Remember when war was a bad thing? Remember when the “doves” lined the streets in protest against foreign entanglements that would put our troops in danger? I do.
I was there in 2003, when a “million” protesters lined the streets of London in opposition to war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
I wasn’t chanting. I wasn’t waving banners. If anything, I was sceptical of the anti-war movement I saw that day and I still am. Trotskyites and libertarians marching side by side. What really bemused me was seeing a small crowd of LGBT rights activists plodding alongside a troupe of Islamists, as if they latter wouldn’t slay the former without further thought if the situation were slightly different.
Nonetheless, I remember when war was bad.
Now, if you’re a dove–at least, that is to say “pro-peace” in your own mind, I’m sure–the march to war is your effective end goal. I see no other way in which a person can genuinely rationalise the recent nuclear “deal” with Iran, unless your aim is to hasten a military confrontation. Make no mistake about it, on this issue, the hawks, or the “pro-sanctions lobby,” were desperately trying to avoid such a thing. The appeasers have heralded a new age of terrifying confrontations, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the height of the Cold War.
In Britain, the public conversation has been almost completely non-existent on the matter, leaving Barack Obama, possibly the least competent politician and strategist in the Western world, to drive forward with his wrong-headed agenda. I’m not saying Obama is “pro-Iran” or “pro-Muslim” or anything like that, but his actions speak to the fact that the man couldn’t win a game of chess against a member of the cast of Jersey Shore.
Iran, to all extents, has been playing like former Russian champion turned human rights activist Garry Kasparov, who recently wrote that Obama wasn’t even in the game: he has already forfeited.
It may be true, but with regards to Britain’s involvement, all you need to know is summed up in a picture. The European Union has subsumed British foreign policy, and the calculation that has been made on our behalf is, at first, understandable.
“Fanfare” would be to understate the mood when the new Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, was elected earlier this year. The Western media, as well as our politicians, pursued a frenzied public relations efforts on the man’s behalf. He’s smart. He’s moderate. He’ll reach across the aisle. Change! (Sound familiar? Ahem.)
And while sceptical voices pointed out Rouhani’s real pedigree, the calculation was then made that all efforts must be expended to keep this man in office, for fear of something more extreme lurking up Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s sleeve. Perhaps, you might feel, this was a sensible move. After all, Rouhani was probably one of the least objectionable candidates on the ballot sheet. And he does seem to be more amenable to jaw-jawing than his predecessor. But does this make him more desirable and less dangerous, or indeed does it speak to a heightened sophistry on his part? Given his past, his job, and his boss, I would argue the latter.
But the West knows that in order to keep the phone line to Tehran operating, it must empower, embolden, and lend legitimacy to Rouhani. For the Iranian people, and for those to whom he answers. Sanctions relief, as promised in Saturday’s deal, is at the heart of this.
If Rouhani can tell his bosses that Iran can keep the centrifuges spinning and indeed tell the Iranian people that $7bn of sanctions relief is on its way, then he is safe. And Obama, Kerry, Ashton, and Hague will rest soundly in the knowledge that they won’t have to change the speed-dial on their phones.
Meanwhile, those truly affected, such as the State of Israel, will be making plans for a confrontation with Iran’s proxies. As Hamas tries to cosy back up to the regime, and Hezbollah remains flabbergasted over how on Earth the Syrian situation never amounted to any further intervention from the West, Israel will be seeking to keep any future enriched uranium out of their hands. The best way? Decimate them.
And so once upon a time when war was bad, the doves may have been singing from the hymn sheet of today’s more hawkish elements on the Iranian issue. Sanctions, not submarines. Pressure, not privates. Resolutions, not railguns. But where were they when the Iranian people sought to rise up in 2009? Where was Britain? Where was America? Where was the European Union? We all know: stuck in our sub-prime miasma–unconcerned with what would lead the headlines for months on end just four years later. This lack of foresight is indicative of just how poor long-term thinkers our leaders have become.
The “pacifist” Peace Pledge Union urged appeasement of Nazi Germany in 1939, believing that giving Hitler a little would mean saving a lot in the long run. It is not just a figurative truth, but a literal one, that our leaders of late have been the sons and daughters of Peace Pledge Union activists.
Sanctions, whether you like it or not, were working. Appeasement will herald a new age of conflict. And it’s going to be bad.
Raheem Kassam is the founder and editor of TrendingCentral.com.