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On January 30, 1968, in the midst of the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese soldiers launched a coordinated attack on 100 cities across South Vietnam against the forces of the United States, South Vietnam and their allies.
Though the operation was a military disaster for the communist forces, which suffered massive casualties, it had a devastating political effect on the American-led side. Coming as it did after years of rosy Johnson administration reports of military successes and predictions of imminent victory, the broad scope of the offensive stunned Congress and most Americans and negatively impacted support for the war effort.
There is a discomfiting parallel between the Tet Offensive and Iran’s successful manipulation of the current summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. Iran seems to be in the process of demonstrating that the Obama administration’s plan to force it to put a lid on its nuclear ambitions through isolation and economic sanctions is in shambles. This despite Mr. Obama’s Johnson-like claims of success.
The obvious question, though, is why Iran would want this when the consequence could well be a decision by the U.S. to turn to military action against Iranian nuclear facilities?
The nonaligned movement is a vestige of the Cold War and derives its name from the desire of developing countries to play the West against the East and enjoy a role on the international scene. Today it has 120 members and 17 observers and is of little import as a group in global affairs. However, this week it is holding its 16th summit conference. Iran has the three-year rotating chairmanship and the summit is being held in Tehran. And the Iranians are maximizing their advantage with some unfortunate assistance.
Despite the UN-endorsed sanctions directed at Iran and the continuing call by Iran’s leaders – in a flagrant violation of international law – for the destruction of Israel, a UN member-state, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is attending the summit despite urgent importuning from the U.S. and Israel. And so are most NAM members. Of the 120 countries, 80 are participating at the level of minister or higher and 50 have sent their heads of state.
Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said Sunday that the summit “demonstrates the Islamic Iran’s thriving power [despite] all the propaganda launched [by the West] about Iran’s isolation on the international scene.”
An Israeli government official quoted by the Jerusalem Post lamented that the summit gives the Iranian regime a chance to “showcase that it is not isolated, to say there is no diplomatic pressure, and to give the regime a chance to show its own people it has friends and allies.”
To be sure, even before the summit issue arose there were signs the Obama sanctions approach wasn’t working. Seeking ever-increasing sanctions against Iran rather than going for a knockout measure seems eerily reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson’s failed policy of gradually increasing the pain on the enemy in Vietnam. And the political process of securing additional sanctions has been tortuous, given the lack of support of major powers like Russia and China, and now seems to have totally collapsed.
Nor have the sanctions that are in place been strictly enforced: Iran’s 20 major oil trading partners have received exemptions from the sanctions regime. And of course by all reports Iran’s march toward nuclear capacity has continued unabated.
One would have thought Iran would try to stay out of U.S. crosshairs even if it were not prepared to give up its nuclear dream. Yet it continues to threaten Israel with obliteration and proclaims to the world that the U.S. alternative to military action is a joke. It would seem the Iranian leadership feels President Obama has no intention of following through on a military option and that it can pursue nuclear weaponry without fear.
Bombing another country is obviously a tough call. But if our president has indeed reconciled himself to a nuclear Iran, it is one more thing to keep in mind come November.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/irans-tet-offensive/2012/08/29/
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