Haaretz piece reveals Syrian conflict is direct punitive result of Assad defying West, obstructing USIsraeli attack on Iran.

By Tony Cartalucci

March 29, 2013 „Information Clearing House –LD” –  Haaretz has recently published an exceptionally revealing article, confirming that the Brooking Institution’s „Which Path to Persia?” report – a plan for the undermining and destruction of Iran – had indeed been set in motion, and that the current Syrian conflict is a direct result of Syria and Iran defying the West and disrupting what was to be a coup de grâce delivered to Tehran.

The article is titled, „Assad’s Israeli friend,” appears at first to be a ham-handed attempt to portray Syrian President Bashar Al Assad as somehow allied with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Instead, it actually reveals that Israel had attempted to execute verbatim, the strategies prescribed in the Brookings Institution’s „Which Path to Persia?” report, where Israel was to lure Syria away from Iran ahead of a US-Israeli strike and subsequent war with Tehran.

Syria obviously did not fall into the trap, and as a result, has been plunged into a destructive, spiteful war of proxy aggression by the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their regional allies.

The Haaretz piece states specifically:

In moving closer to Assad, Netanyahu had a number of motives. First, he wanted to put some space between Syria and Iran, in the hope that Damascus would stand aside in the event of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities in Natanz and Fordow.

Second, Israel’s loss of its alliances with Turkey and later with Egypt, compounded by apprehension about a deteriorating security situation in the south, pushed Jerusalem into buying quiet on its northern borders.

The third motive was to weaken Hezbollah, while the fourth was to address concerns that the Syrian rebels were in fact Al-Qaida operatives and that the fall of Assad’s regime would turn Syria into a hostile Islamic state.

Of course, while Haaretz admits that the so-called „Syrian rebels” are in fact vicious Al Qaeda terrorists with no intention of instituting anything resembling „freedom” or „democracy” in Syria, contrary to the West’s own long-peddled narrative, Israel is in fact one of three primary co-conspirators in raising the terrorist army in the first place.

In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh‘s 2007 New Yorker article,  „The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” Israel was implicated directly in an insidious conspiracy to funnel aid and arms to sectarian extremists in a bid to topple Iran and its regional allies:

In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran. 

Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group. (In February, the Saudis brokered a deal at Mecca between the two factions. However, Israel and the U.S. have expressed dissatisfaction with the terms.)

The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.

Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.)

The Israeli belief that pressuring Syria would make it more „conciliatory and open to negotiations,” as well as the „motivations” cited by the recent Haaretz piece, are torn straight from Brooking Institution’s 2009 „Which Path to Persia?” report. The report stated specifically: 
„…the Israelis may want to hold off [on striking Iran] until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus.” -page 109 (.pdf)
Clearly Syria refused the disingenuous „peace deal” with Israel, unlike its regional neighbors Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar who are now all working in lock step with US-Israeli interests. While these neighbors were spared the sedition and carnage visited upon other Arab nations during the US State Department orchestrated „Arab Spring,” Syria has been hit hardest and longest. The resilience of Syria may have delayed or even shelved Western designs aimed at reasserting hegemony across the Middle East, including delaying indefinitely war with Iran.

Israel’s disingenuous attempts to reproach Syria are only one of several prescribed strategies Brookings called for in their 2009 report that have already come to pass. Another was Brookings’ suggestion to deslist and arm the bizarre terrorist cult, Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK). MEK had been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department for decades, yet it was still heavily armed, funded, and its operatives even trained on US soil – this despite the group being listed for kidnapping and slaughtering US officers and civilian contractors.

In 2012, the US State Department would finally officially delist MEK, and announce that they would begin funding and arming them in earnest against Iran. The LA Times would report in their September 2012 article, „U.S. to remove Iranian group Mujahedin Khalq from terrorist list,” that:
The small but influential Iranian exile group Mujahedin Khalq will be removed from the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, a U.S. official said Friday, following a high-priced lobbying campaign claiming the controversial group had renounced violence.

The New Yorker and the Uk’s Daily Mail would each in turn report that MEK was being armed, trained, and directed by the West in terrorist activities against Iran, including the assassination of Iranian scientists.

Image: MEK is just one of many terrorist organizations, that despite being listed by the US State Department as such, still receives weapons, training, cash, and political support from the US government. This is a pattern seen repeated in Libya and most recently in Syria – each case spun and excused with a myriad of lies wrapped in false, constantly shifting narratives.  


The US’ delisting and arming of MEK proves that the West possesses the political duplicity to hypocritically arm their own „declared” enemies. This double game of condemning terrorist organizations while simultaneously arming and directing them against the West’s enemies goes far in explaining how thousands of tons of weapons NATO and its regional allies have sent to so-called „moderates” in Syriahave ended up almost exclusively in the hands of Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra , which has emerged as the most heavily armed, well funded, most organized militant front in the conflict. 
The Brookings report is not just a piece of paper – it is a documented conspiracy, executed in plain sight by corporate-financier interests that have transcended at least two US presidencies in their latest campaign against Iran, Syria, and the wider Middle East. Haaretz may hope that people quickly read the article and conclude that Israel is somehow backing the Syrian state, never realizing what is being reported is instead a disingenuous „peace deal” meant to lure in, then fatally betray Syria just as was done to Libya. 
Haaretz also hope readers do not realize the obvious – that Syria refused these insidious advances by the West which lead chronologically to the 2011 „uprising,” that Haaretz itself now admits is the work of terrorists, not „freedom fighters,” and that the New Yorker in 2007 revealed as being engineered by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel itself.
It is clear that Syria is being punished, divided, and destroyed for obstructing Western designs against Iran.  It is also clear that those forces fighting inside Syria against the Syrian people and their government, are aiding and abetting foreign aggression and what is essentially an attempt by Western interests to recolonize the Arab World. As mortars fired by NATO’s proxy forces, aimed at Damascus University, claim another 10-15 innocent lives, the public must be aware of the premeditated, punitive nature of the unhinged atrocities now being committed by these „rebels.”

This article was originally published at LandDestroyer



Cit mai dureaza pina izbucneste razboiul?Se simte tot mai tare în aer miros de praf de pușcă, și nu e o figură de stil, pentru că se pare ca va fi vorba  de un conflict militar care, într-o formă sau alta, nu are cum să nu afecteze și România.

E vorba, evident, de mult amînata atacare a Iranului – posibil și a Siriei – de către Israel, cu largul concurs al SUA. Un război programat inițial pentru anul trecut, dar amînat de alegerile din America. Iar evenimente de ultimă oră indică tot mai limpede că debutul conflictului nu va mai întîrzia mult.
Anul 2012 ar putea fi numit anul pregătirii psihologice a lumii pentru un nou război în Orientul Mijlociu, între Israel, Iran, Siria și…să sperăm că lista se oprește aici. La începutul anului 2012 se vorbea de o izbucnire iminentă înaintea alegerilor din SUA, dar, finalmente, s-a luat decizia amînării pînă după scrutin.
Între timp, Israel, prin oficialii săi, în frunte cu premierul Benjamin Netanyahu, s-a ocupat cu declarații belicoase peste declarații și cu netezirea asperităților diplomatice în cazul unor state care nu văd cu ochi buni conflictul. O acțiune eșuată, însă, cel puțin în cazul Germaniei, țară suspectată că a avut un rol major în programul nuclear iranian, care dă fiori Israelului, și care se opune cu îndîrjire soluției militare.
În octombrie anul trecut, Der Spiegel relata despre operațiunea ”Ventilatorul”, ancheta în cazul unor întreprinderi germane bănuite că au vîndut în mod clandestin elemente de înaltă tehnologie Iranului, violînd embargouri decretate de ONU şi UE. Referindu-se la refuzul îndîrjit al lui Merkel de a accepta atacarea Iranului de către evrei, Der Spiegel mai nota ”dacă întreprinderi din Germania trec prin plasa [controalelor] şi dau imaginea, la nivel internaţional, a unei colaborări deschise cu regimul preşedintelui Mahmud Ahmadinejad, argumentul său ar pierde din greutate”.
În noiembrie, Germania a enervat puternic evreii refuzînd să voteze, alături de americani, împotriva acordării Palestinei a statutului de stat observator la ONU.
În decembrie, Netanyahu a vizitat Germania, dar întîlnirea cu Merkel nu a fost prea fructuoasă. Cancelarul german nu a fost de acord nici măcar cu proiectul israelian de extindere a coloniilor din Ierusalimul de Est şi Cisiordania, darmite cu atacarea Iranului. După întîlnirea cu Merkel, premierul israelian a vizitat în mod ostentativ, am spune, legendara gară Grunewald, de unde plecau trenurile încărcate cu prizonieri evrei către lagărele de concentrare.
După vizită, în ultimele zile ale anului trecut, declarațiile lui Netanyahu despre iminența unui război cu Iranul s-au întețit. Cotidianul american “New York Times” a relatat, la rîndul său, citînd surse de la Pentagon, despre un mega-exercițiu militar al Israelului, la începutul acestei luni, în care s-a simulat atacarea obiectivelor nucleare iraniene.
Tot recent a avut loc decernarea Oscarurilor și un eveniment neobișnuit. Astfel, premiul pentru cel mai bun film a fost oferit – cel puțin discutabil, am spune noi – producției ”Argo”, în care americanii cei buni se confruntă cu iranienii cei sălbatici. În premieră absolut, premiul nu a fost anunțat de o vedetă hollywoodiană, ci de Casa Albă, prin intermediul soției președintelui Obama, parcă pentru a îngroșa la maxim tușele politice ale premierii lui ”Argo”, un film bun, fără îndoială, dar departe de valențe artistice de top și, în orice caz, grosolan sub aspectul respectării adevărului istoric.
O veritabilă bombă pare să fi căzut însă, în războiul psihologic care precede războiul din Orient, zilele trecute, la Washington. Astfel, presa mondială a relatat despre un studiu dat publicității de istoricii de pe lîngă Muzeul Holocaustului din SUA, după 13 ani de cercetări. Mai precis, conform studiului, numărul evreilor exterminați de germani în al doilea război mondial ar fi de peste trei ori mai mare decît se știa oficial, adică în jur de 20 de milioane, față de numai șase milioane. De asemenea, numărul total al lagărelor naziste din Europa ar fi fost de 42.500 în loc de 7000, cît se știa pînă acum.
“Cifra este mult mai mare decât ne-am fi aşteptat. Ştiam cît de oribilă era viaţa în astfel de lagăre, dar nu ne aşteptam ca numărul lor să fie atît de mare”, a declarat Hartmut Berghoff, directorul Institutului istoric german din Washington.
Deocamdată, informația e caldă, dar ea se va rostogoli fără îndoială pînă la cote dramatice. Practic, cercetătorii americani expediază o directă de imagine năpraznică în falca Germaniei, la 70 de ani de la război, într-un moment în care amintirea ororilor din anii 40 s-a mai estompat, iar steaua nemților începe să urce din nou spre vîrful Europei.
Simplă coincidență?  Posibil.
La fel de bine, s-ar putea ca SUA, ori lobbyul evreiesc din această țară, să dea un avertisment tăios Germaniei, țară care, așa cum spuneam, se opune cu tărie planurilor israeliene vizînd atacarea Iranului.
Cît despre Rusia, se știe că Kremlinul a avertizat în repetate rînduri că un atac asupra Iranului ar putea fi considerat o acțiune împotriva intereselor rusești, cu reacții pe măsură, ceea ce nu face decît să complice dramatic ecuația geopolitică într-o zonă relativ apropiată României.
Nu ne rămîne decît să sperăm că pregătirea de atac contra Iranului nu a inclus și vreo metodă discretă de îmblînzire a cerbiciei Moscovei. Una care să vizeze direct, să spunem, influența rusească în Balcani.

By Philip Giraldi

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has just completed its annual gala in Washington. A reported thirteen thousand AIPAC supporters reportedly cheered the latest efforts to make Israel America’s most favored nation. A small group of demonstrators was generally ignored though Scott McConnell reports that some protesters were spat upon by those filing in to celebrate Israel. It must be a habit they picked up in Jerusalem where spitting on Christian clergymen is considered de rigueur.

There has been considerable speculation that AIPAC’s power to corrupt and misdirect the American political system might be waning, that the struggle over the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense revealed all the ugliness of the Israel Lobby. I have never quite bought into that argument even though it is true that the attempt to derail the nomination of a qualified former senator demonstrated clearly that U.S. foreign and defense policies are being judged by many in the media and the punditry as well as, to our shame, in congress solely in terms of how they impact on Israel. It seemed to me that the Israel Lobby is too firmly ensconced in the places that matter to be vulnerable to thirty days of scrutiny. The American public has already forgotten about Hagel, if it was ever interested at all, and there is no sign that any of the demagogic senators – Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, James Imhofe, John McCain, and Marco Rubio among others – will in any way pay a political price for their placing Israel first. Indeed, many of their evangelical constituents will inevitably applaud what they have done.

It has also been noted that the recently concluded AIPAC gathering was the first in many years where a sitting U.S. President or an Israeli Prime Minister did not speak, and this has been interpreted as a loss of influence. Last year, both President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were present but this year Netanyahu is engaged in forming a new government and could not travel while Obama is himself preparing for a trip to Israel next week. Vice President Joe Biden did yeoman’s work, however, making sure that everyone would understand that the Washington will continue to respond to Israel’s concerns, boasting how the Obama administration had successfully blocked any United Nations inquiry into Israel’s illegal settlements. So predictions that the death of AIPAC is imminent would appear to be somewhat premature.

Indeed, it would be a mistake to focus too much on AIPAC when the Israel Lobby encompasses so much more, but it is no coincidence that there has been a flurry of proposed legislation designed to coincide with the annual conference. Consider for a moment what the friends of Israel are now attempting to accomplish and how far their allies in congress are willing to go to compromise actual American interests. First there is H.R. 938 the “United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013″ which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs last Monday. The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who heads the committee and by her Democratic colleague from Florida Ted Deutch. Ros-Lehtinen is a familiar booster for Israel and also for what she perceives to be Jewish interests. In 2011 she co-sponsored a bill that provided special medical benefits to holocaust survivors to enable them to remain in their homes and receive medical care. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency described it “the bill would give Holocaust survivors preference in obtaining aging services,” providing in this case something that is not available to normal Medicare recipients. Ros-Lehtinen has also been a co-sponsor of most of the pro-Israel, anti-Iran legislation that has surfaced in congress over the past five years.

H.R. 938 calls for strengthening “the strategic alliance between the United States and Israel.” It’s declaration of policy is that “Congress declares that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States” and it indicates that its intention is to upgrade “the framework of the United States-Israel strategic and military relationships.” The text of the bill is relatively soporific but it does several things. First, it extends the time frame and scope of various assistance and information sharing programs that Washington has entered into with Tel Aviv, including its ability to help itself to equipment from U.S. military stockpiles. Second, it creates reporting requirements for the White House and various government Departments to ensure that programs relating to Israel are actually moving forward. There should be particular concern over the bill’s expanding the areas of military technology sharing between Washington and Tel Aviv as Israel has a track record of stealing the proprietary technology for use in systems that its own defense industry is marketing. Assisting in that effort, the bill also specifically gives Israel blanked authority to re-export any technology it obtains from the U.S. An additional substantive area that the bill addresses is the various missile defense systems that Israel has in place and is developing, mandating that the U.S. “should provide assistance upon request by the Government of Israel, for the…procurement and enhancement” of the systems.

The House Resolution also calls for the State Department to include Israel in the visa waiver program, which would allow Israelis to travel to the United States more-or-less freely. It will be a boon to Israeli/Russian organized crime, which has already spread throughout the United States. Interestingly, there is also a Barbara Boxer produced Senate version of the same bill (S.R. 462) that adds some interesting language, “Israel has made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all US citizens.” Normally participation in the visa waiver program absolutely requires that the arrangement be completely reciprocal, but in this case the Senate is certifying that Israel is compliant even though it is not: it regularly denies entry to American citizens of Palestinian descent, most recently to a teacher in a Christian school in Ramallah. So Congress is again rewriting its own rules on behalf of Israel.

It does not require any particular insight to note that the “major strategic alliance” suggested by the bill benefits Israel by extending various cooperation and sharing agreements while further committing to pay for enhancements of the Israeli missile defense system “upon request” by Benjamin Netanyahu or whoever winds up succeeding him as prime minister. And it might be noted in passing that no other nation, including countries like Great Britain and Canada whose soldiers have actually fought side by side with Americans in a number of twentieth century wars and also more recently, is regarded as a “major strategic ally.” It is a designation that will be unique to Israel and is intended to elevate that nation above all others in terms of its relationship with Washington.

And there is nothing in the bill that actually benefits the United States. The words “alliance” and “ally” are used several times but they have no meaning as Israel is not in any traditional alliance relationship with Washington that would actually require it to do anything. In any event, it would be difficult for Washington to define what constitutes an attack on Israel as Israel has expanding borders. No reciprocity and no conditions set on possible mutual action means there is no actual alliance, unlike an organization like Cold War-era NATO which once upon a time clearly defined what member states had to do if threatened or attacked while further limiting what they could do unilaterally. The U.S. exercises no restraint on Israeli behavior and the relationship is strictly one way.

An additional bill, this time from the Senate, S.R. 65, authored by unflinchingly pro-Israel Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez, with twenty other Senatorial co-sponsors, was introduced on February 28th. There is a parallel version in the House of Representatives called H.R. 850 with 102 co-sponsors. The Senate version is called “The Iran Nuclear Prevention Act” and is described as “A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation.” It cites the Iranian “continuing pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability” and “the policy of the United States…to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon capability” before urging that “if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense the United States government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military and economic support…”

S.R. 65 is a virtual declaration of war on a timetable to be established by Israel though the text of the resolution concludes with a disclaimer that it is not an “authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.” Disclaimer aside, the resolution basically concedes that if Israel starts a war against Iran under any pretext, the United States must automatically support it up to an including using its own military and naval forces. As Senator Graham admitted in an interview, “If Israel acts in its own defense – even preemptively – we will support Israel economically, diplomatically, and politically.”

But one of the interesting things about the attack Iran resolution is that its premise is wrong: both Israeli and U.S. intelligence believe that Tehran currently has no actual weapons program though if one goes by “capability” rather than actually having or seeking a weapon, Iran is one of more than fifty nations that currently have the technical ability to construct a nuclear device. To do so, it would have to make the political decision to spend the billions of dollars required in the effort and be prepared to submit to a catastrophically damaging international response which almost certainly would lead to a war that would devastate Iran and the entire Gulf region.

Finally there is the sequester, which provides an opportunity to return again to AIPAC. Part of AIPAC’s annual routine consists of its supporters flooding Capitol Hill Senate and House offices to lobby legislators regarding key issues of concern to the pro-Israel community. This year there were a couple of hot buttons, including the perennial favorite of the alleged Iranian threat, but the issue that received the most attention was the sequester. AIPAC’s supporters fanned out in the House and Senate office buildings to tell their congressmen that under no circumstances should Israel’s $3.2 billion in aid be cut, no matter what the sequester calls for and no matter what domestic programs have to be eliminated. One has to suspect that the no-cuts in aid to Israel will somehow be tied to the bid to declare the country America’s “major strategic ally.”

So are we back to square one? Not exactly. The Hagel confirmation fight revealed that U.S. interests matter not a whit for Israel’s most vocal supporters while the American media is gradually becoming more open to criticism of what is going on in Tel Aviv. But the Lobby still has the whip hand, able to manage what appears in most of the media while having a vice-like grip on congress. It is probably futile in the near term, but we the people should start to imitate AIPAC by letting congressmen know that there are a lot of us out here who vote and who are not too happy about the prospect of a third war in Asia against Iran. Indeed, the real test of the Israel Lobby’s power will be played out over the next nine months or so. If we do get a war with Iran then those of us who have opposed it might as well fold our cards on “let us reason together” and begin to think of civil disobedience on a serious level. It might be the only option we have remaining to turn the ship around.


Jim FetzerVeterans Today

The situation with Iran is completely absurd–unless there is a hidden motive. Iran poses nomilitary threat to the United States. Iran has not attacked any other country for more than 300 years. It has signed the . It allows inspectors. In 2007, 16 US intel agencies converged in the opinion that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons–an opinion they reaffirmed in 2011. The Supreme Leader of Iran has declared, “Nuclear energy for all;nuclear weapons for none”, which is thepolicy of the nation. Whatever the motive fortargeting Iran, it is not the development of nukes.

Why is the US targeting Iran An abundance of reasons

If the issue were the possession of nuclear weapons, then we should be looking in another direction. Israel has 200-600 or more of these little beauties. Israel has not signed the

Moreover, one country appears to be using nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which is not Iran but the United States.  Dr. Christopher Busby, an expert on connections between cancer and birth-defects in relation to the use of nuclear weapons, has concluded, based upon his study of anomalies in Fallujah, that


Since Israel has a vast stockpile and Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, any concerns about them ought to be directed at Israel, not Iran.  A more likely explanation, therefore, is that the peaceful development of nuclear energy is the real problem, where Iran has

The Stirling Engine

A friend of mine wrote me today telling me that, “about 50 years ago, I knew an Iranian student in college and he told me this big ‘secret’ his country was working on, he said it was a stirling engine, no intake and no exhaust, would run from any heat source, he said it would run if you just pissed on it—point is, Iran is so far ahead in development of this engine technology that no one can compete with them, so, I guess their economy has to be destroyed, otherwise they would be the leading energy provider for the world.”

The suggestion sounds a bit far-fetched until you appreciate that, as he explained, gasoline engines are 30% efficient, at best, meaning 70% of heat is lost.  Stirling engines are 90% plus efficient from any fuel and can use solar, gasoline, diesel, coal, LP gas, steam or thermal water deposits and even cooling towers from nuclear plants.  Iran’s focus on this technology caught the west flatfooted and not energy competitive, a very big no, no. . . . In brief, the stirling engine concept would free the world from ‘oil’ dependence and make Iran the major player in the world’s energy market–a big, big problem for the west.

Indeed, what he has told me is borne out even by entries in commonplace sources such as Wikipedia:

Main article: Regenerative heat exchanger

In a Stirling engine, the regenerator is an internal heat exchanger and temporary heat store placed between the hot and cold spaces such that the working fluid passes through it first in one direction then the other. Its function is to retain within the system that heat which would otherwise be exchanged with the environment at temperatures intermediate to the maximum and minimum cycle temperatures,[11] thus enabling the thermal efficiency of the cycle to approach the limiting Carnot efficiency defined by those maxima and minima.

The primary effect of regeneration in a Stirling engine is to increase the thermal efficiency by ‘recycling’ internal heat which would otherwise pass through the engine irreversibly. As a secondary effect, increased thermal efficiency yields a higher power output from a given set of hot and cold end heat exchangers. It is these which usually limit the engine’s heat throughput. In practice this additional power may not be fully realized as the additional “dead space” (unswept volume) and pumping loss inherent in practical regenerators reduces the potential efficiency gains from regeneration.

The design challenge for a Stirling engine regenerator is to provide sufficient heat transfercapacity without introducing too much additional internal volume (‘dead space’) or flow resistance. These inherent design conflicts are one of many factors which limit the efficiency of practical Stirling engines. A typical design is a stack of fine metal wire meshes, with low porosity to reduce dead space, and with the wire axes perpendicular to the gas flow to reduce conduction in that direction and to maximize convective heat transfer.[12]

The regenerator is the key component invented by Robert Stirling and its presence distinguishes a true Stirling engine from any other closed cycle hot air engine. Many small ‘toy’ Stirling engines, particularly low-temperature difference (LTD) types, do not have a distinct regenerator component and might be considered hot air engines, however a small amount of regeneration is provided by the surface of displacer itself and the nearby cylinder wall, or similarly the passage connecting the hot and cold cylinders of an alpha configuration engine.

Further substantiation–albeit indirect–comes from the extensive array of CCGT power plants, which appear to incorporate stirling engines in their towers. Notice the absence of the kinds of cooling units ordinarily associated with power plants, where these instead are designed to capture energy to an extent that they are neither needed nor desired:

By designating Iran as a “terrorist state”, the US is not legally bound to recognizes its patents and legal claims to its own inventions. If there is a bombing of Iran, you can bet it will be on these CCGT power plants rather than on any alleged “nuclear facilities”. This is another case of “big lies” coming from the American government to benefit the profit margins of US corporations.

An Abundance of Reasons

What this alternative provides is another explanation that goes beyond what we have been told by our own government–which, of course, is hardly surprising, since it lies about everything of importance, from the assassination to JFK to the atrocities of 9/11 to the fabricated events of Aurora and Sandy Hook. Were I to enumerate a list of reasons why the US continues to target Iran, even though it poses no military risk, especially from nuclear weapons, then the most important considerations would appear to be:

(1) that Iran abandoned the petro-dollar for trade in multiple currencies, which has been described as a“weapon of mass destruction of a very different kind“, of which the American public only dimly grasps:

It began in 2005, when Iran announced it would form its own International Oil Bourse (IOB), the first phase of which opened in 2008. The IOB is an international exchange that allows international oil, gas, and petroleum products to be traded using a basket of currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Then in November 2007 at a major OPEC meeting, Iran’s PresidentMahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a “credible and good currency to take over U.S. dollar’s role and to serve oil trades”. He also called the dollar “a worthless piece of paper.” The following month, Iran—consistently ranked as either the third or fourth biggest oil producer in the world—announced that it had requested all payments for its oil be made in currencies other than dollars.

The latest round of U.S. sanctions targets countries that do business with Iran’s Central Bank, which, combined with the U.S. and EU oil embargoes, should in theory shut down Iran’s ability to export oil and thus force it to abandon its nuclear program by crippling its economy. But instead, Iran is successfully negotiating oil sales via accepting gold, individual national currencies like China’s renmimbi, and direct bartering.

Other countries that have abandoned the petro-dollar have also not fared well in their relations with the United States, including Iraq in late 2000 and Libya introduced the gold dinar in 2011.  It isn’t rocket science to infer that our invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the bombing of Libya have followed in their wake:

Since gold yuan coinage was announced by China, talks about the gold standard had been brought up in the Middle East. The main initiator of  non-payment in dollars and euros is the Leader and Guide of the Revolution in Libya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He called on Arab and African world to adopt a single current – the gold dinar.

On this financial basis, Colonel Gaddafi offered to create a single African state with Arab and Black African population numbering 200 million people. The idea of creating a single gold currency and uniting the countries of Africa into one powerful federal system has been actively supported during the last year by a number of Arabic and almost all African states. Democracy-infested South Africa and the Arab League were opposed to the idea.

The US and the EU reacted very negatively to such a initiative. According to a French Zio “president” Sarkozy, “the Libyans have set on the financial security of mankind.” Repeated calls by the Leader of the Libyan Revolution yields some results: Gaddafi has made more and more steps aimed at creating a United Africa.

Two false arguments have been invented to cover up the true reason for the present Zio-Christian Crusade against Libya: officially – “to defend human rights” and unofficially – an attempt to steal oil from the Libyan people. Both of these arguments do not hold up to scrutiny.  The truth is that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi decided to repeat the attempts by French General de Gaulle to abandon the use of U.S. junk paper money called “dollars” and return to gold, i.e. he attempts to attack the chief power of modern parasitic Zio Democracy – the banking system.

(2) that Iran threatens the US nuclear energy industry with its potential to produce nuclear fuel rods at a fraction of the cost and is expected to dominate the international market is one dimension of the energy threat, where the development of the stirling engine appears to represent another.  If my friend is right in what he has told me, then the situation is as hypocritical as it could possibly be, because the threat is not remotely military but rather economic, where the benefits that may come to the world from emancipation from its dependents upon gas and oil poses the most serious kind of threat that the gas and oil industry has ever known.  Just as Gaddafi was benefitting the people of Libya and promoting the best interests of the African continent, Iran has the potential to benefit the people of the world–but at immense cost to the profit margin of the gas and oil industry, which suggests the real reasons why the US is targeting Iran.


The nature of the Syrian crisis has changed. The process of destabilization that was to open the path for legal military intervention by the Atlantic Alliance has failed. Removing its mask, the United States has publicly announced the possibility of attacking Syria without the approval of the Security Council, as it also did in Kosovo. Washington must be pretending not to have noticed that the Russia of Vladimir Putin is not that of Boris Yeltsin. After being assured of Chinese support, Moscow literally fired two warning shots in the direction of Washington. The continuing violations of international law by NATO and the GCC threaten to unleash a global conflict.

President Vladimir Putin began his third mandate under the sign of sovereignty in the face of direct threats launched against the Russian Federation by the United States and NATO. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the expansion of NATO, the installation of military bases, the deployment of a missile shield on its borders, and the destruction of Libya and the destabilization of Syria.

In the days following his inauguration, Mr. Putin reviewed the Russian military industrial sector, his armed forces and his treaty alliance system. He pursued this course of action while choosing to draw in Syria a line in the sand that must not be crossed. For Putin, NATO’s invasion of Libya was equivalent to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Third Reich and that of Syria, should it occur, would be comparable to the invasion of Poland that started WWII.

Any interpretation that what is currently happening in the Levant is the result of an internal dynamic of revolution/repression within Syria is not only false but a distortion of the real stakes involved, and simply amounts to more political maneuvering. The Syrian crisis is first and foremost a further stage in the project of „remodeling of the greater Middle East”; a further attempt to destroy the „Axis of Resistance” and the first „war for gas” being played out.

What is actually at stake in Syria is not whether Bashar al-Assad will be able to democratize the institutions he has „inherited” or whether the Wahhabist monarchies of the Gulf will succeed in destroying the last secular regime in the region and impose their sectarianism, but to determine the lines of separation between the emerging power blocs of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization).

Some of our readers will be startled to read the preceding phrase. Indeed, the Western and Gulf media have been hammering the point day after day that President El-Assad is a „sectarian dictator” working to the advantage of the Alawite minority, while the armed opposition to his authority is portrayed as the incarnation of democratic pluralism. Just a glance at recent events is enough to belie this version.

Bashar al-Assad has successively convened municipal elections, a referendum, as well as legislative elections. All observers unanimously agreed that the elections unfolded in a transparent manner. The degree of popular participation was more than 60% even while the West was denouncing the electoral process as „a farce” and while the Western-backed armed opposition was preventing citizens from getting to the polls in the four districts under its control. At the same time, the armed opposition stepped up its attacks not only against security forces but also against civilians and all the symbols of national culture and of Syria’s multi-confessional character.

They assassinated progressive Sunnis, then randomly killed Alawites and Christians in order to force their families to flee. They burned more than fifteen hundred schools and churches. They proclaimed an ephemeral Independent Islamic Emirate in Baba Amr where they instituted a Revolutionary Tribunal which condemned more than 150 felons, who were then beheaded in public one by one by an executioner. It is certainly not the woeful spectacle of some vagrant politicians, meeting up at the „Syrian National Council” and erecting a facade of democracy having no relation to the reality of the crimes being committed by the so-called Free „Syrian” Army, that will prevent the truth from coming out much longer. In the circumstances, who can believe that the secular Syrian regime, whose exemplary character was celebrated not so long ago, would have turned into a confessional dictatorship, while the Free „Syrian” Army, supported by the Wahhabist dictatorships of the Gulf and obeying the injunctions of Takfirist preachers would conversely be advanced as a paragon of democratic pluralism?

The announcement by U.S. leaders of a possible international intervention outside a U.N. mandate in the same fashion as NATO dismembered Yugoslavia elicted both apprehension and anger in Moscow. The Russian Federation, which until now held itself in a defensive position, has moved to take the initiative. This strategic shift flows from the urgency of the situation from Russia’s point of view and favorable shifts on the ground in Syria.

Moscow proposes to create a Contact Group on Syria that would bring together the ensemble of concerned states, meaning Syria’s neighbors as well as both regional and international powers. Its purpose is to put in place a forum for dialogue to substitute for the current bellicose approach imposed by the West under the Orwellian rubric, the „Friends of Syria Conference.”

Russia continues to support the Annan Plan—which is in fact the scarcely modified plan submitted earlier by Sergei Lavrov to the Arab League. Russia deplores that the plan was not implemented, assigning responsibility for that failure to the opposition faction which took up arms. According to A.K. Lukashevich, spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, the Free „Syrian” Army is an illegal organization according to international law. It is assassinating twenty to thirty Syrian soldiers each day yet is publicly supported by NATO states and the GCC in violation of the Annan Plan.

Positioning himself as a peacemaker confronting NATO warmongering, Vladimir Putin has demanded that the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) ready itself to deploy its „blue chapkas” in Syria, to both separate the belligerents and combat foreign forces. Nicolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the CSTO, has confirmed that he is ready to deploy 20,000 men trained for this type of mission and immediately available.

This would be the first time that the CSTO deploys a peace force outside of former Soviet territory. Cut to the quick, Ban Ki-Moon attempted to sabotage the initiative, countering with his own sudden effort to organize a Contact Group. Convening in Washington the Sanctions Working Group of the „Friends Of Syria Conference”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defied the Russian proposal and raised the ante in favor of regime change.

In Turkey, opposition legislators have visited the Syrian refugee camps. They have confirmed the absence of more than one thousand refugees registered by the United Nations in the main camp and noted, by contrast, the presence of an arsenal in the camp. They have also demanded in Parliament that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reveal the rising amount of humanitarian aid being given to phantom refugees. The deputies maintain that the refugee camp is a cover for a secret military operation, sheltering in reality combatants, principally Libyans who are using it as a rear base. The deputies are asserting that the combatants are those who were introduced in the district of Houla when the massacre was being perpetrated.

These revelations confirm the accusations of the Russian ambassador to the Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, according to which the Special Representative of Ban Ki-Moon in Libya, Ian Martin, had used U.N. funds destined for refugees to bring al Qaeda combatants into Turkey.

In Saudi Arabia, the fracture between King Abdullah and the Sudairi clan has reappeared. At the invitation of the monarch, the Supreme Council of the Oulema issued a fatwa stipulating that Syria is not a land of jihad. At the same time, however, Prince Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been calling to arm the opposition against the „Alawites.”

Thursday, June 7 was a day of many significant events. While Ban Ki-Moon and Navi Pillay, respectively Secretary General and High Commissioner of Human Rights, were pleading their case against Syria before the U.N. General Assembly, Moscow proceeded with two test-launches of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Bulava missile draws its name from an ancient Slavic mace used as a baton by the Marshall of the Cossack Armies.Colonel Vadim Koval, spokesman of the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Federation (RSVN) confirmed the test of a Topol—launched from a silo near the Caspian Sea, but has not confirmed that of the Bulava from a submarine in the Mediterranean. But the firing was observed from all over the Near East, Israel and Armenia and there is no other known armament that leaves similar tracings in the sky.

The message is clear : Moscow is ready for world war if NATO and the GCC do not comply with the international obligations as defined in the Annan Plan and persist in aiding terrorism.

According to our sources, this shot across the bow was coordinated with the Syrian authorities. Moscow equally had encouraged Damascus to liquidate the „Islamic” Emirate of Baba Amr once the Syrian authority was confirmed by constitutional referendum, as it also encouraged the goverment to wipe out mercenary groups present in the country as soon as the new Parliament and new Prime Minister were installed. The order was given to move from a defensive strategy to offensive action to protect the population from terrorism. The national army moved to attack the strongholds of armed groups. The combat in the coming days is going to be difficult, all the more so in that the mercenaries possess mortars, anti-tank missiles and, as from now, surface to air missiles.

To lessen the rapidly-increasing tension, France immediately accepted the Russian proposal to participate in an ad hoc Contact Group. Washington hurried Frederic C. Hof to Moscow. Contradicting the statements made the day before by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Hof also accepted the Russian invitation.

The time is past to lament the expansion of combat into Lebanon, or to conjecture about the possible regionalization of conflict. Over the past sixteen months of the destabilization of Syria, NATO and the GCC have created a situation without exit that might well degenerate into global war.

Voltaire Network


Monday 11-06-2012

Last week I attended an event hosted by the Arms Control Association and the National Iranian American Council on how to make diplomacy work with Iran. I wrote about it here. Keynote speaker Zbigniew Brzezinski was the last to speak and showed up minutes before he took the stage. The former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter politely denied an interview request with Voice of America before making his way to the podium, whereupon he joked about being presented with, as a child, the opportunity to become the foreign minister of Iran during the Shah’s era.

Around this time last year, the famed geostrategist was urging the Obama administration to engage Iran when few were so bold. Now, when many are talking about diplomatic strategies to avoid a costly war, Brzezinski is discussing US options if diplomacy fails.

Brzezinski emphasized that he prefers a “negotiated outcome that meets to some extent the principle desires of our negotiating side but doesn’t necessarily humiliate the Iranians”, and that war would be an “act of utter irresponsibility” and “significant immorality if the United States was part of it.” He also showed a little of his characteristic pep when he stated that the US shouldn’t follow like “a stupid mule, whatever the Israelis do.” But his focus on what to do if talks head nowhere — as they have in the past — suggests he’s not optimistic about their prospects.

There have been some positive signs from the White House. On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US wants bilateral talks at Brookings’ Saban Center. The administration also expressed oppositionto yet another sanctions bill approved on Friday by the Senate. But as Josh Rogin notes in his report, the Obama administration has often touted the sanctions regime pushed by Congress even while criticizing it. Add to this Iran’s own paranoid, hardening domestic political environment, and Brzezinski’s position is hard to dismiss.

Following are 4 options Brzezinski offered should talks fail. From the transcript:


Then, what really are our options in that setting?  My bottom line answer to the question which I have just posed is that there are no good options.  But there are, of course, still options, but they range from the worst to the least bad.  But at least, there’s a choice.  The least attractive – the worst, in fact, would be if the United States and/or Israel, or jointly, attacked Iran.  I think that is a fact.  I have spoken to that many times.

So let me merely say in brief that this would produce a regional crisis and widespread hatred, particularly for the United States because the United States would be seen as the deciding partner in such an undertaking, whether jointly with Israel or subsequent to Israel or by the United States alone.  The United States would be drawn into, therefore, a protracted conflict in the region, first of all with the Iranians and perhaps the Iranian people as well.

For while the attitudes of the Iranians by and large, to the extent that we can tell, towards the United States are not hostile and on the whole, in the larger cities, quite benign, a conflict in which the United States was acting as, in their perspective, an aggressor and engaging in military action would certainly precipitate long lasting hatred for the United States.  And that would be a fact of life in that part of the country, and not an insignificant one since it would involve some 85 million people.

In the more immediate perspective, of course, there would be regional disruption.  The region would be literally set aflame with the conflict probably spreading through Iraq to Syria, creating one large belt of conflict, complicating our withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly in the western parts of Afghanistan where Iran has the capacity to make life miserable for us.  It would be disruptive of course in terms of the security of oil flowing through the Strait of Hormuz, even if it was kept open by the United States.  But still, even then the price of insurance for the flow of oil would dramatically increase.

And there is a further uncertainty involved in that kind of an operation, namely how successful would it be.  In fact, in estimates by Israeli experts regarding Israel’s potential to be decisively effective, are pessimistic.  And American estimates depend on the scale of the American attack.  Even a relatively modest attack by the United States would inflict in any case serious casualties on the Iranians, precipitating the death of a large number of Iranian scientists and probably, in some cases given the location of the facilities, also civilians.

And there is still the unknown factor of what happens if radiation is released as a consequence of these attacks.  And that could be a significant factor in terms of civilian casualties, particularly in places that are larger, semi-metropolitan.  And of course, some facilities that would be destroyed are located – for example, Isfahan.

All of that, I think makes an attack not a very attractive remedy for dealing with the problem, a problem which then would pale in insignificance compared to the consequences of the attack once the dynamic consequences were set in motion.  So I dismiss that as a serious alternative.  I think it would be an act of utter irresponsibility and potentially a very significant immorality if the United States was part of it.

A second alternative, not either very good – neither are very good is a campaign of covert subversion – ranging from sabotage through assassinations, maybe even to cyberwarfare – directed at Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring an effective nuclear weapon.  I think the result of that is troublesome, not in terms of its immediate outcome because the asymmetry of capabilities between the United States and Iran is so wide that obviously Iran would be much more negatively affected.

But in the longer run, we cannot entirely dismiss the fact that inherent in such a strategy one sets in motion a degradation of the international system, a degradation of the international rules of the game, which could prove, in the longer run, very damaging to American national interests, if one assumes that the United States wishes to be essentially a status-quo power, not one that precipitates massive disruptions of the international order, but has a national interest in consolidating the international order and, indeed, even in expanding its international effectiveness.

So the losses in that sense to American national interests of such a campaign would be significant.  And it is not clear that they would necessarily lead to the desired – otherwise desired outcome, namely deprivation of Iran of capability to have a militarily significant nuclear potential.  Indeed, implicit perhaps in that second strategy would be an eventual outcome very similar to the first strategy, that the United States would find it necessary, would find itself compelled or driven by others into undertaking option one, but making it even in a more negative context.

The third not desirable option, but perhaps somewhat less immediately destructive, is of course a policy of the continuous imposition of sanctions on Iran that would range from painful to strangulating.  That is to say, a policy in which one assumes that at some point Iran would accommodate and accept an outcome which otherwise was not achieved in the process of negotiations.

This is a complicated undertaking because it’s very difficult in that context to clearly distinguish between what sanctions are designed to achieve the nuclear objective, and which ones are designed to achieve other objectives on the grounds of which they were initially imposed.  For example, support for Hezbollah and for other so-called terrorist organizations.

In other words, will we be trying to change the behavior of the regime?  Would we be trying to force it to comply with our position on the nuclear issue?  Or would we be trying to change the regime?  Careful discrimination of this context is very difficult to achieve and, hence, it is also very difficult to envisage an outcome in advance that would be clearly productive insofar as the original point of departure for the sanctions is concerned.

And that brings me to the fourth and least – the least objectionable of the bad options, all of that being based on the assumption that we’re not able to achieve our desired outcome by serious negotiations.  And that is to combine continued painful, but not strangulating sanctions – and be very careful in that distinction – with clear political support for the emergence of eventual democracy in Iran, an objective with which I think many Iranians would associate themselves.

And at the same time an explicit security guarantee for U.S.-friendly Middle Eastern states, including Israel, modeled on the very successful, decade-lasting protection of our European allies from an overwhelming Soviet nuclear threat, and also modeled on the successful protection of South Korea and Japan from the recently emerged North Korean threat, and perhaps earlier on, implicitly but not explicitly, from possible Chinese intimidation.

We succeeded in that policy over many decades and with good result for all concerned, including the Soviet Union and us, including the Russian people and the American people, and certainly to the benefit of those whom we were protecting.  We now know, for example, from secret Soviet war plans, that the Soviets were contemplating, even in the case of the conventional war in which they were moving westward, the use of nuclear weapons against cities.

For example, on the third day of a Soviet offensive, according to Soviet war plans, tactical nuclear weapons, several of them, were designed or were targeted for use against Hamburg – a very large urban center.  And there were others in Western Europe, depending on how the offensive was moving forward.  All of that was avoided by a policy of deterrence that was credible.

This is then the fourth option, which is not the same as the achievement of our objective, but it is an option which creates a condition which might endure for quite a while, because it is difficult to imagine any Iranian regime embarking on a nuclear adventure if it simply has the bomb.  What does that mean, it simply has the bomb?  Has it really been tested?  Is it already related to delivery system?  Does one use it when one has only one?  Does one wait until one has 10?

One has to consider in these circumstances the consequences of their use.  And given an explicit commitment by an overwhelmingly stronger nuclear power, which has demonstrated a willingness to protect with others with credibility and commitment, I think that at least is some degree of assurance that we are gaining time in a very turbulent setting, in a very turbulent time.  And that in itself is an advantage.

This is not an argument for it to be the central focus of our policy.  Obviously a negotiated outcome that meets to some extent the principle desires of our negotiating side but doesn’t necessarily humiliate the Iranians and forces them into an unconditional surrender, so to speak, is still preferable.

But short of that, if in fact the negotiations do not succeed in the near term, I think a shift by the United States to a combination of sanctions, but oriented specifically to the promotion of internal democratizing change and at the same time to serve as a deterrent and involves all of our friends in the Middle East, is the best option – or it’s the least objectionable options of the options that have failed otherwise in the achievement of their ultimate objective.



By Stephen M. Walt

The debate on Iran and its nuclear program does little credit to the U.S. foreign policy community, because much of it rests on dubious assumptions that do not stand up to even casual scrutiny. Lots of ink, pixels, and air-time has been devoted to discussing whether Iran truly wants a bomb, how close it might be to getting one, how well sanctions are working, whether the mullahs in charge are “rational,” and whether a new diplomatic initiative is advisable. Similarly, journalists, politicians and policy wonks spend endless hours asking if and when Israel might attack and whether the United States should help. But we hardly ever ask ourselves if this issue is being blown wildly out of proportion.

At bottom, the whole debate on Iran rests on the assumption that Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon would be an event of shattering geopolitical significance: On a par with Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, the fall of France in 1940, the Sino-Soviet split, or the breakup of the former Soviet Union. In this spirit, Henry Kissinger recently argued that a latent Iranian capability (that is, the capacity to obtain a bomb fairly quickly) would have fearsome consequences all by itself. Even if Iran stopped short of some red line, Kissinger claims this would: 1) cause “uncontrollable military nuclear proliferation throughout [the] region,” 2) “lead many of Iran’s neighbors to reorient their political alignment toward Tehran” 3) “submerge the reformist tendencies in the Arab Spring,” and 4) deliver a “potentially fatal blow” to hopes for reducing global nuclear arsenals. Wow. And that’s just if Iran has nuclear potential and not even an actual weapon! It follows that the United States must either persuade them to give up most of their enrichment capacity or go to war to destroy it.

Yet this “mother of all assumptions” is simply asserted and rarely examined. The obvious question to ask is this: did prior acts of nuclear proliferation have the same fearsome consequences that Iran hawks now forecast? The answer is no. In fact, the spread of nuclear weapons has had remarkably little impact on the basic nature of world politics and the ranking of major powers. The main effect of the nuclear revolution has been to induce greater caution in the behavior of both those who possessed the bomb and anyone who had to deal with a nuclear-armed adversary. Proliferation has not transformed weak states into influential global actors, has not given nuclear-armed states the ability to blackmail their neighbors or force them to kowtow, and it has not triggered far-reaching regional arms races. In short, fears that an Iranian bomb would transform regional or global politics have been greatly exaggerated; one might even say that they are just a lot of hooey.

Consider the historical record.

Did the world turn on its axis when the mighty Soviet Union tested its first bomb in 1949? Although alarmist documents like NSC-68 warned of a vast increase in Soviet influence and aggressiveness, Soviet nuclear development simply reinforced the caution that both superpowers were already displaying towards each other. The United States already saw the USSR as an enemy, and the basic principles of containment were already in place. NATO was being formed before the Soviet test and Soviet dominance of Eastern Europe was already a fait accompli. Having sole possession of the bomb hadn’t enabled Truman to simply dictate to Stalin, and getting the bomb didn’t enable Stalin or his successors to blackmail any of their neighbors or key U.S. allies. It certainly didn’t lead any countries to “reorient their political alignment toward Moscow.” Nikita Khrushchev’s subsequent missile rattling merely strengthened the cohesion of NATO and other U.S.-led alliances, and we now know that much of his bluster was intended to conceal Soviet strategic inferiority. Having a large nuclear arsenal didn’t stop the anti-commnist uprisings in East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, or Poland, and didn’t allow the Soviet Union to win in Afghanistan. Nor did it prevent the USSR from eventually collapsing entirely.

Did British and French acquisition of nuclear weapons slow their decline as great powers? Not in the slightest. Having the force de frappe may have made De Gaulle feel better about French prestige and having their own deterrent made both states less dependent on America’s security umbrella, but it didn’t give either state a louder voice in world affairs or win them new influence anywhere. And you might recall that Britain couldn’t get Argentina to give back the Falklands by issuing nuclear threats — even though Argentina had no bomb of its own and no nuclear guarantee — they had to go retake the islands with conventional forces.

Did China’s detonation of a bomb in 1964 suddenly make them a superpower? Hardly. China remained a minor actor on the world stage until it adopted market principles, and its rising global influence is due to three decades of economic growth, not a pile of nukes. And by the way, did getting a bomb enable Mao Zedong–a cruel megalomaniac who launched the disastrous Great Leap Forward in 1957 and the destructive Cultural Revolution in the 1960s — to start threatening and blackmailing his neighbors? Nope. In fact, China’s foreign policy behavior after 1964 was generally quite restrained.

What about Israel? Does Israel’s nuclear arsenal allow it to coerce its neighbors or impose its will on Hezbollah or the Palestinians? No. Israel uses its conventional military superiority to try to do these things, not its nuclear arsenal. Indeed, Israel’s bomb didn’t even prevent Egypt and Syria from attacking it in October 1973, although it did help convince them to limit their aims to regaining the territory they had lost in 1967. It is also worth noting that Israel’s nuclear program did not trigger a rapid arms race either. Although states like Iraq and Libya did establish their own WMD programs after Israel got the bomb, none of their nuclear efforts moved very rapidly or made it across the finish line.

But wait, there’s more. The white government in South Africa eventually produced a handful of bombs, but nobody noticed and apartheid ended anyway. Then the new government gave up its nuclear arsenal to much acclaim. If anything, South Africa was more secure without an arsenal than it was before.

What about India and Pakistan? India’s “peaceful nuclear explosion” in 1974 didn’t turn it into a global superpower, and its only real effect was to spur Pakistan — which was already an avowed rival — to get one too. And it’s worth noting that there hasn’t been a large-scale war between the two countries since, despite considerable grievances on both sides and occasional skirmishes and other provocations.

Finally, North Korea is as annoying and weird as it has always been, but getting nuclear weapons didn’t transform it from an economic basket case into a mighty regional power and didn’t make it more inclined to misbehave. In fact, what is most remarkable about North Korea’s nuclear program is how little impact it has had on its neighbors. States like Japan and South Korea could go nuclear very quickly if they wanted to, but neither has done so in the six years since North Korea’s first nuclear test.

In short, both theory and history teach us that getting a nuclear weapon has less impact on a country’s power and influence than many believe, and the slow spread of nuclear weapons has only modest effects on global and regional politics. Nuclear weapons are good for deterring direct attacks on one’s homeland, and they induce greater caution in the minds of national leaders of all kinds. What they don’t do is turn weak states into great powers, they are useless as tools of blackmail, and they cost a lot of money. They also lead other states to worry more about one’s intentions and to band together for self-protection. For these reasons, most potential nuclear states have concluded that getting the bomb isn’t worth it.

But a few states-and usually those who are worried about being attacked-decide to go ahead. The good news is that when they do, it has remarkably little impact on world affairs.

For some strange reason, however, the U.S. national security community seems to think that both logic and all this prior history does not apply to Iran. They forget that similarly dire warnings were uttered before many of these others states got the bomb, yet none of these fearsome forecasts took place. Ironically, by repeatedly offering doom-and-gloom scenarios about the vast geopolitical consequences of an Iranian bomb, they may be strengthening the hands of Iranian hardliners who might be interested in actually obtaining a working weapon. After all, if getting a bomb would give Iran all the influence that Kissinger and others fear, why wouldn’t Tehran want one?

In fact, the smart way to discourage Iran from going nuclear is both to take the threat of force off the table (thereby reducing Iran’s perceived need for a deterrent) and to make it clear that getting a bomb won’t bring Iran big strategic benefits and won’t affect global or regional politics very much if at all. And in this case, the smart strategy has the additional merit of being true.