The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts

John Glaser, March 28, 2012

The feeling that a U.S./Israeli strike on Iran is inescapably imminent has waxed and waned over the last few months. As soon as the feeling of impending war begins to dissipate, hawks in Washington and Tel Aviv step up the warnings of preemptive strike. They will privately admit that actually bombing Iran isn’t necessary at the moment, but that issuing threats of such an attack is vital to instilling fear in the Iranians.

Just to take one example, Israeli officials have complained on a number of occasions that U.S. officials speaking publicly about their reluctance to start a war with Iran “served Iran’s interests.” Incisive realists have recognized their reasoning as follows: If we don’t frighten Iran with the threat of war, they’ll behave however they want!

This reasoning seems to be true for economic warfare too. The Senate is preparing to consider yet another package of harsh economic sanctions on Iran as punishment for the nuclear weapons program they don’t have. Despite the intelligence consensus that Iran has no weapons program and has not even made the decision to start one, crippling sanctions and the threat of aggressive war is essential to terrify the Iranians into compliance. This is even more revealing: Iran has not committed the transgression supposedly justifying this aggressive approach, so paralyzing them with fear of attack has little to do with having a nuclear program and much to do with refusing to be subservient to Washington.

“If the United States doesn’t broadcast determination all along the road, both in sanctions and in the threat of military action, Tehran is liable to mistakenly understand from this that 2012 is a lost year for the international community, so its nuclear program can advance as usual,” a senior Israeli official told Ha’aretz.

“At the moment,” the official continued, “largely because of the administration’s contradictory messages, the Iranians assume that nothing military will happen before the U.S. presidential elections in November.” Fear of all out war is the most valuable diplomatic tool when dealing with Iran, the thinking goes.

This is, of course, a prerogative of the United States and Israel only. If any other state ran their foreign policy on the basis of fear, on repeatedly issuing serious and illegal threats of unprovoked attack, they would surely face international sanctions and perhaps even worse. It seems a form of terrorism.

It should be noted that, even though officials in Washington and Tel Aviv readily admit the purely rhetorical use of warmongering in instilling fear into our enemies, this does not mean an actual attack is out of the question. In fact, an attack would serve the same purposes. The Iranian nuclear program (which is purely civilian in nature) is far too redundant across the country and in some cases protected underground for a bombing campaign to completely wipe it out. And not even the most rabid warmongers are explicitly arguing for a ground invasion, regime change, and extended occupation of Iran. So it seems the only purpose of an actual military strike would be to cause fear, to signal we mean business.

This, of course, instead of the perfectly peaceful diplomatic solutions to the conflict.

12 Responses to “The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts”

  1. Excellent analysis, John. Hopefully good sense will triumph in the end.

  2. Make no mistake about it: this will be "done" if the 'powers that be' in Israel have their way. As far as I can tell, from a 'foreign perspective', that is, Israel isn't quite the 'foreign policy' dictatorship the US is where the POTUS can essentially snap his fingers, and the next second bombs would be dropping in Canada–no questions asked…if that were the directive… Be that as it may, this will be done, very soon I might add, if the political leadership in Israel have their way…

  3. Very appropriate, the picture of Bill the Butcher from "Gangs of New York" wrapping himself in the US flag.

  4. Roza Wojtas I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days.. Najpiekniejsza kobieta swiata

  5. The commies used to call such people "useful idiots".

  6. Good to know about The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts.If you have more information like this.Please update me time to time now.
    thanks for info..:)

  7. The Spectacle of Fearsome Acts is the great article.No one can write well article as you..Please update more information..

  8. What is the meaning of Spectacle of Fearsome..Please leyt me know and complete information about this..

  9. C?n s?t giàn ph?i qu?n áo
    Không gian ch?t h?p khi?n nhi?u h? gia ?ình ph?i b?ng kho?n lo l?ng khi s?p x?p không gian nhà ? m?t cách h?p lý. gian phoi do
    ?ây c?ng là n?i lo chung c?a nhi?u ng??i trong cu?c s?ng hi?n ??i, ??c bi?t là nh?ng ai sinh s?ng trong các ?ô th?. Không ch? mang l?i ti?n ích, các s?n ph?m nh? gian phoi qu?n áo thông minh hay t? âm t??ng còn ?em l?i s? thông thoáng cho không gian gia ?ình b?n và ph?n nào tô ?i?m c?n nhà c?a b?n. V?i nhi?u ng??i Vi?t Nam, giàn ph?i thông minh còn khá xa l? nh?ng v?i nh?ng n??c phát tri?n nh? các n??c ? B?c M? và ?ông Âu thì s?n ph?m này ?ã tr? nên quen thu?c và ???c r?t nhi?u ng??i s? d?ng. giàn ph?i thông minh&

    Nh? nghiên c?u và t?n d?ng các công ngh? hi?n ??i, giàn ph?i ?? thông minh ?ã ???c ra ??i sao cho v?a hi?n ??i, v?a ti?n l?i nh?ng v?n g?n gàng và d? s? d?ng. giàn ph?i thông minh
    ?u ?i?m b?c nh?t c?a giàn ph?i ?? thông minh là ti?t ki?m không gian, ?i?u mà m?i gia ?ình trong cu?c s?ng càng ngày càng ?ông ?úc, nhà c?a càng thu h?p l?i ?ang r?t c?n. gian phoi
    Nói v? ?? ti?n d?ng thì không ai có th? ph? nh?n r?ng giàn ph?i thông minh là s?n ph?m c?n nh?t cho m?i gia ?ình hi?n nay. Không nh?ng ti?t ki?m ???c không gian s?ng, giàn ph?i còn giúp m?i ng??i thoát kh?i d? b?n lòng v? m?t m? qu?n áo ? ??ng không có ch? thông thoáng ?? ph?i móc. giàn ph?i ??
    Dân s? th? gi?i hi?n nay ?ang t?ng v?i t?c ?? nhanh và còn ti?p t?c t?ng trong nh?ng n?m s?p t?i. Chính vì v?y, c?nh ??t ch?t ng??i ?ông ?ang ngày càng tr? nên ph? bi?n, ??c bi?t là t?i các n??c ?ang phát tri?n và phát tri?n. Trong s? ?ó, t?p trung nhi?u nh?t ? các thành ph? hay khu v?c có ?i?u ki?n thu?n l?i cho kinh t? phát tri?n. Di?n tích sinh ho?t c?a ng??i dân b? thu h?p. giàn ph?i
    Không ít ng??i ph?i s?ng trong nh?ng c?n h? ch?t nít và bé tí. M?i ho?t ??ng ?? duy trì cu?c s?ng bình th??ng c?ng c?n ph?i s?p x?p không gian sao cho h?p lý và hi?u qu?.
    tinh d?u d?a
    Tr??c th?c tr?ng nh? hi?n nay, giàn ph?i qu?n áo thông minh ???c thi?t k? và ra ??i ?? giúp khách hàng ti?t ki?m không gian sinh s?ng sao cho phù h?p nh?t. ?ây c?ng là m?t ch?n l?a nh?m gi?i quy?t không gian ph?i qu?n áo trong gia ?ình ?ang ???c ?ông ??o khách hàng tin dùng. gian phoi

  10. Bài vi?t r?t hay, mình ??i xem bài vi?t ti?p theo c?a b?n

  11. bài vi?t hay l?m thiet ke nha pho

  12. US is where the POTUS can essentially snap his fingers, and the next second bombs would be dropping in Canada–no questions asked…if that were the directive… Be that as it may, this will be done, very soon I might add, if the political leadership in Israel have their way…