Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Iran and the Administration

One of the most obscured facts about the origins of WWII is the role that Richard Chamberlain played in the ascendance of Nazi Germany. Sure, we all know of his famous speech on "peace in our time" following the Munich Agreement, but there is actually a lot more to it than that. And our ignorance is largely a result of how we generally learn history.

History today focuses on learning general facts about a subject (i.e., what, where, when), or a review of social or economic forces that suggest that historical events are carried forward by invisible tides or currents that are largely unknown and uncontrollable. What is often overlooked is the impact of specific choices by specific people in key positions. For instance, WWII was not inevitable. But as I've mentioned before, Hitler wanted war. He didn't want Germany to come to dominance via soft power (trade and negotiations), or by the other great powers bullying lessor powers into giving up their security (e.g., Czechoslovakia), but through military conquest so that there was no option but for other nations and peoples to recognize the greatness of Germany and Hitler.

Hitler was helped along by Chamberlain, who wanted, at the least, for Germany to be powerful enough to block Russia in Europe, and most desired a war against Russia with Germany to bear the brunt of the fighting. Thus, he manipulated and browbeat the other nations to allow Germany access to the Sudetenland, thus rendering Czech fortifications useless to a German invasion; and allowing Germany to absorb Austria; and assisting Germany in other smaller matters. Even after Germany invaded Poland, Chamberlain forbid any meaningful action against Germany, and convinced France to refrain from any serious action. When Russia threatened Finland, Chamberlain saw his chance to provoke a general war against Russia, and immediately began plans to form an invasion force to "assist" the Fins. However, the Fins wanted no such help, and Norway and Sweden refused to give permission to Britain to move its forces through their countries. After Finland surrendered, Chamberlain went so far as to threaten to invade Norway and Sweden to get his troops through to Finland. This plan came to an abrupt halt when Germany, fearing that England was merely trying to threaten it from the north, invaded Norway. Chamberlain also began laying plans for invading Russia from the Middle-East, which plan was terminated with Germany's invasion of France.

The point is, in studying history or current events, you cannot ignore the personal likes, dislikes, plans, and desires of those in power. They may not be able to publicly act or say what they feel; they may be constrained by other powerful persons or institutions; but that does not change that they may have their own agendas. No matter the reason why, Obama has been following a policy of bolstering Iran's power in the Middle-East. Is this due to Obama's own desires or his Iranian-born assistant, Valerie Jarrett? I don't know. But here are some points to consider.

The White House's clandestine effort illustrates how any deal to curb Iran's nuclear program was always likely to be hatched from direct U.S.-Iran talks. It also indicates how much Mr. Obama has riding on the success of the pact, having made engagement with Iran a priority since he took office.

    While U.S. officials secretly engaged Iran for years, the effort significantly ramped up in early August after the U.S. delivered Mr. Obama's first letter to Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani. What followed was a handful of meetings in secret locations between the Iranians and the White House's top point-men: Deputy Secretary of State William Burns; Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joe Biden's top foreign-policy adviser; and the White House's Iran expert, Puneet Talwar.
      Mr. Burns, in particular, had been discussing the outlines of a deal with Iran for months, senior U.S. officials said.
        The Wall Street Journal first reported earlier this month Mr. Talwar's secret talks with the Iranians, as well as exchanges involving National Security Adviser Susan Rice. The involvement of Messrs. Burns and Sullivan was reported Sunday by the Associated Press and the website Al Monitor.
          The goal of the meetings was to develop elements of a deal and resolve differences with Iran in ways that would ultimately define the broader negotiations.
            Even Secretary of State John Kerry, before he joined the administration, was involved. On Dec. 8, 2011, he quietly slipped out of Washington, missing a key Senate vote, to the Omani capital of Muscat. It was a role Mr. Obama would have him continue as secretary of state.
              Mr. Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, met in New York in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, and also spoke Oct. 25 and Nov. 2, a senior administration official said.
              • Obama has entered a formal agreement with Iran that guarantees that Iran can have a nuclear weapon after 10 years; and does nothing to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon earlier. All without involving our erstwhile allies in the region in the negotiations. 
              And the results? Jerry Pournelle sums it up pretty well:
              Everyone must understand that the American Era is over: the United States domination of the world is ended, just as the British domination of the world (pink all over the globe) I learned in grade school ended after World War II. For some this was an objective to achieve. For others it is a disaster. For all it is a coming fact. The nuclear weapon, like the .45 Colt, is an equalizer, and it is now inevitable that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons whenever they decide to do so, given that the deal essentially gives up on inspections, and Iran has announced that under no circumstance will there be any inspection of their military installations even if there is inspection – after 24 day’s notice – of their peaceful installations. Intelligence experts say Iran is about a year from their decision to have them. My guess is that there will be a demonstration in Summer, 2017.

              Meanwhile the other nations of the Middle East will rush to acquire their own; they can read the newspapers as well as I can.

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