There’s an air of complete unreality to the US’s foreign policy and its machinations. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:
Washington’s foreign policy towards Iran is driven by desperation rather than a reasoned understanding of a world in historically significant flux. That can lead only to a continuing succession of failures.
The kinetic events of the past week in Washington, Tehran, and the Persian Gulf were nothing if not revealing. President Donald Trump proved the keeper of the peace, warmongers all around him, when he aborted an airborne attack on Iran Thursday evening. The Iranians continue to act with admirable restraint in the face of incessant provocations.
More such provocations are sure to come. Trump announced over the weekend that he will impose yet another layer of “major new sanctions” against Iran on Monday. After a minor cyber-attack against an Iranian intelligence agency last week, the Pentagon has developed a list of Iranian entities it is considering for a more extensive cyber-war campaign.
Trump: New sanctions and more provocations to come. (The White House/Shealah Craighead)
But there are more fundamental truths to derive from the swift escalation of Washington’s hostilities toward Tehran. They come to four. Taken together, they offer a snapshot of an imperial power in accelerating decline.
Trump and company are pressing hard for negotiations that would entail Iran accepting provisions it will never accept. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
fter a somewhat quiet weekend the Trump administration today engaged in another push against Iran.
Today the Treasury Department sanctioned the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also sanctioned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his office! There will be no more Disney Land visits for them.
There is more to come:
Josh Rogin – @joshrogin – 16:18 utc – 24 Jun 2019Mnuchin: “The president has instructed me that we will be designating [Iran’s foreign minister Javad] Zarif later this week.” cc: @JZarif
The Treasury Secretary will designate Javad Zarif as what? A terrorist? Zarif is quite effective in communicating the Iranian standpoint on Twitter and other social media. Those accounts will now be shut down.
The Trump administration’s special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said today that Iran should respond to U.S. diplomacy with diplomacy. Sanctioning Iran’s chief diplomat is probably not the way to get there.
All those who get sanctioned by the U.S. will gain in popularity in Iran. These U.S. measures will only unite the people of Iran and strengthen their resolve.
Iran will respond to this new onslaught by asymmetric means of which it has plenty.
On Saturday Trump said that all he wants is that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. But the State Department wants much more. Hook today said that the U.S. would only lift sanctions if a comprehensive deal is made that includes ballistic missile and human rights issues. Iran can not agree to that. But this is not the first time that Pompeo demanded more than Trump himself. Is it Pompeo, not Trump, who is pressing this expanded version to make any deal impossible?
Posted in Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, War
Tagged Iran, Israel, Mike Pompeo, Oil, President Trump, Saudi Arabia
You can’t fool all the people all the time. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Last night Fox’s Tucker Carlson praised Trump’s decision not to go forward with a planned attack against Iran which the president claims would have killed approximately 150 people in response to a downed drone, which if true would have been a profoundly barbaric response to a broken toy plane and would have led to retaliations from Iran, followed by a chain of military actions which could have escalated God knows how far.
Carlson, who has been credited with persuading Trump against further military escalations with Iran, lit into the neoconservative elements of Trump’s cabinet with unprecedented viciousness. He called National Security Advisor John Bolton a “bureaucratic tapeworm” who never suffers any consequences for his relentless warmongering and accusing him and his collaborators of deliberately engineering a provocation to lead to direct military confrontation. Carlson urged Trump to expunge the influencers who are pushing for a war with Iran, and cautioned that it would cost him re-election.
“Bombing Iran would have ended [Trump’s] political career in a minute,” Carlson said. “There’d be no chance of re-election after that.”
Carlson’s first guest, The American Conservative‘s Robert Merry, plainly stated the likely reason for Bolton’s deceitful manipulations, saying that Americans are typically reluctant to go to war and citing a few of the historical instances in which they were tricked into consenting to it by those who desire mass military violence.
Because nobody trusts the US, the possibility of a catastrophic mistake is higher than it was during the first Cold War. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:
According to news reports, the validity of which cannot be ascertained by the general public, a crazed US government came within 10 minutes of igniting a general conflagration in the Middle East, the consequences of which could have been catastrophic for all.
The moronic warmongers in high office—Bolton, Pompeo, and Pence—and their Israel Lobby masters are determined, and they have not abandoned their campaign for war with Iran. Of course, the liars say that Iran will just accept its punishment for defending its territory and there will be no war. But this is not what Iran says. I believe Iran.
Some of the tiny percentage of people in the Western World who are still capable of thought regret that Trump called off the insane plan. They think the consequences would have been the destruction of the Saudi and Israeli governments—two of the most evil in history—and the cut-off of oil to the US and Europe, with the resulting depression causing the overthrow of the Western warmonger governments. They believe that catastrophic American defeat is the only way peace can be restored to the world.
In other words, it is not clear whether Trump calling off the attack saved us or doomed us. The Israel Lobby and their neoconservative agents have not been taught a lesson. Trump has not fired Bolton and Pompeo for almost igniting a conflagration, and he has not dressed down his moronic vice president. So, it can all happen again.
There appears to be no interest group or constituency pushing peace. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:
As a nation, you’re certifiedly (is that a word?!) in deep trouble if and when Donald Trump is your most peaceloving man. But nevertheless, that is America today. It all harks back to the days when Trump was first -grudgingly and painstakingly- recognized as an actual presidential candidate.
He campaigned as a man who would end the costly and neverending decades-old and counting US wars far away from American shores and territory. He hasn’t lived up to those campaign goals at all, far from it, and he hired doofuses like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo to show everyone that he didn’t, but in the early hours of June 21 2019 he apparently decided at the last minute that it just didn’t add up.
You don’t kill 150 people because someone destroyed a piece of machinery, he got that right. I vividly remember writing a hundred times that a country of 320 million people that can’t come up with a better president than Trump has a behemoth problem. I also remember saying that Trump himself is not that problem, it’s the system that gave rise to him and his popularity. A war-hungry-system, that is, which has pervaded Washington DC.
And there is absolutely nothing that tells me anything has changed in that system. There are hearings and investigations all over the place, right now from Hope Hicks to Jerry Nadler, but none of them are geared towards trying to make peace with Iran or Russia or China, or anyone else. None.
A cyber attack is war, it is not war’s “alternative.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
It’s been revealed that President Trump did order an attack on Iran – but not a military assault – instead, the US initiated a major cyber attack against an Iranian intelligence outfit the Pentagon believes was part of last week’s limpet mine incident involving two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
According to Yahoo News, which first broke the story – which was later confirmed Saturday evening by CNN and The Washington Post – the “retaliatory digital strike” was launched on Thursday evening just as the world was bracing itself for possible US airstrikes on Iran:
On Thursday evening, U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships, according to two former intelligence officials.
The report relies on unnamed defense sources, which further added more details in a CNN follow-up, including that the group is tied to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and that the spy group had used unique software to track tankers that had been targeted in last week’s June 13 incident.
Iran will not let up. It will continue to offer Trump two options: lift the sanctions and then negotiate or Iran will stop the flow of Middle Eastern oil. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
Iran will continue to put Trump under pressure. As he wants to avoid a war that would hurt his re-election chances, Iran will use other means to pressure him.
The discussion about Trump’s decision not to ‘retaliate’ for the shoot down of a U.S. drone by Iran is still dominating U.S. media. The accounts of the various ‘sources’ contradict each other. Most likely Trump saw the trap of an ever escalating military conflict and did not fell for it. The Pentagon prepared a strike plan as it always does, but Trump never approved its execution.
One new detail about the White House discussion emerged in a New York Times story on the issue. The Pentagon and the White House are not sure where the Global Hawk drone came down. They do not trust that the U.S. Central Command is telling them the whole truth:
On Friday night, the Pentagon confirmed the presence of a second surveillance aircraft, a Navy P-8A Poseidon, which officials said took photographs of the drone being shot down. But a senior Trump administration official said there was concern inside the United States government about whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, or even the P-8A manned aircraft flown by a military aircrew, actually did violate Iranian airspace at some point. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike.
An earlier version of the same NYT story, quoted here, included this:
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down — hours after Iran did — and errors in the labeling of the drone’s flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.A lack of provable “hard evidence” about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary — this one with a proven ability to strike back.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added to the doubt when he gave the exact point where the drone was targeted:
Javad Zarif @JZarif – 18:20 utc · 20 Jun 2019At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59’43″N 57°02’25″E) near Kouh-e Mobarak.
We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.