Administration Escalates Threat Against Iran While Making it Seem Just the Opposite.
Today arrives the next step in the escalation against Iran. Headline: Pompeo offers to talk to Iran with no preconditions.
This is the age-old playbook for escalating tensions. The subterfuge is designed to make it appear that we are easing our stance, to make it seem like Donald Trump is the restraining force on his overzealous war mongers, but in reality this puts more pressure on Iran. And as usual the media is either complicit or just plain oblivious, either way they aren’t serving us. Note the first line in the Politico piece below:
“His (Pompeo’s) remarks suggest increased flexibility by the Trump administration. President Donald Trump’s desire to avoid a war with Iran appears to be prevailing in his own administration — for now…”
He then went on to demand a precondition:
Reuters: “The United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.”
Guardian: “But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would not negotiate with Washington, even after Rouhani had previously signaled talks might be possible if sanctions were lifted.”
Al Jazeera: “Ruohani says Iran will not be bullied into negotiations with tightened sanctions and threats by Washington”
AP: “But the United States will not relent in trying to pressure the Islamic Republic to change its behavior in the Middle East, America’s top diplomat said.”
This is why they pulled out of the nuclear deal in the first place- to isolate the moderates. Knowing full well that the moderates can’t talk and the hard liners won’t, they will now pose themselves as the good guys– we tried everything, including offers of no conditions, but it’s Iran that won’t negotiate because they want Nukes, so we have no other choice. If you look back at what was happening right before we invaded Iraq you’ll find much of the same – Saddam: if you’ll just negotiate on the WMDs, tell us where they are, we can make a deal. Of course, the WMDs didn’t exist.
Updated June 22, 2019:
President Trump called off an airstrike against Iran yesterday at the the last minute. The retaliatory action was over Iran’s downing of a US drone earlier in the week. The story has it that the military had launched the attack and the bombers were in the air heading for their targets but in a moment of contemplative restraint Mr. Trump called it off, saying that the proportionality of the impending Iranian deaths would be above the level of the original crime committed by them. In the following barrage of press interpretations of his actions we’ve heard everything from ineptitude, poor planning, mental instability and his dilemma regarding his campaign stated aversion to war.
My belief is that this is yet another stage in the effort to turn domestic public opinion in favor of action against Iran. Once again the illusion is that Trump is the last firewall keeping the circling hawks, some with long-standing agendas, from leading us down the path to war in the middle east. Trump is now made to look like the good guy, this time much to the relief of even his staunchest opponents. Even Nancy Pelosi praised his actions. It’s basically a game of chicken, but it is being played with US domestic public opinion as the ultimate prize. As I mention above, this is similar to events leading up to the Iraq invasion, where there was a media campaign designed to make it look like we were continually offering Saddam a way out, only to finally run out of patience with his refusal to turn over the non-existent WMDs. Even though we had surrounded him he was the bad guy who just wouldn’t adhere to the norms of international law and order (ie American hegemony).
Not even Fox News believes the “unlikely” story:
Now the administration is on record as having offered to talk with no preconditions and we’ve seemingly narrowly averted a military confrontation due to our calmer heads and alleged humanitarian instincts. Incrementally we are becoming the good guys, trying desperately to avoid war, and Iran is the belligerent, targeting our assets and ditching the nuclear deal. The battleship of public opinion is being turned in the administration’s favor. Even if the narrative is believable that events are happening randomly, that it’s not all planned out, the effect is the same. Ball in Iran’s court.
Another supporting thought:
I have heard a lot about Donald Trump needing a war with Iran to prop up his sagging poll numbers. The “rally around the flag” and “wag the dog” arguments. What I haven’t heard too much about is that the US military really needs a war…