September 1, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Is realpolitik rearing its head at home or abroad?

     I have a lot of problems with the way the United States has presented itself to the international community over the past decade. Since George W. Bush became president in 2001, the foreign policy of the U.S. has become a long and laughable string of blunders, failed wars and irresponsible shows of force that make this country look more like a megalomaniacal police state than “the defender of the free world.”

     While we lambast the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China for being “autocratic” governments with brutal “dictatorships” which oppose “freedom,” every major news agency forgoes the fact that neither Russia nor China has engaged in the occupation of single foreign country in the past 10 years – and that they have been unanimously opposed to every invasion, occupation and “liberation” that America has instigated during that time. Even North Korea by comparison has been less belligerent on the international stage than our beloved US of A.

     But while our nation’s international relations may be laughable, there’s one example in particular that takes the cake: the current problem with Iran. Well, more like the current problem with Israel and Iran or the current problem with Israel, for short.

     I’m sure most have by now heard about the current problems between the two nations, centered largely on Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Iran maintains that it is using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, while Israel is shrieking that the Islamic republic is a threat to its safety and the safety of America. Given that the U.S. currently has 45 active military bases in the Middle East, I think it would be more accurate to say that the U.S. is a threat to the safety of Iran, but that’s beside the point.

     Amidst growing tensions and Iran’s recent announcements of significant advancements in its uranium enrichment program, the Jewish state has not only forgotten it’s an open secret that it itself has nuclear warheads, but has discarded all thoughts of sanctions and diplomatic pressure and moved on to its favorite option – war. An online article published by the Telegraph on March 3 ran with the headline, “Israel delivers ultimatum to Obama on Iran’s nuclear plans” and states that Israel is “demanding that unless the president makes a firm pledge to use U.S. military force to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, Israel may well take matters into its own hands within months.” In the same article, Leon Panetta, the U.S. defense secretary, stated last month that there was a “strong likelihood” of Israel launching an attack between April and June this year.

     Let me get this straight. Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu is going to tell the U.S. who it will and will not attack or else he’ll just go ahead and attack himself. Is Israel telling the U.S. what to do and is the U.S. government saying it can do nothing to stop them from attacking Iran? Let’s look at some of the logistics here.

     The population of the U.S. is roughly 45 times that of Israel. The GDP of the U.S. is almost 60 times that of Israel. The U.S. military is 50 times the size of Israel’s. The Israeli military is outfitted with American F-15s, armed with American GBH-27 and GBH-28 ‘bunker buster’ bombs for the potential attack against Iran and is provided with American intelligence. Israel is really in no place to order America around, especially surrounded as it is with hostile nations that it has attacked multiple times and also with the U.S. as the sole major power it can call an ally. It would be very easy for the U.S. government to say, “See this aid? It’s gone if you start a war with another country.”        

     According to the Associated Press on Feb. 28, an American official stated that “Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.” Now, what this is saying is that not only will Israel not budge in its decision to attack, but it also won’t even bother to tell the U.S. when it will attack. And, once again, of course, the U.S. is supposed to be powerless to stop them. I’m pretty sure the U.S. operates an agency called the CIA, you know, the one which has an operating budget of $50 billion. The U.S. uses it to spy on just about every other country in the world. Put it to good use here for a change to prevent a war instead of finding a reason to start one.

     What’s even more astounding is that, even though the U.S. is apparently telling Israel not to attack Iran and doesn’t know if or when it will attack, according to Press TV, an Iranian state media outlet, on March 2, “Pentagon officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed on Thursday that ‘military options being prepared start with providing refueling for Israeli planes and include attacking the pillars of the clerical regime (Iran).’” The U.S. officially opposes an Israeli attack on Iran, but not only is it not doing anything to stop it, it’s planning to help Israeli planes get to Iran and to attack Iran themselves under the pretense of Israeli aggression.

     All the while, Americans are led to believe the Israeli people are all for attacking the Islamic republic and that an Israeli strike would be a justified act of self-defense, without stopping to consider what the opinion of the Israeli people actually is.

     I don’t know much about foreign policy, but the discrepancy between the official policy of the U.S. and the obvious intentions of the U.S. is sickening. So is the intention of the Israeli government to start yet another war which goes against the wishes and the safety of its own people. So is the American-Israeli warmongering in the face of pleas for peace from the “barbaric” Russian and Chinese regimes, the U.S. “sanction”” that blackmails every country that does business with the U.S. into cutting ties with the Iranian Central Bank. This is some of the stupidest and most hypocritical foreign policy I’ve seen in my life and if the PR people in the State Department think they’re fooling anyone, they’re very, very wrong.

     Israel has been known as the Americans’ attack dog for a long time now. It’s bombed Syria, it bombed Iraq even before America got its hands on it, it’s shelled and sacked Lebanon and it’s called the native inhabitants of Palestine “terrorists” and herded them into walled ghettos within their own country.

     At times it seems almost as if Israel is simply the 51st State, ready to wage war for American policy when the people inside the beltway aren’t willing to stake their reputations on military intervention. It has happened before, and it’s evident that it may happen once again, regardless of whether the American and Israeli people want war or not, not even to mention the people of the rest of the world and most importantly, the people of Iran.

     Artur Wysoczanski is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at awysocza@student.umass.edu.

Comments
10 Responses to “Is realpolitik rearing its head at home or abroad?”
  1. hmm says:

    well, you can’t deny the fact that russia and china not only have really horrible internal policies and ways of treating their own population, but they are supporting brutal gov’ts elsewhere like syria for instance. the syrian gov’t would probably have collapsed now if not for support from russia. also, i think it’s obvious that a nuclear iran is no LESS a threat to world safety than any other nuclear military, especially considering its fanatical fundamentalist form of government. i’m glad you took the time to rebut the crypto-anti-semitic position one hears sometimes that israel is ‘wagging the dog’ rather than stuck being a pawn of the u.s.

  2. phillipsstreetcowboy says:

    You write: “I don’t know much about foreign policy”

    Well here’s a though, maybe you should avoid writing about things you don’t know much about.

    Iran has openly supported and given weapons to religious paramilitary group waging war on the West. A country like that should not be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

    I’m not going to mention how silly it is to claim countries like Russia to be benevolent given their open support of Assad’s murderous regime in Syria. But then again, this writer probably doesn’t know anything about that because he doesn’t “know much about foreign policy.”

    Also, ‘stupidest’ isn’t a word.

  3. Ben says:

    > every major news agency forgoes the fact that neither Russia nor China has engaged in the occupation of single foreign country in the past 10 years
    Russia invaded one of its neighbors less than three years ago, and both Russia and China continue to occupy territories under repressive conditions.

    > and that they have been unanimously opposed to every invasion, occupation and “liberation” that America has instigated during that time.
    I think the conclusion to draw here would be that Russia and China are engaged in the same sort of geopolitical games as the US, not that they’re somehow more benevolent. Even those of us who often disapprove of the US’s foreign policy shouldn’t pretend that Russia and China don’t have extremely problematic governments.

    Still, as hmm says, you did a good job in avoiding the trap of a the-Jews-are-behind-it-all argument, which is where I might have expected an article like this to go.

  4. Quartalsonority says:

    @hmm: Israel is not our pawn; they are acting of their own accord. It’s not anti-Semitic to say so any more than it is sexist to say that Sarah Palin made poor campaign decisions. ;)

  5. Brian says:

    It’s true that Russia and China are supporting a few brutal dictators elsewhere, such as in Syria. But the list of brutal dictators supported by the United States is much longer. Of course, most Americans have never heard of them, because the US media doesn’t like to talk about it. It’s actually funny how the attitude of Russia and China toward Syria today is almost an exact copy of the US attitude towards Bahrain last year (the people started a peaceful protest, and the brutal autocratic government massacred them using US-provided weapons, just like Assad is doing now in Syria using Russian weapons).

  6. David Kaufman says:

    Also, Netanyahu is the Prime Minister. Not the President. This paper should use an editor to get it’s information factually correct. No one will take articles like this as credible if the reader finds basic issues such as this before they even read the arguments presented.

  7. Artur Wysoczanski says:

    @David Kaufman: I just glanced back at the comments today – my apologies for the misstatement of Mr. Netanyahu’s position. It was an honest mistake that I should have noticed and corrected while proofreading. I hope, however, that does not affect the cogency and veracity of the rest of the facts I have presented.

  8. mason says:

    There is no nobility in global politics.

  9. Real World says:

    I’d rather the US have hegemony than Russia or China. Look how welcoming they are of free speech… as long it is below the treads of a tank.

  10. Mike says:

    China limits the amount of children a couple can have as well as freedom of speech. When in China, you will be beat if you openly disrespect the government. Iran is blatantly building nuclear weapons. They have way more Uranium needed and they refuse to allow any UN officials investigate their facilities. Iran’s leaders are disgusting people beyond belief. I’d rather have the US be the muscle than ether of those 2 nations. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/world/middleeast/irans-vice-president-rahimi-makes-anti-semitic-speech.html

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