Writing

Piece 49 – Damn the Iran Deal, The West Should Not Give An Inch By. Raimondo Graziano

Damn the Iran Deal, The West Should Not Give An Inch

By. Raimondo Graziano

 

The United States has been known from time to time to wage wars based on the premise of regime change. That of toppling governments that do not align with the views of the United States based on the followings premises- antipathy toward democratic values that the West as a whole holds close to its heart, violent and virulent actions taken against the people of whatever nation it may be, and when the national security interests of the United States are jeopardized. In this The United States is acting on the right side of history, not only for it’s own sake but for the sake of the West as a global institution responsible for the longest sustained peace in history, democratization for the vast portions of the people of the world, and for the unleashing of sheer human potential.

As the first among equals, the United States holds the unique responsibility of ensuring peace across the world and the continued dominance of the West as the captain of the ship dubbed human history. With that stewardship comes harsh realities and sometimes even harsher choices. We have had leaders who would defer these responsibilities and we have had leaders who have stepped up. We have had leaders that have done both at the same time. In some cases their decisions have been for the better and others for the worse, far worse. Perhaps the harshest lesson we can learn from history is that appeasement in the face of a belligerent, anti-democratic actor can lead to utter catastrophe. I need only say Neville Chamberlain, our good friend from across the Atlantic, who spoke of “peace for our time” referring of course to the chancellor in Germany, Adolf Hitler. Appeasement is the way forward for those who haven’t the stomach for the necessary task of confronting aggression wherever it may be coming from.

Whether they are motivated by domestic politics, the specter of reelection, or simply fixated on legacy building. Who doesn’t like the still quiet of peace? It is something that everyone can readily get behind. However, peace at any cost is never the answer. Today we face a similar threat, though perhaps we wouldn’t like to admit it. Iran is a rogue actor in the Middle East and has funded numerous terrorist organizations throughout the region and around the world, they have leadership both within their armed forces and politically that speak enthusiastically about the demise of Israel and the West. They threaten and intimidate Europe with their medium and short range missiles, saying they can increase their ranges to put the whole of Europe at risk. They have been accused, with evidence of pursuing nuclear weapons and with their coziness to rogue organizations, this is recipe for calamity. It is probable that they have attacked oil refineries in the region, they have seized a British tanker and have refused to let it go, while the British have released their own, which was seized in the first place for violating sanctions rightfully slapped on them.

The JCPOA or the Iran Deal as it is referred to was a hardly fought diplomatic effort which in the end did not guarantee that the nation would not seek nuclear weapons, nor was their any provisions regaridng their human rights abuses or their funding of extremist groups – it simply put a cap for a number of years, and in return sanctions were lifted and their capital frozen from the sanctions, measuring in the hundred billion dollar range was released to them. Not to mention no addressing of the short range or medium range ballistic missiles. All in all it punted the issue down the road for some other administration to deal with while our esteemed politicans had praise heaped on them by the mainstream media for their efforts at securing peace. This was not peace, this was appeasement. Now the current administration has pulled out from the deal, rightfully. Iran has begun enrichment once more and has stepped up their dangerous and reckless behavior in the region once more using the Strait of Hormuz, where a large portion of the worlds oil supply moves through, hostage – using it as a bargaining chip or an overt threat more aptly put. They have effectively signaled their unwillingness to comply with the accord, and they stick to it in nothing but ink on paper. Lest they forget that the deal has other signatories, they care not for the deal or they would adhere to it regardless of the United States’ involvement.

The harshness of sanctions is the right path forward, a pressure campaign meant to cripple their capabilities to continue to sow discord throughout the world. Their behavior cannot go unchecked and it is the United States who has the heavy burden of leveling these actions, holding them accountable. This will give the United States no great honor or accolades from the international community nor support from our European allies who are poised to lose the most should Iran continue its belligerence. They would rather appease further and undermine the United States and its diplomatic efforts. Sanctions may be a harsh tool, but they are a diplomatic tool, a bludgeon, nonetheless. France today is offering an aid package to Iran to account for the lost revenue from oil Iran has suffered because of the sanctions. The aid package would effectively blunt the blows The United States needs to deliver to secure true and lasting peace. France, thinking itself the steward of the European Union, seeks to go the route of appeasement, just as Chamberlain, another steward of Europe, did nearly eighty one years ago. Less than one year later, the world was plunged in darkness. Damn the Iran Deal, let it whither and die the rightful death it deserves, the West should not give one single inch.

Writing

Piece 43 – Tensions with Iran, A Turning Point By. Raimondo Graziano

 

Tensions with Iran, A Turning Point

By. Raimondo Graziano

In recent weeks tensions between the United States and Iran have reached a fever pitch. The relations between our nation and their own have always been strained, and we are, as is often the case, partly responsible for the situation that currently exists today. After all it is our deposition of their democratically elected leader, decades ago, that spurred on the revolution in the late 70’s. And it is the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, negotiated under the former President and withdrawn from by the current, that has created both an air of uncertainty and a potential international crisis, regardless of the merits of the deal that was struck.

Now, nations have come to trade blows with one another in the past while limiting the severity of escalations, in many cases it is a ruse to bring one and the other to the negotiating table to hammer out differences. What is different now is the degree at which escalations are increasing, and tone with which this war of words is being wage has taken a sharper lean. One expects belligerence and bellicose rhetoric from the President of the United States, after all it is his way. Though for an internationally recognized moderate like Hassan Rouhani, it is an alarming escalation.

The door for diplomacy is closed in his words due to the ratcheting up of sanctions by the Americans, meant to cripple the Iranian economy. If the door to diplomacy is closed, what then? In recent weeks there have been attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and in oil fields in Iraq, a downing of an American surveillance craft, an execution of an American prisoner and numerous other acts of aggression by the Iranians. We are perhaps stumbling into a war, whose reach and scope would be catastrophic. It is true Iran is the world’s largest purveyor of state sponsored terrorism. Our allies in the region are itching for a conflict to settle their own personal scores with the nation. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked into a proxy war in Yemen over their numerous differences. Israel has threatened aggression before for their fear of annihilation of the state – a threat propagated by the Iranians themselves. It is obvious that conflict is in the air.

What’s troubling is not only the potential for miscalculation and careless loss of life, but the strangle it will have on global oil markets as the strait of Hormuz is a critical point in the infrastructure of global oil shipping. With more troops being sent to the Middle East to counter the threats posed by Iran, a regional power in its own right, the threat of war looms. It will not be like Iraq, nor Afghanistan nor is the conflicts context similar to that of the war of words between the President and Chairmen Kim. The nuances ate stark and the implications grave. Of course, we must push for diplomacy and engage our allies in this effort, but above all we cannot become hostage to Iranian demands and increasing belligerence on their part. From the threat of raising the threshold of production of material that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons, to the threats leveled at Europe to further test their ballistic missiles if they are not granted waivers from sanctions for trade.

The West cannot be held hostage and capitulate to the demands of a regime which seeks the downfall of Western institutions and the propping up of its own allies – the likes of Russia, China and other authoritarian regimes. Let alone the human rights abuses perpetuated by them. If we capitulate, then what is the West then but a vestige of a forgotten cause? With this in mind, we too have to keep a check on Saudi Arabia, our hopelessly convenient ally in the region on their own abuses and misgivings. The West must take a stand on all fronts. Diplomacy always, but prepared for any eventuality. We must move forward with caution and resolve.