POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY AURAL BRAUN IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
Aural Braun’s column reminds me very much of the kind of pseudo-academic stuff churned out by those legions of scribblers working at America’s many think tanks, all of them functioning like the actors wearing white coats in television ads posing as doctors.
In other words, Mr Braun is attempting to sell us a bill of goods, but I’m afraid he doesn’t do a very good job of it.
“…the additional nuclear know-how that Iran is bound to gain from operating the advanced reactor is likely to serve a dual purpose and thereby boost prospects for Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.”
That’s simply inaccurate and question-begging. The best intelligence sources have told us Iran does not have a weapons program. Moreover, by what god-like authority are we to deny scientists and engineers in Iran the right to learn about reactor operations? God knows, Israel’s scientists suffer from no such restriction.
“Second, Russian leaders, President Dmitry Medvedev included, have pushed forcefully for Russian regional dominance, and this includes at least key parts of the Middle East.”
I thought Mr Braun’s qualification was as professor dealing with politics and international affairs? But with that flat-footed statement, he shows no understanding of what large and powerful states always do. They invariably behave in such a way that they serve as the sun to a solar system of states around them.
Indeed, that is precisely what Israel has worked towards since the Six Day War. Israel strives, with its ill-gotten nuclear weapons and bottomless military subsidies from the United States, whose government seems permanently intimidated by a relentless lobby, to become a miniature geo-political replica of the United States in the Middle East, one sharing no understanding or sympathies with the peoples over which it casts its shadow.
“The Erdogan government, which some suspect of considerable Islamist sympathies, has not only challenged Israel but has built powerful ties with Iran and Syria.”
First, I truly doubt Mr Braun would have written this nonsense before Israel’s bloody act of piracy on the high seas. Naturally, Turkey was deeply offended when its citizens were murdered, its word questioned (Turkey had officially examined the ships before they left), and a great deal of property stolen. Israel never even apologized.
Erdogen was treated as a rather exceptional leader by Israel’s apologists when he worked with Israel on a number of matters. Now, he is suddenly a pariah.
I hate to be the one breaking the news to Mr Braun, but Syria and Iran are legitimate, and ancient, countries. There is nothing wrong in having relations with them, even “powerful” ones, to use the same loaded word Mr Braun does.
There is additional news for Mr Braun: despite its Ataturk-started traditions of secular government, Turkey is a Muslim country, so Islamist sympathies are as natural as breathing. Only someone defending the indefensible (Israel’s behaviour), as Mr Braun works towards indirectly in this column, would consider that some kind of accusation.
“Third, although Moscow understands that a nuclear Iran would present a profound long-term danger, it also seems to believe it can control the ‘process’….This is an extraordinarily risky gamble and, in light of Iran’s determination and inventiveness, a foolish one.”
There is not one genuine fact in those statements, but lots of attitude and unwarranted adjectives.
“Superpower restoration for a Russia saddled with a unidimensional, energy-based economy confronting a dire demographic decline is a dangerous pipe dream.”
Apart from its mixed metaphors, that statement is ridiculous. Where is the evidence that Russia thinks it can be a “superpower”?
Russia in fact is a country of about 150 million people with an intellectually-gifted population, some extraordinary technological capability, and an economy that is “over the hump” of its great depression following the collapse of communism, and it is now starting to show potential for serious long-term growth.