Last June, after turning out 141 blogs over three years, I began telling myself every day that I would write something tomorrow. For various reasons, it took all these months for tomorrow to finally come. To my surprise, the world kept spinning without my two cents.
So let’s review.
I guess the most dangerous news since then is that we’re escalating our long-running war on Iran. So far, we’ve hit them with assassinations, subversion, sabotage and economic blockade--all to no avail. The next step, if it comes, is bombing. Invasion looks exceeding unlikely. If you recall, back in the 80’s the Persians fought off a half million Iraqis armed and advised by our Pentagon.
Unlike our fracases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, a shoot-em-up with Iran will cost all of us as much as ten bucks a gallon at the gas pump (Europe is already there). That would plunge us deeper into depression. Thus the traditional calculus by our leaders that war is good for the economy won’t work this time. We’ll all end up poorer--except for the defense contractors and the oil companies.
The cover story for Iran is that we can’t let them build their own nukes because they’re suicidal nuts. The real story, which hasn’t changed in 33 years, is that we want to overthrow their government and take their oil. With Iran’s ally Syria in flames this looks like an opportune time to tumble Teheran.
American foreign policy appears very complicated, given that we’re at dagger points with all sorts of foreigners from medieval Muslims in the Middle East to modern-minded secular leftists in Latin America. Not to bore you, but the current list of countries we have problems with include:
Afghanistan Argentina Belarus Bolivia Brazil China Cuba Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Haiti Honduras Iran Iraq Libya Nepal Nicaragua North Korea Pakistan Russia Somalia Syria Turkey Ukraine Venezuela Yemen and ZimbabweAmong them, you’ll find just about as wide an array of politics, cultures and economies as this old world has to offer. No matter, we have exactly the same problem with all of them: they are to one degree or another disobedient. Most often that means that they have asserted their own interests in their own parts of the world. In other words, they have challenged Washington’s doctrine of “full spectrum dominance” over the whole, entire and total planet and space beyond.
As noted above we have a variety of means to show the other 95 percent of humankind who’s boss. These range from propaganda campaigns to invasion and occupation. The problem is that we’re getting weaker thanks to a corrupt and insolvent economy while those we target are getting smarter, if not actually stronger.
The tough talk about Iran, a large and well-defended country numbering 80 million people, conveniently hides the reality that we just lost two wars against feeble foes. The comprador regime we imposed on Iraq has turned on its master and given us the boot. Washington built a Vatican-sized embassy in Baghdad to accommodate a staff of 16,000. This was to be our imperial control center for the Middle East. But that ambition faded as our troops were politely but firmly asked to go back where they came from.
Meanwhile, the Afghans have, as they’ve done with every other invader, worn us down. We spent ten years training their troops, while they spent that time outfoxing ours.
Now, President Obama tells us, the Pentagon’s Grand Guignol of mercenary mayhem will be moving on to East Asia to deal with the threat of Chinese influence in the China Sea. Shades of Teddy Roosevelt, the first of our presidents to declare that America’s future resided an ocean away from these United States.
So what we have here is a current crisis in re Iran and another that we’re cooking up with China. Not only do the media take this news in stride, but they frame it in a context of permanent war. I remember when politicians used to regularly applaud peace as if it were a worthy goal. You don’t hear such sissy talk any more.
Until 9/11, war was good--and safe--business, so long as we picked on those who couldn’t do us much damage. It even hardly mattered if we won or lost over there so long as the profits rolled in over here. Today, the game is much more fraught. Just talk about bombing Iran gooses gas prices. The real thing will make them soar. And just imagine if the wily Persians have a couple of 9/11s up their sleeve. Or, catastrophically worse, that they are really suicidal and already have the bomb. It looks like we’ll be paying for our pleasures from now on.