In my book, Lessons from Fallen Civilizations, I developed a list of ten immutable principles which govern the fall of great peoples and which can be seen to repeat over the last three millennia. My Immutable Law #3 reads:
Appeasement of a ruthless outside power always invites aggression. Treaties made with ruthless despots are always fruitless and dangerous.
The theocrats running Iran are very much ruthless despots. The regime has massive American blood on its hands, responsible for the 1983 embassy and Marine barracks bombings and the IEDs manufactured and smuggled into Iraq which killed many hundreds of our soldiers. It is also an evil regime which shortly after it deposed the Shah in 1979, summarily executed thousands of its own countrymen whose only crime was that they were former Shah loyalists.
Ruthlessness is the operative concept in my above Immutable Law #3 because the ruthless despot, pick any of them, Attila the Hun, Hitler or Mao, is one who says to those whose property he covets, “I will not only kill you in order to take from you what I want, I will risk my own life to do so.” Most of us living in the civilized, asset-rich world look down upon the ruthless as insignificant ruffians. Few of us would concede that ruthlessness is a tactic that works.
Obama and Kerry have looked into the eyes of the ruthless theocrats running Iran and have decided not to oppose them but to appease them with their Iran deal. Yet the inevitable outcome will be the exact opposite of what they tell the world they desperately wish to avoid, that being, war. In a recent interview with Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Steve Forbes asked him, “What happens if Congress doesn’t derail this deal?”
He answered, “We always have the right and the duty to protect ourselves against a regime that, while denying the Holocaust, is planning another Holocaust against the 6 million Jews of Israel. That will not happen. We won’t let it happen.”
This statement is blunt and direct. Netanyahu will not wait for his nation to be destroyed. Moreover, implicit in his response is his admission that this administration’s appeasement of Iran emboldens the theocrats and makes war much more likely not less so.
In the March to War, Can Israel Succeed Alone?
When will Israel strike? And what are the probabilities they will succeed in stopping the Iranian march toward the nuclearization of its terror network? Of all those who are regular media analysts, called upon to comment on national security matters, I would place John Bolton in the top five of those who we can count on to give an accurate assessment, to understand the nuances and the big picture, in short, to get it right.
In his National Review piece, Facing Reality On Iran, he points out that, even if by some hugely improbable quirk of fate, a Republican bill to reject the Iran deal passes Congress and Obama’s veto is overridden, the die is cast. The bazaar is now open. Europe, Russia, and China have already lifted sanctions and have their trade representatives in Tehran negotiating contracts. Moreover, Obama has shown and has already signaled that he will not enforce laws with which he disagrees. Even if the U.S. does elect a new Republican president, by January 2017, he is likely to find any country willing to revive sanctions.
To make matters worse, in April of this year, Putin authorized the sale of Russia’s S-300 anti-aircraft system to Iran. The sale was consummated by Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Qassem Suleiman, in open disdain for the sanctions which supposedly prevented his travel abroad and for the delicate negotiations led by John Kerry.
So the question Bolton poses is—can Israel succeed alone? His answer is, “Not as well as the U.S. could, to be sure, but well enough,” and quotes the British statesman, Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
Bolton goes on, “Israel has the military capability to cause massive damage to key choke points in Iran’s nuclear program, notably the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant, the Natanz uranium-enrichment facility, and the Arak reactor and heavy-water production facility.”
Both Isfahan and Arak are above ground and would be easy targets for Israeli bombers and jets. Little is publicly known about Isfahan but Bolton intimates that his intelligence contacts have let him know that it is “particularly important and particularly vulnerable.”
Natanz is buried and hardened and could be easily destroyed by U.S. air power but Bolton assures his readers that the Israelis can “do the necessary.” Fordow, a newly discovered uranium enrichment facility, poses an even more difficult problem, but that there is little doubt that Jerusalem can close the entrance tunnels, air shafts, and electrical connections to both these facilities and as Bolton puts it, “it’s hard for scientists to work when they can’t breathe.”
What Will Result If Israel Strikes Alone?
Here again, Bolton is definitive. Israel has struck nuclear weapons programs twice (Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007). But other than a flurry of activity in the U.N., Israel sustained no long-term consequences. Iran will order rocket attacks from Hezbollah and Hamas aimed at civilian centers but will be unwilling to go so far as to mine the Persian Gulf or attack our deployed forces in the region. Losing their nuclear program would be bad enough. Losing their air force and navy would probably cause the regime to fall. Now as in 1981 and 2007, they have no choice. The Israelis cannot preserve the world as it is. It is rapidly becoming a world with a nuclear Iran. The die is cast.
In reading his piece, I would love to have known what Bolton thinks the Obama administration’s response will be or when he predicts the Israelis will strike, (I think if the Israelis have already decided to take out the sites, the strikes might well come just before the delivery of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft systems.) But in this age of paid liars like Josh Earnest, it is reassuring to know that we have a few commentators like Bolton who can cut through the fog of propaganda designed to mask the sorrowful American capitulation. To quote the minstrels, Simon and Garfunkel, “a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”