Monday, November 25, 2013


 It would be hard to overestimate the fateful aspect of two battles that are now reaching frenzied pitch. The domestic ultra Right tastes blood in the snafu that threatens “Obamacare”; they are gleefully throwing everything into their last, best chance to overturn any expansion of health care. A “broader” coalition, both domestic and international, is feverishly doing its all to abort efforts at easing tensions with Iran.

To see how much is at stake is not to exaggerate the advances contained in the Affordable Care Act, nor is it to overlook imperial self-interests that favor realignment in the Middle East.

What stands out starkly on both issues is the directness of the collision with extreme elements that hope to reverse their political fortunes and dominate America’s course after the Obama years. Internationally, Netanyahu’s regime and Saudi Arabia hope to lock the US into permanent military commitment to their exclusive favored status, including to Israel’s occupation and further expansion and, most notably, to war on Iran.

Given the hysterical assault from the GOP and Netanyahu, it is no small thing that Obama has decided to hold firm so far on both crucial issues. That’s all the more important because the Administration has often disappointed (“surveillance” and drone policies, by way of example). It is also noteworthy that the negotiations with Iran override the stance of many Democrats in Congress who are no less than Republicans in thrall to Netanyahu.

These are very big battles. Right now, a majority of Americans are highly skeptical of “Obamacare”. And most of Congress buys into racist myths of Israeli superiority over Palestinians (and Arabs in general). On the other hand, the vast majority rejects the Tea party and the nihilist obstructionism of the GOP. And almost all of humanity, Americans certainly included, won’t abide the deliberate risk of more war. That was unmistakable in the recent historic uproar that prevented a US military strike in Syria.

There are other issues no less important over time. Some, such as immigrant rights, will have a potent political impact in the months ahead. Here I'm putting in focus the two battles in which the Right sees the chance to take the offensive, to defeat hallmark programs and initiatives that bear the Obama stamp — and so to shift political momentum and take control. 

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A comment on Israel and the nuclear weapons issue: 

It is generally conceded that a military strike against Iran would not eliminate the knowledge, will or capacity for attaining nuclear “equality”.

How far into a future of war is Israel, or the United States, prepared to go? If the Middle East is engulfed in war, can the eventual spread of nuclear rivalry be averted? Can Israel maintain a nuclear monopoly when the United States itself failed at that? And when it comes to a time of desperation, can anyone be sure who would be the first to resort to the bomb? Can we be sure that Rightist extremists of one country would act more responsibly toward humanity than those of another?

Wouldn’t Israel and the world be safer, if universal action toward nuclear disarmament became the cornerstone of nuclear non-proliferation? Converting the Middle East into a zone free of nuclear weapons might well be the key “bargaining chip” for general peace.


  1. Professor, on Israel, you are completely correct. If Israel has some 200+ nuclear weapons and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferatiuon Treaty, then who are they to dictate to Iran which has not attacked another country in over a 100 years, what they may or may not have? As I recall, North Korea developed the "Bomb," and I don't see anybody threatening to invade the as this terrible weapon acts as a deterrent to any attack by Western Powers.

  2. The only person who has publicly proposed a peace and non-nuclear agreement to include the
    whole of the mid-east is Assad.
    Every time someone says Iran must not get nuclear weapons I wonder why nobody says in public,
    there should be no nuclear weapons in the middle east.
    Does signing the non-proliferation treaty make Iran more vulnerable to sanctions?