For over two centuries it was fairly established that in America, the people elected a president with the authority to set the nation’s foreign policy. That all changed when the people elected an African American man as President. In early 2009, Republicans, in concert with Democrats loyal to Israel, gave Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu control of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took steps to reassert Netanyahu’s power over American Middle East policy to thwart the P5+1 agreement that halts Iran’s alleged nuclear weapon program. It is important to clarify right away that Netanyahu is not an American citizen, not an American elected official, and has not been appointed by any president’s administration as Secretary of State or Middle East policy advisor, and yet Republicans obey the foreigner explicitly.
Even before an agreement was reached between America, Germany, Russia, France, England and Iran to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Netanyahu let it be known he would veto the deal through his surrogates, and after it was reached he said was a “historic mistake.” Ever the obedient American, and knowing Netanyahu demanded Republicans correct the “historic mistake,” Eric Cantor is pushing hard for legislation in the House to levy stricter sanctions on Iran to break the conditions necessary for the agreement to move forward. In fact, shortly after the historic deal was announced, Cantor reiterated Netanyahu’s warning that “this interim deal with Iran is, in fact, dangerous. It is a deal which brings Iran closer to becoming a nuclear power.” It is also a deal that Cantor is determined to thwart and among the reasons is that Netanyahu cannot allow it.
There are several reasons Cantor is obeying Netanyahu and attempting to force America to renege on its part of the agreement with Iran besides allowing Netanyahu to dictate America’s Middle East policy. It puts President Obama in his place and subjects him to Netanyahu’s leadership, creates conditions for American involvement in another Middle East war, satisfies the religious right’s quest to bring about the war of Armageddon and recall Jesus to Earth, signals the defense and oil industry their fortunes are about to rise, and gives neo-cons another opportunity to kill Muslims. Republicans have been disgusted with President Obama’s foreign policy of diplomacy over pre-emptive war, and it was only a matter of time before they found a suitable way for America to go back on its agreement and reestablish Iranian mistrust of the United States and set a path for war.
Cantor wasted little time setting up opposition to the historic agreement and began spreading lies about it as it related to the Non Proliferation Treaty and Iran’s legal right to enrich uranium as a signatory of the NPT. Cantor wrote that, “The text of the interim agreement with Iran explicitly and dangerously recognizes that Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium when it describes a ‘mutually defined enrichment program’ in a final, comprehensive deal. It is clear why the Iranians are claiming this deal recognizes their right to enrich.” Cantor’s pretext is that Iran has no right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes as a Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory, and because the agreement fails to deny Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purpose, their claim to that right automatically means it is a “bad deal.” However, according to Article IV of the NPT, “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.” Despite Cantor’s lies, Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as written in the historic agreement, but he is aware that the majority of Americans will never read the agreement or the NPT.
Cantor’s attempt to draft a bill narrowly defining what is, and is not, acceptable (to Netanyahu and Republicans nothing is acceptable) in a final nuclear deal with Iran is not his first foray into asserting Netanyahu’s control over America’s Middle East policy. In 2009, Cantor and Democrat Stenny Hoyer sent a letter (curiously deleted from the public record) to the President to prevent Obama’s efforts to ameliorate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and seek a peaceful resolution. The gist of the letter was that as far as the Middle East is concerned, “we stand with Netanyahu; you, Mr. President, know your place and butt out.” Not too surprising, was that an email copy of the 2009 letter still had the title, “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf” informing even half-intelligent human beings that Israel controls a large portion of the United States Congress; including many Democrats. It is also not surprising that the first Democrat Cantor gave his draft legislation for stronger sanctions to scuttle the historic deal was none other than Stenny Hoyer whose spokesperson said, “Cantor has a bill, and it’s being reviewed by our office, no decisions have been made.” The fact the bill is even being reviewed is a sign Hoyer’s loyalties do not necessarily stand with the President or that he supports the diplomacy over confrontation.
A naïve American may ask; why does Netanyahu want to scuttle the five-nation diplomatic deal with Iran and avoid war? Netanyahu wants to bomb Iran, elicit a retaliatory strike against American forces in the region, and draw America into what neo-cons claim will be a “very substantial war” to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities in their entirety. Israel is intent on being the only nuclear capable nation in the region to maintain its dominance. It is noteworthy that Israel refuses, unlike Iran, to sign on to the Non Proliferation Treaty, acknowledge it has a substantial number (200-400) of nuclear weapons, or allow inspections of its nuclear bomb-making facilities. Cantor, and most Republicans, are determined to aid Netanyahu’s path to war regardless the consequences to America, and creating conditions to force the U.S. to renege on its agreement with Iran is the fastest way to achieve Netanyahu’s goal.
It is unclear precisely why Republicans like Cantor are so dedicated to serving the interests of Israel, but American taxpayers already contribute more money to Israel’s defense budget than Israeli taxpayers. President Obama has stated time, and time again, that America is Israel’s ally and defends its ability to defend itself, but apparently that is not enough for Netanyahu or Cantor. It is likely that besides a path to war with Iran and devotion to Israel, Cantor will go to any lengths to undermine President Obama’s foreign policy successes founded on diplomacy over warmongering; even if it means doing Netanyahu’s bidding or a war with Iran. This President’s diplomatic efforts helped convince Syria to abandon its chemical weapons and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention without going to war, and the prospect of Iran abandoning its alleged nuclear weapons program and signing the NPT through diplomatic efforts is too much for Cantor and Republicans to bear. Besides, Netanyahu will not allow it, and because America’s Middle East policy is the purview of a foreigner with his legislative arm firmly ensconced in the United States Congress, what Netanyahu wants, AIPAC will deliver; likely courtesy of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.