When Did America Forget That It’s America?

That’s the title of an op-ed over at WaPo by Natan Sharansky. He compares how America stood up to the Soviet Union with its failing to do so with Iran.

But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

I’m not sure exactly when America forgot who we are, but I know who did the forgetting. It was my generation. Our parents had grown up during the depression and been on the front lines of World War II. As President Kennedy noted in his inaugural address, they were

tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

When it was their turn to lead, our parents carried on with the struggle against tyranny, and faced down the Evil Empire.

Their children—my generation—were raised in the relative prosperity of the ’50s and ’60s and many of us avoided service in war when it was our turn. To paraphrase JFK, we have been relatively untouched by war, undisciplined through years of apparent peace, unsure of our heritage—and quite willing to permit the undoing of human rights in far-off lands so long as we aren’t discomforted.

We’re leaving one helluva mess for our children and grandchildren, and I suspect that it is our grandchildren who will face a world not unlike the one faced by our parents.

An Interesting Summer Ahead?

Netanyahu_redline“At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war.

“Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.

“From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

The PLO has accused Iran of being Zionist. The Elders of Ziyon passes along a report from the Saudi Gazette:

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Saturday harshly criticized Iran for inviting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran later this month. “Iran joined the Israeli choir which aims to undermine the Palestinian political system and its elected legitimacies,” the PLO Executive Committee said in a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by Saudi Gazette.

Uh, huh. Iran looking out for Israel’s interest. Right.

Cui Bono?

The AP is reporting that the National Security Advisor Tom Donilon has briefed Prime Minister Netanyahu on U. S. plans to to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and that the Israelis are denying that such a briefing has occurred. (H/T, The Lonely Conservative)

Funny how that leaked out during Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel, isn’t it? Who benefits from such a leak?

Israel? No. The idea that the U. S. will do the heavy lifting on taking out the Iranian threat gives a talking point to those who don’t want Israel to act in self defense.

Iran? Possibly. Confusion among their enemies is good for them.

Barack Obama? Certainly. It allows him to look tough on Iran while actually doing nothing. This has the odor of a politically inspired leak to benefit the reelection campaign.

Is it November yet?

Proxy Warfare

Tyrants would rather not go to war, especially if they can get someone else to do their dirty work. For example, Hitler and Stalin fought a proxy war in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War. J. E. Dyer takes a look at the latest proxy war, the “civil war” in Syria. On the surface it looks like the Sunnis (Turkey and the Saudis) against the Shia (Iran), but it’s more complicated. Russia, Israel, and Greece have common interests that favor neither the Sunnis nor the Shia.  And America isn’t looking after our interests.

None of this would be foreordained if the US took an active role in fostering the best future for Syria. It is important for Americans to understand that the more we recuse ourselves from the conflict in Syria, the more its outcome is guaranteed to be determined by a foreign power at the expense of the Syrian people. We have just about reached the stage at which what’s going on in Syria is not a “Syrian civil war,” but a proxy war between regional powers, whose objectives will frustrate, and in some cases even defeat outright, every single one of the US interests in the Syrian crisis.

Civil war; children and old people mowed down like animals; arms and paramilitary troops flooding into the country; ruthless power struggles between corrupt despots on third-party territory – this is your world, when American power isn’t being exercised.

Read the whole thing.

Speaking Softly—Not

Our ambassador to Israel is quoted as saying that an attack on Iran’s nuke program is not only possible but “ready” if necessary.

J. E. Dyer analyzes the significance of the ambassador’s remarks.

A warning (or, in this case, an assurance) that the US is ready to attack Iran was almost certainly given on orders from the White House, since it’s not something a diplomat would naturally be moved to say, or say without permission.  It’s a combination of operational TMI and inflammatory rhetoric: a sort of anti-diplomacy.

Second, this is a threat that can’t be convincingly conveyed in a fey, indirect manner.  If we mean this threat and we want it to affect Iran’s decisions, then say it to Iran.  (I would advise putting it in different terms.)  Putting the threat out there in the guise of an assurance to Israel just looks manipulative.

And the comment was made during the run up to the NATO summit. I’ll bet most (or all) of the allies were annoyed by the remarks. I suspect that the Israelis were not reassured by the ambassador’s statement. And, of course, the mullahs will be undeterred.