Deepak Chopra: Foreign Policy Guru, Too!

Deepak Chopra, famed guru of spiritual enlightenment, tries his hand at foreign policy concerning the U.S. and Iran in a piece written for the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Do we really want a mini Cold War?”

The following are some excerpts from his screed:

-It’s always easy to repeat the past without learning its lessons. So far, a lot of that has been going on. Iran postures as if it is a major world power, and the militarists on both sides are happy to treat the posturing as reality. What about the facts? Iran is a small country with no viable modern army or defense structure, no delivery system for warheads, not the slightest capability of harming the U.S., and total vulnerability to Israel’s overwhelming military superiority. Certainly Iran isn’t toothless. It can foment terrorism, but so can any country that wants to. It promotes hatred for Israel, but that’s a common threat throughout the Arab world. It can build a nuclear bomb if it wants to, and there’s little to be done to stop it.

Though Iran’s “posturing” may be to advance its status as a major player in world affairs, there is no denying, at least in that region of the world, it is a major power. Its army has just under a million members, it’s made disturbing progress toward achieving nuclear capabilities, and it has tremendous amounts of oil and natural gas reserves. It possesses missiles capable of hitting Israel, Europe, and parts of the western U.S.. It successfully “foments” terrorism, from supplying arms to its puppet organization Hezbollah, to its arming of terrorists in Iraq to kill U.S. and Iraqi forces, disrupting the stability of Iraq’s fragile democracy.

Mr. Chopra continues:

-There’s the rub. The specter of the “Islamic bomb” is anxiety-producing enough in the case of Pakistan, which deliberately sold atomic secrets for ideological and religious reasons. Iran sounds crazier than Pakistan, because its avowed policies are anti-American and so virulently anti-Israel that one wonders if the whole nation would risk its survival to drop the A-bomb on Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. But this fearful possibility goes beyond reason. It was exactly the same twisted logic that fueled “mutually assured destruction” in the Cold War, the notion that two countries could keep loaded pistols at each other’s heads and still remain sane.

Mr. Chopra’s assertion that the situation concerning Iran and the U.S. are in any way comparable to that of the Cold War with Russia is absurd. Those conflicts arose out of political, ideological, and socio-economical differences regarding communism and capitalism.

Iran’s belligerence and thirst for power originates from a warped form of Islamic fundamentalism, and manifests itself into a hatred of Israel and all things Western. They believe they are commanded by Allah to carry out the destruction of the Jewish state. If this means risking its own survival, then they, as radical fundamentalists, are prepared and willing to do so.

-We need to back down from this mini Cold War the same way that we backed down from the bigger Cold War”.

This is the most ignorant statement contained within the article.

Newsflash to Deepak: We won the Cold War. There was no “backing down” involved on our part, as much as you would like to participate in some revisionist history. Due to our unwavering strength, our belief in ourselves, our cause, and humankind’s inherent desire for freedom, the Soviet Union was destined to fail.

His list for success in this modern conflict is as follows:

1. Accept that a society isn’t going to commit mass suicide.

2. Assume that the Iranians know that their posturing is just that, not
realistic policy.

3. Move toward global disarmament. There is no other way to stop small countries one by one from building atomic bombs.

4. Bring Iran back into the community of nations.

5. Trust that the ordinary Iranian citizen, particularly the younger generation, wants peace.

6. Offer incentives for peace, the main one being a willingness to negotiate on the basis of respect.

7. Ignore the demagogues, pay attention to the statesmen.

A bit off the target, Deep:

1. Tell that to the Japanese of WWII.

2. The Iranian’s policy is not driven by posturing, but by a deep belief that they have been commanded by God to destroy Israel. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and no amount of incentives will alter the current course.

3. The nuclear genie is out of the bottle. Global disarmament is unrealistic. Non-proliferation should be the goal of our nuclear foreign policy.

4. Iran has to want to be a part of the “community of nations” (Insert singing of “Cum-bye-ya). It is not up to us.

5. Though there is a grain of truth to this, the halls of Iranian power are controlled by people who will settle for nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel.

6. Negotiation is not an “incentive” for peace, it should be a means to obtain it. Respect needs to be earned.

7. This is a hard one, considering the “statesmen” of Iran are the demagogues.

-Fortunately, the current administration seems to understand all these points. In his campaign, Obama tested the issue and found that the American public accepted his notion about sitting down with Iran in face to face negotiations without preconditions. This was a complete turnaround from the previous policy, which was a childish one: “If you hate us, we hate you back.” All that policy accomplished was letting the Iranian demagogues define the issue. Now Obama has made overtures, and it’s up to Iran to respond. So far, they seem rattled. As with Castro in Cuba, a constant stream of anti-American rhetoric is the only politics they know, and a good screen for hiding severe domestic problems.

Time to get some updated talking points, Dee. In May of last year, Obama stated “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.” Just like Afghanistan, right guys? Aside from the obligatory Bush-bashing comment, “Iranian demagogues” are still defining the issues.

Until I read this, I’d forgotten how much of a kook Deepak is.

Not only has he re-affirmed my opinion of him, he’s solidified it comfortably.

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