The Fear Factor and International Relations
Everyone has some kind of fear. Usually, it is fear of some kind or dread disease or accident leading to premature death. Nations have fears. Nations fear the defeat of their vital interests, the foremost of which is national security, i.e. the ability to keep their citizens safe and secure in their persons and to protect their natural resources and markets from theft by others.
The pursuit of national security is often a lonely path because other nations have their own interests, often not in line with ours. Former French President Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) was fond of saying, “Nations do not have friends, nations only have interests.” Or, as they say in Washington and Hollywood: If you want loyalty, buy a dog. So, let’s look at what some nations will fear in 2006 and beyond.
Israel. Her greatest fear is nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or one of the Arab countries and/or Islamo-fascist terrorists. Israel’s landmass is too small and its population too densely congregated to absorb the blast, heat and radiation effects of nuclear weapons. Consequently, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is on constant hair-trigger alert to eradicate nuclear threats. On June 6, 1981, just before Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak went “hot,” IDF F-15s and F-16s only needed one minute and 20 seconds to obliterate Saddam’s budding nuclear weapons program. The IDF will not hesitate to do the same with Iran.
Iran: The greatest fear of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the other Mullah dictators is the secularization of Iranian society. Just as information technology helped bring down the Berlin Wall and destroy the former Soviet Union, the Mullahs fear information technology will destroy their stranglehold on the Iranian people as well. As younger Iranians reject the 14th Century in favor of the 21st Century, the Mullah’s fears are well-founded.
So much so, that the Mullahs may be intentionally inviting attack by Israel. For example: When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes speeches saying the Jews must be “wiped out” and that “the Holocaust was a hoax,” one wonders why? Right after that, President Ahmadinejad claimed his presidential motorcade in southern Iran was attacked by the Mossad. But virtually everything about this alleged ambush is unclear. Was there a presidential motorcade to be attacked? Was anyone killed or wounded? Was President Ahmadinejad present? The only element that is clear is that the Mossad was blamed.
Ironically, if the IDF destroyed Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would lose little. Iran already has more energy from oil than it could use in a millennium. Iran’s early warning system would get its scientific community to safety about the time the IDF’s F-15s and F-16s left Israeli airspace.
But Iran does fear an Iraq reunited under a strong central government. After Iraq was forcibly unified by Saddam Hussein and his Baathist/Sunni henchmen, Iran suffered an eight-year-long attack by Iraq that left millions of Iranians dead and countless wounded. So, the Mullahs support the divisiveness caused by the insurgents inside Iraq and they see the continued presence of Coalition Forces in Iraq as preventing a new Iraqi government from being a threat to Iran. How ironic is that?
The United States of America: More than anything, the Bush Administration fears a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. Next time, there would be no lax-on-terror Clinton Administration to blame for information “walls” that prevented the CIA and the FBI from sharing the information that might have prevented 9/1l. Consequently, Herculean efforts are being made to prevent more 9/11s, to include electronic eavesdropping on communications between suspected terrorists and their foreign controllers.
Logic suggests our government’s second greatest fear is that Iran will provoke an attack by Israel. That would instantly rekindle the currently sagging spirits and fortunes of the Islamo-terrorists, not just in Iraq, but around the world. Moreover, an attack by Israel on Iran would absolutely wreck U.S. foreign and military policy in the Middle East – possibly, forever. Happy 2006.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.