December 5, 2007
As readers of this blog no doubt know, President Bush has just completely reversed course on matters involving Iran. After years of strongly asserting that Iran was developing nuclear weapons as a means to “wipe Israel off the map,” Bush cited a new American intelligence assessment which now states exactly the opposite. Indeed, the new assessment indicates that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This begs the question: How can the same people who were, apparently, so radically wrong for years in their intelligence assessments now be trusted to be right this time? Indeed, during recent months when this assessment was being prepared, America’s leaders were faithfully hewing to the old line. USA TODAY (12-5-07 issue) noted that Vice President Cheney told an audience on October 21, 2007 that “we have an inescapable reality of Iran’s nuclear program…,” and that on October 17, 2007, President Bush invoked images of a looming World War III if Iran’s nuclear program was not stopped. Media talking heads were puzzled by the President’s flip-flop as well. The network analysis after Bush’s press conference likened Bush’s comments to “making lemonade out of lemons” and “putting the best face” on things.
This is a stunning reversal in American policy. What is even more remarkable is that Bush stated in his press conference that he only learned of the new intelligence assessment last week. Really? Didn’t anyone in the nation’s top intelligence echelons talk to the President in the last few months? Is the President “out of the loop” concerning major matters of importance to this administration? If so, who is running the government? It is my own opinion that what we heard in the press conference is not “the whole story” re: this amazing “flip flop.” To my eyes, President Bush looked like someone who was having to “knuckle under” to circumstances beyond his control, and that he was espousing a policy which had been forced on him. I could be wrong, of course, but let’s examine three alternatives for this remarkable shift in US policy.
A. The first alternative takes the President’s new position and statement at face value. This option would indicate that new evidence has come to light which has changed everyone’s mind in Washington, DC about Iranian intentions. If this is the case, then the administration has “punted” the Iranian problem into the lap of the new administration which will take office when Bush leaves office. This alterative is a possibility.
B. The second alternative is that the administration has launched a disinformation campaign to cause Iran to “let down its guard.” This option would assume that Iran was at a high state of readiness to defend against an American attack, and that the new announcement is intended to cause Iran to think “the pressure is off.” It wouldn’t be the first time that a nation about to attack another nation feigns peaceful intent to get its target nation to wind down its defensive preparations. However, this alternative seems unlikely to me. The Bush-Cheney administration never bothered to rebuild the US military from the draconian cuts forced upon it by President Clinton. The current administration has preferred to wear out the small US ground forces, sending the same soldiers back to Afghanistan and Iraq again and again in a seemingly endless series of redeployments. The USA has no army left to start another war. The two Asian wars have also all but bankrupted the US government. The US could do pinpoint attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities, but the US military is in no shape to take on another war.
C. The third alternative is not only the grimmest one, but the most likely one as well. Many Arab nations recently attended the hastily-called Annapolis “Peace Conference,” expecting the USA to compel Israel to give even more concessions to the Palestinians. This did not happen. Indeed, it couldn’t possibly have happened. Israel has already given away everything it can give in “the pursuit of peace,” but it has received no peace in exchange for all the land it has given back to Moslem nations. Olmert’s government would have fallen if he had given away anything substantial. Surprisingly, the USA seems surprised that Olmert did not “cave” to Secretary Rice’s pressure for more Israeli concessions.
Consider economic events now affecting Israeli-Palestinian-American-Arab relationships. The sub-prime mortgage mess has set off a wave of severe problems in the US economy. The US budget and trade deficits are hopelessly out of control, and the dollar has been slowly collapsing on world markets. Iran and Venezuela have been clamoring for OPEC to price oil exports in Euros instead of dollars, and, reportedly, the Saudis used their considerable power within OPEC to keep oil priced in dollars. Major US banks and large financial institutions have been tottering on the edge of insolvency due to the subprime mortgage melt-down. Arab oil money has just loaned Citibank about 7.5 billion dollars to keep that US bank solvent. Many nations and foreign financial institutions which bought Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO’s) backed all or in part by subprime loans are also in trouble. They are not pleased that US debt peddlers stuck them with lousy investments. If the Saudis have, for now, kept the petrodollar market from collapse, then the US government owes Saudi Arabia and the Arab oil sheiks “big time.” President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, who both have a “big oil” background, understand this kind of ultimatum. President Bush “suddenly” decided to fly to Israel to follow-up the Annapolis Conference with what is likely to be a personal appeal to the Israelis to surrender the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem as well as trusting their security interests to some international body in exchange for bailing the USA’s chestnuts out of the fire. To Israeli ears, this will sound like a “heads you lose, tails they win” kind of proposal. Bush is acting and sounding like a man in a desperate position. This should really concern all Americans.
If, after the failure of the Annapolis Conference to produce any meaningful agreement, the Saudis and other oil-rich Arabs have told the Bush Administration to “either compel the Israelis to surrender to the Palestinians or we will price all our oil exports in Euros,” then the Bush-Cheney team will likely choose to submit to this ultimatum. The USA has been so financially profligate for so many years that the USA is now on a financial precipice. Few Americans realize the USA is on the edge of losing its superpower status. If oil is priced in Euros, then the US dollar will no longer be the world reserve currency and the US dollar and economy will “tank”…just in time for a Presidential election in 2008.
There is no question that the Israelis see that something dire has happened to cause the US to change its policies toward Iran and Israel. Below is text from the publicly-available Israeli website, www.debka.com. I urge all readers of this blog to consult that site regularly for a perspective on Mideast news you will not receive in any US media outlet. The report below, dated 12-4-07, states that US-Israeli relations are now in a “grave crisis.” Indeed, Debka reports that the USA is making decisions affecting “Israel’s very survival” without any consultation with the Israelis. Words like “gaping rift” and “serious deterioration” now describe US-Israeli relations in light of the USA’s radical shift in policy. The report also indicates that Israeli intelligence has not changed its assessment of the Iranian nuclear program and the danger it poses. A fundamental shift in Mideast realities seems at hand.
What does the Bible say on this subject? Many Christians expect the Israelis to sign a self-defeating peace agreement with the world community due to several biblical prophecies. This may, indeed, happen. So many Christians have written on this possibility that I see no reason to rehash it here. However, let’s consider another possible Israeli reaction to a newly-hostile Bush Administration.
The Israelis have been very restrained in dealing with Palestinian terrorism for many years due to a need to please the US administration. They have also trusted the USA to be a guarantor of Israeli security interests. This trust may be over now. Genesis 49:8-10 prophesies that the tribe of Judah (the Jews/Israelis) will be like a lion cub in the latter days, and Zephaniah 2 prophesies the Jews would again have a nation in the Holy Land at the end of this age. A ‘lion cub” is a small, young lion and Israel is a small, young nation. It also prophesies that Judah’s “hand will be in the neck of its enemies.” Zechariah 12:1-6 includes latter-day prophecies that Jerusalem will become a “cup of trembling” and a “burdensome stone” to all nations at the end of our age. Zechariah 12:6 also prophesies Judah will a “fire among wood.” Isaiah 19:16-17 has a latter-day prophecy that Judah “will be a terror unto Egypt.” Israel acted like a lion and did terrify Egypt in a number of wars in past decades. However, Judah (the Israelis) have been acting like tame pussycats lately. Their “war” against Hezbollah in 2006 inflicted much tactical damage but accomplished nothing strategically. Will God again cause the Israelis to act like a lion against her enemies in what is now becoming an existentially dangerous situation for Israel? Let’s consider a “what if” scenario.
If the Israelis are abandoned by the USA and the USA cannot be relied upon to resupply munitions to the Israelis in any future warfare, Israel will have to adopt a new security strategy. The Israelis are not going to allow themselves to be marched into a new holocaust of destruction because the Moslem nations want them dead and the world community finds Israel’s independence or existence to be inconvenient. Bible prophecy assures us that the Jews will not submit to such a thing. Also, I’ve been in Israel and the Israelis are a tough, self-reliant people…due to necessity. They mean it when they say “never again.” When Hitler sought to annihilate the Jews, the Jews had no weapons. Israel’s enemies now want to eradicate Israel “from the face of the earth,” as Iran’s leader put it. However, modern Israeli Jews have many nukes and they will be used if necessary. At some future time, the Bible has a strong hint that Israeli nukes will fall on their enemies. Zechariah 14 describes a climactic war at the end of our age in which the Mideast and the city of Jerusalem itself is a battleground. In the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bomb explosions, people’s flesh consumed away off their skeletons and their eyes melted out of their sockets before they even had time to fall over. Read Zechariah 14:12 for yourself. The same thing is going to happen to those who attack Jerusalem at the end of our age. I do not know when this will happen, but the Bible assures us it WILL happen at the end of our age just prior to what Jews call “the coming of the Messiah” and what Christians call “the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
What if the Israelis, backed into an existential corner by the USA and the world, announce to the world that they are, indeed, a nuclear power with hundreds of nuclear warhead and that, in light of the new survival threats posed to the Israeli nation, they have now targeted their nukes on all Arab and Iranian cities and oil production fields and that they have adopted a policy that any attack upon Israel by its enemies, either by conventional weapons or WMD, will be met by the Israelis with an immediate nuclear response. Israel would then “hold hostage” the oil supply of the entire world and all nations will know that they must reign in the Palestinians and radical Moslems in order to keep oil flowing to their economies. What if Israel also announces that if Egypt attacks the Israelis, Israel will nuke the Aswan dam, sending a wave of radioactive water all the way down Egypt’s only livable corridor all the way to the Mediterranean Sea? Egypt would cease to exist as a nation. In this way, Egypt will know that it will survive only if Israel survives. Israel already has the means to deliver nuclear weapons by aircraft and via missiles. It very likely has the means to launch nukes from its three German-made, state-of-the-art submarines. Israel could also announce that each time there is a terror strike against the Israeli people or its territory, the Mossad will “arrange” a severe accident to important facilities and sites in those nations who support their enemies. In this way, the Israelis would compel the Arab nations to reign in the Palestinian terrorists to save Arab nations from Israeli retaliations due to Palestinian attacks. Certainly, the Israelis could come up with many more possibilities than the above theorized list. Also, please understand that I’m not predicting that this list of Israeli actions will occur, but these steps could certainly be taken if President Bush pushes the Israelis too far.
When he visits Israel, I hope President Bush spends some time in the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (which I visited several years ago). If he does, he will understand Israeli needs and concerns a lot better than he does now.