by Yoram Ettinger
The editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily added: "Has the axis of evil collapsed to the extent that President Obama is courting one of its key members?! Isn't this the same Tehran that has posed a clear and present danger to the Gulf states for the past 36 years?!"
The term "suspension of disbelief" -- coined in 1817 by the philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge -- refers to a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrificing reality, common sense, doubt and complexity on the altar of a pretend reality, convenience and oversimplification; infusing a semblance of truth into an untrue narrative.
U.S. President Jimmy Carter's policy toward Iran in 1977-1979 was characterized by suspension of disbelief: energizing the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini while ignoring or underestimating his track record and his radical, supremacist and violent worldview. The betrayal of the Shah transformed Tehran from "the U.S. policeman in the Gulf" to the worst enemy of the U.S.
Currently, the suspension of disbelief undermines the U.S. posture of deterrence and vital U.S. national security and commercial interests. It was demonstrated by U.S. President Barack Obama, who -- irrespective of Middle East reality -- referred to the brutally intolerant, terror-driven, anti-U.S., anti-infidel, repressive, tumultuous Arab tsunami as the "Arab Spring." He said it was "casting off the burdens of the past," "a story of self-determination," "a democratic upheaval," "a peaceful opposition," "rejection of political violence" and "a transition toward [multi-sectarian, multi-ethnic] democracy."
Suspension of disbelief, coupled with the ayatollahs' mastery of 'taqiyya' (Islam-sanctioned double-talk and deception), is what led U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to assert on November 24, 2013 that "Iran's Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif emphasized that they don't intend to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran's supreme leader has indicated that there is a 'fatwa' [an authoritative religious ruling] which forbids them to do this."
In an April 7, 2015 NPR interview, Obama made a reality-stretching assumption which underlines the Iran policy: "If in fact Iran is engaged in international business ... then in many ways it makes it even harder for them to engage in behaviors that are contrary to international norms. ... It is possible that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of the more moderate forces in Iran."
Rebutting Obama's remarks, Amir Taheri, a leading authority on Iran, wrote: "Hope is not a sufficient basis for a strategy. ... [The relatively moderate former President Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani has little chance of surviving a direct clash with [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei. "
The Saudi frustration with U.S. policy on Iran -- shared by all pro-U.S. Arab regimes -- was expressed on April 25, 2015 by the opinion editor of the prestigious Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which echoes the position of the House of Saud: "While the U.S. considers the ayatollahs a legitimate partner to negotiation, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states are in a state of war with Iran, which is the main source of chaos in the region." The editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily added: "Has the axis of evil collapsed to the extent that President Obama is courting one of its key members?! Isn't this the same Tehran that has posed a clear and present danger to the Gulf states for the past 36 years?!"
The zeal to make a deal plays into the hands of the ayatollahs and overlooks the following facts:
• An agreement is not the goal, but a tool to achieve the real goal.
• Transforming an agreement to a goal undermines the real goal.
• Details of an agreement are less critical than the details of the ayatollahs' 36-year track record of supremacist, apocalyptic and megalomaniacal violence, martyrdom, sponsorship of global Islamic terrorism, subversion of pro-U.S. Arab regimes, repression, anti-U.S. hate education- and policies, a systematic noncompliance with agreements and mastery of concealment.
• Such a track record warrants a "guilty until proven innocent" approach.
• Preconditioning an agreement upon a dramatic change in the conduct of the rogue, anti-U.S. ayatollahs would be "a poison pill" to a bad deal, but a vitamin to a good deal.
• A "bad deal" would nuclearize Iran; "no deal" would allow the U.S. to choose the ways and means to prevent Iran's nuclearization.
• Nuclear capabilities would extend the life of the repressive, rogue ayatollah regime, precluding any hope for civil liberties or home-induced regime change.
• An agreement -- not preconditioned upon the transformation of the ayatollahs -- would compound their clear and present threat to vital U.S. interests.
• The transformation of the nature of the ayatollahs -- as a precondition to an agreement -- would prevent the nuclearization of the ayatollahs.
• Precluding the option of military pre-emption has strengthened and radicalized the rogue ayatollahs, and could lead to a nuclear war.
• Misrepresenting the option of military pre-emption as war defies reality, since it should be limited to surgical -- no troops on the ground -- air and naval bombings of critical parts of Iran's nuclear infrastructure from U.S. bases in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Indian Ocean, or aircraft carriers.
• A U.S. military option forced Iran to end the 1980-1988 war against Iraq, convinced Libya to give away its nuclear infrastructure in 2003, and led Iran to suspend its nuclear development in 2003.
• "Ironclad" supervision and intelligence failed to detect the nuclearization of the USSR, China, Pakistan, India and North Korea.
• Unlike the USSR, which was deterred by Mutual Assured Destruction, the apocalyptic ayatollahs would be energized by MAD-driven martyrdom.
• The zeal to strike a deal has led to a U.S. retreat from six U.N. Security Council Resolutions, which aimed to prevent Iran's nuclearization.
• A nuclear Iran, which celebrates "Death to America Day," would devastate cardinal U.S. interests: toppling the oil-producing Arab regimes (impacting supply and price of oil) and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes; intensifying Islamic terrorism, globally and on the U.S. mainland; agitating Latin America; collaborating with North Korea; cooperating with Russia and destabilizing Africa and Asia.
• The track record of the ayatollahs on the one hand, and compliance with agreements on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron.
• Suspension of disbelief, in the case of Iran's nuclearization, entails overlooking facts that highlight the implausibility of a viable agreement with the ayatollahs, thus damaging crucial U.S. interests and fueling a nuclear war.
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