Liberal Richard Cohen Advocates Craziness in an Israel First War Policy

Sunday, February 28, 2010 6:57 AM
From: “Stephen Sniegoski”

Friends,

While we are explicitly told by anti-war commentators such as Juan Cole that
the only type of American Jews pushing for war on Iran are right-wing ones,
it is apparent that Jewish liberals such as Richard Cohen are also in the
pro-war camp. (See: http://tinyurl.com/JuanColeonIsraelLobby)
Now Cohen, just like a number of rightist neocons, does not directly call
for an attack on Iran, but rather advocates a policy that certainly would
lead in that direction. Specifically, he says that it is time for Obama to
start acting “crazy” toward Iran because of the alleged failure of
diplomacy.
(Iran and the Crazy Factor, Washington Post, February 23,
http://tinyurl.com/cohencrazy )

Such a recommendation of craziness is predicated on Cohen’s belief that
Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership in general are crazy and that the
only way to fight crazy people is by likewise acting crazy: “fight crazy
with crazy.” Cohen writes: “I have no idea whether Ahmadinejad merely
acts crazy or is crazy. I do know, though, that Iran seems intent on getting
nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. I also know that nothing
the United States and its allies have done has dissuaded Ahmadinejad (or the
mullahs or the Revolutionary Guard Corps) from his goal. It may be time for
Barack Obama, ever the soul of moderation, to borrow a tactic from Richard
Nixon and fight crazy with crazy. The way things are going, it would be
crazy not to.”

It is rather odd that Cohen would pick Nixon’s advocacy of madness as a
model for emulation, since Nixon, and especially his bellicosity, were
hardly admired by liberals such as Cohen during his presidency. Moreover,
Cohen acknowledges that Nixon’s crazy strategy “while cunning, didn’t work
on the North Vietnamese.” Desiring the adoption of a previously failed
strategy is hard to fathom.

Furthermore, Nixon’s rationale for acting crazy would not seem to apply in
the milieu depicted by Cohen. Nixon actually predicated his madman strategy
on the rationality of his adversaries. The rational person, presumably,
would make some concessions to the madman to avoid destruction. However,
Cohen claims that the Iranians are irrational. There is no reason to think
that acting crazy would cause them to turn rational, but rather that it
would cause them to act out their craziness, which in the particular
situation that exists in the Middle East today would mean an all-out war.
To try to put Cohen’s argument in a rational context, this must mean that he
sees a war with Iran at the current time to be preferable to one in the
future when Iran would have nuclear weapons and which would likely involve
Israel.

The reasons Cohen gives for taking a “crazy” stance toward Iran have little
to do with any threat Iran poses to the United States, but actually seem to
revolve around Israel and Jews. Cohen cites Ahmadinejad’s “Holocaust
denial” and his call for Zionism to be “wiped out.” Cohen acknowledges
that these words might have nothing to do with the launching of war-“On the
face of it, these statements could be nothing more than the ranting of a
demagogue intent on appeasing the mob.” But then he points out that Israel,
having experienced Hitler’s anti-Semitic words leading to the Holocaust,
would naturally think otherwise. “Israel, of all countries,” he asserts,
“has little faith in the rationality of mankind. It simply knows better. So
the question of whether Ahmadinejad is playing the madman or really is a
madman is not an academic exercise. It has a real and frightening immediacy
that too often, in too many precincts, gets belittled as a form of
paranoia.”

So it might be understandable for Israel to be terrified of a nuclear Iran,
at least according to Cohen, but what about a threat to the United States?
“An Iranian bomb,” Cohen contends, “is not a matter that concerns only
Israel. It would upend the balance of power throughout the Middle East and
encourage radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas to
ratchet up their war against Israel. Other Middle East nations, not content
to rely on an American nuclear umbrella, would seek their own bombs. An
unstable region would go nuclear.” It is telling that even in purportedly
dealing with threats to countries other than Israel, Cohen almost
immediately gets back to threats to Israel by writing that a nuclear Iran
would “encourage radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and
Hamas to ratchet up their war against Israel.” For Cohen, Israel’s safety
is certainly on his mind, first and foremost.

But regarding the US, the dangers presumably consist of countries in the
unstable Middle East obtaining nuclear weapons. These developments, while
undesirable, are hardly dire threats to American national security. And we
are only dealing with the chance of Iran developing actual nuclear weapons,
though it is more likely that it will develop nuclear capability. And in
the most extreme case with all major countries in the Middle East obtaining
nuclear weapons, it is not even clear whether such a development would lead
to a terrible war or whether it might actually enhance regional stability.
Certainly, the existence of nuclear weapons served to prevent a major war
between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the
possession of nuclear weapons have not caused India and Pakistan to be more
aggressive toward each other. Of course, the loss of its nuclear monopoly
would weaken Israel’s position in the Middle East.

What Cohen does not even make an attempt to show is that in regard to
American security the danger of not attacking Iran outweighs the terrible
impact of a war in the Middle East, which would be a likely result from his
recommendation that Obama act crazy. It would seem to be a general
consensus that a war on Iran at the present time would have terrible
consequences for the already-battered world economy, which would certainly
affect the US. It should be pointed out that the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, reflecting what has been the
consensus view of the American military leadership, has expressed strong
opposition to any military strike on Iran and desires the continuation of
peaceful diplomacy.
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/513886/admiral_mullen_no_attack_on_iran

In sum, it would appear that the liberal Richard Cohen does not differ
substantially from his co-religionists on the Right in his militant position
toward Iran. And there is nothing particularly new about this. Cohen had
supported the war on Iraq and only later recanted, after the war had become
unpopular, but included Israel in his explanation for his earlier pro-war
position: “Saddam Hussein was a beast who had twice
invaded his neighbors, had killed his own people with abandon and posed
a threat – and not just a theoretical one – to Israel.” (“The Lingo Of
Vietnam,”
Washington Post, November 21, 2006, p. A-27)
It would seem therefore that
the safety of Israel always looms very large in the minds of even liberal
Jews.

Transparent Cabal Website:
http://home.comcast.net/~transparentcabal/

Amazon listing of The Transparent Cabal:
http://tiny.cc/zNV06

Best,
Stephen Sniegoski
_______________________________________________________________________

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022203
530.html

Washington Post

Iran and the crazy factor

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, February 23, 2010; A19

A question relating to Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program: Is Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad crazy like Adolf Hitler, or is he crazy like,
of all people, Richard Nixon?

Nixon had a term for his own sort of craziness: “I call it the Madman
Theory, Bob,” he said to his aide H.R. “Bob” Haldeman during the 1968
presidential campaign. Nixon was talking about how he would deal with the
Vietnam War. “I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point
where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them
that, ‘For God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t
restrain him when he’s angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button.’
” The strategy, while cunning, didn’t work on the North Vietnamese. Maybe
they were crazier than Nixon.

Ahmadinejad is some version of crazy, too. His denial of the Holocaust is
either proof of a drooling sort of insanity or a kind of Nixonian craziness
designed to keep enemies and adversaries off balance: What will this guy do
next?

In tandem with his Holocaust denial, Ahmadinejad has repeatedly urged the
destruction of Israel. While some experts differ on the precise translations
of his words, his general goal is clear. What’s not clear, though, is
whether he is expressing a wish or making a vow: “The Zionist regime will be
wiped out.” “The Zionist regime is on its way out.” “This regime’s days are
numbered.” “Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of
corruption will be wiped off the face of the world.” I could go on and on
as, in fact, Ahmadinejad has.

On the face of it, these statements could be nothing more than the ranting
of a demagogue intent on appeasing the mob. After all, Ahmadinejad has to
know that any attempt to convert his rhetoric into action would be met by
force. Israel is a nuclear power, and it will not go down without a fight.
The Iranians cannot be that crazy. They are, in a Nixonian way, merely
trying to impress. Maybe.

But the belief that the world operates rationally is itself irrational. The
example of Hitler both instructs and warns. The Nazi leader was not just an
anti-Semite who actually believed his insane theories; he also made
decisions that were in themselves crazy. For example, why did he declare war
on the United States after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? Why did he
invade the Soviet Union before he had defeated Britain? In both cases, he
had his reasons. And in both cases, his reasons were crazy.

Israel, of all countries, has little faith in the rationality of mankind. It
simply knows better. So the question of whether Ahmadinejad is playing the
madman or really is a madman is not an academic exercise. It has a real and
frightening immediacy that too often, in too many precincts, gets belittled
as a form of paranoia. For instance, when Israeli leaders warn that they
might take preemptive action against Iran — say, an attempt to bomb its
nuclear facilities as they did in Iraq in 1981 — it is dismissed as
irresponsible saber-rattling. Former national security adviser Zbigniew
Brzezinski even suggested that if Israel tried such a thing, the United
States might have to back it down with force. The Brzezinski Doctrine is
refreshing in its perverse boldness: We shoot our friends to defend our
enemies.

An Iranian bomb is not a matter that concerns only Israel. It would upend
the balance of power throughout the Middle East and encourage
radical/terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas to ratchet up
their war against Israel. Other Middle East nations, not content to rely on
an American nuclear umbrella, would seek their own bombs. An unstable region
would go nuclear. (It speaks volumes about Middle Eastern reality and
hypocrisy that Egypt serenely lives with an Israeli bomb but breaks out in
diplomatic hives at the prospect of an Iranian one.) Have a good night’s
sleep.

I have no idea whether Ahmadinejad merely acts crazy or is crazy. I do know,
though, that Iran seems intent on getting nuclear weapons and the missiles
to deliver them. I also know that nothing the United States and its allies
have done has dissuaded Ahmadinejad (or the mullahs or the Revolutionary
Guard Corps) from his goal. It may be time for Barack Obama, ever the soul
of moderation, to borrow a tactic from Richard Nixon and fight crazy with
crazy. The way things are going, it would be crazy not to.

2 Responses to “Liberal Richard Cohen Advocates Craziness in an Israel First War Policy”

  • Alan B'Stard M P says:

    Ahmadinejad has stated he wants the destruction of the zionist State not the Jewish State, there’s a difference and you lot in the press & media should acknowledge this

  • Steven10 says:

    Crazier than bat guano that Cohen. That’s some very sound reasoning to start a war. Balance of power? What a joke. If I had some oil in my country, you’d best believe I’d want to level the playing field before they came and started a war to steal everything.

    The zionist controlled media continues to brainwash the sheople even today about what was actually said by Ahmadinejad. Unless you know Farsi you’d not know what was actually said, but instead you are provided a zionist skewed interpretation of what the their media wants you to hear. This is all old news to those that are awakened. I do hope for people especially in the US to wake up before they take us all down and they come for you next. If people don’t get a backbone and draw a line in the sand now they will have you and soon.

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