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http://www.projo.com/cgi-bin/story.pl/opinion/05900851.htm


 

Join global consensus instead: U.S. invents perils to justify arms

NASEER H. ARURI, The Providence Journal 7.29.2001


BARRY R. SCHNEIDER'S July 19 op-ed, "The No. 1 Mideast menace is Iran," reads like a chapter from the Cold War. He repeats what his predecessors in the national-security establishment used to propagate some 30-40 years ago. Back then, an informal alliance of defense contractors, government officials, media and academic operatives put together a package of "threats," presumably from an array of sources, including the Soviet Union, China, "communism" and Third World nationalism.

After the collapse of communism and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, a search has been under way to find a new threat and to fill the threat vacuum. Schneider's discovery reiterates a well-known thesis by Harvard Prof. Samuel Huntington, which he advanced in The Clash of Civilizations . Islamic "fundamentalism" was the new culprit, and one of its addresses is Iran.

As director of the U.S. Air Force Counter-Proliferation Center, Schneider's job, I presume, is to counter the proliferation of destructive weapons. Absent from his mission, it seems, are the testing, development and deployment of such weapons by the United States and its trusted allies. Establishing a threat, therefore, is essential for the success of the Bush administration's plans to resurrect President Reagan's "Star Wars," by trying to justify the required huge expenditure.

It is already clear that under the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld leadership, the United States plans to abandon the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. In fact, the Pentagon already plans to conduct anti-missile tests in space, at sea, from aircraft and on land. That would destroy the security framework of the past three decades and would militarize and nuclearize outer space against the will of the international community and the wishes of America's own allies in Europe.

Adding insult to injury, the United States has, once more, stifled the international consensus by voting against a proposed international plan for enforcing a 30-year ban on using germs in warfare.

More than a decade after the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon plans to deploy these menacing weapons as early as 2004-2006 at a cost of $8 billion a year. All of this must be anchored against a presumed threat, hence the predictable new enemies, introduced by Schneider with appropriate titles, such as "the Islamic theocracy," "the gang from Tehran," "sponsors of international terrorism," etc.

But surely, Schneider must know that the only country in the Mideast in possession of 200 nuclear weapons and the means of delivery is Israel. If he is looking for a threat and a menace, he should not have any trouble locating that threat. But that would run counter to the conventional wisdom propagated and perpetuated by the compliant U.S. media, and it is deemed incompatible with U.S. strategic imperatives.

Not until U.S. policies on war and peace are aligned with the global consensus will we begin to see some brightness on the international horizons; for now, that prospect remains, unfortunately, remote.



Naseer H. Aruri is chancellor professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.


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