Words have tremendous power, and those who have become adept at using and manipulating words wield ever more power. Political narratives can be terribly controlling, because regardless of what is really happening, a story can be concocted in order to create a reality that opposes the truth; this cleverly distracts everyone while the man behind the curtain is free to do as he pleases. The Iran nuclear debacle is a prime example.
We have all been told the tale of an “evil empire” across the globe that is determined to wipe America off the map in a trail of radioactive carnage while chanting, “Death to America.” Nothing can be farther from the truth.
As a quick lesson in history, in 1953, the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddeq. We then proceeded to install the puppet shah as Iran’s leader. This in turn laid the foundation of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 that put the current regime into power. In essence, we are the ones who started this mess in the first place.
Ironically, Iran, a country that does not have a nuclear weapon, is an alleged threat to us all, while Israel, which possesses hundreds of nukes, isn’t regarded as a threat at all. Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), whereas Iran has never been found to be in noncompliance to the treaty. On numerous occasions, Israel has expressed its desire to engage in preemptive strikes against Iran to prevent the “nuclear threat” from getting any bigger; and in recent history, Iran has never behaved in such a bellicose manner. As an aside, let’s face the reality: no leader of Iran in their right mind would ever want to go to war with the Unites States because they would lose—and miserably at that. Further, the Iranians would also be psychotic to aggress against Israel because, again, they would be outmatched with the full support of the United States right behind the Israelis.
A bully with a loaded gun is aiming at a skinny kid on the playground, all the while yelling to other children about how big of a threat the unarmed skinny kid is. This dynamic is conveniently absent in any narrative reported in the mainstream news today. All the cameras and lights focus on how terrible the scrawny kid is alleged to be, even though he’s the one being provoked, while many other dangerous children prowl around in obscurity.
On two occasions—in 2007 and 2011—the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates confirmed that Iran did not have a nuclear weapon, and all credible international organizations confirm this fact. But I wonder, even if the Iranians decided to pursue a nuclear weapons program, who could blame them? To the west lies Israel, which has hundreds of bombs; to the east lies India and Pakistan, both declared nuclear powers; and to the north lie Russia and the Chinese juggernaut. Iran is literally surrounded by nations that possess bombs, and the rules on the playground dictate that “I want one too.” The biased monopolization of possessing and building nuclear weapons is a policy that is partly a remnant of a war fought more than sixty years ago.
The short-term agreement that was reached recently between Iran and six other nations frequently mentions nuclear weapons—a purposely deceptive use of language so that we all are deluded into thinking that the obtainment of said weapons was on the Iranians’ agenda (our narrative molding their reality)—despite all evidence suggesting that they have pursued uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes only. The Iranians have not declared war against another nation, nor have they unlawfully aggressed against another state. In fact, innocent Iranian civilians have died, and will continue to die, because of the UN-approved sanctions. With all this in mind, why then was a deal brokered to prevent the Iranians from pursuing a goal they were never aiming for anyway?
When will we learn that meddling in the affairs of foreign nations based on erroneous facts and falsified dangers will only lead to unnecessary war and relentless blowback?
As it was with the WMDs, Iraq and Afghanistan, the narrative that is currently playing out is one that has been recycled from the Bush administration—a foreign “threat” poses a severe risk to American security, and this threat must be contained before it reaches a tipping point and terrorizes our lives. This story conveniently creates a menace under which we all can unite, bringing many varied and often opposed groups together.
For a rational mind to understand this whole debacle, one must come to the realization that the popular narrative hides the real truth: nuclear weapons are not the main issue, but power dynamics in the Middle East are.
Ask yourself, who stands to lose the biggest from a nice, happy, cooperative, peace-loving Iran who comes over to the USA’s house with open arms, an apple pie, and a bottle of fine wine?
The answer: Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Saudis (Sunni) have a deeply rooted religious disdain for the predominantly Shiite Iranians, and any paradigm that elevates themselves as the premier nation in the Middle East, backed by the United States and supported by their vast oil reserves, allows them to bolster their own preeminent standing in the Arab world. By painting Iran as evil, Israel maintains a perpetual threat and reason to pursue actions within their national interest even if said actions violate moral and humanitarian standards. If Israel doesn’t have any external threats, then they would be forced to reconcile that they are in the wrong for aggressing against foreign people.
In the end, conflict has been averted and diplomacy has reached a peaceful agreement. When did peace become such a bad and detestable thing? The answer is in the narrative.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal