President Trump and his foreign policy team have driven Iran into the loving arms of Russia and China. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
For more than three years I’ve tried to explain that President Trump’s foreign policy was having the exact opposite effect of its intended purpose.
Trump, under the advice of people like John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran in the hopes of the regime either crumbling or suing for peace.
Trump was warned by both Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iran would ‘rather eat dirt’ than submit to him on nuclear weapons, support for Hezbollah, Iraq and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In effect, Trump and Pompeo have argued for Iran to give up its sovereignty to appease the fears of Netanyahu in Israel, and they have steadfastly told Bibi and The Donald to go pound sand.
Every six months or so, depending on the state of domestic affairs, tensions with Iran ratchet up another notch. Over the past couple of weeks a series of explosions at key Iranian military facilities occurred with fingerprints of Israel striking deep into Iran to cripple strategic targets.
Trump, distracted by the domestic insurrection against him, has left foreign policy strictly to Pompeo who is avidly pursuing a ‘have his cake and eat it too moment,’ trying to extend the weapons embargo against Iran at the United Nations while still claiming the unilateral right to leave the JCPOA without further consequences.
In a word, Russia, China and Europe are telling him, “No.”
This is a good survey and analysis of one of the world’s hottest hot spots. From F. William Engdahl at lewrockwell.com:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a recent video conference suggested that the US might move some of its troops from Germany to the region around India, citing growing US security concerns in the Asian region. Given the dramatic rise in tensions between India and China over disputed borders in the region of Nepal and Bhutan where several soldiers from both sides reportedly died in hand-to-hand combat, the question is whether Washington is deliberately trying to fan fires of war between the two Asian giant powers. As unlikely as that might be at present, it indicates how unstable our world is becoming amid the ‘coronavirus economic depression’, and the perceived power vacuum of a US in retreat.
Speaking to a virtual Brussels German Marshall Fund Forum on June 25,Secretary of State Pompeo was asked about recent statements that the US military planned withdrawing a contingent of its forces from Germany. He replied that the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asian nations was one of the reasons America was reducing its troop presence in Europe and deploying them to other places. He cited unspecified recent Chinese actions as “threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia and the South China Sea challenge,” adding, “We are going to make sure the US military is postured appropriately to meet the challenges.”
The US government’s relationship with the Chinese and North Korean governments has grown increasingly contentious. Are better relations possible? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met for seven hours at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii with the chief architect of China’s foreign policy, Yang Jiechi.
The two had much to talk about.
As The Washington Post reports, the “bitterly contentious relationship” between our two countries has “reached the lowest point in almost half a century.” Not since Nixon went to China have relations been so bad.
Early this week, Chinese and Indian soldiers fought with rocks, sticks and clubs along the Himalayan truce line that dates back to their 1962 war. Twenty Indian soldiers died, some pushed over a cliff into a freezing river in the highest-casualty battle between the Asian giants in decades.
Among the issues surely raised with Pompeo by the Chinese is the growing bipartisan vilification of China and its ruling Communist Party by U.S. politicians the closer we come to November.
The U.S. has been putting China in the dock for concealing information on the coronavirus virus until it had spread, lying about it, and then letting Wuhan residents travel to the outside world while quarantining them inside China.
In America, it has become good politics to be tough on China.
The headline is somewhat inaccurate. The world has been shaped by one Atlantic power—the US—and the Atlantic countries of Europe have had to go along. Now their willingness to do so recedes as Russia and China rise and pull together the middle of the world in the Belt and Road Initiative. From M. K. Bhadrakumar at counterpunch.org:
53rd Munich Security Conference 2017 – Public Domain
The annual Munich Security Conference that took place February 14-16 this year turned out to be an iconic event, drawing comparison with the one held in the same Bavarian city on February 10, 2007, where in a prophetic speech Russian President Vladimir Putin had criticized the world order characterized by the United States’ global hegemony and its “almost uncontained hyper use of force—military force—in international relations.”
If Putin’s 2007 Munich speech was prescient about an incoming new Cold War and the surge of tensions in Russia’s relations with the West, 13 years later, at the event this year, we witnessed that the transatlantic ties that evolved through the two world wars in the last century and blossomed into a full-fledged alliance system have reached a crossroads.
Deep cracks have appeared in the transatlantic relationship. In an extraordinary opening address, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an éminence grise in European diplomacy, accused Washington of rejecting “the very concept of an international community.”
Killing a general of a country with which you are not at war is criminal under international law. From Patrick Lawrence at consortiumnews.com:
Following the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, the Trump administration is leading American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness.
Of all the preposterous assertions made since the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, the prize for bottomless ignorance must go to the bottomlessly ignorant Mike Pompeo.
Speaking after the influential Iranian general’s death, our frightening secretary of state declaimed on CBS’s Face the Nation, “There was sound and just and legal reason for the actions the President took, and the world is safer as a result.” In appearances on five news programs on the same Sunday morning, the evangelical paranoid who now runs American foreign policy was a singer with a one-note tune. “It’s very clear the world’s a safer place today,” Pompeo said on ABC’s Jan. 5 edition of This Week.
In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire’s foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now.
We are not safer now that Soleimani, a revered figure across much of the Middle East, has been murdered. The planet has just become significantly more dangerous, especially but not only for Americans, and this is so for one simple reason: The Trump administration, Pompeo bearing the standard, has just tipped American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness, Pompeo’s nonsensical claim to legality notwithstanding.
This is a very consequential line to cross.
The Trump administration’s ever-shifting rationale for assassinating Qassem Soleimani has now settled on “deterrence,” which is as easily debunked as its prior rationales. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
he Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.
The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an ‘imminent threat’ has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that ‘it doesn’t really matter’ if there was such a threat or not.
In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.In his speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.
The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example, makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:
Mike Pompeo seems genuinely proud of his lies. From Daniel McAdams at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Trump’s neoconservative Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is a man unafraid to admit to being a liar. In fact he seems to revel in his ability to lie to the American people.
Remember just a week ago when Pompeo told us that the US absolutely HAD to send in a drone to assassinate Iran’s top general, Qassim Soleimani, while he was in Iraq on a peace mission because he was planning “imminent attacks” on US personnel and interests in the Middle East.
These claims were crafted to blunt any criticism of the blatantly illegal act of killing a top military officer of a country with which you are not at war in a third country (which forbade the attack on its soil) with which you are allied. Americans raising concerns about the murder of Soleimani were to be made to look unpatriotic if they objected: “you mean you WANT Americans die?
The upside of the Iran situation is that it will hasten the demise of the American empire. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:
All I wanted to do this week was work on part 2 of my localism series, but circumstances quickly got the best of me. The assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was an event of such historical significance, I feel obligated to detail my thoughts on what it means and how things unfold from here, especially given how much of a role geopolitics and questions of empire have played in my writings.
First off, we need to understand the U.S. is now at war with Iran. It’s an undeclared, insane and unconstitutional war, but it is war nonetheless. There is no world in which one government intentionally assassinates the top general of another government and that not be warfare. You can argue the U.S. and Iran were already engaged in low-level proxy wars, and that’s a fair assessment, but you can’t say we aren’t currently in a far more serious a state of war. We are.
Soleimani was not only a powerful general, he was a popular figurewithin Iran. Unlike other blows the U.S. and Iran have inflicted upon one another, this cannot be walked back. There’s no deescalation from here, only escalation. Even if you want to pretend this didn’t happen and turn back the clock, it’s impossible. This is a major event of historical proportions and should be seen as such. Everything has been turned up a notch.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Military, War
Tagged Iran, Mike Pompeo, President Trump, Qassem Soleimani assassination, US empire
The Trump administration and Benjamin Netanyahu want a war with Iran, and they get it. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:
Ratcheting economic sanctions, military force encirclement, inciting seditious violence and relentless war rhetoric. This all by the US and its allies over the past year towards Iran, yet it is Iran which is portrayed as posing “potential threats” to American interests.
The hastily arranged meeting last week between Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had the hallmarks of a war-plan summit amid a peak in renewed media provocation against Iran.
In the last weeks there has been a flurry of US media reports claiming that Iran is secretly moving ballistic missiles into Iraq and elsewhere across the region. As usual the media credulously cite anonymous intelligence and Pentagon officials on those claims.
Here’s CNN quoting one administration official: “There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks,” the official said, referring to “a potential Iranian threat against US forces and interests in the Middle East.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been a true and faithful servant of Israel. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
A story has been circulating suggesting that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will soon be resigning because he needs to focus on planning for his campaign to become a Senator from Kansas in 2020. This is good news for the United States, as Senator Lindsey Graham has had no one he is able to talk to about exporting democracy by blowing up the planet since Joe Lieberman retired and John McCain died. And the tale even has a bit of palace intrigue built into it, with an interesting back story as Pompeo is apparently considering his move because he fears that staying in harness with Donald Trump for too long might damage his reputation. There are also reports that he has been traveling to Kansas frequently on the State Department’s dime to test the waters, a violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits most government officials from engaging in self-promotional political activities unrelated to their actual jobs.
If one is seeking evidence to suggest that Pompeo, a man who lies with a fluency that takes one’s breath away, is delusional, it would certainly have to include his self-assessment that he has a reputation to protect. It is possible to cite many instances in which Pompeo has asserted something that is absolutely contrary to the truth, though one might also have to concede that he could often be saying what his factually challenged boss wants to hear. When Pompeo was Director of the CIA he even joked openly about how “We lied, we cheated, we stole.”