The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts

The feeling that a U.S./Israeli strike on Iran is inescapably imminent has waxed and waned over the last few months. As soon as the feeling of impending war begins to dissipate, hawks in Washington and Tel Aviv step up the warnings of preemptive strike. They will privately admit that actually bombing Iran isn’t necessary at the moment, but that issuing threats of such an attack is vital to instilling fear in the Iranians.

Just to take one example, Israeli officials have complained on a number of occasions that U.S. officials speaking publicly about their reluctance to start a war with Iran “served Iran’s interests.” Incisive realists have recognized their reasoning as follows: If we don’t frighten Iran with the threat of war, they’ll behave however they want!

This reasoning seems to be true for economic warfare too. The Senate is preparing to consider yet another package of harsh economic sanctions on Iran as punishment for the nuclear weapons program they don’t have. Despite the intelligence consensus that Iran has no weapons program and has not even made the decision to start one, crippling sanctions and the threat of aggressive war is essential to terrify the Iranians into compliance. This is even more revealing: Iran has not committed the transgression supposedly justifying this aggressive approach, so paralyzing them with fear of attack has little to do with having a nuclear program and much to do with refusing to be subservient to Washington.

“If the United States doesn’t broadcast determination all along the road, both in sanctions and in the threat of military action, Tehran is liable to mistakenly understand from this that 2012 is a lost year for the international community, so its nuclear program can advance as usual,” a senior Israeli official told Ha’aretz.

“At the moment,” the official continued, “largely because of the administration’s contradictory messages, the Iranians assume that nothing military will happen before the U.S. presidential elections in November.” Fear of all out war is the most valuable diplomatic tool when dealing with Iran, the thinking goes.

This is, of course, a prerogative of the United States and Israel only. If any other state ran their foreign policy on the basis of fear, on repeatedly issuing serious and illegal threats of unprovoked attack, they would surely face international sanctions and perhaps even worse. It seems a form of terrorism.

It should be noted that, even though officials in Washington and Tel Aviv readily admit the purely rhetorical use of warmongering in instilling fear into our enemies, this does not mean an actual attack is out of the question. In fact, an attack would serve the same purposes. The Iranian nuclear program (which is purely civilian in nature) is far too redundant across the country and in some cases protected underground for a bombing campaign to completely wipe it out. And not even the most rabid warmongers are explicitly arguing for a ground invasion, regime change, and extended occupation of Iran. So it seems the only purpose of an actual military strike would be to cause fear, to signal we mean business.

This, of course, instead of the perfectly peaceful diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

  • Excellent analysis, John. Hopefully good sense will triumph in the end.

  • Ben_C

    Make no mistake about it: this will be "done" if the 'powers that be' in Israel have their way. As far as I can tell, from a 'foreign perspective', that is, Israel isn't quite the 'foreign policy' dictatorship the US is where the POTUS can essentially snap his fingers, and the next second bombs would be dropping in Canada–no questions asked…if that were the directive… Be that as it may, this will be done, very soon I might add, if the political leadership in Israel have their way…

  • R.Parker

    Very appropriate, the picture of Bill the Butcher from "Gangs of New York" wrapping himself in the US flag.

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  • The commies used to call such people "useful idiots".

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  • US is where the POTUS can essentially snap his fingers, and the next second bombs would be dropping in Canada–no questions asked…if that were the directive… Be that as it may, this will be done, very soon I might add, if the political leadership in Israel have their way…

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  • Wayne Rooney
    The problem with having a striker at the
    ca do bong da truc tuyen club who actually looks like a Premier League-standard footballer is that it makes your own dire performance level look even more conspicuous. As Manchester United captain, Wayne Rooney will be delighted for his new team-mate, but he must also have serious reservations about his own standing in the side.

    “He knows my standards and he knows what I want from a striker kèo tr?c tuy?n ,” Van Gaal said less than a month ago, reiterating his summer message that Rooney was his No. 1 striker. “He thinks he can perform [in that position] and I think that also, otherwise I would not be playing him there. I think that his best position is the striker’s position and he agreed with that conclusion.”

    Yet Rooney was moved back into a No. 10 role against Southampton as Martial took over responsibilities in leading the line. The switch may have ignited some attacking flair from United, but it did little to drum up any signs of life in Rooney. No shots, no chances created, no crosses, no fouls won – that’s all you don’t want in a No. 10. Van Gaal has repeatedly spoken of his belief that Rooney will come good, but patience must be wearing thin. It’s now 11 league games without a goal, and just eight shots on target during that run.

    They tried him up front, and it did not work because Martial offered more. They tried him in midfield, and it did not work because Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick offered more. h??ng d?n cách cá ?? bóng ?á They tried him at No. 10, and it did not work because Ander Herrera offered more. Is it now time to see how things work with Rooney on the bench? At the moment, he’s being carried in this United team.

  • Liverpool made it five matches without a win after a 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Anfield, Danny Ings scoring their only goal.

    Ings eclipsed the much-anticipated return of Daniel Sturridge by coming off the bench to score but it was not enough for victory against Norwich.

    The half-time substitute needed just three minutes to coolly slot home his first goal for the club in front of the Kop.

    However, when Simon Mignolet flapped at a corner Russell Martin flicked home to make it 1-1.
    h??ng d?n ch?i cá ?? bóng ?á
    t? l? t? s? bóng ?á hôm nay
    nha cai Vwin
    It was a familiar story of not being able to hold onto a lead – a much-changed side did exactly the same in the Europa League against Bordeaux in midweek – and while goals are still at a premium it is proving costly.

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