Photo by Jim Mattis | CC BY 2.0
October 16, 2017
With his Iran speech U.S. President Trump has taken a huge step into uncharted territories.
One that implies a 60-75% risk of leading to a US attack on Iran.
Behind him stands the hardline militarists whom he has himself appointed.
Secondly, neo-conservative individuals and think tanks who have brought the world only a series of failed wars and unspeakable human misery since the invasion of Afghanistan.
Third, the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex, MIMAC, that is outside real democratic control and pushes relentlessly for ever-increasing armament and wars and serves the public all kinds of weird, fake images of what threatens the US.
Further, pro-Israeli and pro-Saudi lobby organizations and extremely wealthy individuals who buy political influence and thereby destroy the very foundations of democracy and free opinion formation.
Against these numerically tiny elites stand virtually the rest of the world, including NATO allies and the EU.
They’ve all communicated very clearly to the President how important it is for all involved that he re-certifies the immensely important and historically unique Iran nuclear deal of 2015, or the JCPOA.
As is usual for failed US foreign policy there is no comprehensive strategy and no exit strategy. Having no diplomatic relations with Iran for decades, Trump lacks appropriate channels of communication.
He also lacks basic knowledge of the country. (Whereas the Iranians know the West). His bizarre image of the country as presented in this speech bodes ill in every respect.
Seldom has a Presidential speech been so filled with psycho-political projections of one’s own dark sides on the adversary as this.
It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to de-escalate what he has pressed the escalation buttons for today.
The announced policy has nothing to do with an intellectually decent and comprehensive policy.
The Trump administration – no, we don’t call it “regime” or “dictatorship” – runs on irrational hatred of everything Iran, on bullying and fear-mongering like “calm before the storm”.
In spite of the failed and very costly wars, this Administration grossly overestimates what the US Empire can still achieve or get away with in terms of violations of international law and basic ethics.
And it underestimates the rapid loss of legitimacy in the eyes of everybody else, including its allies in Europe.
Since the military is the only US power dimension where it is still ‘second to none’ it believes it doesn’t have to listen or think. But these days are long gone in the modern global society.
No one in Iran would be able to find anything of value in this speech – condescending, blaming, vilifying in the extreme, unfair, distorting of history and the relationship.
Apart from all this fake it was filled with omissions – of what the US itself has done since the 1953 CIA/UK coup d’etat against the legitimate, democratically elected government of Dr Mossadegh.
One also looked in vain for even the smallest opening or invitation to co-operate.
Not one little indication of a will to peace in Washington or to set the relationship on a better track.
This intellectually poor Administration doesn’t even see that everything in this speech, if implemented, will end up making the situation for the 85 million Iranians – that he professes to respect so much – much worse, politically as well as economically.
For anyone politically and military allied with, or dependent upon, the US, October 13, 2017, should be a wake-up call.
Because what President Trump has now done is not to signal leadership, universally accepted norms or intellectual and moral strength.
Instead – and very sadly – it signals that the US is now a desperate, unpredictable and dangerous Empire rapidly on its way down.
Indeed, God help America! Mostly from itself!
Jan Oberg is director of the Transnational Foundation for Peace & Future Research in Lund, Sweden.
As President Trump withdraws certification of the nuclear agreement with Iran, commentators across the world struggled for words to adequately convey their outrage and contempt. A favourite term to describe Trump is as “a wrecking ball”, but the phrase suggests a sense of direction and capacity to strike a target which Trump does not possess.
The instant that Trump decertifies the deal struck by President Obama in 2015, the US becomes a lesser power and Iran a greater one, because he will confirm the belief that America is led by an egoist motivated by ignorant prejudice. Accusations of mental derangement have always been part of common currency of political abuse, but there is a growing belief among international leaders that in Trump’s case there might be something to it, though they have few ideas about what they should do about this.