Taxi's Articles

The Empty Space Between Hammer and Nail

The desire to impress others and gain approval is a natural human inclination.  But when a nation seeks to do the same, when a nation endeavors to impress and widen its sphere of influence, it becomes a very complex project fraught with dangers great and small; pregnant with the possibilities of war.

To create influence, nations have a choice between the use of soft power or the imposition of hard power.  Obviously, the use of soft power barely contains complications and does not normally lead to war or to the material destruction of another nation and its population.

Yet in the Middle East, the nations of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have all relentlessly chosen direct use of hard power to assert and further spread their influence; further highlighting their fundamental opposition to the very principles of the UN Charter and civilization; further spotlighting their deeply pernicious intentions towards their neighbors and beyond.

When this behavior is observed through a geopolitical lens, one discovers that these grotesque nations continue to pursue this criminal path unabated because they are guaranteed diplomatic immunity  and military protection by larger powers, namely the USA and major Western governments.

But these ever reliable guarantees are presently in a very delicate place:  right there in the empty space between hammer and nail.

With the arrival of mass Middle Eastern war refugees to the shores of Europe this past year, the price for supporting Middle Eastern rogue states that have created these wars has become too great and too disturbing for European populations.  European governments are now trapped between their colonialist mindset and projects that support Middle Eastern rogue nations, and the fast growing wrath of their own people.  An increased xenophobic Islamophobia is now very palpable in the cities and towns of Europe, currently disturbing the historic socio-political fabric and pressing politicians to review their foreign policies in the middle east, albeit on the sidelines or behind closed doors.  Whether these reviews create fundamental changes or not is yet to be seen.  But the longer they are shelved, postponed or unimplemented, the wider and more turbulent the social discontent in European territories will become.  With European economies in shambles to boot, time is not on the side of European governments that support rogue Middle Eastern nations in order to exploit the regions’ massive natural resources.  They must now consider either cutting their support to nations that create wars that consequently drive refugees to their shores and unsettle their populations, or else their societies  risk becoming extremist, eventually voting thus for fascistic leaders instead of the traditional centrist left or right variety.  A regressive slide backwards into the politically dark World War Two era.

America too is currently suspended between the hammer and the nail.  There is currently a new anti-Saudi sentiment spreading across the United States, as well as an already established and virulent form of Islamophobia, more widespread than at any other time since 9/11,  influencing the  very fabric of our political arena:  changing and effecting the sky and earth of our current election season.  This is a first for modern America.  And it seems that the White House is unsure of what to do about it.

The current boiling tensions between the House of Saud and Iran, exacerbated willfully by the House of Saud through their sectarian project, puts a great weight of concern on Obama’s policies in the Middle East.

Certainly, keeping the Iran Deal intact and protected is a major consideration for the White House, but so is preserving the enduring USA-Saudi alliance.  Obama has been in silent labor: weighing out which file best serves the immediate interests of our nation:  the Iran Deal or our friendship with the House of Saud.  Long-term Empire considerations are also being taken into account.

What we are glimpsing now are hints of what Obama has chosen behind closed doors, and it appears that he has chosen to protect the Iran Deal while creating minimal fallout.  He has blown ripples with mouth on the surface of the water instead of casting stones in an attempt to hold onto both the Saudi alliance and the Iran Deal.  He recently remained relatively neutral on the provocative execution of Sheikh Al-Nimr, as well as on the mob ransacking and burning of the Saudi embassy in Tehran in response to this execution – treading very carefully not to criticize nor support either country in a vociferous and dramatic manner.  Had the Iran deal not been concluded already, we can be sure that the White House would have taken up our traditional vitriolic tone in criticizing Tehran and siding with Saudi Arabia, especially that the mob attack on the Saudi embassy last week so resembled our very own emotional hostage crisis in Tehran back in 1979.

But this didn’t happen – the White House did not cry foul and sanction or declare war on Iran on behalf of the Saudis – and this tells us volumes about the vital importance of the Iran Deal to Empire, and the carefully calculated small changes in our Saudi file that the White House has just quietly initiated.

But, for the enemies of the Iran Deal, this subtle maneuver by Obama rang deafeningly loud and clear:  the USA does not currently wish for regional Sunni-Shia sectarian warfare to engulf the Middle East.  Not now during election season; not now during the country’s continuing economic struggles.  A regional war right now would backfire on the Democrat Party as Americans tend to vote Republicans into office during times of war.  And a sudden eruption of war between two major oil producing countries would also send the price of oil into an uncontrollable tailspin and with it our national and global economies.

Here, the declared enemies of Iran being Israel, Saudi Arabia and its usual pack of Gulf Chihuahua nations, plus Turkey in tow – all have publicly, even stridently declared their anti Iran positions – and all are hard at work to create the right environment to launch a war of aggression against Iran, despite the USA’s resistance for this to happen at this stage in time.  The enemies of Iran are ignoring our interests as they plan to start a regional, sectarian war whose timing is designed to suit them and them only; a war that will have us dragged into yet another Mideast quagmire. 

Needless to say, willingly or not, soon as we step into a war against Iran, China and Russia will then be forced to step in too, in order to protect their Iranian and other Mideast material and geopolitical interests.  NATO here would also be dragged in, transforming what began as a local war fought for geopolitical domination into a massive world war that’s fought over prized superpowerdom titles, benefits and trophies.  The possible use of nukes by both sides is certainly on the table.

Even though Empire wants an eventual war with China and Russia, a war it is already preparing for, the Middle East is not its strategically preferred location for this war.  Empire wants this war to take place in the China Seas where it thinks the Chinese and Russians would be at a disadvantage:  mass conventional warfare being at their own doorstep and threatening therefore the day to day normal activities and security of their vast populations and resources.  A war with America in the heart of the Middle East would be more auspicious and advantageous to the Chines and the Russians who would also stand to make mega global resource-gains if they win and the Middle East lands right under their mutual umbrella of power…  Whosoever controls the Middle East controls the world, as has been the  case since 1967.

It is undeniable by now that a solid military pact has already been established between Netanyahu’s Israel, Saudi Arabia (with most Emirates in tow), plus Erdogan’s Turkey (with eagle eye on Syrian land).  Each of these nations has their own different ideological and geopolitical reasons for wanting the destruction of Iran.  In fact, this is their highest foreign policy priority for 2016.  Right now, a battle of wills between members of this warmongering pact on one side and the White House on the other is taking place.  Whoever wins this battle will decide if an immediate or a near future war will take place in the middle east or not.

Needless to say, there are many in congress, from both sides of the isle, who are ardently working against Obama and in support of igniting mass sectarian warfare in the middle east: in the insane delusion that Iran and all other enemies of Israel will be destroyed in the process while Tel Aviv remains intact.  In the dangerous hope that a fresh new war raging in the Middle East will dramatically increase their chances of recapturing the White House in November 2016.

A war within and a war without – indeed, nobody should envy the complex political predicament that president Obama is in today.

A war between America’s traditional allies against Iran would highly likely lead to the breaking of the historic deal so soon after its implementation and before the full economic rewards have been savored by the involved parties.

No doubt, Obama will strive hard not to lose his Iran legacy at the eleventh hour of his presidency.  He will endeavor therefore to avoid a massive unpredictable war in the Middle East as he exits office.  But today he is standing in the empty space between the hammer and the nail as the hammer is randomly dropping little by little.

A balanced use of soft power and hard power is necessary here:  one to cajole our so-called traditional allies away from the precipice of war, and the other to assert our power over other nations, friend and  foe alike.

Literally, in order for historians to render the Obama presidency a modem of foreign policy success, Obama must quickly find a way to maneuver out of the empty space and back into the hand that holds the hammer.

Back to Empire’s default position before his presidency expires and he is seen as a failed president of the republic, and a failed guardian of Empire.

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10 comments:

  1. seanmcbride says:

    From one angle of vision, these political developments seem to be tending to sort out into a conflict between:

    Israel, ISIS, neoconservatives, Saudi Arabia, Sunnis, Turkey

    (one the one side, vs, on the other side)

    China, Europe, Iran, Russia, Shia, Syria, US

    If this is really happening (and there are only small, emergent signs of this so far), it would represent one of the most disruptive and revolutionary realignments of players and forces in global politics ever.

    One is picking up clear signals that quite a few powerful Americans and Europeans are increasingly disenchanted with Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the neocons — and are looking towards the possibility of more friendly and productive relations with Russia, Iran and China.

    The main cause of the shift in attitude: neocon policies have been an unmitigated disaster for American and European interests during the last two decades. The latest unacceptable consequences: the flood of Mideast refugees to Europe, which is largely the product of neocon meddling in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Everything the neocons touch they seem to ruin.

     

    • b.grand says:

      Sean, this US/Saudi rift is quite possible, but sometimes the underlying game is so convoluted, who knows.

      As evidence (of something) is this "Saudi Summit" March 5-6, coming at an opportune time, but probably planned from quite a while back by CodePink.  Medea Benjamin has unusual access to the administration through her State Dept. contacts.  (Medea does many notable things, but she was an enabler of Gaddafi's demise and Libya's descent into chaos.  So is she a limited hangout?)  It's interesting.

      http://www.codepink.org/2016saudisummit?utm_campaign=dcalert_dec29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=codepink

      "UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM AND ITS GLOBAL ROLE"

       

      • seanmcbride says:

        b.grand,

        Interesting list of sponsors, supporters and attendees there — from the progressive left. But one is seeing mounting opposition and hostility towards Saudi Arabia from all across the political spectrum — with a notable exception — the neocons:

        "Neocons defend Saudi Arabia" (Lobelog/Jim Lobe)
        https://lobelog.com/neocons-defend-saudi-arabia/

        Clearly they are using the Gulf States and Sunnis as a hammer to bludgeon Iran and to escalate the Clash of Civilizations — a policy which hardly appears to be in the interest of the US and Europe — but which they think is good for Israel.

        Smart analysis from Lobe:

        BEGIN QUOTE
        Of course, what the editorial failed to note was the fact that the creation of so-called Sunni and Shiite blocs in the region preceded Obama’s alleged “strategy of retreat” and actually began (in its most recent incarnation) with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the empowerment of the Shia majority there, and the subsequent “de-Baathification” of the country. The neocons (including the Journal’s editorial board) not only supported this strategy but also conceived and actively promoted it (alongside their favorite Iraqi exile, the late Ahmad Chalabi). At the highest level, our Saudi friends (as well as the U.S. intelligence community) back then publicly warned the Bush administration about the possible regional consequences of an invasion. But Bush and the neocons, including the Journal’s editorial board, didn’t listen. How things have changed.
        END QUOTE

         

  2. seanmcbride says:

    recent news of note (January 7, 2016)

    Jewish Terror a Growing Threat to Israel: Experts (NBC News)

    Breaking the Silence Should Be Barred From Campuses, Says Knesset Committee (Haaretz)

    Defiance among rogue settlers as Israel accuses Jewish youth of murder (Reuters)

    Economic Scene: Racial Identity, and Its Hostilities, Return to American Politics (New York Times)

    Failed US sanctions on Russia (Consortiumnews/Gilbert Doctorow)

    Gaddafi warned of Islamic extremism, phone conversations reveal… (Drudge Report)

    How Zionism helped create the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Mondoweiss/ Nu'man Abd al-Wahid)

    Iran Accuses Saudi Arabia of Hitting Embassy in Yemen (New York Times)

    Iran-Saudi crisis rocks OPEC (Middle East Eye)

    ISIS – The Case For Non-Intervention (Zero Hedge)

    Islamic State working on driverless car bombs (with Video) (Reddit/worldnews)

    Israel gets $20m to create robot workers for China (Reddit/worldnews)

    Japan and the United States are moving to lead international debate over sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the country's announcement that it has successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test. (Reddit/worldnews)

    Knesset anti-BDS meeting reveals Israeli fear of isolation (Mondoweiss/Omar Barghouti)

    NEO – Pipeline wars heat up in Eurasia (Veterans Today)

    Neocons defend Saudi Arabia (Lobelog/Jim Lobe)

    Netanyahu, Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel in War of Words (Frontline)

    New Hillary Emails Reveal Propaganda, Executions, Coveting Libyan Oil and Gold (Antiwar.com/Brad Hoff)

    New Jersey teenager threatened with legal action by high school over pro-Palestine activism (Mondoweiss/Annie Robbins)

    New Mossad chief: Iran deal ‘significantly increases’ threat to Israel (Times of Israel)

    No Matter Who Becomes President Israel Wins (Council for the National Interest)
    Obama administration rejects likening Israel’s NGO law to US lobbying registry (JTA)

    Saudi Arabia ‘Torpedoes’ American Middle East Policy With Execution Of Shia Cleric (Think Progress)

    Sheldon Adelson Pours $7M Into Pro-Israel Website — Then Cuts Off Cash (Forward)

    State Department’s Silence Deafening After U.S. Citizens Engage In Israeli Settler Violence (Reddit/worldpolitics)

    The absolute dumb-assed stupidity of FB acceding to complaints of the pro-Israel crowd that this perfectly reasonable post was found to violate "Community Standards." FB, keep on letting the hasbarati makes fools of you!! (Richard Silverstein)

    The blunders of Saudi Arabia’s anxiety-ridden monarchy (Washington Post)

    The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq's non existent WMD's (Reddit/conspiracy)

    The U.S. mainstream media excludes almost all reporting and analysis that challenges the neocon/liberal-interventionist “group think” about the supposed Russian threat, but once in awhile a backhand acknowledgement of reality slips through, as Gilbert Doctorow was surprised to find. (Reddit/worldpolitics)

    Washington’s Multi-Million-Dollar Saudi PR Machine (Lobelog/Eli Clifton)

    (Any of these items can be quickly retrieved by copying and pasting the titles into Google search.)

  3. Bornajoo says:

    Thanks Taxi, once again for your perspective. I love the title

    Reminds me of a song: "there's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear". There are so many events happening all over the place but when you join up the dots they're all related.  Sometimes I think I need a huge map/flowchart on the wall just to try and keep track. I also get the feeling that something bigger and nastier is about to happen but I'm unable to say what that is or who the players will be because there are so many of them. I completely get what you say about Obama and his current predicament. The next few months are going to be critical. Your analysis of the current situation is spot on.

  4. "………He has blown ripples with mouth on the surface of the water instead of casting stones in an attempt to hold onto both the Saudi alliance and the Iran Deal. ………"

    Apart from the excellence  and good sense of your analysis, Taxi…. that sentence exhibits such 'nuance' and insight ! 

    Thank you for the pleasure of reading your work …this humble reader can't resist expressing appreciation.

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