November 24th 2012
By Terrance Nelson
Roseau River Ojibway, Manitoba
I watched tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers parading in Tikrit in 1998. Back then, the Iraqi knew little of the strength of the United States military. I had watched huge 8 engine nuclear equipped planes taking off at Grand Forks, North Dakota air force base. I knew what the Iraqi would face. I was in Iraq to document the United Nations economic sanctions.
On my recent trip to Tehran, I saw things that United States and Israel need to fear. The eight million Israelis will face far greater forces than Iraqi soldiers or Palestinians, if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drags United States into a war against Iran. Iran is the head of NAM, the 120 countries in the Non Aligned Movement, and Iran is also the head of OPEC. The difference in fighting a war against Iran and the previous war against Iraq is not only timing and finances; it is also the level of religious fervour.
The 2012 United States election proved that Americans are war weary. Since 2001 the US federal debt has climbed by ten trillion dollars and Americans are becoming increasingly tired of the cost of being the world’s policeman. The economy was the biggest election issue. Netanyahu bet on Romney and seventy-two percent of the white vote went to Mitt Romney, but Obama still won. A war with Iran will collapse the US economy.
In 2001, US share of the world GDP was 32.24% with a $128 billion surplus and some economists had an expectation of $5.6 trillion worth of surpluses for the next ten years. In 2012, US share of world GDP is 25%. When the US goes to war with Iran, US share of the world GDP will fall drastically and Israel will have succeeded in killing its golden goose.
US wars are fueled by emotion, not by cold hard economic reasoning. Unresolved pension and health-care entitlements increased US government's long-term obligations by $4.2 trillion in 2011. Every American owes $189,000 each in national debt and unfunded entitlements. President Obama responded to the 2008 economic meltdown by printing money and borrowing as never before.
President Obama is not Martin Luther King Jr.. Obama sealed the election win in the last debate when Romney tried to bait Obama regarding the number of United States ships. Obama reminded Americans that as the Commander-in-Chief, he ensured that America was spending as much money on the military as the next ten largest military countries in the world combined. Obama never looked more presidential than when he reminded voters that he has proven that he is willing to make war in order to protect Americans.
Now that Obama has won the election, he needs to take some lessons from President Nixon. Forty years ago the most brilliant man in Nixon’s era was Henry Kissinger. February 21st to 28th 1972, Nixon went to China and embraced an enemy, Chairman Mao Zedong. The resulting economic relationship between the United States and China in the last forty years is because of Nixon. The China/United States economic relationship was working relatively well until 9/11.
A new economic meltdown in the United States cannot be solved by borrowing or by the printing of money. No combination of nations can rescue a financial meltdown in United States. The United States had the backing of most countries in the world after 9/11, but two wars later, the world will not support the United States in a new war. The war in Syria and results of the Arab spring cannot be ignored.
The United States is asking Russia to help stop the war in Syria. We conveniently forget that the west supplied the arms to the Taliban that killed Russians in Afghanistan. How does United States expect Russia to help the Syrian conflict especially when it is the west that provides the small arms to maintain the conflict? Putin is in a dilemma, how does Russia deal with American aggression? It is a given that Russia cannot match American spending on the military. The Chinese/American deal in 1972 led to USSR isolation and perhaps to the fall of their economy. China is tied to the US economy, Russia is not.
Today, the only country in the world that can bring any real stability to the middle-east is Iran. Without Iran, the world’s policeman will go even further than beyond broke trying to enforce military solutions on nations whose new leadership will increasingly turn against the west.
What I saw in Iran was very simple, but for anyone who knows any degree of psychology it was profound. I watched Iranian students going to a demonstration. I don’t even know what the student demonstration was about. All I saw was the intense religious fervour of thirteen year old students as they supported the Ayatollah. I watched the Ayatollah on television speaking to thousands of assembled people who listened intensely, and what the Ayatollah said was not controversial, it was simply that what he said was received by the people with deep religious respect. The fervour of religious commitment of the 74 million Iranian people is not something that America or Israel can dismiss. Saddam led by terror, the Ayatollah leads by spiritual power. Don’t dismiss the difference.
The economic sanctions have hurt the Iranians immensely. The banking system has pretty well collapsed and Iran is purchasing pharmaceuticals with cash. If the United States were to offer peace and lifting of sanctions, now is the time for negotiations. The problem with the United States is pride, they never forgive, they have never forgiven the 1979 Iranian Revolution and they have never forgiven the Cuban missile crisis. Nixon embraced an enemy for the good of the American economy.
The problem for the United States is that if they continue to force sanctions on Iran, they risk Iranians spreading their economic misery to the targets that will cripple western economies.
Having traveled in Arizona and New Mexico a year ago, I was shocked at how angry the American people were. There was open hatred expressed by whites against the president. I saw the poverty in Florida as people sold off their luxury items to try to pay for their mortgage. I see Chinese and Japanese buying up America with money earned from the American trade deficits. If Obama can shed his pride, he might do America a favor by enlisting Iran as an ally rather than an enemy. Too bad Henry Kissinger is not there to advise the President. When the economy collapses in the United States, just how much will suffering Americans be willing to listen to the suffering in Israel?
Terrance Nelson is a former five-term Chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation in southern Manitoba. Nelson now has contracts with First Nations in the Alberta and Saskatchewan Tar Sands region. Nelson went to Iraq at the invitation of the Saddam Hussein Government in 1998 and just recently returned from a visit to Tehran. He met with some of the highest levels of the Iranian Government.