Monday, February 8, 2016

Realpolitik on ISIS and Iran - Michael S. Goldstein

by Michael S. Goldstein

Our new president will have a legal free hand in revoking the Iran Deal by executive order. Neither the US House nor the Senate actually voted on the Iran Deal under the Corker legislation.

There may be valid reasons for the United States to choose not to destroy ISIS at this time.  After due consideration, the next administration may decide to focus our efforts on the much more dangerous enemy, Iran. If so, our new president’s first foreign policy priority in 2017 must be to eliminate any possibility that Iran can develop and field nuclear weapons of any type.  Once Iran has deployed nuclear weapons, our options will be quite limited.

Our new president will have a legal free hand in revoking the Iran Deal by executive order.  Neither the US House nor the Senate actually voted on the Iran Deal under the Corker legislation.  On September 10, 2015 the House passed and sent to the president House Resolution 411, “Finding that the President Has Not Complied with Section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015” [the Corker Legislation].  The following day, September 11, 2015, the House passed HR 3460, “To Suspend Until January 21, 2017, the Authority of the President to Waive, Suspend, Reduce, Provide Relief from, or Otherwise Limit the Application of Sanctions Pursuant to an Agreement Related to the Nuclear Program of Iran.”  In short, the House did not vote approval or disapproval of the Iran Deal because the administration had failed to comply with the Corker legislation requirement that the full document be disclosed to Congress prior to its legislative consideration.

The Senate, due to Senate Democrats’ intransigence and the Senate rules, was unable even to bring the Iran Deal to a vote under the Corker legislation, and thus did not vote on the Deal either.  Neither chamber having considered it, the “Deal” has no American legislative legitimacy at all.  The Iran Deal continues to be what it was, an executive order, and another executive order from the new president can cancel it in its entirety.  That is a start to ridding us of Iran’s nuclear threat, but it will not return the now-unfrozen financial assets that have been gifted to Iran by Barak Obama’s action.

Lost amid the fog of years of Iran nuclear negotiations by both the Bush and Obama administrations, the furor over the present administration’s abject surrender to the Iranians on this nuclear deal, and the subsequent release of sanctions, is the conclusion that was obvious from the beginning.  When I first began lecturing in 2009 on the dangers of a nuclear Iran, I posited that no amount of sticks in the form of economic sanctions, or carrots such as sanctions relief, would deter the present Iranian regime from accomplishing its plan to pursue, and its goal to obtain, nuclear weapons.  I discussed this with Ambassador John Bolton when he was presenting on the same subject, and he agreed with this conclusion.  There are only two ways to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon (warhead and delivery systems).  The first is by true regime change in Iran.  The second is by application of military force to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure.

Regime change in Iran would have been much easier during the Green Revolution of 2009 than today.  In 2009 we had time before the regime’s acquisition of nuclear weapons to assist the Iranian students in getting regime change done and taking their country back from their theocratic supremacist totalitarian masters, cheaply and quickly.  Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in Human Events on June 19, 2009 that the main support needed by these students was “to get accurate information to the Iranian people about what is going on inside Iran.... [T]he regime is doing everything it can to shut down reliable tweeters and flood the network with disinformation.“  One of the methods proposed by Ledeen:
“We should be able to get some working satellite phones into the country, so that people can call out with up-to-date information, which we could then turn around and broadcast back to the Iranians. Once upon a time there was a CIA that could do such things; I doubt they are up to it today, but there are lots of businesses that can do it. Ditto for laptops, servers, etc.”
In a seminar in the same timeframe Ledeen stated that such a satellite phone assistance program would have cost the United States less than $2 million -- and the CIA probably could have done it.  But we recently learned that in 2009 the Obama administration forbad the CIA from providing the students with any assistance.  This best opportunity for both the Iranian people to remove its theocratic totalitarian regime, and for the United States to benefit from this change because a new Iranian regime would probably not continue the nuclear weapons program, was deliberately rejected by our president. 

Military force is what’s left.  In 2015 the Obama administration, in pushing the Iran deal on the public, claimed that the only two alternatives were approval of “The Deal” on the one hand, or war on the other.  We have “The Deal,” and it guarantees that there will be a war.  The only question is whether this will be a conventional weapons war before Iran can field nuclear weapons; or a nuclear war after it has successfully done so.

Because doing nothing about this existential threat to the United States is unthinkable (although many in the administration have indeed thought about it and made its creation U.S. policy), eliminating the possibility that Iran can develop or acquire nuclear weapons is an end that would justify the expenditure of American blood and treasure.  The alternatives: a nuclear arms race between Iran and Sunni Arab states in the Middle East which would almost certainly result in a regional nuclear war; the almost certain annihilation of Israel if it does not first stage its own pre-emptive military campaign against Iran’s nuclear weaponization program; and, most importantly for the United States, Iran’s development of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to pair with its nuclear warheads.  Iran does not need ICBMs to attack European cities; it can already strike most of them with the ballistic missiles it has now.  Such ICBMs are needed for no purpose other than to perpetrate nuclear attacks against New York City, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Phoenix, and other American cities.

Iran with nuclear weapons will not be deterred by our own nuclear arsenal from attempting to conquer the West in the name of Islamic Jihad as we deterred the Soviet Politburo from using its nuclear weapons in the name of International Communism.  We cannot afford to make the mistake of “mirror imaging” regarding Iran, projecting our own ideals, values, priorities and mindset onto others (definition thanks to Selwyn Duke), a sometimes powerful and critical error of intelligence analysts.  Their civilization is not our civilization, and their actions will not be what we would do in similar circumstances.  The prospect of world chaos and the coming of the 12th Mahdi will drive the Iranians to nuclear threats, and eventually to nuclear action, if the West does not first submit to Islam and Shari’a Law.

We must strongly urge our presidential candidates to select the smartest and most experienced Middle East advisors, and task them to begin now to create the Grand Strategy for the Middle East which we will need to begin to implement in January, 2017.  These advisors should include civilians and former military, and must exclude anyone who has had any connection with any of the approximately 250 Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the United States, including but not limited to CAIR and ISNA, which have been advising our current administration. Ben Carson pegged the Muslim Brotherhood perfectly during the January 28 debate, and readers should educate themselves further on the Brotherhood’s infiltration of our government and our private institutions, at e.g.,;;;;

If history is a guide, waiting until the inauguration to begin to plan this Grand Strategy would be dangerous.  Most of the candidates have made promises about what they will do their first day in office, but they may not have the luxury of time to fulfill even a portion of those promises right away, let alone time to create such complex national security strategies.  Crises will fly thick and fast from the word go. 

It has happened before.  When President Abraham Lincoln arrived at his White House office from his first inauguration ceremony in 1861, he found waiting on his desk a letter from Major Robert Anderson, the commander of Federal forces at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.  Major Anderson reported that his command was very short of food and needed immediate resupply if he were to hold out against a probable attack by militia forces of that seceded southern state.  The Fort Sumter crisis required almost all of the new president’s time and attention for weeks.  Creation of his strategy to conduct the Civil War, which was most likely to begin soon, was pushed into the background, as were a host of other pressing issues.

One possible scenario for consideration by the committees our presidential candidates will create to determine our Grand Strategy for the Middle East: Realpolitik must be the basis of our policies with ISIS and Iran.  A strong, resolute president who is willing to push both parties, with the help of a (very) reformed Department of State, which will not be permitted to undermine him, will be able to achieve our strategic goals in the Middle East.  Iran will not be our ally, in spite of President Obama’s previous policy.  ISIS will not be our ally either, but rather our tool in countering Iran.  If ISIS does not come around in the face of a then-credible U.S. promise of its destruction, that destruction by American military action will remain our alternative.

Michael S. Goldstein is an attorney in private practice in Ohio, a retired naval officer, and a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  Mr. Goldstein is active with eGeneration Foundation, a charitable educational foundation in the Generation IV Advanced Nuclear Energy community, at www.eGeneration.orgReaders can contact him at


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