Iran may be nasty but is not my enemy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2012, 10:50am

I have no beef with Iran or its people. It is not a threat to me or my family, to Hong Kong, or the mainland; to any country in Asia and Africa or any member state of the euro zone. Iran does not threaten world peace, despite all the propaganda coming from Washington and Tel Aviv. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may sound like a nutcase but he is no modern-day Hitler; the mullahs encourage religious fanaticism but are themselves capable of acting rationally.

It's true a nuclear-armed Iran is a direct threat to Israel, to US interests and some Arab countries allied to the US; just as Israel, the US and its allies in the Middle East are a threat to Iran. That's how threats tend to work - they're reciprocal. But if the US allows Pakistan and India, two mortal enemies, to go nuclear, you can hardly argue a nuclear stalemate between Iran and Israel is any more dangerous to the world. In an essay titled 'Why Iran should get the bomb', Kenneth Waltz, one of America's foremost international relations scholars, has argued in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that such a stand-off would end in a stable deterrent. It is Israel's nuclear monopoly that is a key destabilising factor.

'It is Israel's nuclear arsenal, not Iran's desire for one, that has contributed most to the current crisis,' he writes. 'Power begs to be balanced. What is surprising is that it has taken so long for a potential balancer to emerge... The current sanctions on Iran can be dropped: they primarily harm ordinary Iranians, with little purpose.'

The US and Israel can slug it out with Iran for all I care, but it's not my fight. The problem is, Israel wants to make it a US fight, and the US wants to make it a global crisis to legitimise its belligerent stance. But I am fed up. I am sure many people around the world are tired of the American and Israeli charade, too. The US may be trying to stall an Israeli attack on Iran through sanctions. In doing so, it is dragging everyone into its dubious foreign policy game. What right does the US have to dictate who we can buy oil from or do business with? The reality is that the US sanctions against Iran do not have a moral leg to stand on.