Good chess players know that when the game gets too complicated there is only one solution: to simplify and remove pieces from the board… but at what point does the game get too complicated? How about now, when small players (Iran, Turkey) and large players (China, Russia) in the game threaten to topple the hegemonic Queen? Lose your queen… lose the game.
In Zbigniew Brzezinski’s notorious 2012 interview with Charlie Rose, Brzezinski expresses his own, apparently genuine, puzzlement on why the central powers are obsessing over Iran, with plenty of included Statist agitprop relating to the “sinister motives” of the Islamic Republic.
Analysts suggest that the obsession with Iran is about Israeli paranoia, or about oil, or about the Saudi-US-Israeli axis. But it’s not just the oil, it’s all about the gold too.
Even so, the unaddressed point relates to the failure of Israel’s nuclear deterrent. When a popularly perceived « rogue state » like Iran ignores Israel’s nuclear deterrent, then that deterrent does not exist. Yes, it’s only logical that Israel cannot nuke Iran to achieve a “Greater Israel” as much as Israel wishes to do so.
Meanwhile the USA’s invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 resulted in one key learning for every other « rogue state » and for every other government; that if you really do possess WMD’s, you won’t get attacked by the former United States. Kim Jong-Un knows that only too well.
But I suggest here that a turning point in armed deterrence has been attained, where nuclear weapons no longer count as a strategic deterrent; nukes have been reduced to mere tactical bargaining chips. Search for « Israeli deterrent failure » and you will discover articles about Israel’s need to expand conventional aggression, and other nonsense; but nothing about the failure of Dimona to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. How else can one interpret the prima facie failure of nuclear deterrence before us?
If Israel’s weapons are purely offensive weapons designed and maintained to maim and kill, and Israel’s weapons do not deter Iran from developing its own nukes, then Israel’s weapons pose an immediate and present danger to world peace …. or what there is of it. Specifically, Israel’s nuclear arms foment the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Thus, a turning point in armed deterrence has been attained, where nuclear weapons are no longer just a strategic deterrent; as the nuclear club has expanded, nukes are tactical bargaining chips as well.
If Israel’s nuclear weapons are purely offensive weapons designed and maintained to maim and kill, and Israel’s weapons do not deter Iran from developing nukes, then Israel’s weapons only pose an immediate and present danger to world peace …. or what’s left of it. Specifically, Israel’s nuclear arms provoke the nuclear arms race in the Middle East with no benefit, useless as a deterrent.
And despite Neocon/Neoliberal histrionics, the idea that Iran would ever strike Israel with a nuclear weapon is beyond belief. Leaving aside historic, moral, and ideological arguments – in light of which Iran would not engage in such aggression – for Iran to strike Israel is tantamount to striking the Palestinian people, and their allies in Lebanon and Jordan. Palestinians and their allies are the people whom Iran vehemently defends, not to mention Iran itself — which would be subject to a retaliatory strike from the US in the event of an attack on Israel. So, even if Iran had a nuclear weapon, its use would be suicidal.
Beside the failure of Israel’s own nuclear deterrent, we can now appreciate the absurd fear of any danger that Iran could pose to Israel, if Iran were ever in possession of a nuclear weapon.
Perhaps the west’s belief that Iran will attack Israel with a nuclear weapon is based on Wolfowitz’s own doctrine of preemptive war. That is, the US knows that it is the true threat to world peace, and extends its belief in preemptive war on those to whom the west considers “enemies”. Put simply, the US knows that it is the true threat, and projects its own collective guilt on Iran. After all, it was the United States that bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War 2, the only nation to ever use nuclear arms in war.
Furthermore, why does Iran need a nuclear weapon? As the nuclear club expands, any reasonable conclusion is that nuclear weapons only pose a growing danger — not a deterrence. As the nuclear club expands, possessing nukes will only escalate the threat of nuclear war, not deter it. Thus, it is clear that Iran does not need a nuclear weapon, and if logic is at all in effect, does not want one.
Meanwhile the Great Game has become ever more complex. Let’s hypothesize that one day the former United States may wish to “simplify” its dangerous, losing hegemonic hand. The US could do so by adhering to campaign promises made by Bush, by Obama and by Trump; that is, to pull back from pointless provocations, to disengage from US State’s subversive foreign terror interventions by proxy, and to desist with attempted coup events in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran and other states.
The US and Russia can simplify by re-negotiating the reinstatement of arms limitations, and jointly demand that Israel dismantle its nuclear weapons — since they are useless anyway. Defusing the middle east’s nuclear arms race (which includes Saudi) would be a first step in simplifying the Great Game… and provide the benefit of a safer world for trade and growth.
Is there any chance of that disarmament ever happening? Well, we know the answer to that already! The goal of the western powers — and their allies — is to destabilize and profit from debt and warfare. Until all states end their collective psychosis in the race to the abyss and their push to possess nuclear weapons, this hysteria and globalized climate of State-sponsored fear can only escalate.
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: The Road to War” (sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Empire By Terror” (Duran, Strategika51 contributor) antiwar activist and monetary system historian.