Trump has embarked on a trajectory which unless averted, and soon, will propel him and the United States over a cliff into a hell of his own creation.
The wilful and brazen inversion of the truth in matters of war and peace is the non-negotiable condition of every empire there has been. The fabrication of pretexts for intimidation, aggression and attack is crucial to the ability of an empire to run its writ wherever it so decides; and so it is today when it comes to Washington’s increasingly belligerent words, threats and actions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In an unholy alliance with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and with the usual clutch of supine European satellites going along to get along, the Trump administration, which two years after entering the White House promising to put an end to endless wars, has engineered a neocon renaissance in Washington. Now, not satisfied with bearing down on Venezuela, his administration is going after Iran with the gusto of a rabid dog that hasn’t eaten in days.
At the behest of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, two of the most crazed and fanatical neocons to ever walk the face of the earth, Trump has embarked on a trajectory which unless averted, and soon, will propel him and the United States over a cliff into a hell of his own creation. There he will be joined Benjamin Netanyahu and Bin Salman, his close confederates in this mission of madness.
Washington, it should be borne in mind, has never forgiven Iran for daring to throw off the yoke of its client king, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, otherwise known as the Shah, in 1979 in a popular revolution. And it has never, not for a single day, relented in its desire to return the country to its former status as a US neo-colony, one whose very existence is predicated on serving its imperial and hegemonic master.
Obama’s decision to enter into the negotiations which led to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was not the result of any benign intent on the 44th US president’s part. Rather, it was an acknowledgement of the delimitations of US hard power in a region where it was still recovering after suffering a humiliating defeat in Iraq over six long years of futile effort to pacify a country whose people, despite having been reduced to immiseration from 13 years of brutal sanctions beforehand, resisted with all their muscle and mind.
The outcome was a sectarian bloodbath, a country and society ripped to pieces, and the US military exposed as a giant with feet of clay.
Obama’s decision to negotiate the JCPOA with Iran in conjunction with Russia, Germany, France, the UK and China was also recognition of the abiding strength and determination of the Iranian government and people to resist any and all attempts at intimidation, economic war, and belligerence by the West over its right to exist as an independent sovereign state.
The end result, despite the slavish efforts of Israel’s Netanyahu and the Saudi kleptocracy to bounce his administration into open conflict with Tehran, was one of Obama’s few foreign policy triumphs.
Though every US president shares the same foreign policy objective of hegemony as a fundamental priority of office, Trump is no Obama. On the contrary, the 45th president’s inflated ego and caprice is evidence of a weak-minded dullard who has proved to be putty in the hands of assorted ideologues at home and abroad.
Bolton and Pompeo are men who have learned nothing and forgotten everything. They have learned nothing from Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan other than the lesson of futile repetition enshrined in the mantra given to us by Samuel Beckett: “Try. Fail. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Iran is an ancient nation that has survived more cataclysmic periods in its prolonged history than most. It is a country of 80 million people with more than half a million men under permanent arms. It possesses a vast arsenal of missiles of considerable potency, range and accuracy. The very best – and let me stress very best – that any attempt to unleash war against this country will achieve is a Pyrrhic victory.
Israel, which is yet to crush the spirit of the Palestinians no matter the inordinate apparatus of oppression devoted to the task over many years, suffered its only military defeat at the hands of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah in 2006. Hezbollah is a key ally of Tehran and constitutes a highly trained and motivated army which itself possesses a considerable arsenal of missiles capable of reaching every part of Israel.
As for the Saudis, theirs is an army of well-equipped and well-clad figurines whose most potent weapon is prayer.
I am not here to ridicule or disparage but instead to warn of the folly of unleashing war on Iran. Diplomacy not belligerency is the road to salvation in our time; and thus President Trump would be well advised to wake up to the fact that his real enemies are at home in the form of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo.
Iran now has no choice other than to prepare to defend itself by any means necessary. Let us thus hope that the outcome of this ill-conceived adventure on the part of Washington is that the country’s president in years to come continues to end his or her speeches with the refrain of ‘God bless America’ rather than ‘God help America’.