Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Asia Must Talk Sense on Israel and Iran
India, China, need to slow those who want to go to war in the Middle East
If major Asian countries headed by Chin and India want a common cause, they could usefully make plain their concern at the way US policy is being pushed towards war by the Christian and Jewish extremists who set the agenda for public discussion of policy towards Iran and Syria.
Not content with having started two useless wars against predominantly Muslim countries, now the US is being urged, by no less than former Presidential candidate John McCain to bomb Syria, and by most of the current Republican contenders for the top office (Ron Paul is the only exception) to help Israel bomb Iran back to the pre-nuclear age.
All this is doubtless encouraging to Israel’s extreme right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who could well take the opportunity to start a war prior to the US election and force a reluctant US President Barack Obama to offer support. The Israeli lobby, backed by Christian fundamentalists, has long been the tail that wags the dog of US Mideast foreign policy.
Is it not in the Bible that the Jews were chosen by God as his instrument on earth? Is it the Bible that makes the US contemplate war to stop an ancient and major nation acquiring nuclear capability when it never did so with North Korea or Pakistan and earlier encouraged the imposed state of Israel to develop the only nuclear bomb in the region?
There are several issues of great importance here to Asia which need to be spelled out before worse befalls the world. Most immediately is the issue of the shock to oil supplies and prices that an attack on Iran would bring. India and China as huge oil importers have a legitimate interest in energy security. Both have already indicated that they have no intention of joining the boycott of Iran’s oil exports but they need to go a lot further to make it plain just how dangerous US unconditional support for Israel has become to the world.
Secondly they should make it plain to the US that they view negatively its pronouncements on human rights and its denunciations of Muslim and other religious extremism when the US itself is beholden to Christian religious radicalism. At this moment challengers for the presidency compete not just to show off their beliefs but to try to outbid each other on the importance of Christianity to American life and policy. So much for the doctrine of the secular state and the rights of the non-Christians, who probably total 100 million in the US alone.
American anti-Muslim sentiment has exacerbated the global problems initiated by extremists in Saudi Arabia, Iran etc. It also keeps America’s Muslims quiet. Jews flaunt their voting power and money in the interests of US protection for Israel and its illegal settlements while Muslims, who probably now outnumber Jews in the US, are required to keep a low profile for fear of social isolation and worse. The US should start by practicing what it preaches before speaking up in support for non-Muslims in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Thirdly, Asia should make it plain that nothing helps the mullahs in Iran sustain their brutal rule more than the hostility towards Tehran drummed up by the west. This was the same arrogant and ignorant West which encouraged Saddam Hussein’s 1980 invasion of Iran in the hope of toppling the mullahs.
In fact it did quite the opposite, making them into nationalist heroes in a war which cost half a million Iranian lives. Almost all Iranians, whatever their political position, believe that their nation has as much right as China or India, let alone Pakistan, North Korea, India and Israel, to nuclear capability and with or without Israeli or US bombs will get to that point quite soon.
Turnout at the recent admittedly rigged parliamentary election in Iran showed that the mullahs can still use foreign hostility to rally the country despite the regime’s abysmal record of social oppression and economic failure.
Finally Asia could make it plain that Europe’s last colony in Asia, created by British imperialism and sustained by US money, domestic politics and strategic interests, can only survive if it conforms to the norms that are expected of other nations.
Israel’s settlements in Palestinian lands and refusal to make any meaningful progress in achieving a two-state solution is surely bringing forward the day when Jews will be a minority in this land and it will be ever more difficult for them to pursue the racist, apartheid-type policies which now prevail. It will be forced to become a plural state, not one based on religious fervor and racial and historical mythology in which non-Jews are second class citizens
Unfortunately for Israel the enthusiasm of ignorant and religion-driven US politicians has given its own nastier politicians an almost blank check – money, advanced weapons, Security Council vetoes etc etc.
With US power now beginning to wane, and its focus beginning to shift towards the Pacific, now is a good time for major Asian nations to speak up in their own interests, in the interests of Muslim and plural Asia – and ultimately for the interests of Israel’s own survival. Asia Sentinel