Iran the Issue
The US President generally has little authority on domestic policy. The separation of executive and legislature is the reason. That, and a weak party system. So it is common to see a President having to go begging to the Congressional barons. Look at the difficulty of Obama in getting through budget measures.
But foreign policy is different. There is a history of Presidents bypassing Congress to get wars they want or tricking the Congress – the notorious Gulf of Tonkin resolution makes this point.
And, weak domestically, the guy in the White house can blow up the world. Total power in a crisis.
Foreign policy is what is at stake in this election; Iran above all. Both Israel and Iran have been beating the drums of war and the danger is that talk leads to action. History teaches that this is the way it starts.
Israeli military are advising now is the time to strike although senior figures from Israeli security have warned their government against the military’s desire to send the bombers. Adrian Hamilton in The Independent argued on Thursday the really frightening thing is that so many are prepared to discuss war as if it were a perfectly rational and indeed likely possibility.
He wrote that a nuclear armed Iran does not offer an existential threat to Israel as the Mossad chief Tamir Pard argued only last week. He wrote moreover,” There is no overriding economic or strategic interest for the US or Europe to do down this vicious cycle of sanction, counter-threat and tighter pressure until something – probably peace – breaks.”
If we can’t have the foreign policy realist Ron Paul then we will have to settle for Mitt Romney whose war lust is less than that of Rick Santorum ( where did he come from?) or the mad professor Newt Gingrich who refused to rule out a joint Israeli-US land invasion of Iran.
Remember the litany of this madness. According to this strand of thinking, American is surrounded by enemies: Russia, China, Iran…and so on. Each, when it takes its place in the spotlight, “worse than Hitler.” It is 12 minutes to midnight and we are faced with another Munich from a weak Democrat in the White House. After two catastrophic wars in 10 years we need a third, to finally remake the Middle East – safe for Israel, reliable with oil, full of governments as pro-American as Saudi.
Remember the US ultra-nationalists and neo-conservatives believe the US must always have enemies and, in the words of Norman Podhoretz, “We need more wars!”
And the theocrats in Teheran could be provoked into doing anything, the extremists on both sides feeding on one another.
We need to get through this presidential election without war talk creating war. Australia has one role: to talk the Americans back from the brink.