The Iranians are contemplating two developments.
First, to create a new oil exchange in March 2006, which will sell
Iranian oil for euros.
Second, to develop the nation's nuclear technology capabilities,
possibly for producing nuclear for the generation of electricity.
Officially, the Bush Administration
is deeply concerned about this development.
I have no doubt that it is deeply concerned in a surrogate sort of way,
because politicians in the State of Israel are deeply concerned.
They resent the fact that an Islamic country that is a signatory to the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (1970) a treaty that the State of
Israel never signed, so as not to interfere with the production of
In contrast to its official concern
over Iran's nuclear developments, the Bush Administration says not a
word publicly about the development, strictly peaceful, which would
create new international demand for euros in place of dollars. This
could break apart the lock-step decision of OPEC governments to accept
payment only in dollars, a possibility
welcomed by the Islamic press.
In an era when the dollar is the
world's reserve currency, held by central banks as a legal reserve for
their nations' domestic currencies, central bankers inflate their
domestic currencies in order to purchase dollar-denominated, low-return
investment assets. This is part of the mercantilism of central banking:
an indirect subsidy to the domestic export sectors at the expense of
monetary stability and also consumer sovereignty at home.
The introduction of a new oil market
transacted in euros is a significant symbolic challenge to U.S. economic
important, which is why political leaders adopt them.
After all, President Bush did not have to be flown in a naval jet from
San Diego's Naval Air Station to the Abraham Lincoln, which
was floating just far enough away from San Diego to make a helicopter
flight plausibly unacceptable.
The carrier could have come a few miles closer to shore on the day
before the famous "Mission Accomplished" photo-op and speech, which
remains on the White House website:
President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended.
But, as the title of that speech reveals, symbols are not a politically
safe substitute for reality.
How safe is Iran?
To answer this crucial question, consider how it might be answered by
Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
THE DOCTOR IS IN!
The President of Iran holds a Ph.D.
in engineering. Presumably, he has a working concept of cause and effect.
He rules in a Shi'ite-dominated
nation that is sitting on top of what are the second-largest oil
reserves in the world: 126 billion barrels. Iraq, commonly cited as
number two, is probably number three, and given its present pipeline
infrastructure and delivery problems, not a major factor.
The President regards himself as
what the American political tradition designates as a populist. He still
lives in a small house in a working class neighborhood. Symbols do count
He has said publicly that his work
must prepare the way for
the return of the Mahdi, Islam's long-expected messianic deliverer.
Why would this man fear an air
attack by the United States? What has he got to lose?
Consider his situation. He presides
over a country whose majority regards Iran as a working political and
spiritual model for the rest of Islam. Iran has oil. It is modernizing.
It is Shi'ite. The elected government in Iraq is predominantly
He has positioned himself as the
Middle East's preeminent nose-tweaker of the United States. In his
November 17, 2005
speech before the United Nations General Assembly, he challenged the
moral authority of the United States government to oppose Iran's
development of nuclear power. He did not mention the United States by
name. He did not need to. His audience understood.
Those who have actually used nuclear
weapons, continue to produce, stockpile and extensively test such
weapons, have used depleted uranium bombs and bullets against tens and
perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Kuwaitis, and even their own
soldiers and those of their allies, afflicting them with incurable
diseases, blatantly violate their obligations under the NPT, have
refrained from signing the CTBT and have armed the Zionist occupation
regime with WMDs, are not only refusing to remedy their past deeds, but
in clear breech of the NPT, are trying to prevent other countries from
acquiring the technology to produce peaceful nuclear energy.
All these problems emanate from the
fact that justice and spirituality are missing in the way powerful
governments conduct their affairs with other nations.
He was killing two birds with one
rhetorical stone, linking the Great Satan with the Middle East's
universally hated nation, and then blaming the United States for that
pariah nation's nuclear weapons capabilities.
How could this speech hurt him back
home? How could it hurt him in Islamic streets?
What if the United States drops
assorted non-nuclear weapons on Iran before the bourse opens? The
potential targets are many; the underground facilities will be hard to
destroy. But what if all of them are taken out?
Iran instantly wins the legitimacy
sweepstakes. Dr. Ahmadinejad becomes the first universally respected
Shi'ite political leader in the Sunni - and Wahhabi-dominated Middle
East. All across the Middle East, restive Muslims in the streets will
"Where is our leader? Why doesn't he stand up to the United States?"
The answer is obvious: because he has long been bought off by the United
Because, in the immortal words of Lyndon Johnson, the United States has
his pecker in its pocket.
There will soon be a lot of newly
exposed members at risk.
An unprovoked American attack on
Iran will instantly and permanently de-legitimize every American client
state in the Middle East.
If the United States bombs Iran, the Bush Administration might as well
send that "Mission Accomplished" banner to Al Qaeda headquarters.
The crucial issue here is political
legitimacy of the nation-state. This is the supreme political issue of
our day, as the military historian Martin Van Creveld has argued
in his book,
The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge University Press,
1999). It is also the supreme strategic issue of
fourth-generation warfare, the warfare of the rest of this century.
The day the bombs begin to fall, the
mullahs will join ranks with teenagers in the streets of Tehran. Dr.
Ahmadinejad will become as politically immune from public criticism as
Mr. Bush was on September 12, 2001.
The day after the bombs begin to
fall on Iran, clandestine weapons will begin to flow westward across the
Iran-Iraq border. The Shi'ites in Iraq will instantly become the
long-lost cousins of the Sunni resistance movement. There is an old
"My brother and I against our cousin.
We and our cousin against the world."
The United States' troops on the
ground will discover the deadly power of that alliance. All co-operation
from the Shi'ites will cease. There will be a unified anti-American
front south of the Kurdish region.
The United States will be told to
get out. If the government of Iraq does not issue this order immediately,
its members had better be sure to renew their life insurance policies.
The Iraqi army will melt into the
countryside. Anyone who stands up will be shot down.
HEAP BIG SMOKE, BUT NO
President Bush can issue warnings.
The Administration can talk tough. But what is the point? The President
of Iran can call the President of the United States's bluff, if it is a
bluff. He is doing this, day by day. He is not going to cooperate with
the United Nations. There is no need to.
If it is not a bluff, and the bombs
fall, the United States' client regimes in the Middle East are as good
US will then be driven out of Iraq.
This message will be fully understood by every Muslim in the street. The
Great Satan can be whipped. No better reason exists to start looking for
a local client to whip.
Iran cannot be occupied by U.S.
troops. As retired four-star general and NBC commentator Barry McCaffrey
said in mid-2005, the wheels are already close to coming off the Army's
machine in Iraq. So, the enforcement of any anti-nuclear technology
development program is a bluff.
Iran's program can be delayed a few
years by bombing, but only at the price of solidifying Dr. Ahmadinejad's
rule in Iran and making him a regional symbol of Islamic defiance. In
this non-elected office, he will replace Osama bin Laden. The difference
is, Ahmadinejad is a legitimately elected President of a nation with a
lot of oil.
This is about war for Israel, about
oil, political Jewish power, currencies, and above all, legitimacy.
It is about the ability of the United States - for Israel - to change
regimes its way and then preserve these new regimes from replacement by
The United States and its client
state regimes will be replaced in the Middle East. It is only a matter
of time. If the United States bombs Iran, the timetable will speed up.
You may have heard
of the catbird seat. Dr. Ahmadinejad is sitting in it.