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Israel’s true fear re Iran is… balance of power

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Danielle Pletka Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Yesterday we learned the EU was slapping new sanctions on Iran, today U.S. Senate Passes Iran Oil Sanctions. But perhaps the most astonishing info I’ve read lately about Iran is revealed in MJ Rosenberg’s article American Enterprise Institute Admits: Iran Threat Isn’t That It Will Launch Nuclear Attack.!

After a decade of scare-mongering about the second coming of Nazi Germany, the Iran hawks are admitting that they have other reasons for wanting to take out Iran, and saving Israeli lives may not be one of them. Suddenly the neoconservatives have discovered the concept of truth-telling, although, no doubt, the change will be ephemeral.

The shift in the rationale for war was kicked off this week when Danielle Pletka, head of the American Enterprise Institute’s foreign policy shop and one of the most prominent neoconservatives in Washington explained what the current obsession with Iran’s nuclear program is all about.

The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, “See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you that Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately…” And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem.

Hold on. The “biggest problem” with Iran getting a nuclear weapon is not that Iranians will use it but that they won’t use it and might behave like a “responsible power.” But what about the hysteria about a second Holocaust? What about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s assertion that this is 1938 and Hitler is on the march? What about all of these pronouncements that Iran must be prevented from developing a nuclear weapons because the apocalyptic mullahs would happily commit national suicide in order to destroy Israel. And what about AIPAC and its satellites which produce one sanctions bill after another (all dutifully passed by Congress) because of the “existential threat” that Iran poses to Israel? Did Pletka lose her talking points?

Yep, hard to believe.

Later, he cites Thomas Donnelly in the Weekly Standard noting the “real prize” for Tehran is “the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East.”

It’s probably not the “real prize” for the US and Israel tho, they don’t seem that interested in a balance of power, just being in control of the whole region. And keep in mind, Fareed Zakaria and John Mearsheimer have said that, were it a nuclear power, Iran could be contained…

There’s lots more where that came from, so follow the link. Thanks for the great catch MJ Rosenberg.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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23 Responses

  1. on December 3, 2011, 9:44 am

    Oh ,so now thay want attack Iran, on the country’s POSSIBLITY of getting a nuclear weapon, AND NOT using it .
    We obviously should trust only Zionistic , agressive, paranoic, grandiose ,delusioned ,hysterical, hypocritical Israel , who constantly threatens the whole Middle East with a war, AS being a sole/the-only owner of nuclear weapons, and NOT using it.
    I think , I would sooner trust a wolf of not eating me ,even if my name were little Red Riding Hood.

  2. pabelmont on December 3, 2011, 9:50 am

    Well, isn’t it all just lovely? I’ve editorialized about all this at my blog

  3. Taxi on December 3, 2011, 10:00 am

    Surely you mean balance of ‘terror’.

    Which will force Apartheid israel into more peaceful activities in the region. Like a fair deal with the Palestinians that will lead to fair trade deals, unoffensive diplomacy and cultural exchanges especially with surrounding Arab countries.

    Which means eventual assimilation into the region.

    And what’s that region called again? Oh yeah: the Arab region.

    The future of israel?

    Either self-destruction through greed for land and a penchant for sadism.

    Or assimilation into the umma al arabiya.

    Hahahaha – sorry, I’m laughing at delusional zionism and it’s pathological superman complex.

    • DBG on December 3, 2011, 11:26 am

      And what’s that region called again? Oh yeah: the Arab region.

      great comment when neither of the countries in the headline are Arab countries.

      • Woody Tanaka on December 3, 2011, 11:33 am

        “great comment when neither of the countries in the headline are Arab countries.”

        Nonsense. De facto Israel is 50% Arab.

      • Taxi on December 3, 2011, 12:28 pm


        Your hair’s gone into a frizz cuz you know that the wacky zionist project is impossible to complete either in the short or long run. It’s all gonna be for nuttin deary.

        And you’ll have to find a way to explain to your ‘interfaith’ god why so many people had to die for your grotesque racist political mythology.

        And oh yeah, the middle east, where occupied Palestine/Apartheid israel is, is ACTUALLY part of the Arab region – like it or lump it.

      • Charon on December 3, 2011, 2:20 pm

        DBG, that’s an odd statement to make. Israel is an Arab country located in an Arab region. Palestine is a member of the Arab league. The majority Israeli consensus is that their ‘sovereignty’ extends well in to the WB via imaginary borders. Doesn’t need to be official. Israel has no official borders to begin with and therefore no official sovereignty. If the WB wasn’t part of Israel, we wouldn’t have this current problem.

        Genetically even many, if not the majority of Israelis are at least partially Arab. And Israeli Arabs make up nearly a quarter of the population and they have far more history than Zionist European Jews.

        There are over 3 million Jews in Metropolitan Tel Aviv. That’s 55% of Israel’s Jewish population. That’s a relatively small area in a relatively small ‘state’ with the remaining major Jewish population areas not encompassing much more than the UN partition plan allotted for Jews. That’s another reason why this whole thing is foolish and Israel is not the Jewish state.

        Most of the ‘biblical’ stuff attributed to Judeo-Christianity lies on occupied territory. Israel has no sovereignty in EJ either. Nearly 2,000 years have passed since the ancient kingdom was conquered. 1,400 years of Arabization cannot be erased in less than a century.

        The point to my tl;dr is that you are wrong. Israel is an Arab country located in an Arab region. Iranians may not be Arabs, but they have Arabized neighbors too and journalists often call for the Arab spring to reach Iran. Although to be fair, many people erroneously think Persians and Arabs are the same.

  4. Potsherd2 on December 3, 2011, 10:40 am

    Those were lies, they always were lies, and everyone knew they were lies.

    I’m still surprised Pletka would come out so openly with the truth, when the neocons have yet to admit the real reason behind the Iraq attack.

  5. Kathleen on December 3, 2011, 10:50 am

    Pletka was major pusher of the WMD lies in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.

    The effort by the Obama administration etc to stir the lets go get Iran pot has really accelerated the last several months. The upper level Iranian officials allegedly involved with the alleged plan to assisinate the Saudi Ambassador was sure swept under the rug rather fast. That story was everywhere for about three days and then poof…gone.

    Annie if you have not listened to Charlie Rose’s latest interview with General James Jones. Think you will be interested. Jones repeated the debunked “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” lie and Charlie Rose did not challenge him. They went onto to rip up Iran for several minutes

  6. seafoid on December 3, 2011, 11:06 am

    Israel’s true fear re Iran is… balance of power

    Pope “may be catholic”
    Woods “may contain bear turds”

  7. DBG on December 3, 2011, 11:25 am

    Balance of power? Egypt has a much stronger military than Iran does. A few nukes, with unreliable delivery systems, hardly illustrates a balance of power.

    • libra on December 3, 2011, 12:52 pm

      DBG: “A few nukes, with unreliable delivery systems, hardly illustrates a balance of power.”

      Well exactly so in the strictly military sense, DBG. But that only goes to strengthen the fear Pletka has revealed in her moment of honesty. Which is the fear that Iran will not use nuclear weapons, that an Iran with nuclear weapons will be defined as not a problem.

      So it is a more subtle argument that recognises the regional balance of power would be changed by Iran being perceived as a responsible power. It would be the gradual end of the divide and conquer policy that has delayed the emergence of a powerful Middle East economic bloc that Israel would ultimately have to make peace with.

      That said, it’s hard to really believe this woman sees Iran not using nuclear weapons as worse than it actually using them. She’s a neocon so by definition you shouldn’t believe anything said for public consumption. But I think in this case it underlines how much the neocon mindset is troubled by the idea of the Middle East developing as a peaceful, prosperous and independent region.

    • Charon on December 3, 2011, 2:35 pm

      Unreliable delivery systems? How so? Because they aren’t made by Americans? Bibi got standing ovations from Congress by saying they could fit nukes in suitcases. Same BS story they used to say about Iraq and the USSR before that. But still, suitcase is pretty reliable. Hide one of those bad boys on a ship and you could blow up Tel Aviv before the Geiger counters ever went off. Seems pretty reliable to me. Good thing Bibi was just telling a fairy tale, eh? Israeli leaders are the only ones crazy enough to ‘nukecase’ anybody. Rumor has it that fissionable material has shrunk down pretty small these days. Possible even used.. If there’s a blinding sun-like flash followed by explosion, heat, radiation, mushroom cloud, and a crater.. It’s probably a nuke. Like the Bali explosion. Not saying Israel did that, but it wouldn’t be surprising.

  8. Dan Crowther on December 3, 2011, 11:40 am

    I have to say, in a sane world – people would look at the biography of people like Pletka and say, “you have no idea what you are talking about, and furthermore, how dare you voice such dangerous and hostile views, having never been in a position to “follow the orders” that come from your advocacy.” And that would be that.

    I think we can file “israel’s true fear is balance of power” in the “No shit” drawer….

    Great aggregating Annie, thanks as always…

  9. Kathleen on December 3, 2011, 1:40 pm

    The Balancing Act

    A bandwagon for offshore balancing?
    Posted By Stephen M. Walt Thursday, December 1, 2011 – 9:16 PM

    “The key point is that offshore balancing is the right strategy even when our coffers are full, provided that no peer competitors are threatening to dominate key strategic regions. Even during good times, it makes no sense to take on unnecessary burdens or to allow allies to free-ride on Uncle Sam’s hubristic desire to be the “indispensable nation” in almost every corner of the world. In other words, offshore balancing isn’t just a strategy for hard times; it is also the best available strategy in a world where the United States is the strongest power, prone to trigger unnecessary antagonism, and vulnerable to being dragged into unnecessary wars.

    As I wrote back in 2005 (p. 223):

    Offshore balancing is the ideal grand strategy for an era of U.S primacy. It husbands the power on which U.S. primacy depends and minimizes the fear that U.S. power provokes. By setting clear priorities and emphasizing reliance on regional allies, it reduces the danger of being drawn into unnecessary conflicts and encourages other states to do more to help us. Equally important, it takes advantage of America’s favorable geopolitical position and exploits the tendency for regional powers to worry more about each other than about the United States. But it is not a passive strategy, and does not preclude using the full range of U.S. power to advance core American interests.

    I cannot help but wonder how much better off we would be today had the United States followed this basic blueprint over the past two decades, instead of indulging in a series of misguided interventions around the globe. “

  10. American on December 3, 2011, 3:23 pm

    It’s always been about balance of power for the US, everyone who is anyone has known this for decades and decades, even the ones who wouldn’t say it. Not just in the ME , everywhere. For Israel it is absolutely critical for the US to be the ‘balancing power’. If Russia or some other major power was the balancing power they would befriend and protect some other country that actually had some resources or strategic value and location to offer them in return like Iran or Turkey. Israel has nothing to offer any power except nukes which any other power would most likely quickly disarm to protect their wider interest in the ME. As military assets countries like Iran and Egypt and Turkey have 10 x’s the available military manpower and could be equipped on par with Israel, particulary by some country like Russia with it’s military and diplomatic pacts with cash heavy China. No other country except the US has a large enough Jewish or rich enough Zionist base to squew it’s policies or national interest on the basis of domestic politics for the Jewish state alone in the ME.

    The “Green Peril”:
    Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
    by Leon T. Hadar – 1993

  11. Sin Nombre on December 3, 2011, 4:48 pm

    One didn’t need Pletka to tell us this: It was irrefutable just a matter of simple facts and logic.

    After all Israel isn’t insisting that Iran join the rest of the ME in a Nuke-Free Accord. Instead by categorically rejecting the idea that it would be a part to any such Accord *and* by having nukes itself, by saying Iran ought not have them Israel is simply and undeniably arguing that that *it* be the only ME entity with the ability to threaten its neighbors with nuclear annihilation.

    *Not* that nobody be able to do so.

    It isn’t even arguable.

    And, as usual, it’s a double standard.

  12. Clif Brown on December 3, 2011, 5:05 pm

    What has tripped up the U.S. repeatedly is the anxiety factor of our leadership. How can a democratic political system that has shown it’s inherent strength now for over 200 years be continually headed by people who think it is about to be undermined by every wind that blows?

    While the world admires the personal freedoms we enjoy and most would love to share it in their own part of the world, our leadership counteracts that very positive image with the endless fear they show by an obsession with domination everywhere. From the frenzy over Communist power (a system whose collapse was welcomed by the very people who were supposed to be under its sway) to the current Islamophobia, America must be forever planting military bases and issuing warnings; setting up trip-wires for intervention and laying down markers not to be crossed.

    How ironic that freedom and liberty, so attractive to the great majority of mankind, cannot be allowed to do their good work of setting an example for others to try their best to emulate. Instead we must have a ponderous and heavy-handed policy backed with unlimited weapons that disfigures the U.S. image all over the world. Top it off by calling it “national security”.

    Now after 19 people pulled off an attack with airliners of all things, we have heavy-handed law enforcement right here in the U.S. to oppress us as well with the FBI running after people who simply visited the occupied territories. If anything, it appears this monster of coercion and force is relentlessly putting liberty and justice for all in the shade everywhere, crushing the very way of life that it is promoted as protecting!

    Israel and the U.S. are alike in one way – they are hard at work on their own undoing, completely blinded by an obsession with hard (as opposed to soft or diplomatic) power.

  13. eGuard on December 3, 2011, 7:17 pm

    Eh anie, this detail I don’t get: Fareed Zakaria and John Mearsheimer have said that, were it a nuclear power, Iran could be contained…

    • annie on December 3, 2011, 8:50 pm

      did MJ Rosenberg write that? i need to see more of the context to comment on that. eguard.

  14. on December 3, 2011, 7:38 pm

    Here is a treacherous speech given by a “Polish”(??)Foreign Minister ,Radoslaw Sikorski given at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin few days ago.
    “To avert Europe’s total disintegration, European Union member states must build a federal state, with or without Britain, Poland’s foreign minister said Monday in Berlin, urging Germany to act now to save the euro”.
    “Polish Minister Urges European Federation”.
    One must to know that Radek Sikorski is married to Anna Applebaum, a journalist, memebr of ” Washington Post” team.

    Here is a very good comment from the comments section of the article placed above:
    “Beware of new world order wrote:
    Poland’s foreign minister Sikorski should be hanged for treason or at the very least fired from his post. Notwithstanding Poland’s thousand plus years of national identity and millions of Poles laying their lives over the ages in defense of its independence, he would single-handedly give up the hard fought sovereignty by subjecting it to a new-world-order European-nation government.

    This concept should be abhorrent to any freedom loving European, but especially the smaller and weaker European nations which would surely come to be dominated by the stronger ones. The strongest one is Germany, so Sikorski’s plan would essentially achieve what Hilter wanted but ultimately failed to achieve. Considering the millions of Poles killed in WWII, Sikorski’s speech (in Berlin of all places) is distasteful and treasonous.”

    • on December 3, 2011, 9:26 pm

      This Sikorski’s “speech” of utter,sleazy servitude, that can make one noxious and disgusted, is another prime example of us/people being sold by “our” politicians to the higher, global Powers, that almost achieved finalization of their carefully mastered plans.
      The once ,strong, independent Europe is put down to its knees, people see it now very clearly, the euro-hyenas don’t even try to hide it anymore anway.
      There will be a major confrontation very soon.
      I do not want to write “bloody confrontation “, but I suppose , I should.
      I guess, freedom should NEVER be taken for granted, there are always forces plotting incessantly how to take it away from us.

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