Paul Bonnifield: Statesmanship, not war


Placing the turmoil of the Middle East, especially Iran’s nuclear program, into a high-profile political fracas is playing an extremely high-risk game with the nation’s future. The Iranian question requires statesmanship, not military posturing. The recent moves by Israel’s leaders to force the United States to establish a “red line” with Iran risks a full-fledged war. A red line simply is another name for an ultimatum. Surely it is not necessary to discuss the willingness of Iranians to commit suicide when they think it is necessary to protect what they consider sacred. They will not bow down before a military display by the United States. There is no question that they will fight to the death.

Iran has some very strong cards to play. Our economy, already under serious stress, cannot finance a long and difficult war that is likely to spread across a vast area. Armies marching and planes bombing quickly will draw Syria and Lebanon into open warfare with Israel. Egypt and Jordan will be forced to choose sides. There is no assurance they will join the United States and Israel. Egypt, with a powerful military, may choose to attack Israel. It will be all Israel can do to defend itself without American assistance. American troops will be tied down in Iran and cannot help unless the United States goes to condition of total war.

Russia will not sit idly and let the United States advance strong military forces on its southern border. Russia probably won’t go to open warfare, but it will allow Iranian forces safe havens and military assistance. Iranians operating out of Russia would keep the war going for years. An attack by the United States on the safe havens risks war with Russia. Iranian forces also will find support among religious brethren in Iraq and Afghanistan. God only knows which side Iraq and Afghanistan will support.     

China will not allow the United States to shut off its oil supply nor restrict its trade. The trade will include weapons. Rather than military action, China will apply economic pressure. Greater economic pressure on the United States would be tragic for America.

The unspoken question that must be considered: Is America willing to commit to a long, expensive and difficult war? The nation is weary of war. It is not willing to spend the next decade or more fighting another war. Enough is enough.

The United States has an obligation to Israel, and since World War II, the nation has proven it is willing to fulfill that obligation. But we are not obliged to risk destroying ourselves.

The complex conditions of Middle East diplomacy will not be resolved in 30-second sound bites in this year’s political games. It may result in great harm to the nation.

Paul Bonnifield



max huppert 4 years, 6 months ago

Ron Paul 2012!!!

But i think your silly to think we could not destroy Iran in less than a week.


mark hartless 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, statesmanship might work... if we had any statesmen. Instead, we have politicians with their finger in the wind.

We can't re-build 2 towers in 11 years. We can't win the war on terror in 11 years. We can't win the war on drugs in 20 years. We can't win the war on ignorance (education) in 30 years. We can't win the war on poverty in 40 years.

None of these problems exist because we do not have the capability. As Max points out, we could annihilate Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the rest of the clowns in the mid-east in less than a week. China might take a full month.

America's losing streak, which dates back to Korea, is not due to Americas inability but to its lack of resolve. The "Paul Bonnifields" who lead this country have really done a number on us. In todays America excuses are more plentiful than men of resolve; than true statesmen.


mark hartless 4 years, 6 months ago

I wonder who might have stumbled on America in the first place if Columbus had been infected with such an attitude. I wonder how many "Paul Bonnifields" that peolpe like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Magellan or Tesla or Lewis and Clark or Sir Edmund Hillary or John Wesely Powell had to overcome.

I can hear it now... "Don't bother fellas, everybody knows the world is flat and there are a bunch of sea-monsters out there".


jerry carlton 4 years, 6 months ago

Four words for you Paul "Small tactical nuclear weapons". Better get off middle east oil first.


rhys jones 4 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, let's just blow everybody away, that'll show 'em!!


Harry Thompson 4 years, 6 months ago

Ryes, My concern would be Iran having and using small tactical nuclear weapons. Iran (government) has continued to have very little respect for human life, especially if you don't agree with their ideology.

What you and Paul seem to not understand is that their are countries and militants all over the world who don't live by the same standards as the civilized world. The only things they respect are power and force. I can assure you that the best way to negotiate with them is from a position of strength.

After reading Paul's story (a few weeks ago) about the evils of developing our own domestically produced oil. Now this article which exemplifies the stranglehold the oil producing and manufacturing countries have over the U.S economy and our very sovereignty, should be a concern to every person in the free world.


rhys jones 4 years, 6 months ago

What I don't understand is the great variety you guys choose to spell my name. I only offer the above as a suggestion, spell it any way you want, I've been called worse. At least you all get the "y" right, which serves as the operative vowel.

What I do understand is that Iran's nuke is a bluff, only intended as a deterrent -- they know that to actually use such a weapon, when and if they ever develop one, would be literal suicide, we would wipe them off the map.

They're just not quite ready for Coca-Cola and McDonald's yet.


Harry Thompson 4 years, 6 months ago

Rhys, Sorry about the spelling. I also used their instead of there in the second paragraph, so again sorry.

I still don't believe that we should allow Iran to have nukes. If Iran gets nukes then everybody in the Middle East will want nukes. There will be another arms race in an area prone to terrorists, violent overthrows of existing regimes and people with a different set of values. I feel that to not understand the reasons for not allowing any additional nukes in volatile regions is very naive.

It is far better to have people mad because they can't have nukes, than to have mad people with nukes!


Marie Matta 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, Paul, for pointing out the folly of embarking on another war.

I'm shocked at the comments in response that seem to support the use of force or suggest that a war with Iran would be over quickly. Isn't that what the Bush Administration led the people of this country to believe when it launched both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars? It didn't work out that way, did it! We're still dealing with the consequences of those ill-informed decisions.

It's the chest thumping, aggressive, "don't mess with us", "we're the strongest in the world" attitude that has contributed to so much hatred of America, particularly in the Middle East.

I agree with you, Paul - enough is enough.


rhys jones 4 years, 6 months ago

Who are we to say who can have nukes and who can't? Russia has nukes. China has nukes. Israel has nukes. Several other Western powers are reputed to have or control nukes. Can you blame Iran for being a bit paranoid, with Israel nearby, and us talking invasion too?

I can't say taking out a despot or two was a bad thing, but it's time to cut our losses and run. Now WE are the invader. Our continued presence in the Middle East only fosters further instability, providing convenient fodder for the extremists to focus on and align the citizenry against. Afghanistan is a prime example, as not only the citizens, but the cops themselves -- the ones WE trained -- turn their guns on us.

I can't say I blame them either -- who wants armed foreigners camped in their back yard? Viet Nam should've taught us -- you can't subdue a whole society.

Iran is a paper tiger, Afghanistan is a bottomless pit, but what about Syria? They murder their own citizens en masse daily, so where are we for that? The one place the people could use a little help, we remain oddly inactive. I can't figure it out.


mark hartless 4 years, 6 months ago

I actually agree with you Rhys. If they want a bomb so what! Frankly, I couldn't care less.

A small problem arises in that Iran having a nuke will de-stabalize the entire region and send every other country scurrying for a nuke of their own. Then it will be just a small wait for Al-Queda to topple one of those governments, take the nuke, and stick it on a slowboat to, well... HERE.

Now, getting out of the region altogether, and thus ceasing to be Al-Queda's number one enemy would be sweet. The problem is that the "more statesmen-less war" crowd tends to be the same folks who are the roadblock to America's energy independance. In a not-so-roundabout way the anti war crowd is the same as the anti domestic petroleum crowd. Therefore, they are largely responsible for our needing to be engaged in a middle east we could otherwise forsake and let 'em all kill each other, as they seem to enjoy doing.

I vigorously and enthustiacally point my finger at the anti-domestic oil crowd as being ABSOLUTELY RESPONSIBLE for our dependance on middle east stability vis-a-vis forcing us to continue purchasing their oil. It is their resistance to domestic energy production that keeps us engaged in that armpit of humanity which is the middle east.

Attacking other nations and starting wars is the wrong approach, to be sure. On this I agree with Paul. However, to the extent we are dependant upon a region's products, we are also dependant on that regions stability.

It is the height of elitism and of folly to assume we can continue to rely on oiul from a region while not giving a tinkers dam about that regions stability, and it is absolutely par-for-the-course to hear the"statesmen" crowd quacking about not starting wars in a region while ceeding imperative stability of that region to lunatics.

The next nuclear arms race, something I thought the left abhorred, is starting and Barrack Hussein Obama is "leading from behind", as usual.


jerry carlton 4 years, 6 months ago

Rhys You know you and I agree and disagree on a lot of things. The good news in Syria is that it is Muslims killing Muslims. It is a terrible tragedy but it keeps them too occupied to be killing Infidels (also known as us and any other non-muslims). I did not say "blow everybody away". I am suggesting a small strike to show Iran we mean business. It will never happen. Did not happen in Korea, did not happen in Vietnam. did not happen during First Gulf War, did not happen after 9/11. We will continue to sacrifice our bravest and finest because no president will ever have the guts to use nuclear weapons again.


Robert Huron 4 years, 6 months ago

What I find interesting is that the people calling for a war with Iran have very short memories. An attack on Iran will ignite a massive retaliation that will cost Trillions and tens of thousands of lives. Oil prices will go through the roof and the stock market will go through the floor which will last many years. Who will pay for this crusade? We haven't paid for the $2 Trillion from Iraq and Afghanistan yet. I guess another war calls for another tax cut. I find it interesting only 29% of Israelis agree with Bibi to go to war which is why he wants us to do it. Considering Israel all ready receives more foreign aid than all other countries added together they should make their own decision and leave us out of it. Most of those calling for war never wore the uniform of this country and in fact did everything possible to avoid the Draft during Vietnam. Gingrich, Chaney used student deferments and Romney hid in France for 3 years until they went to the lottery system and he got a high number and felt safe to come home. If we are going to have another war reinstate the Draft and those of the richest families will be the first to go. If we did that there would be no war.
Having spent many years in the military and the Middle East I believe the most dangerous country is Pakistan and they already have nukes.


rhys jones 4 years, 6 months ago

If another war is what the Federal Reserve wants, another war is what the Fed gets.


mark hartless 4 years, 6 months ago

I thought the left WANTED oil / fossil fuel prices to "go through the roof".

I thought the left WANTED the stock market to "go through the floor". Isn't that where all the fat-cat 1%'ers put their money after pillaging from "the workers"???

"Who will pay for this crusade?" Now that's a question you never hear the left ask about things like wind or solar subsidies, student loans, high speed rail...

If Americans who "call for war" have no credability because they "never wore the uniform" then how much credability does a Secratary of State have when they lie about a US Ambassador being killed in a terrorist attack in Libya?

I actually agree about the draft. It would pour some cold water on some of this endless war crap. But let's get one thing straight: Except for Republican lawmakers, Democratic lawmakers have no equal when it comes to being in love with interventions all over the world.

Back in 2010, 189 democrats voted to keep the war going in Afghanistan. That was more than the 167 republicans who did the same. 29 democrat senators and 82 democrat members of the House voted to start a war in Iraq. In June of 2011 a republican led House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to NOT authorize military action in Libya. Obama, a democrat, started that war without the consent of congress. There is plenty of war-mongering to go around, Robert.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 5 months ago

Woman raped by police faces 6 months in prison for indecent exposure:

The Tunisian govt says the cops found the woman and her fiancee in an "immoral position"... so they raped her.

"Tunisian authorities must drop indecency charges against a woman who was summoned to court on Wednesday after she had complained that police officers raped her earlier this month, Amnesty International said.

The woman and her fiancé, who prefer to remain anonymous, could be imprisoned for up to six months for “intentional indecent behavior” stemming from claims – by the very same police officers charged with raping her – that they were found in an “immoral position” in public in the capital Tunis."

Reposting my proposed foreign policy initiative for the Middle East, expanded to include North Africa:

We no longer give a rip about what happens there. If a nation can't protect our embassy, the answer is to close the embassy. If a country takes billions of our dollars with one hand and indicts American citizens for "religious" crimes with the other, stop shoveling money into their coffers.

We won't invade, depose, or nation build. Let the Muslim world wallow in its own stone-age subhuman brutality and lop each others' heads off till the cows come home. Notify them that if one American hair on one American head gets mussed - here, there, or anywhere - we'll show them what carnage and ruin really look like, and administer the lesson from 30,000 feet up.


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