Christians United for Israel There Goes
As we celebrated
Thanksgiving last month, the German newspaper Die Welt published an
article making a profoundly troubling claim. This kind of report
from such a reliable newspaper should have sparked national concern
and launched an international inquiry. Yet most of us had no
idea this article even appeared.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad (AP Photo)
What Die Welt
reported citing Western sources was that Iran is planning
to place medium-range missiles capable of reaching the United States
on Venezuelan soil. More specifically, the article claims that
when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Iran in October, the two
nations signed an agreement under which:
* Venezuela will
allow Iran to establish a missile base on its territory to be manned
by both Iranian and Venezuelan officers.
* The base will house Iranian Scud-B, Scud C and Shahab 3
The Scud missiles
both B and C are relatively short range and threaten only
Venezuelaıs already nervous neighbors. But the Shahab 3 missiles are
able to reach the United States from Venezuela. In short, if this
article is correct, the United States will soon join Israel and Europe
in living within Iranian missile range.
A comparison to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis is not only obvious, but
instructive. At the time, the power that posed the greatest threat to
American security the Soviet Union sought to place missiles in
our backyard so as to be able to threaten our major population
centers. Today, the nation that currently poses the greatest threat to
American security Iran is seeking to do exactly the same
Yet while the threats are similar, the reactions appear to be entirely
different. As soon as he had solid intelligence that the Soviet Union
had placed ballistic missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy demanded
their removal. Although the Soviet Union was already a nuclear power
with a massive conventional army capable of overrunning Europe, we did
not hesitate to draw a red line around our hemisphere. The world stood
at the brink of a nuclear war until these missiles were removed.
It stands to reason that, had President Kennedy known about the Soviet
plans sooner, he would have acted sooner. Had we received reports of
an agreement between the Soviets and Cuba to deploy these missiles,
our government would have communicated to the Soviets in no uncertain
terms that such a move would not be tolerated. Signals would have been
sent. Lines in the sand would have been drawn.
Yet the only thing resolute about our reaction to this report about
Iranian missiles is our determination to ignore it. True, itıs
possible that our intelligence agencies know that this information is
false. It is also possible that tough signals are being sent through
back channels to prevent this agreementıs implementation. But after
years of feckless failure to stop Iranıs march towards nuclear
weapons, one cannot be faulted for doubting whether such moves are in
fact taking place. There are too many leaks these days of the old
kind and the ³wiki² kind to allow for perfectly silent
diplomacy. Silence too often correlates with inaction.
Every schoolchild learns about the Monroe Doctrine, almost two
hundred years old, under which the United States declared that any
intervention by foreign powers in the affairs of the Americas would be
viewed as an act of aggression requiring U.S. intervention. As
President Kennedy himself noted, ³The Monroe Doctrine means what it
has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it,
and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power
to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose what is happening
in Cuba today.²
Yet today Iran plots and plans with Venezuela, and we remain largely
silent. Have we abandoned the Monroe Doctrine? Have we opened our
hemisphere to our enemies? We donıt yet know for sure. But the fact
that such an article could spur so little debate and concern is deeply
troubling. And where thereıs no smoke, we should not be surprised to
discover that there is no fire.
The prospect of a nuclear Iran has just gotten even more dangerous.
And much more personal.
is the executive director of Christians United for Israel and author
of a new book, In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the
Struggle for Humanity.