Lou Sandler

To Breed or Kennel (for now) the Dogs of War

The regular TOI writer, David Horovitz, seems to have gone on commission by the combined Netanyahu/GOP Office of Misinformation. I’ve always liked his work; didn’t always agree but have respected his thoughts. But his last couple of pieces seem to have been written by somebody else using his name. This is also becoming a still far more dangerous scenario with thanks to Netanyahu, his cohort and, now, writers like David Horovitz who seem to increasingly putting thought and context on a frightening hold.

Horovitz, through some inexplicable process, has entered into Netanyahu’s world of political hysterics and grandstanding. Like Netanyahu, Horovitz is also offering escalated rhetoric without context or demonstrating a true depth of understanding. The issue, here, is hardly as forward as Iran v. Israel but part of a rapidly growing conflagration and rampaging fire in the Middle East and broader region.

And these politics of hysteria which continue to be ratcheted up by Netanyahu and his small but very powerful cohort and sponsors to include those unexpected like David Horovitz are still being presented without offering any coherent, doable alternative; without any viable solutions to respond to and consider other than, of course, to identify ‘Obama’ everything.

No American President has, or could ever have, the astounding ‘power of everything’ as continues to be connected to Obama.

A particularly important and not properly focused on issue is that Netanyahu and his cohort had ample opportunity to be collaborators in and a partner to these negotiations. He and they refused. Netanyahu had repeated openings beforehand to offer some of the valid concerns only now being raised after, unfortunately, he so effectively diminished his own relevance.

But Netanyahu, on behalf of Israel (and relevant others) really blew it. He opted out choosing, in part, to be directed by big money sponsors and conflating himself  ‘as’ Israel. He was hysterical and chaotic from the outset making demands basically for nothing but towards a war status rather than for that which is identifiable and forward. And not so remarkably, this has been the exact strategy of the American GOP particularly since Obama first entered the White House.

Netanyahu cried such a war chant and hysterics towards Iran in 1992 and said the Bush/Cheney Iraq War would bring stability to the Middle East. Fortunately, the U.S. and others didn’t take the bait then on Iran. That Netanyahu was remarkably wrong on both of these claims has recently gone unnoticed by most.

This link is to a well done article in the New York Times which makes it rather clear as to who are primarily attempting to engage and direct American Middle East and Israeli policy for the U.S. towards breeding, rather than any attempt to hold up, the already rampaging Dogs of War. This list includes several folks; notably William Kristol and John Bolton who have been desperately trying to provoke the U.S. into war with Iran for well over a decade now.

An immediately related issue, then, and a specific question I have continued to pose but to which I have yet to get any kind of coherent response is this…

If Israel is under such immediate threat by Iran; if Iran is so close annihilation by Israel to include a far more imminent nuclear capacity as the core group constantly claims; if these negotiations have now provided Iran the ‘timeline’ by which it not just ‘can’ but individuals like Netanyahu, Feiglin, Lieberman, John Bolton, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham among other political operatives are certain it will try to destroy Israel, why has there not been as dramatic, immediate and substantial call to alarm from across the Israeli military, political and intelligence communities?

Not only has there not been such a call to alarm, but a large number of these senior Israeli officials have been telling Netanyahu that his political and military presentation has been incorrect all along. And yet he persists…

I would like real answer to this question.

There is yet another much deeper dynamic at play which is also being blithely ignored.

Across history, the evolution of new technology and/or capacity to pursue an existing form of technology of the ‘haves’ by the ‘have nots’ simply does not and never has simply been reversed once started. It is not possible to ‘stop’ the new.

Think about a research study that includes solving a problem by teaching a brand new skill; say, by giving a thick handled spoon to someone with motor problems in the hope they can eat more independently. And it works; they can eat without help.

One way to determine experimental cause and effect is to then ‘withdraw’ the intervention (return the ‘regular’ spoon) and see if the participant becomes less independent again before returning the thick handled spoon. For this kind of clear cut intervention, ‘reversing’ back to previous conditions is possible.

But new skills; new learning (new technology) can’t be unlearned, ‘withdrawn’ or ‘reversed.’ If a child struggling in math is taught single column addition using a novel intervention which is successful, we may be able to stop the unique strategy but we also can’t ‘unteach’ him or her how to add.

Similarly put, it is absurdly unrealistic to think that those in the current nuclear ‘club’ can just demand a nonmember of that club to stuff new knowledge and technology back under the carpet and forget that they’d ever found it.

We, not the U.S., not Israel, not the West can continue with the grossly incorrect presumption that Iran will stop because we said so. Fencing in Iran more; creating more intensity of unsupervisable sanctions is but a formula for that much more of a rapidly expanding nuclear program

The issue, then, becomes how to reframe and align those (Iran, here) creating ‘elite’ and potentially deeply dangerous technology previously held by a much smaller number of ‘club’ members rather than holding to any kind of assumption that it will – or can – stop on our command. One way is to form treaties, like the international Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to which Iran, but not Israel, is a signatory.

From Yemen to Syria and Lebanon; Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kurdistan, Iran and Iraq; the Middle East stands on a precipice of a conflagration which also has frighteningly strong parallels to political and military conditions just prior to the First World War. And WWI was truly brutal, catastrophic war with triggers that were largely shaped politically and deliberately over time.

Sound familiar?

I doubt that many readers and especially many of those who insist that anybody in support of these negotiations with Iran are akin to devil spawn truly recognize and know the degree of military chaos and fighting across the region.

Everybody has heard of ISIS but how about the fact that the not well equipped and generally weak Lebanese army is fighting almost every day against militarized Islamists coming in from Syria in the north attempting to extend control (a ‘caliphate’) into Lebanon? The Lebanese Army also preparing to repel expected major and far more coordinated attacks shortly. And whether they will be able to do so is at serious question.

After years of genocide against his own people, Bashar Hafez al-Assad in Syria is now daring to do a circuit highlighting ‘I told you so’ interviews claiming how he was right all along; that Syria has not been slaughtering its own but has been fighting militarized Islamists who want to take over the country.

The reality, of course, is that al-Assad has been slaughtering his own for so long who originally wanted to reduce his dictatorial powers, militarized Islamists organized both in response to his slaughtering of his own and in the awareness that al-Assad’s slaughter gave them their own unique window of opportunity. Al Assad’s insanity created the groups and/or gave them space in which to evolve further. Now, after the fact, he is being allowed to pretend they were in Syria all along.

Thus far, Israel has been the only country in the region which has not been drawn directly into this widespread regional warfare and carnage with its fragmented groups; conflicting ideologies, political proxies, secret funding and daily brutality and death. That should be a good thing and it is remarkably unclear to me why Netanyahu, his core group and sponsors want so badly to participate as soon as possible.

Israel has not been fully drawn in yet, either, to the Faustian interregional relationships being created by groups who often only stop killing one another long enough to organize in order to destroy/control regions and politics thereby always killing countless innocent Muslims, Christians and others.

That the Israeli Right and the Arab Right who are oppressing their own people do need one another is a point I’ve made and discussed in more detail in other of my blogs.

But in Netanyahu’s desperation to be reclaim the relevance he, himself, destroyed just over the past six months alone which is now being further diminished in the exaggerated and shallow misinformation of writers like David Horovitz; in engaging specific elements of the neo-theological wing of the American GOP with high intensity funding from folks like Adelson, Bolton and Kristol (among others), Israel is becoming far more at risk by its own hand.

Netanyahu, his sponsors and cohort ratchet up the hysteria and war hoops but without any coherent alternatives. Attacking Iran would be true insanity just as is working so hard to make the conditions to such a war even more hair triggered.

Sudden retroactive demands as for Iran to ‘recognize’ Israel or to defund Hezbollah, as relevant as they are overall, now present as simply forcing in still more triggers to failure and wanted war by Netanyahu and his cohort. They are also short sighted and truly not relevant to this immediate negotiation.

Yes, Iran is a dangerous country and play their own role; proxy and direct in the current chaos and brutality of the Middle East. Yes, senior Iranian officials have made some particularly vitriolic, evil and, well, outright stupid statements towards Israel that make me unhappy and deeply concerned.

But I am also very unhappy with and concerned by not wholly dissimilar statements by such Israeli officials as Moshe Feiglin, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett made towards Palestinians and Iran. Such histrionics are enough of a tradition in the Middle East so as also not to require a deep reaction every time regardless from where it comes.

More all-enveloping sanctions also may be ‘feel good’ strategies but have a very poor history of success overall.

Even as the Russian economy is imploding from sanctions, Putin has become more dangerous while redirecting money he really no longer has into a dramatically increased military buildup. North Korea has been long and severely sanctioned but somehow continues to prioritize, pay for and launch test rockets into the ocean.

The statement by Obama’s spokesperson that ‘better terms’ in the Iran negotiations ‘weren’t possible’ was foolish. And the still fully evolving terms of the agreement include some that bring great cause for concern.

But the onslaught of constant and still increasingly histrionic, closing in on a purely nihilistic framework of rhetoric without any alternatives short of creating triggers for more war by the Netanyahu camp is beyond irresponsible. It also, by itself, creates its own untenable threat to the very existence of Israel.

This seeming demand for a war with Iran; to deliberately and continually push in order to set up conditions where war would be the only way out as is being continued by Netanyahu and his relatively small but very powerful cohort ranging between Israel and the U.S. is simultaneously astounding and terrifying.

Getting a planned for and an extended period of time where the current negotiations can, as many both in and outside of Israel have concurred they will (should) be able to, create a real chance to take a step back from a potentially catastrophic precipice to reorganize, rethink and refocus on the broader geopolitics and military dynamics of the Middle East and region is not a bad thing.

Stepping back and staying in touch, as it were, is not only a potentially very good thing but may create an opening with Iran – closed tight long ago – to better manage and respond to these other deeply important issues. Using them now as a just another cynical way to continue in the attempt to undercut the process is more bad and dangerous politics for ALL the rest of us.

These nuclear negotiations should not be taken as an endpoint by any means what-so-ever but the opening of a process badly and long desperately needed. Unleashing the Dogs of War can happen later; let’s now see if we can get them, even part way, back in the kennel to allow other time for a differential process to maybe take root.

About the Author
I was born in Baltimore, MD and have since had a wide range of experiences including a year plus in Israel. I've been a progressive organizer, writer/media spokesperson, coordinator and freelance. I am a PhD level Clinical Behavioral Analyst specializing in severe behavioral need in children (and adults) and their families. I write through no ‘agenda or special interest’ other than being a passionate supporter of Israel and Israel's future.