Monday, April 20, 2015

Sharansky: US Drops the Moral Ball

Natan Sharansky

When did America forget that it’s America? - Natan Sharansky

On a number of occasions during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli government has appealed to the United States and its allies to demand a change in Tehran’s aggressive behavior. If Iran wishes to be treated as a normal state, Israel has said, then it should start acting like one. Unfortunately, these appeals have been summarily dismissed. The Obama administration apparently believes that only after a nuclear agreement is signed can the free world expect Iran to stop its attempts at regional domination, improve its human rights record and, in general, behave like the civilized state it hopes the world will recognize it to be.

As a former Soviet dissident, I cannot help but compare this approach to that of the United States during its decades-long negotiations with the Soviet Union, which at the time was a global superpower and a existential threat to the free world. The differences are striking and revealing.

Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet Union had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.

Today, by contrast, apparently no amount of belligerence on Iran’s part can convince the free world that Tehran has disqualified itself from the negotiations or the benefits being offered therein. Over the past month alone, as nuclear discussions continued apace, we watched Iran’s proxy terror group, Hezbollah, transform into a full-blown army on Israel’s northern border, and we saw Tehran continue to impose its rule on other countries, adding Yemen to the list of those under its control.

Then there is the question of human rights. Democrat Henry Jackson, insisted on linking economic normalization to Moscow’s allowing freedom of emigration. By the next year, when the Helsinki agreement was signed, the White House had joined Congress in making the Soviets’ treatment of dissidents a central issue in nearly every negotiation.

Iran’s dismal human rights record, by contrast, has gone entirely unmentioned in the recent negotiations. Sadly, America’s reticence is familiar: In 2009, in response to the democratic uprisings that mobilized so many Iranian citizens, President Obama declared that engaging the theocratic regime would take priority over changing it.

Reality is complicated, and the use of historical analogies is always somewhat limited. But even this superficial comparison shows that what the United States saw fit to demand back then from the most powerful and dangerous competitor it had ever known is now considered beyond the pale in its dealings with Iran.

I am afraid that the real reason for the U.S. stance is...a tragic loss of moral self-confidence.

We have yet to see the full consequences of this moral diffidence, but one thing is clear: The loss of America’s self-assured global leadership threatens not only the United States and Israel but also the people of Iran and a growing number of others living under Tehran’s increasingly emboldened rule. Although the hour is growing late, there is still time to change course — before the effects grow more catastrophic still.
Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former political prisoner in the Soviet Union, is chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
[Washington Post]

The Bold Red Line - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror

The argument that any military strike would result in only a short-term setback in Iran's nuclear endeavors is wrong because it fails to account for the effect a successful strike would have on Tehran's willingness to invest in rehabilitating a program that could be destroyed in a matter of several nights, which is how long the U.S. said it would take to strike all of Iran's nuclear facilities.

I believe that Iran would not rush to resuscitate its nuclear program in the event it was destroyed by the U.S. It also stands to reason that Iran's actual ability to retaliate over such a strike, other than by putting Hizbullah in play, would be limited.

The U.S. can forcibly bring the Iranian nuclear program to a halt, it simply chooses not to do so.
The writer, former Israeli National Security Advisor and head of the National Security Council, served 36 years in senior IDF posts.
(Israel Hayom)

Accommodating Iran and Risking Israel's Future - Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Never would Iran be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. That was the pledge of the Clinton and Bush administrations. Flash forward to the Obama administration. "Never" has been slimmed down to 13 years - at best.

(U.S. News)

Israel: We Can Target Russian-Made Weapons - Barbara Opall-Rome  

Israeli officials have reiterated Israel's right to target S-300 missile batteries or any other high-end Russian arms [while they are being] transferred to regional terrorist organizations via Iran or Syria. 
(Defense News)

No comments: