The battle of perceptions
If Iran develops nuclear weapons, it’s got everything. It already has enough rockets to destroy Israel in a surprise attack. It would not be dissuaded by the fact that about 1.5 million Israeli Arabs would also die. Islam provides heaven’s glorious consolation for Muslim martyrs
2015-08-31 by Carlos Alberto Montaner
Its name is aseptic but also enormously controversial: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It’s the accord between the United States and Iran on the control and elimination of nuclear arms that Teheran proposed (or proposes) to manufacture. It was backed by the neighborhood biggies: the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany.
Naturally, Israel hit the roof. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, it’s got everything. It already has enough rockets to destroy Israel in a surprise attack. It would not be dissuaded by the fact that about 1.5 million Israeli Arabs would also die. Islam provides heaven’s glorious consolation for Muslim martyrs.
An exaggeration? That’s what the ayatollahs incessantly claim. Eighty years ago, many Jews refused to believe what a zealous imbecile with a ridiculous little moustache wrote in Mein Kampf. He ended up killing six million Jews and forever exterminated Europe’s brilliant Jewry.
But Israel is not alone. Two hundred retired U.S. generals, admirals and vice-admirals have just signed a letter asking U.S. legislators not to support the pact. They’re doing it not only for Israel; they’re thinking of the interests of the United States and its allies.
The arguments they wield are disturbing. The officers are certain that Iran will not abide by the agreement. That the non-manufacture of nuclear bombs cannot be verified. That the agreement gives Iran greater access to billions of dollars, many of which will help subsidize the Hezbollah terrorists. And that Iran’s nuclear capability will turn the Middle East into a place less safe than it already is, triggering a nuclear race with other Arab states.
Curiously, the great Ayatollah Sayyad Ali Khamenei proved the U.S. officers right. After the accord was announced, he stated that Iran would not change its stance. The destruction of Israel continued to be a sacred and permanent objective.
Of course, not all American officers have the perception of those who protested. Two weeks ago, three dozen former officers, equally high-ranking, asked Congress for the opposite -- support the pact inked by Barak Obama and John Kerry with the ayatollahs.
They argued that the accord reduced the chances of conflict; they supposed that any noncompliance by Iran could be detected, and believed that there is no better option than the one achieved. It was the best of all possible pacts in the imperfect world of international relations.
Somehow, the pro-pact officers respond to the United States’ nationalist trend expressed by theoreticians who are convinced that this huge country with 310 million inhabitants should not be drawn into a dangerous conflict by the State of Israel or any other nation in the world.
In any case, why do Obama and Kerry deal with Iran? Judging from Kerry’s words, reported by the Reuters news agency, because they want to save the United States from the antipathy aroused by U.S. policy in the Middle East.
They want the United States to be loved and admired and are bothered by the rejection that their country (apparently) provokes. Probably, like so many critical Americans, especially in the academic scene, they share some embarrassment over Washington’s traditional international conduct.
In reality, Obama and Kerry have fallen into the trap of believing that the propaganda so far widely disseminated and forcefully hammered reflects the criteria of public opinion.
They don’t realize that there is a permanent anti-American campaign, persistent and effective, that projects an alleged collective criterion that comes not from society in general but from a small and vociferous élite that distorts reality and has made “anti-Yankeeism” its leitmotif.
Maybe when John Kerry protested against the war in Vietnam -- in which he fought -- or when Barack Obama was a “community organizer,” they coincided with the analyses of those who were ashamed of U.S. behavior, such as Noam Chomsky or the late Saul Alinsky.
But that, strictly speaking, although it represents a majority opinion of university educators and is one of the left’s identifying marks, is not the opinion endorsed by most of the international community, especially ordinary men and women.
The objective reality is that the United States is one of the world’s most admired countries, the nation where the poor of half the planet wish to live, as revealed by the huge poll conducted every year by Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands, whose pollsters question more than 20,000 people in 20 significant countries.
In the indices they compile, until 2014 the United States headed the list of the ten most loved nations. Today the U.S. ranks second, now that Germany rose to Number One. The other eight are the usual suspects: England, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Australia and Sweden.
That’s the truth. The rest are perceptions. Sleights of hand.