On the nuclear issue, no one will argue the Iranians into slavery

Americans and Westerners generally have been bombarded with good news, bad news, worried news, optimistic news, and no news about the negotiations of the United States and its partners with Iran aimed at denying Tehran the ability to complete its pretty much built nuclear weapon. The multiple rounds of talks have provided much fodder for the media in their endless search for two things that do not exist: (a) the diplomatic brilliance of President Obama, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton and (b) a gang of powerful fools in Tehran who are willing to allow their nation to be defenseless against three nuclear powers — the U.S., the UK, and Israel — that have threatened Iran’s destruction daily for thirty years. It is funny how we always hear about the Ayatollah’s threat to destroy Israel, but very seldom about Hillary Clinton’s promise to incinerate Iran if it touched a hair on Israel’s pretty little head.

It is extremely likely that Iran will — as its genuine national interests clearly demand — string out the negotiations with Obama, Kerry and their fellow ahistorical European colleagues until it can surprise the world by testing a nuclear device. In speaking about U.S.-Cuba relations this weekend, Obama said that he is uninterested in events that occurred before he was born. This of course is his choice, but it is a choice that could be made only by the kind of a badly educated and naive fool that Obama is seeking but will not find in Iran.

What the world is seeing played out in these negotiations is quite similar to what happened in the 1980s and 1990s when the United States, Britain, and other European nations worked to prevent Pakistan from acquiring a nuclear device. There were public and secret negotiations, inconvenient and at times painful Western economic, military, and political sanctions — that perennial tool of cowards; covert operations to disrupt Pakistani attempts to acquire nuclear components; bribes in the form of more foreign and conventional military aid; and, as always, sanctimonious rhetoric from Western leaders instructing their little brown Pakistani brothers to be good non-nuclear boys. In the end, Pakistan acquired all of the necessary components, tested a device, and is now a nuclear power.

The only question that ever existed about whether Pakistan would attain a bomb was whether it could acquire all the needed materials. Two granite-like and universally known facts existed from the start of the West’s campaign to stop Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons that should have made Western leaders know beyond all doubt that their effort would be a pointless failure: (a) a Pakistani leader had stated publicly that Pakistanis would “eat grass” and otherwise willingly sacrifice to procure a nuclear weapon and was wildly applauded in his country, and (b) there were at the time about 140 million conventionally armed Pakistanis facing a billion Indians led by a nuclear-armed government in New Delhi. Because Pakistan viewed Hindu India as its most lethal enemy — as India viewed Islamic Pakistan — leading Pakistani politicians and their senior generals would have to have been suicidal mad men to stop seeking a nuclear deterrent for their nation’s arsenal. In the case of Pakistan and its nuclear weapon, however, the mad men were those negotiating and threatening Pakistan for the U.S., the UK, and other Western states. Pakistan got its weapon.

As was the case with Pakistan, the U.S. and its partners are faced with — and have, again, ignored — two granite-like and universally known facts vis-a-vis Iran: (a) the nuclear-armed U.S., Britain, and Israel have been publicly gunning for the Iranian regime since 1979 and have publicly insisted that they will tell Tehran what it can and cannot do in providing for its own defense, and (b) the Shia Iranian regime and the international Shia community as a whole — which is composed of about 10-13 percent of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims — is locked in a life-and-death battle with the worldwide Sunni community, which in the nation of Pakistan has an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Faced with these two facts, U.S. and Western citizens have again been deceived by their political leaders and the media. There is precisely no chance that Iran will stop the construction of a nuclear weapon. At this point in history, Iran probably does not have much military fear of the U.S. and Britain, which in recent decades have amply demonstrated that they have only three clear military skills: losing wars; completely failing to train Muslim armies; and cutting their militaries to the bone. The Israelis are another matter, however, and the Iranians certainly believe that Israel will — as it must, if push comes to shove and its survival is at stake — use its nuclear weapons against the Islamic republic. Thus, there is no other sane policy for Tehran to pursue than one that builds a nuclear arsenal.

The second fact is at least as compelling as the first for the Iranian regime. Faced with a Muslim world that has 9 or more Sunnis for each Shia; where Shia minorities are persecuted in almost every Sunni majority country; where the Iranian nation-state is surrounded by the Sunni world and U.S. military bases; where a regional Shia-Sunni war that has been in the making since the seventh century A.D. is now rapidly developing in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria; and where a contiguous Sunni nation named Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal — the Sunni bomb, if you will — that the viscerally anti-Shia Saudis helped to fund, the Iranians would, again, have to be quite insane not to arm themselves to the hilt against a Sunni world that has long hated the Shia far more than the West. Not being insane folks, the Iranian regime probably also assumes — and certainly to be prudent it had better assume — that because the Saudis helped pay for the Pakistani nuclear program, the Riyadh tyranny may well have nuclear devices that can be delivered by aircraft of short-range missiles.

None of the foregoing is meant to support the Iranians; they are tyrannical gang of brutal, violent, and deceitful bastards who cause more trouble than they are worth. That said, they do rule a nation-state and every nation-state has the right to defend itself as, and with whatever weapons, it deems fit. For this reason — and not simply because they are untrustworthy (who is more untrustworthy than Obama?) — Western leaders with even a moderately good education and a minimum of commonsense should have known that Iran will seek a nuclear weapon as long as they face existential threats to their nation’s survival. To think even for a moment that they will negotiate away a chance to get that weapon while the lethal treats they face remain constant is a thought process worthy only of a dope-soaked, Harvard sophomore wandering about San Francisco in the late 1960s and expecting to attain perpetual peace by flashing the piece sign and tearing-up a draft card.

In 1775, the great conservative Edmund Burke told the British Parliament, the ruling ministry, and King George III that the American colonists who opposed Britain’s unrelenting intervention in their commercial, economic, judicial, and political affairs could not be talked out of their discontent. “No body of men,” Burke said in his speech, “will be argued into slavery.” History shows that Burke’s conclusion was valid about the Americans, and history also will show that the Iranians — bastards though they are — will not be argued into the slavery that would be shackled onto their nation by any treaty that effectively prevented them from becoming a nuclear power while the existential Israeli and Sunni threats continue to exist.

For those reasons, Obama, Cameron and their other well-educated sidekicks went wide-eyed into a set of negotiations armed with the absurd belief that any and every problem can be solved by compromise, and there they encountered across the table Iranian negotiators who only knew how to play a zero-sum game, and were experts at it. Obama, Cameron, and their diplomats are far outclassed in this contest and will lose, even if a treaty is signed. Iran is sure to become a nuclear power.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.