Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mein Kampf in our times - what is skillful and appropriate?

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in the 1920's. It was his plans for  conquest of Europe and the Soviet Union, and the genocide of Jews, Roma and other peoples, much of which came to fruition in WWII and the Holocaust.

At the time he wrote the book, Hitler was in prison for an attempted, and failed, political revolution, so few people took the book seriously. What if people had taken Hitler's proposals seriously, especially after he was released from prison and had a political party and militia but before he gained power? What if the nations of Europe and others had taken the plans for war, conquest and genocide seriously when he came to power in Germany in 1932? What would have been skillful and appropriate to do?

Now, we have a similar situation; "Palestine" by Ali Khamenei has been published in Farsi and soon Arabic.Since I do not read Farsi I must depend upon translations and news reports.

As you read the summary of this book below, keep in mind the questions such as, what is appropriate if this book's proposals are actual plans by those with power to put them into effect? What is skillful? For whom is this skillful and appropriate?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran and thus, in a very different situation from Hitler in the 1920s. He has the power of the state at his command, including the military and especially the Revolutionary Guard.

Below are excerpts from news reports about the book's contents.

"Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon. His position is instead based on “well-established Islamic principles.”

One such principle is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims.

Along with Israel, this also includes parts of Russia, many parts of Europe, Thailand, India and parts of China and the Philippines.

However, according to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as “enemy” and “foe,” is a special case for three reasons.

The first is that it is a loyal “ally of the American Great Satan” and a key element in its “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah.”

The second reason is that Israel has waged war on Muslims on a number of occasions, thus becoming “a hostile infidel,” or “kaffir al-harbi.”

Finally, Israel is a special case because it occupies Jerusalem, which Khamenei describes as “Islam’s third Holy City.”

"Khamenei boasts about the success of his plans to make life impossible for Israelis through terror attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. His latest scheme is to recruit “fighters” in the West Bank to set up Hezbollah-style units.

“We have intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by Hezbollah against Israel in 2006 and in the 22-day war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip,” he boasts.

Khamenei describes Israel as “a cancerous tumor” whose elimination would mean that “the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited” in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, “the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.”

"Khamenei says his plan entails low-intensity warfare based on wearing down the patience of Israelis and the international community. He writes that this plan does not entail “classical warfare” and he supposedly does not want to kill Jews (though his allies Hezbollah and Hamas seem to act differently).

His plan assumes that all Israelis have dual citizenship (my comment, this is not true) and would rather live in the US or Europe (my comment, would these nations take another 6 million plus Jews?).  He recommends therefore to make life in Israel so uncomfortable that they leave voluntarily to avoid threats.
He then describes using the tactic of “Israel fatigue” wherein the international community would decide to stop supporting Israel’s military programs."

Khamenei’s book also deals with the Holocaust, which he regards either as “a propaganda ploy” or a disputed claim. “If there was such a thing,” he writes, “we don’t know why it happened and how.”

Below are links to reviews of this book. There are many more links, reviews and commentaries to be found on the internet:




Here are some more recent comments:

"Israel will not survive the next 25 years, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, making a series of threatening remarks published online.

In a quote posted to Twitter by Khamenei’s official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed. 

The quote comes against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.

“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English."

And here are comments of a former Prime Minister of Spain:

"Confrontation With Iran Is Inevitable. Delay only ensures that Iran will be stronger, richer and bolder when the moment comes."


Unfortunately, even President Obama seems to be "caught" by his rhetoric and the truth of the Iran deal and war. Here is an analysis:

"Rather than enumerate every flaw of Barack Obama’s defense of his Iran deal yesterday, we’d like to look deeply at the most glaring one, namely this passage:
Just because Iranian hard-liners chant “Death to America” does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe.
In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting “Death to America” who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.
Unsurprisingly, that partisan smear, vicious even by Obama’s standards, has drawn a good deal of comment from the right. Fox News reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded a retraction, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, said: “I think it’s beneath that office to be able to make these analogies.” A National Review headline asks incredulously: “Is This Seriously a Line from a Speech by the President of the United States?” A Wall Street Journal editorial observes facetiously: “Name-calling and immoral equivalence are always the best way to win over skeptics.”

Surprisingly, the left has had very little to say about this particular calumny. There’s probably a forthright defense of it out there somewhere—but we couldn’t find one, and we looked. The New York Times editorial board attempted to clean up after the president with this gentle paraphrase: “He likened Republicans to Iranian hard-liners, saying both are more comfortable with the status quo.”

That is inaccurate. What Obama said was that Republicans and “Iranian hard-liners” are “making common cause.” Not only did he not describe the former as “comfortable with the status quo,” he explicitly acknowledged they are not:
Among U.S. policymakers, there’s never been disagreement on the danger posed by an Iranian nuclear bomb. Democrats and Republicans alike have recognized that it would spark an arms race in the world’s most unstable region, and turn every crisis into a potential nuclear showdown. It would embolden terrorist groups, like Hezbollah, and pose an unacceptable risk to Israel, which Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to destroy. More broadly, it could unravel the global commitment to non-proliferation that the world has done so much to defend.
The question, then, is not whether to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but how.
According to Obama, there are only two ways of answering that question:
So let’s not mince words. The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.
“Let’s not mince words” serves the same function as “let me be clear”: It prompts the reader to ignore the mincing of words that immediately follows. The next sentence, all of two dozen words, includes two maybes. It asserts that a choice we face “ultimately” will have consequences “soon”—which seems achronological, though maybe Obama means “soon” relative to the age of the universe.

Most telling is the equivocation “some sort of war.” Does Obama really think that by choosing his form of “diplomacy,” America would prevent war of any sort? No. In fact, he acknowledges it will foment several sorts of war:
Now, this is not to say that sanctions relief will provide no benefit to Iran’s military. Let’s stipulate that some of that money will flow to activities that we object to. We have no illusions about the Iranian government, or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies—including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq. They try to destabilize our Gulf partners. But Iran has been engaged in these activities for decades. They engaged in them before sanctions and while sanctions were in place. In fact, Iran even engaged in these activities in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War—a war that cost them nearly a million lives and hundreds of billions of dollars."


"A Better Deal With Iran Is Possible

Here’s what it might look like."

What is skillful and appropriate? What will lead to less suffering, less violence, less war - short-term and long-term? Is it possible that there are short-term choices which must be made, though unpleasant, that will lead to long-term desired results?