Thanks to Paul Mutter for suggesting to the editors of Foreign Policy in Focus that they invite me to submit a piece on Iran. An Alternative to War With Iran was published earlier today. It argues that western policy toward Iran has only an appearance of a diplomatic track. Both the diplomatic and military track must perforce end with failure. That if Iran is pushed to the brink it will attain nuclear weapons capacity, and there is little that can be done to stop it short of regime change and tens of thousands of boots on the ground.
Containment is the only remaining viable approach, though it too isn’t the optimal one. But given the current dysfunction in U.S. policy with rabid Republicans braying for Iranian scalps, it appears containment may be the best we can hope for.
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Richard, In your article, at the end, you say, “But given the almost lunatic tone of the Republican presidential debates concerning Iran, and the fact that Barack Obama appears convinced that he must maintain impeccable national security credentials to protect his right flank, the United States is unlikely to adopt a more reasonable, pragmatic approach to Iran.
Under the circumstances, containment is the only remaining option that doesn’t lead to regional war, stalemate, and deeper dysfunction.”
MY RESPONSE: The “lunatic tone” of the Republicans is a very sad fact of American political life because of the well-known (but, of course, never spoken of in polite society) AIPAC-RATCHET effect:
Because USA’s elections are so frequent, politicians are continuously needy of electoral money and help. AIPAC keeps tightening the ratchet, demanding more and more kow-towing to Israel, now demanding war with Iran (no matter the horrors and economic disruptions in consequence), and USA’s politicians must EITHER give ever-deeper obeisance because the ratchet never stops OR get off the treadmill.
Someone must blow the whistle on AIPAC and its ratchet. But then of course someone must blow the whistle on ALL oligarchic control of the USA government.
My proposal in that direction, which would work with AIPAC as well as with BIG BANKs, etc., is (constitutional amendments to achieve the following). I hope people will discuss these and similar ideas:
 non-human beings may not spend or donate money, or take any other action, with the intention of directly affecting government or any electoral process. In other words, no lobbying and no independent electoral spending and no gift of money to campaigns, to parties, to PACs.
 human beings allowed to do political action in the USA (perhaps only citizens) may exercise all rights of free speech and free press and, in addition, may take actions and spend or donate money with the intention of directly affecting government or any electoral process.
 HOWEVER, the total cumulative amount of all such spending and donation of money PER PERSON PER YEAR will be limited to a statutory amount, perhaps $1000 or $5000. This will allow the very rich an advantage over everyone else, but by no means the advantage they have now. GOODBYE AIPAC!
 This proposal does not forbid any person — not even the chairman of AIPAC — from telephoning or writing a letter to the President or to anyone else in government to express an idea. But it does forbid the giving or spending or large sums of money by human beings and aggregations of human beings (such as corporations, labor unions, model-railroad and bridge and garden clubs) from taking ANY political action directly. They may suggest to their members, employees, and shareholders take political action, but cannot do so themselves.
This is a difficult proposal, no doubt ill-crafted. But it might at least start a discussion.
Congratulations Richard! It’s satisfying – to put it mildly! – to see your unrelenting work getting more attention. We sure do need it.
All the best from Montreal.
We just love all those talkbacks about you there!
Richard Silverstein says
What’s particularly stupid about yr infantilism is that by chortling over the doo-doo that you left in the FPIF thread, you’ve alerted me & the editor to it & it’s now been fumigated. So wouldn’t it have made more sense for you to keep this yr little dirty secret among your fellow pro Israel deviants? But I know yr purpose is to either annoy or rattle me, which none of this does. But keep on trying (not that you’ll need encouragement). And when you graduate from pre-school or Juvie Hall you can notify us & we can attend.
Some day I may write a book about the abnormal psychology of people like you.