Circle of Clowns Playing with Fire
Bill Fletcher Jr. | 3/15/2012, 2:06 p.m.
It is difficult to watch the spectacle of the Republican primaries and not agree with whomever it was that originated the description of those candidacies as nothing more or less than a circle of clowns. At each moment one or the other candidate seems to go deeper into the swamp, whether through denigrating science, attacking women or attempting to ridicule President Obama for supporting college education. With this evolution of the campaign, it feels as if we are going deeper and deeper into a new dark age with mysticism, fear, militarism, racism and misogynism as the defining characteristics.
What never ceases to amaze me is the manner in which these politicians have, with the exception of the right-wing libertarian Ron Paul, jumped up and down on the band-wagon in favor of war with Iran. In concert with an element of the Israeli political establishment and their supporters in the USA, they have been beating the drum for military strikes against Iran as a means of stopping the alleged efforts of Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. Never mind that no one has been able to establish that the Iranians are doing anything more than they propose-to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes-and never mind the fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and assisted apartheid South Africa in constructing weapons of mass destruction. Never mind the fact that retired and current U.S. military officials (and actually substantial numbers of Israeli military officials) oppose any discussion of military strikes on Iran, seeing such strikes as nothing short of foolhardy. The circle of clowns asks us to ignore this and to proceed forward with a disastrous war with Iran. This, all based on the crazy rhetoric of the Iranian regime and the possibility of what they might be able to do.
Think about it this way. Let's say that you had a neighbor who did not like you. You go and buy a gun because you are a hunter. Your neighbor concludes that you bought the gun to get them, so they come into your house and kill you. Besides you being in a grave, where do you think that this would end? How many courts-unless race was involved-would ever go for an argument that it was fine to attack you because the neighbor thought that you might attack. Yet this is the same logic that the circle of clowns is operating on and this must be repudiated.
While it appears that President Obama is not interested in, at least for now, a war with Iran, he has fallen over himself to demonstrate his loyalty and support to Israel. This is unsettling. U.S. foreign policy should not be based upon supporting Israel on everything they do. For that reason, if the voices of the people of the USA are not heard loud and clear, the banter from the circle of clowns may prevail and we could be looking at events that will spiral out of control. Bill Fletcher Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and the co-author of "Solidarity Divided." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org