POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

Hillary Clinton has steadily moved down from "crippling" to tamer language, and the simple reason is that at first she was nodding to the Israel Lobby and now she is dealing with the reality of other Security Council members who do not view things the same way.

I believe sanctions rarely work, and rightly so: they are an inappropriate interference, invariably by America, into the economic affairs of others.

The interests of others, especially China and Russia, are not the same as the interests of the United States. Others have incentives to go around sanctions - after all, that kind of effort is the essence of capitalism at work.

There is a very great deal of hypocrisy and hubris in all such efforts as that against Iran.

I would love a world in which nuclear weapons either did not exist or were effectively neutralized by a new technology.

But we do not have such a world, and I am not comforted by the United States - a nation with the world’s worst record of aggression and overthrows and imperial expansion over the last fifty years - claiming for itself the role of God in international affairs.

And I am equally disturbed - as we all should be - by Israel's aping the American attitude in its area of the world, playing the role of miniature geo-political replica of a superpower, determining everything that happens within a thousand miles of its borders and doing so with an illicit stock of nuclear weapons.

I cannot stress enough that Iran’s entire modern period is one without its ever attacking anyone. Indeed, it fought the aggression of others – egged on by the same United States – and in the 1950s had its democratic government overthrown by the CIA complicit with British oil interests.

And then America supported for many years, and armed to the teeth, a soulless dictator whose secret police, Savak, used to pull out the fingernails of victims in their basement torture chambers.

And today on Iran’s border, Americans, who do not belong there, occupy a neighboring country. Israel is reported to have two or three of its German-supplied Diesel submarines, armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, off the coast. America also has an armada there.

How does that look from the Iranian perspective, the world’s two biggest bullies waving weapons and harsh rhetoric at them regularly? Again, an Iran which has no record of aggression?

I’d want nuclear weapons too, and so long as others are free to brandish them, it is the correct response.

It is almost certain that the rise of another nuclear power in the region will stabilize, rather than de-stabilize, things. Europe reached a peaceful state under MAD, and there is every reason to believe the same would be true in this region.

It would, of course, mark the end of Israel’s mini-reign of terror over the region, but that would be a good thing. As we can plainly see in the Israeli case, bullies do not make peace, and well-armed bullies with no one able to resist them, are downright dangerous and continuously de-stabilizing.

The example of North Korea is extremely important. If ever there were a government which has behaved in odd ways, it is the world’s last Stalinist state. Yet clearly North Korea is not going to use its nuclear weapons to attack anyone: that would be national suicide. But clearly too, America does not treat North Korea with the same contempt it does some other states, and it is not going to invade the place any time soon.

All the Israeli propaganda about Iran is of the poorest kind, effective propaganda always being based on some truth. Iran threatens no one. President Ahmadinejad’s statements in the past have been deliberately mistranslated, and, besides, the President in modern Iran has absolutely no military authority. The man likes to poke fun at the West’s shibboleths, but that makes him neither a criminal nor a danger.

At any rate, when a country like Israel - which has attacked every neighbor that it has, many twice, occupies the land of others for over forty years, imposes whatever rules it pleases such as blockades or check points or identity cards or Berlin walls – shouts continuously about a country with Iran’s peaceful record, it would be laughable, were it not dangerous. In any event, it is not credible in the least.