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Terence Rosenthal is a Featured Wonk at

U.S. Senate Must be More Assertive in Middle East Policy

by Terence Rosenthal | May 26 2015
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U.S. Senate Must be More Assertive in Middle East Policy
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How much risk to global security and economy are leaders in the U.S. Senate willing to take to reverse current language in its Middle East Policy? With respect to Iranian nuclear development, perhaps the U.S.’s own worst enemy is its politically correct State Department, and complicit Western media. As related to Iranian nukes, Malcolm Hoenlein, when interviewed by David Horovitz and Raphael Ahren in the Times of Israel states, “The impression (in the media) is that we froze them (Iran) in a certain place, [but that’s] not [the case]. The R&D should have been frozen, everything else [should have been frozen]. We haven’t stopped the missile development, we haven’t stopped the weaponization process, we haven’t stopped them from doing other kinds of research…. They’re (Iran) going to be in a much better position. Because with the new centrifuges, you can get from 3.5% to the 90% [levels needed for a nuclear bomb] much faster. They can move to the point that, once the deal ends or breaks down, they will be then emerging as a threshold state” (2014).

The Obama administration wishes to be vindicated for reducing the U.S. footprint in the Middle East. Obama’s Middle East Policy has been to change the perception of Iranian leadership, villainizing or keeping allies in the region at an arms – length. Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia come to mind. Does President Obama realize that by hastening a deal with Iran, he risks advancing a nuclear arms race in the region? “Once you start building the infrastructure for a nuclear capacity, to cross over is really simple… Jordan has indicated it wants to build several nuclear [reactors]. And Saudi Arabia and the UAE and many others want to do it. And once it starts, you’re not going to be able to stop it” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).

Language placating Iranian leadership gives hope to enemies of the U.S., and demoralizes regional Western allies. Leaders in the Middle East are pragmatic, they view the prospect of a nuclear Iran as license to self-protection with regard to their own nukes. With respect to the people of Iran, “The West, as a whole, failed the people of Iran when they went out during the Green Demonstration, when the students went out…They were looking to the West for at least signals of support. … And now, they look at the execution of political prisoners in the largest numbers ever… There were 600 public executions in the past year: political dissidents, religious leaders — anybody that they see as a political threat. And of course they will, in some cases, invent crimes allegedly committed… A homosexual could be hung because he’s a homosexual; a Christian who is accused of proselytizing, which, in most cases, just means practicing their religion, will be hung — and they hang them from cranes! The White House — the whole Western community — ought to be taking action, as we would against any country that engages in this kind of action.” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).

It is one thing for U.S. executive administration to use isolationist language with regard to Middle East policy. It is quite another when that administration excuses terrorist threats, vindicating terror groups, and putting its allies and itself at risk. “One of the most egregious examples of the politicization of U.S. intelligence came to light yesterday (March 17). The Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by the Director of National Intelligence on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community no longer reflects either Iran or Hezbollah as terrorist threats” (Gaffney, 2015). If James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence declares that Iran and Hezbollah are not terrorist threats, the world should just carry on its merry way, in spite of the fact that “Ever since 1979, the mullahs of Iran and their proxies, Hezbollah, have engaged in relentless, murderous jihadist attacks against us, our allies and interests” (Gaffney, 2015).

Recently, legislatures, using the limited power they have are attempting to create a new paradigm with regard to executive transparency with regard to the U.S. executive administration’s approach to Middle East Policy. U.S. Congressional leaders visited the region, meeting with leaders to discuss regional threats as related to defense, political infrastructure, and economics. The U.S. Senate, second in power to President Obama must meet with these leaders as well. The Senate has an ever-closing window of time to reverse the language of regional pessimism the Obama administration has helped create. Fred Fleitz, affiliated with Center for Security Policy states,  “In response to Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, and yesterday’s letter to Iranian leaders by 47 U.S. senators that a nuclear agreement with Iran might be reversed by the next president, my friend Carol Giacomo wrote in a New York Times column today ‘by now it should be obvious that a vocal segment of Congress is determined to do whatever it can to undermine President Obama’s attempts to negotiate an agreement that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program’” (2015). “The real problem is not that we do not know what war is, but that we refuse to see what is right in front of us and always has been. The big question for us is why we keep ourselves blind. We have lost wars because fighting the war we wanted was more important to us than winning the war we had. — as in Vietnam, as in Iraq” (Vlahos, 2014).

It must be reiterated that language, dialogue, or lack thereof among those who control global media and policy is as harmful as any rebel army or terrorist force. “People also can’t let their domestic political objectives dictate what they say, if they don’t think about the broader consequences of their remarks… We draw the line. We have to say that there has to be zero tolerance for intolerance. We are the ones. It’s what Martin Luther King once said: ‘We won’t be judged by the attacks of our enemies, but by the silence of our friends.’ The lesson of history is that we give the license to our enemies. It’s not what they do; it’s what we fail to do. And right now, we’re falling into that trap again” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).


Ahren, Raphael; Horovitz, David. 2014. “Malcolm Hoenlein: ‘I don’t want any more memorials to dead Jews’: The head of the US Jewish establishment slams the interim deal on Iran, the public Israel-US sniping, and the deafening silence in the face of new anti-Semitism.” Center for Security, February 7, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015.  hoenlein-i-dont-want-any-more-memorials-to-dead-jews/
Fleitz, Fred. 2015. “GOP Senators Try To Stop Bad Nuclear Deal With Iran.” Center for Security, March 10. Accessed April 23, 2015.      weapons-ambition/
Gaffney, Frank Jr. 2015. “A Threat Assessment that Ignores Two Threats.” Center for Security, March 17. Accessed April 23, 2015. threats/
Vlahos, Michael. 2014. “EYELESS IN GAZA — ARE WE BLIND TO AN ENDURING REALITY OF WAR?” War on the, August 20, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015. enduring-reality-of-war/




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