Chuck Spinney: Obama & Netanyabua — Scorpions in a Bottle

08 Wild Cards, Corruption, Government
Chuck Spinney

How two scorpions trapped in a bottle weaken each other while they strengthen Hamas and Iran and increase the risks of nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East.

Attached is an excellent explanation of this.  Not addressed specifically, but nevertheless implicit in the discussion is the universal influence of domestic politics in the shaping or a nation's foreign policy.

Israel: Its Fantasies and Its Realities

by Immanuel Wallerstein, Agence Global, 15 Mar 2012


Were either Israel or the United States to bomb Iran preemptively, there would be enormous political consequences immediately. First of all, it would almost certainly be relatively inefficacious in terms of stopping the Iranian project. Secondly, it would weaken politically the position of both Israel and the United States in the whole world. The two reasons together explain why there is so much opposition by the military and intelligence services of both Israel and the United States to the whole military discourse. What they fear is that the discourse would catch on and permit some political leaders not presently controlling the Israeli or U.S. governments to be foolish enough to start the war.

Read full article.

or are they engaged in a mutual backscratching operation?

My good friend Pierre Sprey took exception to Wallerstein's analysis, which I distributed in my last blaster (and is repeated below for convenience of reference). Readers may recall that I noted Wallerstein did not address the universal influence of domestic politics in shaping a nation's foreign policy. Pierre addresses the implications of that oversight in the attached comment:


Wallerstein's heart is in the right place and he is certainly right that neither Netanyahu nor Obama have the slightest illusions about the ridiculous uselessness of bombing Iran.

Despite that, I couldn't disagree more with Wallerstein's idea that the two leaders are locked in a lose-lose trap and that “neither Netanyahu nor Obama can figure out what really to do, and how to maintain their own political interests internally.” Nor do I see how he can seriously discuss Iran and the balance of power among Mideast players without ever breathing a word about oil.

Given that neither Obama nor Netanyahu (or any other elected leaders) give a fig about foreign policy per se, from their respective points of view there is no lose-lose problem at all:

1. By endlessly bloating the Iranian bogeyman, Netanyahu is succeeding with Israeli voters, distracting American attention from Israel's ongoing ethnic cleansing and settlement expansion, and forcing Obama into ever more draconian sanctions to strangle the Iranian economy.

2. By pretending to take seriously Netanyahu's saber-rattling and the need to squeeze Iran into submission, Obama keeps the Zionist money flowing into his campaign coffers; enjoys perfect political cover for simultaneously reducing the world supply of oil, running up the price of gas and grossly enriching his Big Oil campaign sponsors; and makes the Saudis, Qataris and UAEs deliriously happy by giving them a larger share of the world oil market at an even more extortionate price per barrel while helping them in their scramble to keep their thrones by cutting off the head of the Shia snake.

So, outside of the poor bastards in the Arab street and those elsewhere in the world who have to heat their houses, put gas in their tanks or buy oil for their companies, where's the lose-lose?


For the record, I agree with Pierre's comments about the implications of domestic politics and those about the implications of Wallerstein's omission of any reference to oil.

Chuck Spinney

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