Light versus Darkness – the Final Assault on America is in progress [Video]

Author’s NOTE: To my regret, I am unaware of a good Orthodox Christian perspective on this situation in English. The video clip supplied is a first attempt. If an Orthodox source appears, I will move the current video to be embedded in the story and highlight the Orthodox one, since that reflects my own personal faith. – ASH

There is a coup d’etat on in the United States. Dark forces are trying to seize control of the country and its people.

This kind of line has been used in the US for decades, usually by conspiracy theorists and severely introverted left- and right- wing nutters that often get in very heated discussions about this… only to eventually fizzle away into the vast static noise that marks the frothy American free press environment. While such thought was often discussed, it was never taken seriously because overall we seemed to witness a relatively free,if somewhat biased, press.

This began to erode very rapidly in 2015-2016 as government insiders met and conspired about what to do to prevent Donald J. Trump from winning the election. His accession to the White House was definitely not in their plans. Somebody more malleable, like Jeb Bush, or Hillary Clinton (who is both more and less of a power broker than many of us want to believe, but IS on the inside track of THE PLAN). They did not want a populist who would actually carry out the will of the Deplorables and the Great Unwashed who just were too stupid, really, to see the things that really needed to be done to the world.

Compared to now, though, the 2015-2016 mainstream media bias looks like a free press unrivaled in the world. Now we have blatant moves by big companies and known people and faces: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), the great search engine Google and its subsidiary YouTube. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and so many more, all united in their efforts to do one thing and one thing only:

Stop Donald Trump from doing what he promised to do, and, by any means necessary, to prevent his re-election.

The American people have been brought to this “normal”, and many of them do not even know it happened. Those that make CNN and MSNBC their news world probably have no idea what the issue with Hunter Biden and China even is, or why it is being brought up. How can this be? Easy. Those news sites have not breathed a word about it. Neither a whisper nor a hint. They did try to float the idea that President Trump has a Chinese bank account, (this was even put forward by VP Joe Biden in the final Presidential debate), but that story seemed to die from lack of interest… falling out of sight like a lead balloon. So, what? said the American public, but many still may have no idea that this is a block against the GOP’s October Surprise.

Since we have more ability to express thoughts and stories freely here (not total, but more), I wish to directly make a bit of speculation for those who may have interest in reading it. As in all speculation of this type, I may be wrong, for it IS but speculation, though arrived at by careful analysis of what I see taking place in this election fight. There appear to be several points and possibilities:

  • The outcome of this election is not knowable by any attempt to follow trends. The polling is too partisan and political to be taken seriously by anybody on either side.
  • Trump supporters who are rejoicing in their great numbers in rallies should not discount the tiny and spotty rallies and public performance by Kamala and Joe. Most of their supporters are afraid of COVID and would never gather in great public masses. This reflects a massive psychological and spiritual difference between the two camps. They do not exist in one another’s context and someone in one camp should not try to evaluate the other side according to his or her own context.
  • Reports keep coming in of astonishingly large amounts of money to keep Biden’s campaign going. The sources of that money are not reported in any obvious sense on the sources that I follow. That can mean (a) it is Soros money, which is quite likely – Soros has a good ability to hide when doing things like this. (b) Everybody on the Left is desperate to shore up their frontsmen – er, candidates and this money may be used effectively enough to swing the election their way.
  • Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, if elected, will not last the first year. The powers behind them are desperate and very likely to be sloppy and quite abrupt in their seizure of control of the country. Since neither candidate has any ability to actually lead the nation, I do not expect either of these two candidates to survive if they win office. The current fear over COVID may provide perfect cover for what looks like a tragic demise, but will in fact be a pair of assassinations. These will be carried out by LEFT-wing sources – the Radicalized Democrats and the powers behind them. Those powers have the following objectives:
  1. The abolition of Christianity in the US. – The secularists know that the Right’s strength springs from belief in God. The early attacks against Christian churches that really try to “walk the walk” will increase in a way not seen since 1917 Russia, and it will be worse – and well-tuned to be adopted by the American way of thinking.
  2. The marginalization of anybody with conservative viewpoints. – Say goodbye to more people in the alternate media – Steve Turley, Tucker Carlson, Fox News as a whole perhaps, Breitbart – anybody holding traditional conservative views will be cut out of the mainstream of communications and commerce. This is already underway and will increase if the Democrats win.

After that, I cannot see what comes next. But with these events, the United States, while perhaps remaining intact in name, will no longer exist. The Democrat radicals seek to punish those who oppose them, and many conservatives will simply comply, just as almost all of our Church leaders worldwide all complied with the secular authorities on COVID-19. To shut down prayer services in the time when logically they are needed the most would have been unconscionable even five years ago. But almost everybody, and tragically, even from the oldest and most traditional Christian communions worldwide, and especially in the US and the West, hardly even bothered to explain what or why we were shutting down. In fact, it seems like they welcomed the break. Think about that for a moment.

Even our Russian hierarchs demonstrated a tragic lack of resolve in many significant cases, and their refusal to either stand up for Christ no matter what, or (if the virus really is that serious) to pastorally and seriously explain to the people that rely on their positions as overseers of the Church why these measures, never taken before in the history of Christianity, are being done now…

You get the idea, I am sure. 

It may seem like I am hyper-focused on something that ought not mean that much – religious faith. But the lack of reliance upon the God of the Christians* and obedience to his will is at the center of all of this.

Such is the state we are all suffering from due to decades of luxury and comfortable living, where praying to the Lord for a better job or a nice car was all most of us ever really did. We created much of a secular paradise with our technology and distractions and we continue to do so. This is not likely to change, but all of our fantastic technology and luxury has come with a price – the softening and erosion of the kind of faith in God that actually sustains our existence, more than food and more than drink. 

Reliance upon God is what gives people the courage to stand up to tyranny and oppose it, because they know that there was something better that should be pursued. Faith kept generations of Americans free because we understood that liberty is a gift from our Creator, and not something we deserve, but nevertheless, cherish, even to giving our lives to defend it.

Faith gave Mahatma Gandhi (while not a Christian, nevertheless followed Christian teachings very closely) the resolve to face off and defeat the British Empire without firing a shot. The faith of Christian believers facing the lions in the Collisseum led to the Roman Empire becoming Christian, and the longest-lasting empire on earth (until they forsook true Christianity). The ending of slavery came about because of people of faith like Abraham Lincoln and the fulfillment of freedom for all came through the faith followed by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Now, our faith is so soft that people are afraid to go to a church to pray. Now, the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church cannot even defend the teachings of St Paul or Christ himself, upon which the 2000 year history of the Church rests, and instead insists on taking steps to normalize the “abomination” of homosexual relations. Within the Roman Church, this ought to have never passed the first syllable. But the Catholic News Service offered nary a whimper of protest.

The struggle going on in the United States is not the only front in this war, but at this time, I believe it is the pivot point of the conflict. Of all the things the US brags about being “first and best” at, this is not something worthy of pride – our rejection of how we came to be a great nation, and our abandonment of the principles that made America truly the most amazing nation on earth through most of its short history.

The world will certainly go on without the United States as a force for good, but it may suffer if the powers that want to control America decide to deploy her vast power for their purposes.

Donald Trump probably looks remarkably frail in light of all that you have read. But he stands for the country as it was founded, and despite many errors and secularist ways he himself has, I have never seen an American leader stand in defense of Christianity like he does, nor of life, nor of those things that are good, beautiful, honest, holy, pure and true.

He ain’t perfect, as many would say, but he is who God has given us, and he is on the right side.

* – This may seem an unpleasant and sectarian comment to say that Christianity is the faith that actually matters in terms of keeping the world safe. However, history bears this out. The Christian Age was the brightest in the history of the world, whether people living in it were Christian or not. Examine history for yourself, and you will see that this is undeniable.

This is a race of the Victims and Weirdos versus Normal People [Video]

Victim culture goes to the Democrats in the most obvious way anybody could imagine.

Tucker Carlson’s contrived phrase, “the gender-transcendent mermaid queen-kings are here” has never been so strongly emphasized as it is this year and this election cycle. It has long been observed that the Democrat Party is becoming the party of the socialists and far, far left. That also includes its increasingly synonymous identity as the Party of all the Weirdos and Social rejects.

The character of the Democrat Party was never expressed so clearly as it was in these last four days. The party’s Convention event, culminating in the oddest possible nomination, a man who the Democrat Party long left behind, and a running mate whose own political expediency is being called the reason she joined the campaign of this man whom she basically called out as a sexual predator and bigot during the Democrat Presidential debates.

This is what the Democrats have become (except for the two children they are victimizing in this photo.)
This is what the Democrats have become (except for the two children they are victimizing in this photo.)

What we are seeing goes way beyond anything that our people used to consider “moral.” Back when being “moral” meant something, it meant that you basically lived your life according to a widespread commonly-accepted code of ethics and conduct: That one would be married to a spouse of the opposite sex was beyond need of definition; it was just the way things were. That one would be drug-free was beyond the need of definition; it was just the way things were. While it was known that politicians lied, it was equally well known that any indiscretions in office were usually limited to inappropriate appropriations of taxpayer money and such things as financial corruption.

But now, all of that is changed.

For the last four days we experienced the fulfillment of an old prophecy dating all the way back to the fourth century A.D.

“A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, “You are mad; you are not like us.” – St. Anthony the Great

The madness of this present age revolves around something called identity. In the United States and other places in the (western) world, there seems to be a real problem with identity. This is both with race and sex, but not with nationality and religion. For example, look at this photo:

This is J Mai. Looks like a woman to me. However, she insists on being referred to as a “Black-Vietnamese, transgender nonbinary / gender transcendent mermaid Queen-King.” Even her personal pronoun must be changed – from “her / she” to “them.”

In fact, J. Mai has her blurb written thus at Wake Forrest University – or at least it was. Searches now give a 404-Page not found error. Someone got a screenshot though.

“Ever-evolving truths” – That is a hint as to what the real problem is.

This, plus the platform of Black Lives Matter – which is dedicated to pushing an LGBTQ+++ agenda across the black American community, one that is actually quite traditionally Christian (especially the grandmothers!) shows us that “special identity” is a rampant issue among the Democrat activists.

Indeed, the Democrat Party could probably be considered a loose and disintegrating collection of various activist groups. They are different from one another, but hardly diverse. We have on the Democrat side the following groups:

  • The Ku Klux Klan – Yes, the KKK is not right wing. Historically it was the militant arm of the Democrat Party, used to keep black people “in line” and not to assimilate fully into society.
  • Antifa – cast by the Democrats as “right wing”, Antifa subscribes to anarchism, communism, Marxism, social democracy and socialism. Sorry fake news guys, you got it wrong again. Let’s continue.
  • Black Lives Matter – as noted earlier, this black racist group supports left leaning causes: LGBTWhatever activism, feminism, immigration ‘reform’ and ‘economic justice’ which is just a fancy way of saying ‘socialism’ or ‘wealth redistribution.’ Consider the recent event of BLM activists trying to tell people to give their very homes to black people.
  • Socialists – With leaders like Alexandria Ocasia-Cortes and Bernie Sanders, the Big Gripe is that in some way not adequately described (yet), laizzez-faire free market capitalism has got to go. It is easily tied in with “injustice” as expressed by the other activist groups above.
  • The LGBTWhatevers – A recent count indicated that such people had splintered themselves into some thirty-one different “gender identities.” Notice we cannot even say “sex” anymore but these people are getting a lot of attention. Consider the blurb above and also consider that the news media tries to accomodate these people in their delusional states.

There are more, of course, and this year we are seeing these supposedly fringe groups take center stage as the definition of what Democrats are and what they uphold.

However, there is yet another group that, while “normal” with regards to all these crazies listed above, still show the attitudes of the weirdos. Here is a photo that for me represents the attitudes of such people:

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, and his wife Jill Biden, join Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and her husband Doug Emhoff, during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

For me, this image implies helplessness and fear, and nothing else. Maybe the celebration of helplessness and fear. This is the group that is going to lead American into helplessness and fear. Now, to be sure, President Trump is now seen at times with a mask and he supports people being safe by wearing one.

But I do not think he is interested in promoting an attitude of helplessness and fear. The Coronavirus pandemic has taken about 800,000 lives thus far worldwide in the last eight months, and appears to be on track for a worldwide mortality rate of around 1.5 million or less.

The number of lives lost in a typical influenza outbreak worldwide numbers around 650,000, so the Coronavirus is perhaps two to three times more fatal than the flu thus far. Honestly that is not very fatal. Yet the sheer numbers of confirmed cases offered by the gloomy Johns Hopkins tracker don’t tell us that most people recover, and most of them hardly even got sick in the first place.

Yet the COVID-19 is Doomsday for the Democrats and they play the narrative to the hilt, even showing their candidates for the leadership of this land as cowardly and afraid of something that is not really very bad, and is also more and more on the ropes according to the news of the registration of the first vaccine by Russia and others to follow.

The Democrats portray themselves as the Party of Victims. They are The Aggrieved, The Misunderstood, the Misfits, the Bullied, the Sexually Repressed, and so on. Whatever else they are they do not advertise themselves as “can do” people. They are “can’t do” people, (unless the government steps in to “make things fair.”

In a few days we are going to be given the contrast. My bet (and my hope) is that most of America is still not the country of “we cannot help ourselves” but more the Land of Opportunity where we wish for the government to leave us alone so we can succeed.

The contrast promises to be striking, and of course once the GOP convention is over we will see if this prediction is correct.

Many Americans have had long ties the Democrat Party, perhaps hearkening to the days when the Democrats did much better at representing small-town America, the little guy and so on (they really did do that at one point despite their other problems).

But now, dear folks, your Party has changed. Joe Biden managed to try to resurrect that old image of the Party, but the four days of convention prior to his decent speech showed him to be the leader of The Party of Wimps and Eternally and Terminally Unique Aggrieved People. In short, the Victims. Victims often seek Vengeance. And never has that been more obvious than in this past year. This must be faced. Joe Biden did not face it in his acceptance speech. He tried to mold his own personality to it, but he also tried to hide how deeply radical and aggrieved his party is. These are people who will never be happy with what the government gives them, even if it were to give them everything they want. There will always be some new gripe, some new complaint, and some new allegation of being victimized by someone or something, and no personal responsibility.

If you are a Democrat, is this how you see yourself? As incapable of taking responsibility for yourself? My bet is you do not think this way.

But your Party has just endorsed this way of life as its very vision. You might want to think about that. Some people are. Watch and see.

The folly of the JCPoA, Part III: towards a practical approach

Parts I and II of this series gave us some history behind the current crisis regarding Iran, the JCPoA, a.k.a. “The Iran Nuclear Deal” and its recent abrogation by that country, as well as some of the geopolitical passions and dynamics that make this issue as hard to solve as it is. Now, we attempt to offer constructive thought towards the resolution of this crisis, some of which appears to actually be in use by elements within the American government, but hopefully not restricted to that nation.

The choice ahead: rage or acceptance?

The Iranian situation represents quite an opportunity to test something not often employed in geopolitics: Practicality.

President Trump opened an enormous opportunity to Iran when he decided not to retaliate militarily to Iran’s shooting down of an unmanned drone. He considered 150 lives to be far more important than some piece of military hardware. This also went a long way towards clarifying the situation.

With the United States not attacking, and at the same time, expressing unconditional willingness to enter talks with Iran, the “behavior problem” is shown to be Iran. With Iran’s determination to break the JCPoA by enriching uranium past allowed limited, the behavior problem is, again, shown to be that of Iran’s government and ruling authorities. Finally, with Iranian authorities attempting to basically blackmail the other signatories into taking some sort of action against the United States (which not one will do), the problem child is again shown to be none other than the apparatchik of Teheran.

Seen from the point of view of one who is not invested in any side of this conflict, this is what I see. The problem child is trying to dictate terms to the rest of the family, and the rest of the family is somewhat shaken by the behavior of the child. And why?

In families, the shakeup comes from the fact that everyone is connected by family bonds, by love, friendship and loyalty. Perhaps some elements like these project still into the greater community of nation-states on earth, most of whom are absolutely not interested in war, especially a nuclear war.

The family loves the problem child, and the first action taken is often one of the “gentle approach” – maybe giving the child what it wants will calm it down and enable it to return to reason. But this does not work, and it is biblically noted “spare the rod and spoil the child”, as King Solomon stated in Proverbs: “He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him early.”

The appeasement of Hitler probably sprung from the humanist-centered notion that maybe “giving a little (and a little more)” will help misbehavior to cease, because the bad actor is appeased (satisfied). It is a kind thought, and indeed, it is probably one that stems from the virtue of love that most parents would want to do this, as would most nations. We like to be in peace and agreement, and it is not so bad if we give something up that we want to get this peace.

But in Hitler’s case, this was a bad call. And as noted earlier, both the powers in Europe and the Soviet Union fell for the trap, and were both rewarded with the most horrific war yet seen in human history.

At the same time, the parent who strikes the child often, preemptively and for the slightest infractions is just as bad, if not worse. Projected into the geopolitical world, we might consider the alleged rhetoric of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo as examples of “warmongers” – people who just jump to military action as a means to every end.

And of course, they are also completely wrong. And in the case of these two neo-con allied people, their motive is not love, it is power and the extension of US hegemony over any and all nations it desires.

President Trump announces the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) May 8th, 2018.

Appeasement doesn’t work, and military force will not either. What is quite remarkable and gratifying is that some significant media people in the States actually do recognize this, such as Tucker Carlson at Fox News.

What President Trump is doing amounts to what in families might have been popularly considered in the 1980’s and 1990’s as “tough love.”

This comprises of an unsparingly honest assessment and successfully putting responsibility for bad actions upon the bad actor.

When President Trump did not react with military force, he did this with Iran. As the misbehaving child begins to look more pathetic than threatening once his behavior is called out and ignored by the family, so this same opportunity exists with Iran. “You cannot be a part of us”, says the world, “unless you stop acting like you are acting, and here is how: (list of actions).”

At first, the bad actor will get louder, and louder, and with bigger threats of retaliation. But if everyone holds out patiently and doesn’t reward the bad behavior (appeasement), then usually it finally comes to an end as the child comes to its senses, realizing that it must be different to get the good stuff.

It would seem that we are seeing this same drama play out on a geopolitical scale with Iran. Trump largely seems to be succeeding in a similar stratagem with North Korea, and no doubt Iran is aware of this, though not aware enough not to try being the bad actor anyway.

As this drama plays out, one can still expect that much of the resolution comes about “silently”, most likely in a combination of very low-level talks between the US and Iranian authorities, but with the greatest mediating factor likely to be from Russia. The challenge will be how to get Iranian authorities to come to acceptance of the fact that their long-held views of how to solve problems by trying to boss other people around will no longer work.

It may mean the setting aside of convictions and hatred held for decades by many people, though, and this alone is the biggest factor that threatens a peaceful resolution to the matter. The best source for information on this would be some sort of “insider reporting” by the people of Iran so we could actually understand what the Iranian citizens think and believe regarding this situation. Hopefully some of these people have read our series and will offer comment that is truly constructive, providing the most noble use of news media – a forum to develop and discuss solutions to the world’s problems, instead of just reporting bad or scandalous news.

The folly of the JCPoA, Part II: The fire of passions

In this piece, we intend to continue to shine a dispassionate, but truthful, light on the recent actions of the Iranian government and her ruling authorities, the United States and the rest of the signatory nations involved with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the JCPoA) enacted in 2016. The first article in the series may be found here.

Iran reacts to US departure from the JCPoA

The Americans move to leave the JCPoA was not met with approval from the other signatory nations. Russia expressed “deep concern” over the decision and emphasized that the agreement should be adhered to. According to The National Interest, though, Russia was the least vocal critic, for its own reasons, well worth reading about, but beyond the scope of this series.

On May 9th, 2018, Time Magazine reported and showed a video of Iranian hardliners burning a paper copy of the American flag and a copy of the JCPoA, with the usual “Death to America” chants that are so commonly heard from that land. This was the initial reaction to President Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPoA, and it appears that Iran’s own President Hassan Rouhani was unable to calm his own countrymen, even as he (at the time) pledged to continue to follow the JCPoA resolution regardless of the US action.

To give President Rouhani credit, the posture he tried to take at that time was correct. It does not make anyone more inclined to peace when someone issues threats, and it seems that Mr. Rouhani knew that and also, that he thought he could express this.

Had this stance held, the JCPoA might have been renegotiated by now with much better agreements in place. But it did not.

Without really being able to get into the inner workings of the Iranian government, it is impossible to be sure how this actually happened. But the behavior of Iran’s ayatollahs is likely to be one of the drivers that eventually got Mr. Rouhani to be where he stands today, trying to threaten the world with Iran’s OWN departure from the JCPoA.

It also explains the recent uptick in bellicose behavior of the Iranians, culminating recently in the downing of an unmanned US drone. While the dispute remains whether or not the drone was in Iranian airspace, the location is moot to the aggressive move, and it is moot when held up against Iran’s subsequent threats for more of the same.

Something has got to give. And what must give is the problem.

As a community, it appears that the world opinion is not uniform about Iran and her behavior, just as it is not uniform about the United States and herbehavior. This gives rise to a lot of problems that are more rhetorical and political than they are factual.

For example, these are the conditions that were listed in 2018 that the US said Iran must comply to before a new nuclear nonproliferation agreement could be made:

  • “First, Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity.
  • Second, Iran must stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor.
  • Third, Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country.
  • Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems.
  • Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges.
  • Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah [sic], Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
  • Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias.
  • Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work toward a peaceful political settlement in Yemen.

The first five conditions appear to be common sense. Iran is not trusted, based on her rhetoric and even more untrusted based on her recent behavior. We would not allow our semi-rebellious teenaged son to play with guns and hand grenades, after all. A nation that openly threatens another nation’s destruction ought not be allowed to secure the means for that destruction, simply based on the knowledge of the wish. A second analogy, if you know your neighbor is mad and says he wants to kill another neighbor, you do not give him a gun.

The JCPoA did this, though, albeit not completely. It gave Iran the gunpowder and a limited amount of freedom to play with the gunpowder.

It is the remaining three conditions, plus the name of the person who stated the conditions (US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, widely despised by many of our readers) that throw reason away in favor of anger and vitriolic rhetoric.

The condition of Iran ending support to Hezbollah, Hamas and the PIJ is the big sticking point, admittedly with many of our own readers. As an example, I also know personally people who view Hamas not as a terror organization, but as patriots – freedom fighters against the tyranny of Israel. And, I sympathize with their point of view, especially when they tell me the stories of terrible abuse and suffering of their people at Israeli hands.

For them, the argument might certainly be made, “Why should we appease Israel?” And it is a valid question. However, the refusal to recognize that violent uprising in its present form cannot possibly do anything but increase pressure against the Palestinians must be considered.

Recently, a “new” idea has been circulating among Palestinian and Israeli citizens, to reject the two-state “solution” (that really is quite a sham, anyway), but to go beyondthis whole way of thinking to the creation of one state where the Jewish and Palestinian people live together as one nation.

Then, of course, comes disagreement about what to call it – Israel, or Palestine. And then, as Ronald Reagan once stated, “there you go again…”

Still, this idea of uniting as one country is probably the best path, if enough people on both sides are able to set their passions aside. Perhaps a function of Hamas, et. al., was accomplished in that it got a lot of people on both sides of the conflict to at least be tired of the eternal fight. After the recent recognition by the US of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would seem that after 71 years it is apparent that Israel is not going away, and that this fact must be accepted in order to get anything productive done.

Part III of this series will offer perhaps a whimsical, but potentially useful, line of reasoning to both explain and project possible outcomes of this crisis.

The folly of the JCPoA, Part I: The error of appeasement

Iran’s ruling authority reported recently that Iran exceeded the JCPoA established level of uranium enrichment. A further statement from President Rouhani went farther, stating that Iran would enrich the nuclear fuel to any percentage of purity they desire.

In the minds of the sane, this is a clear case of what usually happens when appeasement of a belligerent power is tried. However, there is a lot of insanity involved in this deal. But the press would never have us see it – unless we tried to employ our faculties of critical analysis. The AP reported thus:

Iran’s president warned that Tehran will increase its enrichment of uranium to “any amount that we want” beginning on Sunday, putting further pressure on European nations to save its faltering nuclear deal and offer a way around intense U.S. sanctions.

This first paragraph even goes so far as to expose the exactnature of the Iranian government’s approach. Paraphrased it is “Give us what we want or we will threaten you more and more.”

In Neville Chamberlain’s mind, this idea – that the way to get this bellicose behavior to stop is to appease the instigator by giving him what he wants – resulted in Hitler’s increase in power and eventual launching of war. It should also be noted that even the fearsome Stalin alsosigned a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany. This needs to be held in one’s memory because it underlines something very important about both human nature and foreign policy, a point which we will return to later in this series.

The article continues with its odd spin:

President Hassan Rouhani’s threat, combined with Iran surpassing the stockpile limits of the 2015 atomic accord, could narrow the estimated one-year window it would need to produce enough material for a nuclear weapon, something Iran denies it wants but the deal sought to prevent.

But as tensions rise a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the deal, it looks unlikely that Europe can offer Iran a way to sell its oil on the global market despite U.S. sanctions.

It is clear that Iran is reacting to the US withdrawal from the JCPoA and the subsequent imposition of very severe sanctions. But holding the rest of the JCPoA partners at gunpoint because of the US’ behavior is highly questionable.

Before we go on, first, a little full disclosure

Now, some critics of my analysis have stated that I must be on the side of the Israelis (my keyboard offered me a unique moniker – the “USraelis”, something that more politically inclined writers than I might do well to use – just remember you saw it here first.) Anyway, the critique is that I must be Jewish, or a supporter of Israel, in order to have this view about Iran.

Neither of these criticisms apply in my case. (I am an American, a Russian Orthodox Christian, living in Moscow, partly in my own protest of US foreign and domestic policy moves in recent years.)

In fact, neither the fate of Israel nor that of the Jewish people even comes into play in my analysis. My analysis is simply that of the behavior of the Iranian government / religious authority, which, in my view, handles itself really, really badly, given the more elevated nature of behavior of the rest of the signatories of the JCPoA: Russia, China, the European Union (as a whole), Germany, the UK and France.

The willingness to mischaracterize the adversary

All of these nations, as well as the United States (which does not have a great reputation among many in terms of handling world affairs right now, a thought to which I also agree), all sought what amounts to a civilized resolution with Iran.

What seems to be the case though, is that these countries offered something that was not being offered back – a civilized approach at depth. The Iranian power brokers acted quite happy of course, as the JCPoA was being put into effect. And, why not? It meant that Iran could get access to a lot of its money that had been previously frozen and unavailable during the prior sanctions. It meant that they could still proceed with nuclear enrichment, and even parallel programs aligned with weapons development, just at a much slower pace, and that for only eight to fifteen years.

But these concessions, including an infamous airlift of some US$400 million that coincided with the release of hostages the Iranians were holding (but which President Obama denied was “ransom”) did not still the bellicose rhetoric. The Wikipedia entry on the JCPoA linked above is very interesting, for it notes the nature of the rhetoric from Iran after the deal as well as significant criticism and opposition to the deal within Iran’s own government, though the JCPoA was eventually approved.

The United States, even the reputed “Appeaser in Chief”, President Barack Obama, were also, interestingly, not without their own significant points of criticism of the deal. And here is an interesting little piece that Wiki notes:

In a letter addressed to Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, President Barack Obama raised the issue about U.S. ability to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons:

“The JCPOA, moreover, does not remove any of our options when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. As I have repeatedly emphasized, my Administration will take whatever means are necessary to achieve that goal, including military means. Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States—including the military option—will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond…”

This is a tacit admission that the real problem was never even approached, much less dealt with, through this deal. The real problem has to do with the nature of Iran’s relationships with the rest of the world. While it enjoys an alliance with Russia, it castigates Israel on purely religious grounds (though Israel is also a friendly nation to both Russia and the United States.) Simultaneously, Iran’s rhetorical fervor for what is too loosely called “anti-semitism” but more correctly “anti-Zionism” gets it into a bind when it actually makes threats to destroy Israel, as reported as recently as June 9, 2019.

A lot of evidence suggests that the deal was shaky from all sides. While conservatively-biased criticism in the US fingered Mr. Obama as the uber-appeaser, it was quicker to blame the hapless US president rather than to fully expose just how fragile this deal really was. Following the theme that “something is better than nothing”, the agreement was signed and put into effect.

The house of cards, revealed

On July 20, 2018, the Congressional Research Service released a lengthy overview of the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPoA) and the US exit from that agreement. In this document’s beginning are two extremely important points:

Top Trump Administration officials have argued that the JCPOA does not adequately serve U.S. interests because the extensive sanctions relief provided under the accord gives Iran additional resources to conduct “malign activities” in the region, and does not restrict Iran’s development of ballistic missiles. Resolution 2231, which was adopted in July 2015, prohibits arms transfers to or from Iran, but only for five years, and contains a voluntary restriction on Iran’s development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles for only up to eight years.

On May 8, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer participate in the JCPOA and would reimpose sanctions that had been suspended pursuant to the agreement. The other powers that negotiated the accord with Iran—Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany—opposed the U.S. decision and have been meeting with Iranian officials to continue implementing the JCPOA. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has pledged to continue implementing the accord, provided Iran continues to receive the economic benefits of the agreement.

It appears that this last sentence is the key to understanding Iran’s current belligerent behavior. The reimposition of sanctions by the US with its CAATSA act (a most effective measure, which I have personally experienced) is understandably painful for the Iranians, though it is unclear precisely how painful these sanctions are when the US is not the only partner in the deal. After all, Russia it itself experiencing pressure from CAATSA and its response, while often frustrated and assertive, as with the announcement of new Russian superweapons technologies, is also civilized and diplomatic. Russia also found its way around and through CAATSA in such a way that the country is in significantly bettershape than it was before these sanctions were enacted.

Perhaps a more exhaustive analysis of the actual financial and economic impacts Iran is experiencing from the sanctions is in order, in order to grant the fairest overview of the situation.

However, the thing that makes the Iranian situation distinct from that of Russia or China is the behavior and rhetoric of the Iranian political and religious leadership. In Part II of this series, we will examine this.