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Title: Rand Paul Would Undermine Trump’s Iran Policy
Source: The Washington Free Beacon
URL Source: https://freebeacon.com/blog/rand-paul-undermine-trumps-iran-policy/
Published: Jul 23, 2019
Author: Aaron Kliegman
Post Date: 2019-08-14 03:55:56 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 51
Comments: 1

The senator's views on the Islamic Republic are dangerous and deeply misguided.

The Trump administration's strategy toward Iran is to exert maximum pressure on the regime to force it to renegotiate the flawed nuclear deal and, hopefully, to reach a broader agreement that curtails Iran's nonnuclear belligerence, both within its borders and across the Middle East. And if Tehran refuses to negotiate, then the administration will crush Iran's tyrannical regime using the immense weight of American power, giving Iranian leaders a choice: yield, compromise, and survive, or risk untold suffering—and possible extinction.

The strategy is working. Already one hears voices—even rabid, anti-American ones—linked to the regime calling for talks with the United States. Mojtaba Zonnour, for example, said last month that if the United States attacks Iran, then the Iranian military would destroy Israel and sink an American aircraft carrier. Since then, however, the conservative cleric, who chairs Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Iran "is not running away from talks and the path to talking remains open." Even former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for outrageous, anti-Semitic outbursts, is advocating diplomacy.

More broadly, Iran's recent acts of aggression, coupled with its foreign minister's new diplomatic proposal, fit the regime's way of negotiating: applying pressure with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' belligerence while, simultaneously, coaxing adversaries with Iran's charming, English-speaking diplomats. This dichotomy is coordinated and suggests Iran is working to give itself leverage in future talks. The regime is clearly feeling pressure.

Anyone who supports President Trump's strategy—and, frankly, anyone who seeks a better deal—should be concerned that Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) is now involved in diplomacy with Iran. Politico first reported Wednesday that Paul asked Trump whether he could serve as an "emissary" to Iran to reduce tensions between Washington and Tehran. Then on Friday, Trump told reporters that he authorized Paul to negotiate with Iran, or at least to speak to Iranian officials. Also on Friday, media outlets reported that, a day earlier, Paul met Mohammad Javad Zarif, the regime's chief liar, in New York. Paul appears intent on standing between the administration and Iran, fancying himself the shrewdest of negotiators.

Paul is no doubt a great golfing partner, but when it comes to foreign policy, he has misguided, ill-informed, and even dangerous views—views that would undermine, if not completely derail, the Trump administration's strategy.

In the realm of foreign policy, Paul's ideas are similar to those of Barack Obama, and even to those of radical, far-left progressives, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.). Paul, like them, blames the United States for many of the world's problems, especially in the Middle East. For example, Paul has blamed Republican hawks for "creating" the Islamic State—a charge that the murderous regimes in Iran and Syria also make. Paul and the progressives draw their views on foreign policy from the same stubborn, isolationist ideology, according to which American power is a source of shame and trouble for the world. One of Trump's most ardent supporters on the airwaves, conservative radio host Mark Levin, made these points last week. Paul is "no different" than Sanders or Omar "in terms of foreign policy," said Levin, who added that Paul "has never seen an enemy where he hasn't blamed the American people for being the reason we have that enemy." Levin even said that Paul is not dovish, but actually a "Code Pink ideologue."

Like the anti-American extremists in Code Pink, Paul excuses the actions of America's enemies, dismissing them as understandable reactions to America's "sins." This point is most evident when Paul discusses Iran. A telling example is from March 2017, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Iran. "When we say, ‘Oh, we must push back against Iran,' it's sort of like, who pushed whom first? Who provoked whom first?" Paul asked. "[Iran pushes] back against people who push against them. Who pushed first? I don't know."

Asking, "Who started it?" is not helpful, but Paul should know there is a correct answer. Before the Iranian revolution, Iran and the United States were allies. But in 1979, Iran struck first, supporting Iranian students who took American diplomats hostage for more than a year. Then Iran, whose leaders were already calling America the "great Satan," launched terrorist attacks against American soldiers and allies, making clear that the regime was, and remains today, at war with the United States. Paul's efforts to muddy this clear history show that he either knows very little about American-Iranian relations or that he, like the progressives, does not believe America is the "good guy" in this relationship, drawing a moral equivalence between the two countries. Moreover, he implies the United States should let Iran wreak havoc across the Middle East and further destabilize the region while it builds longer-range ballistic missiles. Such a policy would only embolden the regime to be more aggressive.

At the hearing, Paul justified Iran's intervention in Syria as an understandable response to our allies' actions, showing an unwillingness to condemn Iranian complicity in the Assad regime's murder of about 500,000 people and the displacement of millions more. It should be easy to condemn Iran's savagery in Syria. Trump recognizes this savagery and, unlike his predecessor, authorized strikes against the Assad regime—which could not survive without Iran’s support—for gassing its own people. Paul, meanwhile, has questioned whether Assad used chemical weapons.

Paul also repeatedly drew moral and strategic equivalences between Iran and Saudi Arabia, echoing the Democrats' disdain for the latter, one of America's most important regional allies. He explained that America gets "fixated" on Iran while Saudi Arabia is responsible for most of the world's terrorism. (The senator is either unaware of or chooses to ignore Iran's longtime support for Sunni jihadist groups, including al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.) When Martin Indyk, an expert on the Middle East testifying before the committee, responded that the Iranians are "very aggressive … trying to export their revolution," Paul interrupted to note the Iranians would describe the Saudis as the aggressive ones. He then grilled Indyk on Yemen in a way that would make Bernie Sanders proud. "This is not all Iran," Paul continued. "I am not a supporter of Iran or its government, but there are problems on both sides of this war." When someone sounds like an apologist for the regime and needs to clarify they do not support it, they should not be representing the United States in diplomacy with Iran.

Paul repeats the regime's talking points and advocates the same policies as the Democrats. Perhaps that is why the Obama administration's pro-Iran "echo chamber" has identified Paul as a potential ally and is using him to undermine Trump's strategy. As the Washington Free Beacon reported, the echo chamber and Iranian officials are trying to cause discord and friction between Trump and his national security team in a desperate bid to save the nuclear deal. Zarif's efforts to reach out to Paul are part of this nefarious effort. Because Paul repeats the echo chamber's talking points and is a Republican, he is a powerful, if unwitting, ally for them.

Paul has portrayed Obama-esque engagement with Iran as the only alternative to war. Indeed, Paul would approach any serious negotiations as John Kerry did: offering the regime an outstretched hand without any threat of military force or coercive action. Paul should want to prevent war. The problem is that, over its history, the Islamic Republic has shown that it will avoid, and yield in the face of, direct confrontation but lash out when it senses weakness. So rushing to negotiate to avoid conflict, as Paul seeks to do, would embolden Iran, giving it leverage that it will not have if Trump continues with maximum pressure. Paul, moreover, is ideologically opposed to Trump's forceful posture toward Iran—the senator has said that Iranians view the reimposition of American sanctions as an "act of war"—and against nearly all interventions. These ingredients make a negotiator who would take a bad deal if given the opportunity. Simply put, Paul's views on Iran contradict those of the Trump administration, and his involvement in negotiations would undermine Trump's strategy of maximum pressure.

Trump is right to show the Iranians that he is open to negotiations, but the only way that they will agree to a deal to Trump's liking is if he maintains pressure, along with a credible threat of military force if necessary. Iran has shown that it will violate all of its revolutionary principles if its leaders feel the regime's survival is at risk. Maximum pressure will work if Trump is unrelenting and unforgiving, bringing the regime to its knees and then stepping on its throat until he gets his way. Iran's cruel government oppresses its own people, butchers innocents across the Middle East, murders American soldiers, and threatens core American interests. The regime does not deserve Trump's mercy or sympathy. Tehran actually expects Trump in the end to show weakness and yield, just as Obama did. Trump should prove Iran wrong and see his policy through. But to do that, he cannot listen to Paul.

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#1. To: Gatlin (#0) (Edited)

Asking, "Who started it?" is not helpful, but Paul should know there is a correct answer. Before the Iranian revolution, Iran and the United States were allies. But in 1979, Iran struck first, supporting Iranian students who took American diplomats hostage for more than a year. Then Iran, whose leaders were already calling America the "great Satan," launched terrorist attacks against American soldiers and allies, making clear that the regime was, and remains today, at war with the United States. Paul's efforts to muddy this clear history show that he either knows very little about American-Iranian relations or that he, like the progressives, does not believe America is the "good guy" in this relationship, drawing a moral equivalence between the two countries. Moreover, he implies the United States should let Iran wreak havoc across the Middle East and further destabilize the region while it builds longer-range ballistic missiles. Such a policy would only embolden the regime to be more aggressive.

I notice the author wants to pretend there was no prior history to Iran's theocracy.

Iran had been, as most of the Mideast was, the colonial regimes of the British empire. As WW II exhausted Britain's will and wealth, America came to the fore as the new Anglo power. British Petroleum was the major force in the region, having locked down Iran's oil (along with other countries) in lucrative contracts conducted with backward tribal leaders who really had no idea of what oil was worth. Kind of like the deal the Indians got for selling Manhattan to the Dutch for a few handfuls of beads and other minor trade goods.

Following WW II, Iran had independence enough to elect a democratic government with Western-style parliamentary parties, trying to build their own little welfare states, largely modeled on the West. They sounded a lot like FDR and his New Deal in what they campaigned for. So Iran became controlled by Mossadegh and his party. In 1953, at the instigation of British Petroleum, the CIA conspired to overthrow Mossadegh and install the Pahlevi family as the hereditary shahs of Iran. Yes, we lovers of democracy did overthrow a democratic government so we could replace it with a monarch who would serve the interests of BP and its investors in Britain and America. (BTW, BP still is in the same business and operates the same way.) As so often, we explained this in part as a necessity since those foolish people of Iran were simply incapable of governing themselves democratically. In truth, the shah sold out his own country to acquire wealth and power for his family as a client of Britain and America. And the Shah ruled until Iran hated him so much that they allowed the rural mullahs to overthrow him. And they instituted their own corrupt government in which the mullahs and their families own and control everything. And Iran is an enemy of America not just because they took our embassy when they overthrew our puppet dictator Shah Pahlevi but because they pose the Danger Of Setting A Bad Example. If they can escape the control of the West over them, it will encourage others to do the same thing. Hence, Iran's desire to acquire nukes as insurance against the kind of invasion we staged to depose Saddam in Iraq.

So, history is much simpler if we just omit most of the key facts and recite only the self-serving bits that the neocon warmongers, like this writer, prefer for us to remember. We are supposed to remember the atrocity of our embassy being taken and its staff being held hostage but we are supposed to forget that we thwarted democracy in Iran and overthrew its democrat elected government to replace it with a puppet dictator with a brutal secret police apparatus but we are never to remember or discuss what our CIA did to Iran in 1953 at the behest of British Petroleum.

Tehran actually expects Trump in the end to show weakness and yield, just as Obama did. Trump should prove Iran wrong and see his policy through. But to do that, he cannot listen to Paul.

It really is so sad for the neocon warmongers when the danger of peace threatens the passion of their lives: endless wars of pointless conquest from which the arms industry and others can thrive at public expense. Nothing spent on the American military will ever bring any real wealth to those who pay for it (the American public who is responsible for America's debts ultimately). America's poor and middle class provide the grunts for the wars, the arms industry supplies the jets and missiles and bombs, and the American middle class is left holding the bag for all the costs incurred and virtually all the lives at risk in such military adventures. Public subsidy, private profit.

This article is a joke. So is the writer.

Rand Paul isn't even a threat to the neocons. He isn't a diplomat or an envoy or emissary or plenipotentiary. He's just a senator with no deals to make or offer or any power to negotiate such a deal. I think Trump let Paul talk to Iran just to show he's willing to make peace with Iran if they meet his demands for nuclear inspections. And Trump is surrounded by warmongering neocons who would love nothing better than to see Trump embroil himself in a pointless Mideast war to topple Iran. But we toppled Iraq to depose our former puppet dictator, Saddam, who had even accommodated us by launching the Iraq-Iran war, eight years of very ugly fighting, just another attempt to overthrow the mullahs of Iran. And after our "victory" over Iraq, is our check in the mail? Of course not. We have vets with PTSD and missing limbs and some just spending their lives in a hospital bed (these are the sons of the middle class and working class who paid in blood and flesh the cost of these wars). We have huge debts, in the range of 8-10 trillion of national debt due to our Mideast wars, and that will be paid by the middle class ultimately since the tycoons and Fortune 500 have structured their wealth to put it beyond taxation for the most part. But the arms manufacturers and the generals and Pentagon people and all the rest of the establishment have gotten richer and more powerful as a result of all this wasted blood and treasure. But who cares is some 18yo kid from Iowa got all charged up thinking he was on a crusade for Jesus and democracy and got his legs and his balls blown off in Afghanistan. We can just throw a parade for him, say a few Thank-You-For-Your-Services and he has no cause to complain at all, even when he straps on his fake legs every day and wishes he still had genitals so he could have a sex life of some kind. Yep, he's an American "hero" all right. And libmedia and Hollyweird continue to churn out news programs and entertainment fare to glorify the Green Berets and SEALs to help induce people to join up, to sign up to be "heroes" too and to finally defeat Satan and other enemies of America.

It's all a bad joke but I don't doubt that the elites love to titter about how foolish the middle class and working class are to allow these vast debts to run up for them to pay off and to sacrifice their children's lives and limbs for this goofy empire and its phony propaganda shams.

I've yet to see one of these "heroes" stand up and tell us that, if they had it all to do over again, they'd choose to again to enlist and lose their legs, arms, eyes, and genitals so they could bring "democracy" (puppet dictators) to power in countries like Afghanistan. I suppose you might find a few who would, perhaps seeking public office. These would be the Wounded Warrior™ types who have political ambitions. So you have your McCain's and your Bob Kerry's and Bob Dole's and Tammy Baldwin's and Dan Crenshaw's and so on. You even manage to see a few Pentagon tools like Tom Cotton get elected from some backwater like Arkansas without even having to give up any of their limbs/eyes/ears/genitals. But there seems to only be a half-dozen Wounded Warrior™ politicians in Congress at any time. It seems the national establishment has set a certain limit on how many of them they want exposed to the public view because the proles might get the Wrong Ideas about the empire and its lackeys. I think these abused vets would actually rather have their arms, their legs, their eyes and ears and genitals back than to have given them to The Cause, namely "democracy" in the Mideast. But they just don't want to admit that they're victims of the military-industrial complex, that they fell for what the propaganda mills were selling them in video games and movies and libmedia news programs. They'd almost certainly prefer not to be maimed just for the sake of promotions in the ranks of the Pentagon, the profits of arms manufacturers and Wall Street and banking interests. Especially when we haven't ever really won those wars. Iraq is a complete chaotic mess. What did we get out of that except trillions more debt and more dead and disabled vets? What did the Iraqis get out of it other than a ruined country that teeters continuously on the brink of civil war and a greatly diminished civil order? Saddam was a butcher but we were worse for Iraq ultimately.

For all the money we've spent since WW II on defense, we've lost every single war of any real consequence. You might argue that our invasion of Panama did put Noriega in an American prison (replaced by another leader just as corrupt), that we did eject Saddam from Kuwait (saved one repulsive little oil monarchy from being overthrown by another oil-based despot), that we did score a huge victory over Cuban influence by defeating a small force of Cuban soldiers and construction workers on Grenada while we lost only a small number of our eight thousand of invaders (American forces sustained 19 killed and 116 wounded; Cuban forces sustained 25 killed, 59 wounded, and 638 combatants captured. Grenadian forces suffered 45 dead and 358 wounded; at least 24 civilians were also killed, 18 of whom died in the accidental bombing of a Grenadian mental hospital). But we are still at war with North Korea, we lost Vietnam, we lost Afghanistan, we lost Iraq (a Pyrrhic victory at best). But we have managed to retain our allies in Europe who stab us in the back constantly while refusing to defend themselves and forcing us to defend them (which contributes to bigger Pentagon budgets and more advancement in military ranks). The Pentagon (and government in general) will grow to consume any amount of money put before them. They have no other skin in the game to restrain their ambition. We aren't a very successful superpower really, no matter how many arms/legs/eyes/ears/genitals we arrange to have detached from our Heroes. Maybe we just need to spend more and sacrifice more of these dumbass patriots so we can finally win something that looks like a victory.

Sad, really, how these mean little asshole countries like Iran are so selfish that they just spoil things for those champions of democracy at the State Department, the Pentagon, the Jewish banking interests and Wall Street and the arms manufacturers. Not to mention all the functionaries like the jet pilots and other "knights" of the modern military forces who sally forth to do battle with Evil for God and country. And don't forget the petrodollar and all the foreign elites who invest in this system, seeking stable wealth storage and get their wealth offshore, away from their own even more rapacious governments.

You're a tool, Gatlin. And it isn't working. Trump isn't going to listen to people like you. And he isn't going to be led around by the nose by Iran or Rand Paul or anyone else. Rand Paul isn't using Trump. Trump is using Rand Paul to keep his options open and try to look like he's tried to be the peacemaker. He may also be using Rand as one more chance for an opening with some element of Iran's government that is willing to negotiate a no-nukes agreement with Iran with full inspections.

It is humorous to see all the neocon warmonger scumbags crying in their beer because Rand Paul plays a little golf with Trump and might keep Trump from launching yet another disastrous war in the Mideast, perhaps one that will cause another big recession like the one in 2009 due to debt imbalances and what amounted to a run on the Fed against the dollar which resulted in the big bailouts of Wall Street banks, GM and other establishment fixtures.

Funny how all these neocons (who just happen to be rightwing Zionists and strongly aligned with Israel's Likud party) like Bill Kristol and Mark Levin seem to always favor more military spending, more wars, and putting more young people from rural Kansas in some country to fight for democracy. And yet, somehow, these same neocons never ever serve in the military. They mostly have dual American-Israeli citizenship but they don't serve in our military or in Israel's (compared to Rahm Emmanuel the ballet dancer who did at least serve in the IDF but not the American military). So the precious neocons can't ever risk their own lives or the lives of their children in the military in these wars. Of course, Kristol and Levin are the neocon old guard but you notice that you have some new younger neocons like Ben Shapiro to advocate all the same exact policies, just in hipper terms and with a more Lefty slant to embrace the Left social agenda on gays and trannies and such. These neocons are too precious to risk in an actual war; their real job is to induce others to serve and throw away their lives and limbs in a pointless war for the American arms industry, Wall Street, Israel, Jesus and his Second Coming, the honor of America, revenge for 9/11, revenge for Iran's overthrow of the Shah, Saddam's getting off his leash and invading the oil thieves of Kuwait, etc.

Of course, maybe this is all an exercise in Darwinism. The smartest people who will breed and produce the most surviving children will be those who refuse to play these games and find ways to exempt themselves from military service and then find ways to get richer off investing in arms producers, pointless wars our elites don't even intend to win, etc. Get other people to sacrifice their children to the Pentagon/Molech. Preserve your own offspring and get richer by keeping them from falling for appeals to patriotism and Grand Crusades for the Pope, for honor, for democracy, for the dominance of our ridiculous and ruinous empire. And for what? So people who don't want to vote and who don't believe in democracy at all will be able to vote for some puppet dictator to run their American client state for the benefit of multinational corporations, foreign investors in mining or oil or agricultural production.

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-08-14   6:40:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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