situation was already unsustainable. They were looking at Civil War if action wasn't taken. Apartheid had to end sanctions or no. The demographic realities were simply against the regime. The White leadership would not be able to go on like that indefinitely. Sheer numbers would mean their eventual loss of power.

Whatever happens in the near future, Cuba and Iraq are a powerful testimony to the failure of sanctions.

Some believe the American diplomatic corps knows this well and they use the sanctions to actually keep the regime in place allowing the State Department and Pentagon to pursue a specific foreign policy and strategic agenda. Many believe this is why the United States stopped the drive to Baghdad in 1991. Retaining Saddam Hussein was a justification for an American military presence in the Gulf region and drove a strategic wedge into southwest Asia, something they were quite keen to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Why are China and Russia helping Iran? Well because they're Gog and Magog right? I wish Reformed and other Christians would realize Dispensational theology is nothing to wink at. It wields considerable political power in the United States and like it or not...affects policy. Don't forget this is 2012, an election year and Obama's actions concerning Iran will be pounced on by the Christian Right. These doctrines concerning Israel though often misunderstood even by those who hold them, play a part. I've known more than a few people attending mainline theologically liberal churches with women pastors and all the rest who have read the Tim LaHaye books and in some confused sense are attuned to what they now think the Bible teaches about these geopolitical issues. It's affecting how they vote and what political organizations they contribute to.

Russia was kicked and essentially ravaged by American interests throughout the 1990's. The United States didn't win the Cold War and pat them on the back and say...'good match, better luck next time.'

In every way possible the United States took advantage of Russia while it was down. I won't go into all that here. I've touched on it elsewhere. Putin brought stability to the Mafia-capitalistic society which had taken over. However he's played the traditional Russian strong-man role. It was appreciated in the early 2000's, but he's now suffering the results of a miscalculation. He brought security and stability to the streets and in part to the economy. This leads to leisure and leisure leads to discontent. He perhaps unwittingly has created the conditions which are now leading people to start questioning his power model which is largely based on cronyism and thus very corrupt. He's paranoid of dissent and external machinations...and has every reason to be...and rules with a pretty hard fist, even when using proxies. People now have the security to resent it and are starting to manifest this and give voice to their displeasure. This displeasure stems from the fact that they believe he’s holding them back to keep his grip on power. Nevertheless he's still quite popular even though a growing number of people are unhappy with him. Our media will focus on the growing instability and dissent rather than the majority of Russians who continue to support him. Hilary Clinton’s remarks concerning the validity of the recent elections was yet another display of outrageous hubris and the type of meddling we would heavily resent if focused on our own country.

The Obama administration tried to undo some of the tensions that developed over the Bush years but didn't follow through and continues to take a pretty aggressive posture. Russia wants the United States out of its backyard and of its business. This gives it a mutual interest with the Iranians. Russia wants the EU to back off which it now has to do unilaterally due to internal problems and Putin is undoubtedly very hostile to NATO expansion. It's not just a military treaty. It affects much larger spheres. The Russians feel like they got burned and manipulated with regard to the UN approved NATO mission in Libya and they're not going to allow this to happen with Syria. The Syrian question also plays into the Iran situation. And I'm sure from a more mercenary standpoint, Russia would rather see NATO entangled in the Middle East then poking around the Caucasus or Central Asia.

China needs resources to feed its economic juggernaut. China is also trying to expand into Central Asia...the key to power on so many fronts. Forces within the United States are increasingly taking a hostile tact against China. We've got presidential candidates using pretty harsh language and the Obama administration is basically setting forth a doctrinal shift and re-tooling of American military policy...shifting it to the Asia Pacific region. Obama has proved an utter failure to the anti-Imperial wing on the Left which helped him get elected. I must say he's only getting worse as time goes by, only a step below George W. Bush. He's compromised on almost every issue and on more than one he's actually advocated positions in support of the American Establishment and the Imperial project. No 'change' in the least. The Right has always been against him…the question is has he so alienated his own base that it will harm him in November 2012? The swing voters might vote for him simply to oppose candidates like Gingrich and Santorum. A Romney-Obama race I’m sure is not looked on with favour from the Oval Office. How would Romney deal with Iran? It’s hard to say. His rhetoric is not hopeful but he seems to be a more a moderate and reasonable man than others in the Conservative Wing.

Part 3


Cal said...

Besides Paul being establishment, the only candidate who seemed reasonable and sense in his head was Huntsman.

He is about 'American Exceptionalism' the globalist version of manifest destiny, but he isn't a belligerent idiot. He thinks things through and gave rather intelligent answers during the debates. He got run out pretty quickly because he just doesn't fit the populist mold that is demanded by the Republican base. He's more along the line of an old Whig.

An establishment candidate speaking frankly about interests, putting forth a non-descript American civil religion and serving under President Obama. He's the thoughtful face of the Imperium and Americans are too horrified by the mirror, so they pick the ones with the feel-good rhetoric that couches things in moral terms.

Maybe Huntsman, after being thrashed will repent and believe? A hope, no?

Protoprotestant said...

What do you mean about Paul being establishment? In what sense?

I agree about Huntsman. I could never vote for a Republican, but of all those in this field he was the only one that I reckoned to be sane. I remember talking about him with my wife back when he first anounced. I thought...he'll be the best and most reasonable one.

He doesn't have a chance.

I agree with what you're saying. He does hold to the ideas but at least he's got a brain and understand how the world works. His ideas are cogent. I'm sure when it was all over he just sat in a dark room and stared into space. It has make someone like that question their core beliefs about the country. How can you be so fired up about a country that's full of...Americans? I'm 100% American and that's enough to make one hold their head high and enough to make one want to burst into tears and go hide.

That would be awesome if someone like Huntsman was converted...but what does he think Biblical Christianity is? I'm afraid most Americans associate it with the evil folks of the Christian Right.

I've been poking about quite a bit tonight in the Christian and more particularly Dominionist-minded cyber world. I lurk on some lists and visit a lot of blogs and websites.

They all want Santorum.

It's just Judgment. It's really sad but for some reason it encourages me and emboldens me. I look at plastic smiling faces on websites and I think...are they all really so wrong? I must be a whack-job or something.

No. I was one of them. I know how they think. I know Christians in the Middle Ages would have felt exactly the same way. I know the faithful 7000 in the Northern Kingdom felt the same way.

Look how it made Elijah feel! I don't feel that way though. I'm optimistic. I'm THRILLED if 2 or 3 people read what I'm writing about the world and current events and start to re-think all this stuff.

I feel like I'm doing more for the Lord and Truth than all these counterfeits raising their dirty millions and fighting their causes.

This is an exciting time to be alive.

Cal said...

I meant 'anti-establishment', that was a typo, whoops!

Yeah, Huntsman probably looks out and sees the forced march towards reactionary politics as driven by 'Biblical Christians'. But the Lord has revealed Himself to those who've had bigger misconceptions of Truth!

I just remember reading a poll where 60-70~% said they thought it was distasteful that Huntsman spoke a little Mandarin during the debate. This was on Yahoo, not Fox News. I suppose I'd rather have a President who can grasp other cultures than one who can demagogue only in English (Shame on Mitt for choking out some French!).

It's going to be a world-shattering century I think. Yet in the end, the Kingdom rolls right on along.

Anonymous said...

I spoke about Africa recently to a little group from a CMA church. One had previously been discipled by Alistair Begg (his nearby church building is huge, wealthy, and they say he wants to tear down and build bigger! Why not simply take over the old empty 3-story shopping mall not far from them? Oh, yeah,that's in a "ratty" declining area in the city. Heard Begg on radio a few times--sounds OK. But I have problems with the concept of giant wealthy affluent church structures and celebrity preachers.)

Anyway, one of the kids, about 13 years old, asked, "So who is everyone backing in the primary?" "Ugh, " I thought. "I don't know all these folks and I don't want to try to preach 2K truth right now." So I listened, keeping my mouth shut. Santorum was their choice, but for our friend who will vote Ron Paul. "Anybody but Obama," was the common denominator, which I expected. I kept my mouth shut (cowardly?) but if anyone would have pressed me, I would have gladly taught what I believe is the scriptural truth about our heavenly citizenship and sojourner status in this world.

Two years ago, I was quite political and "conservative" too.

My husband and I thought it was sad and inappropriate that first, a child is bringing up such a topic (spoil their innocence quick!) Secondly, we're old enough to have been taught the plain old secular courtesy that it's impolite to bring up politics--too polarizing--as a topic in a social setting, especially upon first aquaintance. Thirdly, that in a gathering that was said to be a home group gathering of a church, we had no prayer, no praise time, no scripture, but politics was considered a worthy topic. Fourth, that it is now acceptable for supposed gospel-believers to league with Roman Catholics.

I can't get self-righteous about this. I am just reporting what is out there. It is a veil upon the eyes.

Protoprotestant said...

Thanks Victoria. Good to hear from you.

I resonate with you 100% about Begg. I hear him on the radio from time to time. Overall he's not bad. There are definitely some points of disagreement, but if people are listening to him instead of some of the alternatives...that's great.

That said, no I cannot get excited in the least about anyone with a multi-million dollar organization built around his person. I've found it an interesting exercise to go online and visit websites of ministries and big churches and see if you can take a look at their budgetary information. It's very enlightening and very disturbing.

Since as you know we're located just a few hours from Cleveland, we've met some people (ironically at a local CMA!) that had connections with that Church. They really like it.

The Banner of Truth is a Reformed publishing group based in Edinburgh and in Carlisle PA. Their books greatly affected me in the past...less so now. But I see Begg's name increasingly tied in with them...which is interesting because though a Calvnist, boy his Church hardly fits their usual mold. I guess the times they are a'changing.

I recently had a Reformed pastor tell me that he had to correct his son who I think is about 7 or 8. He was running around calling others kids "Pelosi" as a form of the ultimate insult. The dad realized his son had picked up on his venomous vocalizations while watching the evening news.

I don't think you were a coward. Realistically in our culture today it's almost impossible to engage in conversation. Attention spans and ability to grasp multi-faceted argument are in short supply. I figure I've got about 25 seconds to cast a seed, make a quick point. All I can do is hope one or two people heard it and it will percolate a bit. Once in a while someone will come back to you a day or week later for a follow up. Then they're ready to listen and you can actually talk.

The situation you were in...that's about all you can do. I've opened my mouth before and it hasn't been pretty. By the time it's done I'm the creature from the black lagoon and end up just being an object of collective scorn. It's not the way I said it...I know how to do that...it's that I said too much for ears that couldn't deal with it.

Protoprotestant said...


That aspect of politeness you bring up...it's interesting. It's a real American quality. Americans are really bad about bringing up very deep, controversial and personal issues within minutes of meeting someone. I've seen several Europeans offended by this.

They're kind of like...hey, I don't know you. It's none of your business or why would I bare my soul to you when I don't know you?

I think our relationships here are often more shallow in part due to our tendency to dive in and to trivialize important topics...topics that are better discussed when there's some mutual trust and respect sitting across the table.

It's no wonder our culture is so sound-byte oriented.

I can easily fall into the self-righteous trap when it comes to these issues. I have to remind myself of where I once was. I am hardly pure. But once you see things differently...all these encounters, all these conversations, the posturing, the energies of others....you see it all very clearly and in such a different light.

Please keep reporting...I think it's helpful to anyone reading this. We're to be renewed in our minds and this doesn't mean...oh, now I see, the American Republican agenda is the Bible applied to society.

No, it's a little more deep than that. What's happening is you're interacting with people and feeling you're a space alien from another world. It's not a pleasant experience but I think spiritually speaking...it's quite healthy and indicative of spiritual transformation and growth. We're seeing the world through very different eyes. The social and political particulars are but window dressing, symptoms of what's really happening in the spiritual realm and in their hearts.