Epiphanyblog

All about ideas…

JEWISH VOTERS: John McCain’s foreign policy will harm Israel.

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McCain’s foreign policy plans will put Israel right in the cross hairs of increased animosity towards the United States and increase Israel’s vulnerability.

Sen. McCain’s plan for foreign policy as stated in Foreign Affairs Magazine calls for increased conflict with Russia, a necessary ally in negotiations with Iran, and increased hostility with Iran.

But let’s step back a bit.

Because of the Iraqi war, the government of Iraq is controlled by Shiites. These same Shiites have close ties to Iran, even though they are Iraqi nationalists, as most of them sought shelter in Iran during the reign of Saddam Hussein. Iran also has close ties to Syria and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

As a result, Iran has built a Shia arc of influence, stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. Moreover, Hamas will eagerly fall in line with this Iranian arc of influence if it suits their goals.

I doubt anyone can dispute this argument.

So, what should the U.S. do to counteract this arc of influence? That is the main question facing U.S. Middle East foreign policy today, because not only is Israel threatened, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, and all the other Sunni countries are threatened as well.

According to John McCain, he would not sit down with Iran unless they gave up their nuclear ambitions altogether. He has advocated bombing Iran. Moreover, he has called for the exclusion of Russia from the G8. Each of these tactics would lead to disaster.

First of all, Iran will not give up their nuclear ambitions just because we want them to do so in order to negotiate with the U.S. John McCain continues to exaggerate the world primacy of the U.S. by suggesting Iran submit to U.S. rules before negotiating the very thing the U.S. wants to negotiate. Not only does this policy make no strategic or tactical sense, but Iran doesn’t need the U.S.

Asking Iran to throw away their only bargaining chip before sitting down is like asking a poker player to throw away half his hand before deciding which hand wins. The only way to lure Iran to the negotiating table is to offer them something they need and want in exchange for their nuclear ambitions. It must be remembered, too, that Ahmadinejad, for all his bluster, does not run the country. He, in fact, has little authority—and perhaps no authority–when it comes to foreign policy.

Second, if the U.S. or Israel bombed Iran, it could very well lead to a backlash amongst all Middle Eastern nations…and certainly amongst the Iranian arc of influence. While the U.S. might be outside of the strategic bombing ability of Iran, Israel is not. And Israel would be Iran’s first target. Moreover, the rest of the Middle East just might sit by while Israel is destroyed. Or they might join with Iran to complete the destruction of Israel. No one knows with any certainty how the many Muslim countries will react and what they will deem as in their self-interest. The U.S. cannot take that risk.

Third, Russia has great influence within Iran. Far more than the U.S. currently has. We need Russia to assist in our negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue. Throwing Russia out of the G8 would further insult the Russians. The Russian people already feel they were humiliated by the U.S. following the breakdown of their empire. Thus, Putin’s unparalleled popularity. If the U.S. further insults Russia by excluding it from the G8 as McCain advocates, there is no chance whatsoever that Russia will assist the U.S. and our allies in containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions. On the contrary, Russia may find it in their self-interest to assist Iran in any or all of its nuclear ambitions. And that would be devastating to Israel as well as to all the Sunni Muslim countries.

So, no matter what McCain says about his having been tested in foreign affairs and his stated knowledge of that field, his strategies are wrong-headed. His ideas would lead the world into further conflict and would most definitely harm Israel.

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