For Benjamin Netanyahu, A Just Peace Is Not A Desired Outcome (Part 2)   1 comment

An Unnecessary Speech and a Lack of Vision

March 2, 2015

The newly re-minted and tattered Speaker of the House has, once again, proven that leadership is not what he is about. Rather than stand on principle, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has again and again opted to forsake the responsibilities of Speaker, and instead spend his energy on attempting to keep the tiger, that is the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, from devouring him whole. Accepting a subservient role has been fully embraced by Mr. Boehner. We can regularly visualize him on bended knee, or kowtowing as low as his aging back will allow, or throwing himself completely prostrate before his caucus members from the far, far right. It’s apparent that Boehner is the servant and not the master in this relationship, by virtue of his inaction on a reasonable agenda, and his acceptance of the drumbeat of the far right. The Speaker is always cognizant of the potential of the far right to overthrow his speakership (see “Welcome to Bizarro World“). Boehner has had ample opportunities to assert his leadership, yet has chosen to consistently dance to the tunes of the extremists within his coalition of so-called Republicans. For example,

• Members of the GOP caucus and members of their staff regularly hurl insults at the President, his wife, his daughters. They’ve often called the President a liar. (See Joe Wilson (R-SC)). Some have suggested that Michelle Obama could stand to “lose a few pounds”. And they’ve attacked his young daughters because they don’t dress or pose like southern belles. You know, the “family values” experts, lecturing the Obama family to conform to their Ozzie & Harriet vision of familia americanus, all the while many of these experts continue on the way to divorce court, or worse. Yet the Speaker of the House doesn’t insist, advise or even suggest to these neanderthals that they tone down the rhetoric.

• Then there’s the President vs. the dictator: Obama vs. Putin. As the Daily Kos reminds us, “Less than a year ago Rudy Giuliani was telling us Putin is what a “real leader” looks like. Lindsey Graham clutched his pearls in admiration. McCain practically saluted. Fox News wished he could run for President. That camp has grown rather quiet.”

All of this is prelude to the President and Iran. And peace. The United States has been devoting a fair amount of time (and energy) to its negotiations with Iran in an attempt to control the spread of materials and fuel that could be used for a nuclear weapon, as well as to convince Iran that the world does not need another nuclear state. And the United States isn’t alone. Representatives from six nations are part of this negotiation: The U.S. is joined by Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. Senator John McCain and his soul-mate Senator Lindsey Graham will tell any reporter, any writer, any journalist at any opportunity that Iran is not to be trusted and the President should find an alternative to negotiating with Iran; perhaps McCain is till humming his 2007 campaign ditty, “Bomb Bomb Iran”. And just when you couldn’t expect the Republicans to do anything else to antagonize the political atmospherics, the Speaker invites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lecture a joint session of congress on how America should behave vis a vis Iran. We’ll hear, I’m certain, Netanyahu declare “Nuclear for Iran bad, nuclear for Israel good.” Well not exactly, as Israel doesn’t acknowledge their own cache of nuclear weapons. (Iran—the Islamic Republic of Iran—by the way, is a signer of the United Nations’ Non Proliferation Treaty. Israel is not.)

What bothers me and should bother any clear-thinking individual is that the GOP and Mr. Netanyahu cling to the idea of having no dialogue with Iran. For them it’s preferable to have a permanent temper-tantrum than to engage. Better to threaten than to converse. Better go to war than work for peaceful coexistence. Mr. Boehner, who believes his view of foreign policy is more important than that of the Commander in Chief, chose to use a joint session of congress to stick his finger in the eye of real diplomacy. Boehner’s blatantly political act—inviting Netanyahu—is an inappropriate stand-in for American foreign policy. And the tiger loves it. After all the symbolism is anti-Obama at its core.

Late last year I wrote a piece about Benjamin Netanyahu, asserting that the Israeli Prime Minister has not been and will not be a true seeker of peace. Too many innocents have died at the hand of the Prime Minister. Responding to attacks is one thing. Annihilating families, neighborhoods, and cities is not a measured response. It’s overkill and Netanyahu knows it. But it plays well to his tiger, the right-wing of his coalition government. Fear is an aphrodisiac Netanyahu pours onto Israeli society.

Today’s speech fits perfectly into Netanyahu’s narrative of the need to cease talking to Iran about nuclear disarmament and consider the alternative. What he well knows is that an attack on Iran by Israel is not an option. This is not Iraq and the weak defense by a country with little historic unified identity. This is not a group of Palestinian extremists in Gaza with old pickup trucks and IEDs. Iran has a singular identity, a national psyche, and a formidable military. What Netanyahu wants is an American attack, an American invasion, and an American occupation of Iran. In short, he wishes to goad the United States into loading the American bombers and sending them to Tehran followed in short order by 500,000 American troops to secure the victory.

Boehner and Netanyahu are two of a kind. For each, the raison d’etre is all about their professional survival and nothing about their personal and professional responsibility. Each is riding a tiger. Both Netanyahu and Boehner should remember the words of British poet Cosmo Monkhouse:

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
David Steffen
© David Steffen 2015

Posted March 3, 2015 by Jazzdavid in Education, Government, History

Tagged with , , , , ,

One response to “For Benjamin Netanyahu, A Just Peace Is Not A Desired Outcome (Part 2)

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  1. Pingback: Benjamin Netanyahu: Postscript | Jazzdavid

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