What Happens When a Super-Power Joins the Crowd?
As an old-time Kremlinologist and Sinologist, reading tea leaves is my hobby. It is also my life-long profession as a long-range global forecaster. This is why I was struck by the subliminal title of Roger Cohen's article in New York Times op-ed page, entitled "From Tehran to Tel Aviv." It seems like the directions are changing.
Cohen leads off his article with a short paragraph on President Obama's Persian New Year's message not to the Iranian people but to the leaders of the now officially recognized Islamic Republic of Iran: "With his bold message to Iran's leaders, President Obama achieved four things essential to any rapproachment. He abandoned regime change as an American goal. He shelved the so-called military option. He buried a carrot-and-sticks approach viewed with contempt by Iranians as fit only for donkeys. And he placed Iran's nuclear weapons program [sic] within 'the full range of issues before us'."
And then he added, "By doing so, Obama made it almost inevitable that one of the defining strategic issues of his presidency will be a painful but necessary redefinition of America's relations with Israel as differences over Iran sharpen," as they now must in a confrontation with the new Netanyahu Administration.
My take on this is simple. The titans are beginning to spar. The NYT often leads the way and now has an inside track to the White House.
The pragmatists in Washington are abandoning regime change everywhere, including now in Israel, which is not good for either the Palestinians or the Israelis over the short run, but is essential in little places like Iraq and Afghanistan and in critically big ones like the powerhouses of China and Russia and their ally in strategically located Iran.
Middle powers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt may get the message that now they are on their own. Most governments will pragmatically recalibrate in response to popular domestic demand, like France, which is bidding for the leadership of NATO, after boycotting it for almost half a century as an American shoeshine boy.
Both OPEC and the world's central bankers are discussing how to float a trial balloon to prepare the way for a new global currency, both asset-denominated and asset-backed, based on a basket of real goods, like barrels of oil rather than worthless certificates of debt, such as the ephemeral derivatives that are here today and gone tomorrow. Forty years ago, Kuwait was the first country to advocate a global currency based on the Real Goods doctrine, but now Iran has taken the lead. By backing a no-brainer whose time has come, they both are in good company.
Palestine will remain merely a distraction until Congress can get some leverage on the problems that really affect America as a nation. Other countries will now change in their own way and on their own schedule and so will we. It's not that America is no longer a powerful super-power. It is just that superpowers are no longer super.
We may now start balancing potential threats to peace, prosperity, and freedom. Pity poor AIPAC. Nuff to make you cry. See my article, "And the Dawn Comes Up Like Thunder: The Rise and Fall of AIPAC,". We are now on the up side of the equinox. Nowruz. Happy New Year!
Dr. Robert Dickson Crane is the former adviser to the late President of the United States Richard Nixon, and is former Deputy Director (for Planning) of the U.S. National Security Council. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books and over 50 professional articles on comparative legal systems, global strategy, and information management.
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