If I were Condi Rice right about now, I’d start wondering who was making U.S. foreign policy–her or Dick Cheney. And I’d also wonder where that policy was being made–at the State Department or in the studios of obscure cable TV drivetime shock jocks like Don Imus. Both Cheney’s appearance itself and his comments were startlingly candid:
Dick ‘pokes a stick’ at the Iranians on Imus in the Morning (credit: MSNBC.com)
Don Imus asked [Cheney in reference to getting Iran to dismantle its nuclear program], “Why don’t we make Israel do it?” It was a reference to a military option much discussed in Washington but rarely talked about in public by top officials.
“Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked,” Mr. Cheney said. “If, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had a significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”
So there you have it. The vice president of the United States announced that our nation will give a wink and a nod when Israel’s air force strikes Iranian nuclear production facilities. In addition, he told the world through that towering wise man of international relations, Don Imus, that we wouldn’t mind one bit the disastrous consequences that such a pre-emptive strike would have on Mideast relations. Really, it takes one’s breath away.
And those of you who get angry whenever someone says Israel is nothing more than a U.S. surrogate (or lackey depending on how you see it); and that the U.S. farms out to Israel the dirty little tasks that it feels it can’t be seen doing in the Mideast, well I’ve got news for you. At least in this instance, that description would be dead on accurate. And how will the Arab world react to this Israel-America wink-wink nod-nod dog and pony show??
Back in the old days, when U.S. presidents really cared at least in some small degree what the world community thought of their actions, such a pronouncement would’ve been met with paroxysms of disbelief. Well, actually such a statement might have been contemplated in some policymaker’s inner mind, but it would never have seen the light of day. Today, it provokes a few small ripples.
I’ve never much thought that there was any downside to the downfall of Communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. But now I understand that there clearly was: back in the day when Nixon and Kissinger faced off against the Soviets over Vietnam or against the Soviets during the Six Day War, there was always a balance of terror between the two powers which prevented overly bellicose behavior from either side. Now, that fail safe mechanism is gone and America can essentially do whatever it wishes on the world stage. If I were the French or Germans I’d be going full speed ahead with plans to develop a full range of military and diplomatic options for the European nations. Because if they don’t then Bush and other potential future bellicose presidents will think nothing of taking the world to the brink of annihilation as this one has done.
And lest any of my readers say: “Ah well, Cheney was just rattling his saber to frighten the Iranians into cooperating with the Europeans in the negotiations to end their nuclear program.” Would that it were so. This is precisely the same type of statement that emanated from the Bush folks in the months leading up the Iraq War. And with the radical bellicosity of Bush’s Inaugural Address, we must no mistake about it: Bush intends to topple the Ayatollahs whatever it takes. Well, let me amend that slightly. He intends to force them to end their nuclear program. And if they will not agree to do so, THEN he intends to topple them. The only question is: “Will the Iranians blink?” Are they prepared to go to war with the United States over retaining the nuclear option?
I find it appalling that I should even be asking such a question. Think of the repercussions a war with Iran will have in the Middle East. Think of the repercussion within the entire Arab/Muslim world. We thought they hated us now? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And this will set back a potential resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by 50 years. The thing that absolutely flabbergasts me about all of this is that Bush doesn’t care. His inaugural speech seems to point to the U.S. being in a state of perpetual war with a series of states including, but not necessarily limited to Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar and Zimbabwe (according to Condi’s testimony at her confirmation hearing)..
And what are the Iranians to make of the Bush Administration taking advantage of a shock jock cable TV show to make pronouncements that could potentially seal the fate of thousands of their fellow countrymen and women should there be war soon? Is it a sign of Cheney’s utter contempt for them? To me it’s a little akin to asking a girl out for a date while sitting on the can. What kind of respect do you really have for her? And yeah, it feels like Cheney just wants to shit all over them.