Fighting Off Peace

by Henry Precht

The US faces a grave crisis. One threatening our economic well-being and modern political system.

We seem destined for a ruinous enemy deficit.

If President Barack Obama has his way, Iran and America, after 35 years of enmity, may be headed for reconciliation, a serious diminution of tensions, an end to constant blustering, proxy conflicts and freely flowing bile.

Only a stalwart group of Congress men and women stand in the way of an outbreak of harmony and good feelings with the Persians. Eager to advance the cause of American and Israeli security, they say, and dine from a delicious menu of advanced weaponry, they feel obliged to ignore the contrary judgments of our generously funded intelligence agencies and order up yet more sanctions against Iran. A senator can’t take any chances, they tell us implicitly, especially when his reelection prospects are on the line and generous support is offered by those with a clear preference for nurturing war over deal-destroying peace.

After the Cold War ended came the War on Terror, which spawned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Both of those fights have or soon will be ended, at least for Washington. Syria is too messy to fully engage us. Yemen and Somalia don’t merit much more than an occasional drone. That leaves Iran as the only credible enemy.

If Iran goes peaceful on us, agreeing to nearly all of our demands, how can Pentagon budgets be sustained? How can the patriotic rhetoric of politicians be taken seriously?

America’s surviving historic enemies are laughable: North Korea’s leadership is moving from nuclear threats to basketball challenges. Russia is a has-been and China is struggling to fill America’s shopping carts. Geriatric Cuba is less of a threat to Florida than another real estate bust.

If “Death to America” chants fade in Tehran, won’t chello kebab soon push out pizza in Washington? We must prepare for the worst: a new enemy must be targeted by the US. But who can our people be taught to hate on short notice?

The best approach would be to go after trusted friends who have betrayed us. It would be easy to charge England with perfidy. But we have already fought two wars with our former masters. The same is true of the Germans. The slippery French are a possibility, but their slogan, “Make love, not war,” would make it hard to mobilize our young for battle.

The best choice, perhaps surprisingly, would probably be Canada. No American has paid any attention to the northern neighbor in a couple of centuries. It would be easy to stir our people up about dimly remembered cheating on the boundary, stealing our freely swimming fish and lobsters or the Canuck’s wrongly asserting sovereign rights to Our Northwest Passage. Think of the ships that would have to be built! The miles of border that would need to be fortified! The hordes of winter visitors that would have to be investigated! An ideal enemy!

Of course, the infinitely polite and hospitable Canadians — like the subtly graceful Iranians — might pleasingly yield to our demands. Should they exhibit incorrigible sweetness, we had best prepare backup antagonists.

What about Israel and Saudi Arabia?  Both now delight in spitting in our eyes and kicking our shins when we suggest different behavior. And with Israel, moving to it enemy status would end aid and save us over $3 billion annually.

Except that some members of Congress would insist on voting Israel the usual aid package despite their officially declared enemy status.

Henry Precht

Henry Precht, a retired Foreign Service Officer, worked mainly in the Middle East. His assignments included the Arab-Israel Desk after the 1967 war, four years in Tehran as political-military officer, in charge of the State Department Iran Desk during the revolution and hostage crisis, and two tours in Egypt – Alexandria in the 1960s and deputy ambassador in Cairo 1981-85. Precht speaks and writes on the region, and has published a book of short stories, A Diplomat’s Progress.



  1. It’s really a sad situation, that so many of our congressmen and women
    are pro-Israel first, and being concerned about the welfare of this country
    is a distant second .

  2. Smoke and mirrors, that’s what lessons Congress has learned from both Israel & Saudi Arabia. I wonder, which will come out on top, between Israel & Saudi Arabia. Time the World stood back and let those two screw each other. Considering that both countries or states, which ever they are, have formed an axis of evil of their own, Congress better reconsider just which side of this fight they intend to back, selling out for those 30 pieces of Silver, or retiring to the sidelines.

  3. Sometimes humor is more powerful than rational arguments. Besides, the present situation is too crazy for rational arguments. Otherwise, how could people’s representatives get into such a state of frenzy in support of a foreign country against their own president and government and against the overwhelming feelings of the American people? Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of American people are tired of wasteful and disastrous wars, yet the honorable senators give a blank check to a foreign government to go to war against a country that by common consent has no nuclear weapons and they commit America to support that aggression with “diplomatic, military and economic support”. What else can one do if one does not laugh, or cry!

Comments are closed.