Trump’s Team Embraces Iranian Myths

Key players in the Trump administration have stuck to the neoconservative insistence on “regime change” in Iran rather than take a fresh look at the reality, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

By Paul R. Pillar

Some hardline myths about Iran never seem to die. One myth especially pertinent to U.S. policy is that revolutionary regime change in Iran is a significant possibility in the near future and that with a bit more of a push from the outside, the Islamic Republic will collapse and be replaced by something much more to our liking.

Iranian women at a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. (Iranian government photo)

This illusion was prevalent in much of the George W. Bush administration, which accordingly adhered to a policy of refusing to deal with Iran and instead of trying to isolate it and to inflict economic pain through sanctions. Several years of lack of results in the face of ever-increasing sanctions demonstrated the fecklessness of that policy. The sanctions became useful only when the next U.S. administration began to negotiate with Iran and sanctions were used as a bargaining chip to conclude an agreement that blocks all possible paths to an Iranian nuclear weapon.

The myth often is connected to a faith in exile groups as instruments for quick transition to a completely different type of regime. Many of those hoping for regime change in Iran look in this way to the Mujahedin-e Khalq, a cult-cum-terrorist group that actually has almost no popular support within Iran. Some of the same people had placed a similar faith in Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, whose qualities as a huckster more than as someone who could father a new Iraqi republic became increasingly apparent after the U.S. invasion of 2003.

Today there evidently is another expression of the old myth about Iran, with talk about regime change, among Trump loyalists at the White House and National Security Council staff. According to these individuals, increased pressure and kicks from the outside can bring about positive results in Iran, rather than, as expert analysis both inside and outside the national security bureaucracy explains, merely eliciting hostile responses from a firmly implanted Islamic Republic.

It is unclear whether holding of the myth represents genuine misbelief or instead is a rationalization covering other reasons the holders want to maintain Iran as a perpetually isolated bête noire. Either way, the myth leads to damaging and ineffective U.S. policy.

Iran is not at all close to any political upheaval that could be described as a new revolution or a counter-revolution, even with more pressure and pushes from the outside. Iranian politics certainly exhibits plenty of disagreement and controversy, with the possibility of significant policy change coming out of that political competition. Despite the substantial defects in the Iranian political system, there is a political robustness missing from, say, the Arab monarchies on the other side of the Persian Gulf. But most Iranians do not have an appetite for making a new revolution.

Both the regime and the people in Iran have demonstrated an ability to withstand hardship much greater than what U.S. sanctions can inflict. They did so during the extremely costly eight-year Iran-Iraq War, which Iran doggedly continued for some time even after Saddam — who started the war — began seeking an armistice. Certainly if pressure or punishment from an outside power is involved, both the regime and the people exhibit determined resistance.

Much Evolution

There already has been much evolution in the direction and nature of the Islamic Republic during its nearly four decades of existence, although probably not as much as there would have been without the ostracism. The large majority of Iranians today were born since the revolution. Hijabs have inched above hairlines, and domestic life has become looser and freer. Especially for the female half of the population, looking across the Gulf does not instill any ideas about better alternatives.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaks to a crowd. (Iranian government photo)

More important for U.S. and Western interests has been the evolution in Iran’s external policies. Any hopes within the regime in the immediate aftermath of the revolution for like-minded revolutions elsewhere in the region have long ago been dispelled, as the realization sunk in that such revolutions were unlikely and that Iran’s system would survive anyway. The most obvious form of Iranian state-conducted international terrorism — a campaign of assassinating exiled dissidents — effectively ended years ago, partly because of the regime’s desire to have normal and fruitful relations with Europe.

Further evolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its policies in the years ahead will correlate directly with the extent to which it has normal political and economic interaction with the rest of the world. Isolation and punishment would strengthen Iranian hardliners’ arguments that there is neither a possibility of, nor a payoff to be expected from, such interaction. Bolstering of the hardline position in turn would mean diminished prospects for further liberalizing political change in Iran.

Conversely, increased commerce, foreign investment, and the economic development that go with them would strengthen the political position of those favoring normality in foreign relations, would increase the Iranian stake in even more peaceful normality, would loosen the grip of those in Iran whose economic and political power depend on isolation, and would increase Iranian exposure to ideas and examples of still more change.

One of the next big potential turning points in Iranian politics will be the selection of a new supreme leader; the current leader, Ali Khamenei, is 77 and not in the best of health. There is talk in Tehran about how this transition may well entail not just the picking of Khamenei’s successor but also redefining the role of supreme leader. Specifically, the thinking points to a role somewhat closer to that played by the senior Shia cleric in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani. This would mark a further significant move away from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s concept of the clerical jurisprudent.

Those in the United States seeking, or at least talking about, regime change in Iran should face up to how the best way to achieve such change is to let these processes that already are in train play out, and to encourage them with increased interaction and commerce between Iran and the West. The change may not be sudden enough or violent enough to be described as a revolution with a capital R, but the change is even more likely than anything sudden or violent to be in a direction favorable for Western interests.

This will be the course of Iranian history as long as we do not screw up the process with mindlessly applied isolation, economic punishment, and attempted subversion.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.) 

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42 comments for “Trump’s Team Embraces Iranian Myths

  1. edward e parker
    March 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Not only Trump, Americans can talk about the horrendous Russian interference in their country and the need to bomb North Korea and Iran in the same show and not see the stupidity

    • Sam F
      March 20, 2017 at 6:50 am

      Most avoid the truth and wave the flag and praise the lord of whatever country they are in. Their fabricating claims of “foreign interference” with the US, while demanding US economic sanctions and regime change elsewhere, are the most abject hypocrisy. They do not care that economic sanctions do not change cultures.

      The sociopathic militarists invent foreign enemies to demand domestic power as false protectors and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty, as Aristotle warned of tyrants over democracy. They seek and are empowered by bribes from Israel. One has only to see them interact to see that truth in everything they do: they deliberately lie in every way they can think of, to get money and power. Lying, cheating, and stealing are their primary tools. That is how they work, and those who ignore it are slaves.

      The US deliberately created the hatred of itself in North Korea (by killing 2 million innocents with fire bombs after the war) and in Iran (by overthrowing democracy there in 1953 to get 40 percent of the oil). Only absolute corruption in US government would continue the insanity of provocations. This is just fine with most people, due to the destruction of social, moral, and political education by oligarchy-owned mass media. Those mass media are almost entirely owned by zionist Jews, as anyone who cares for the truth can verify.

  2. March 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    This article misses the most important point of all. Isreal wants Iran reduced to a third world country, with no military and or influence in the Middle East. There is nothing Israel will not do to accomplish this foreign policy goal. The US Government is mostly a fully owned Israeli subsidiary of Israel, in this endeavour. ( As Ariel Sharon said about the USA, don´t worry about what the US A thinks or says , we own the USA) The real obstruction to this policy is that China and Russia see Iran as just one more domino to fall in the PNAC plan to remake the world in it´s own image and subject the peoples of the world to the dictates of American business. they know that if Iran were to fall they will be next on the hit list.

    As I see it the Americans are attempting this on too broad a front. If they were cosying up to China and Russia they just might get away with the invasion of Iran. ( They have never learned that you catch more flies with honey than you ever will with a big stick) But no, because of their hubristic thinking they have decided to antagonize both Russia and China and at the same time go after Iran. This policy is doomed to failure. The real danger is that they will believe their own hubris and talk them selves into the war to end all wars and the human race along with it.

    • Bill Bodden
      March 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Very well said, Dan.

      As Ariel Sharon said about the USA, don´t worry about what the US A thinks or says , we own the USA

      I recall an article that quoted former Israeli terrorist and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir saying something similar. Probably, this has been a common assessment in Israel for decades and remains the same today. Kind of makes us proud to be such an exceptional nation that almost all of our politicians have sold their souls to the Israel lobby .

      • evelync
        March 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Our country is delusional.
        As Hajimu Masuda pointed out in his “Cold War Crucible”
        http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/2015/02/social-politics-imagined-realities-masuda-hajimu.html

        Goodness knows why we cling to this faux narrative that has caused so many millions of deaths, so much suffering and so many hundreds of $billions in profits for the MIC….hmmmmm…

        Somehow we just can’t stand it that Russia, Syria and Iran have an alliance……
        Where does N. Korea fit into this…..?

        Can we still afford to be bully of the world? How long will Americans tolerate the endless regime change wars?
        Wars that have only made things worse as Boston University history professor Andrew Bacevich tells us.
        Trump is a first class bully – so thin skinned that he can’t tolerate being thought of as wrong….psychologically, a really weak, vulnerable character, IMO. Therefore dangerous.
        The “deep state” is probably learning to push those buttons.

        In his 2014 book, “The End of Normal”, James K. Galbraith summarizes brilliantly the rationale behind the whole gory history:

        Starting in Chapter Six, “The Choke-Chain Effect” on page 95 Professor Galbraith writes:

        “The economics of growth that came of age after World War II made essentially no reference to resources, to their cost, to diminishing revenue, or to resource rents…………
        Oil shortages had been predicted repeatedly, and the predictions had always proved wrong…….
        Behind the scenes, serious people thought about these issues in a darker way. The United States did consume a much larger share of world resources than its population share, and this was a major contributor to high American living standards. The government knew this. It was an injustice to be protected. Much of the work of the clandestine services in the 1950’s and 1960’s, in Iran, Iraq, the Congo, Central America, Indonesia and Brazil, among other places, went to to ensure that American firms and consumers had ongoing favored access to the oil, copper, uranium, and timber of those places, and even their sugar, bananas, beef, and coffee. Much later, similar concerns surfaced in the circles that decided on military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. But this went undiscussed, for the most part, in academic economics.”

        https://lbj.utexas.edu/directory/faculty/james-galbraith

        This brilliant analysis by Professor Galbraith of where we are and where we’ve been for over 70 years, covering the same period that concerned Professor Masuda helps to explain much of what concerns so many articles written here on Consortium News. Had Professor Galbraith’s fascinating book been focused on democratic politics instead of an economic/sociopolitical analysis he might have wished to add(?):
        —- “And it certainly was not discussed by the main stream media or by main stream politicians running for national office.”
        And, as Americans, we’ve been conditioned to self sensor, lest we be targeted as subversives if we dared question this paradigm.

        Based on my discussions with average people I meet, including life long Republicans and Independents, people are sick of these regime change wars and say they would have voted for Bernie had he been the Democratic nominee. Democrats who support Clinton seem more defensive on this subject and uncomfortable questioning the deeper truth about our foreign policy, which is one that Clinton has embraced.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      The US Government is mostly a fully owned Israeli subsidiary of Israel, in this endeavour.

      When I first saw the essay’s title it occurred to me that Israel is likely using the unending neocon pressure against Trump to push him into at least talking about Big Problem Iran. Now I have no idea at all what Trump & Company actually believe about the Iran issue – for all I know Israel is pushing him in a direction he wants to go anyway.

      Yes, Israel has been in charge of US Foreign policy, and we’ll slowly begin to learn whether or not that’s going to change.

      Very recent news has Israel making an air attack on Syrian Army positions, then getting antique air defense missiles fired at their planes. I also hear Russia is beginning to get a little vexed with the Israeli bragging about the uselessness of Russian air defense. The little shithole of a nation may be pushing the envelope here. At any rate “Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems after they fired ground-to-air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out strikes.” The US is “exceptional” because we’re just so darned good and pure it can’t be any other way. Holy Israel is packed full of God’s Favorite People and a few million sub-humans who must eventually be murdered or put on another Holy Israel death march. They seem to read “above and beyond exceptional” into their situation.

      It’s all a recipe for ugly stuff down the road.

      • Realist
        March 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        One thing is for certain: Israel did not attack Syria with jet fighters, precipitating the S-200 response, just to intercept weapons transfer to Lebanon. Their subsequent threat to destroy Syria’s air defenses is probably the most accurate expression of their intentions. Both Israel and the United States have become frustrated with the inability of their ISIS puppets to destroy the SAA and overthrow Assad, so they are escalating the war using direct Israeli participation in the conflict. Should Syria or Russia take countermeasures the defend their assets against Israeli aggression, the United States does what it has wanted to do since Obomber backed off from bombing the Syria: it directly attacks Syria and the Russian forces stationed there. Iran is also attacked as Syria’s and Russia’s ally. The conflict won’t be prosecuted in half measures: the latest military hardware including tactical nukes will be deployed as deemed necessary against such “nefarious” and formidable foes. Considering the maniacs in control of the American arsenal, expect to see that nuclear first strike that has been the hottest topic of conversation these days. Cue the start of World War 3. A day later, blow taps for the human race. The Israeli-American Axis will be damned if it’s going to lose another war, even if “winning” means exterminating all life on the planet. The whole fiasco will make for interesting viewing on the intergalactic reality TV show being produced by a team of space aliens recording it all. I think the episode will be titled: “When Clever Monkeys Lose All Reason.”

        • Bill Bodden
          March 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm

          We’ll probably be up the creek using tennis rackets for paddles if secretary for war “Mad Dog” Mattis gets it into his head it might be fun to kill a few Syrians and Russians.

        • March 20, 2017 at 10:13 am

          Reportedly, when the USA broke the ceasefire by bombing the hilltop Syrian army protecting the airport from daesh , Russian advisors were killed. In retaliation, reportedly the Russians bombarded a intelligence facility killing 30 invading intelligence agents.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 19, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      When America’s war machine decides to edge us citizens towards our rallying around the flag to go kill some people in some far off distant land, we the people should just put our foot down and say with all the passion within us ‘no’. Why condemning whole societies for the way they live or govern is American hipocracy of the highest degree. Just read American history, and you will read of a young newly separated from it’s empirical King band of states who struggled hard to get it right. America’s history like every other country on the face of this earth is a work in progress. So why is it proper and patriotic for Americans to feel compelled to invade these other countries whom we deem as evil, and wave our proud red white and blue stars and strips, and believe we are the liberators? I hate butinski’s don’t you?

      Dan you hit the nail on the head, America’s involvement in the Middle East isn’t so much about oil, as it is about Israel. There will come a day, if it’s not already here now, that the Balfour Declaration will be declared as meaningless as it was when the English overlords issued it to be a document of validity to whom it may concern. Imagine being an indigenous Palestintian reading that paper handed down from on high from it’s English occupiers. Now our American society for some reason feels that Israel deserves our guardianship while most Americans are afraid to say otherwise fearing they be marked as being anti-Semitic, which even that title doesn’t fit the people most refer it to. All I can say, is George Washington is rolling over in his grave at this Israeli entanglement we have so willfully rushed into. Please reference Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address for the proof of that last sentence.

      I liked your comment Dan…Joe

      • Realist
        March 19, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        We “peaceniks” are not the traitors. We have the right, nay the obligation, to object when America, our country for many generations, threatens and commits aggression against other societies. If you have kids and you know that one or more of them are bullies, do you condone their actions? Or, do you do everything within your powers to correct them and put them back on a moral and peaceable life path? If you don’t, you know there will be repercussions. First the victims, then your kids, and finally you will pay a price if you just look the other way. Same thing with America. Assuming it wasn’t a false flag, 9-11 supposedly perpetrated by Al Qaeda has been described as the ultimate blowback for creating and abetting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Don’t think there won’t be blowback from Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. When will our leaders pause, use some honest analysis, and back off from the knee-jerk reflex to start new wars?

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 20, 2017 at 10:04 am

          You bring up a good point Realist. If we older Americans are setting an example for our younger Americans well then I pity the next generation of third world nations, or nations labeled for regime change yet to come. We now are laying the foundation for a whole new round of blowback for our offspring to contend with…like saving money for their future, but with the opposite of positive results for the next generation to defend from…and we call ourselves responsible adults???? Joe

        • Joe Wallace
          March 20, 2017 at 5:42 pm

          Realist:

          Couldn’t agree more with your comment. We are encouraged, as a people, to view militarism as our all-purpose solution to foreign policy. You would think that this reflexive “patriotism” to attack other countries would be replaced by a more reflective patriotism if we considered the all too predictable blowback from our military adventures overseas.

      • Peter Loeb
        March 20, 2017 at 6:17 am

        BEATIFICATION OF STATUS QUO ANTE

        This has long been the quintessential cynical modus
        operandi of the Obama Administration. Democrats cry
        (as loudly as they can) that it is “Trump Trump! Trump!”.
        Admitting that the current Administration is worse, it puts
        those who want equality, justice, equal access in the
        unenviable position of fighting like mad for bills that
        produced none of these. Laws that funneled more
        funds to the military. More drone attacks on
        foreign nation.More so-called “recovery measures”
        by giving enormous tax cuts to the wealthy. An
        abominable so-called “universal” health care bill(ACA)
        which made private insurance agencies and big
        pharmaceutical companties the final arbiters of cost care
        and access for most Americans, The Conyers bill sjupported
        by many was never given the time of day by the Obama
        Administration. After all, the major donors to his campaigns were
        (perhaps coincidentally) the medical industry complex and big
        pharmaceutical companies.

        While “liberals” and “progressives” along with many union members
        burned out fighting the Obama plan, the Obama point man on health said only:
        “Don’t worry about the liberals. They have nowhere to go…”

        Teyvon Martins and other people of color continue being shot dead
        (in “self defense” they said) op American street.

        Prison systems continued to privatize.

        Support to Israel and Saudi Arabia hit record amounts.

        A coup was financed in Ukraine. Regime change is advocated
        in Syria and weapons were “patriotrically” given to organizations
        working hand and glove with the militants in Syria. Today
        the US and its “allies” assert their inalienable right to bomb
        in Syria without the invitation and coordination with the Government
        of Syria. (That was once called “aggression” but nowadays as
        assumed other more marketable labels…”)

        The US evidently just “forgot”(?) to condemn the horrible
        attacks on Palestinians of Cast Lead and other Israeli Wars of.
        Annexation. Perhaps it never happened and no one ever died….

        Yes, it was a wonderful, wonderful world under those Democratic
        Administrations. Their failures are the causes of Donald
        Trump’s victory. It could have been another name but
        many Americans had just had enough of nothing at all.

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 20, 2017 at 10:15 am

          Great insight to what got us here to this point Peter. Our nation’s leadership class has been hijacked by the funding of special interest, and we the people are held helpless it seems from doing anything about it. What’s even more troubling is to how our legislative branch has so stymied our Constitution with special bills and enactments that it would not be surprising if a team of Constitutional scholars were to study this crafty legislation and come away claiming it’s all legal. Talk about being hijacked, and taken for a ride. I’m hoping by some unknown chain of events yet to come, that we the people can someday be able to jump back in there (if you believe we ever did have a say) and rescue humanity before it’s all too late….thanks Peter it’s always good to hear from you Joe

      • March 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

        Remember 13 million worldwide marched against the Iraq war on the same day, result? Economic boycott is the only currency available to USA citizens. Zionists only fear BDS.

        • Joe Tedesky
          March 20, 2017 at 11:28 am

          I say shut it all done, if even for one day our entire national population were to just stay home, this would be a telling message to send to our uber masters of the universe. I mean no work, no driving on our roads, turn off every utility you can do with out….sleep on the beach if you have to, but shut it all down. Even if by geographic location people were to do this, it would make a remarkable statement. Imagine empty subway trains, or interstate highways vacant of vehicles, not to mention ghostly empty airports. No gasoline consumption, no use of gas and electric as much as possible, and no tv’s being watched for one entire 24 hour period would drive the elite into a fit of absolute terror. This with full page adds from the people telling our government to knock it off with all these wars, and to establish new priorities away from so much spending on military budgets with no end in sight.

    • Joe Wallace
      March 20, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Dan:

      “The US Government is mostly a fully owned Israeli subsidiary of Israel, in this endeavour. ( As Ariel Sharon said about the USA, don´t worry about what the US A thinks or says , we own the USA)”

      You’d think an indispensable, exceptionalist nation like the U.S. could have a foreign policy of its very own in the Middle East.

  3. March 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I believe the war racketeers have Iran in their sights and plans. Taxpayers will as usual pick up the tab.
    Read more at link below
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/03/the-war-racketeers-and-taxpayers-money.html

    • Bill Bodden
      March 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      Taxpayers will as usual pick up the tab.

      The next war may very well max out our credit cards.

  4. jaycee
    March 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    The problem for Team Trump is the world has witnessed, over the past dozen years or so, extremely arrogant behaviour from successive US administrations, and something of a united front has formed in response. China’s vetoes at the UN Security Council over Syria resolutions are significant. China and Russia will stand beside Iran. Iran now has a significant air defence system – the costs of any unilateral strike against it are far too high. US power – only a few years ago hegemonic – is, suddenly, limited

    Same in North Korea, US demands for unilateral disarmament will not go anywhere because of the example of Iraq and Libya – where disarming only led to subsequent destruction. US refusal to even negotiate with N Korea, while ratcheting up tension, solves nothing and reduces US leverage. The ability to bluster and bully is no longer in the diplomatic tool kit.

    • backwardsevolution
      March 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      jaycee – yes, North Korea has been smart in how they’ve dealt with the U.S. The North Koreans are a proud people who do not want to bend on their knees to the West. I do not blame them. And of course, once you start bending, it isn’t long before you’re crushed. Or should I say you’re crushed if you don’t go along with the West (with sanctions, etc.), but literally wiped off the face of the Earth once you do (Iraq, Libya).

      This video is by two guys who had a travel show a few years back. They were allowed into North Korea to film. Of course, they had to have two guides (a man and a woman, very nice people), and, yes, they were limited in what they saw, but these guys could not believe how kind and patriotic the North Korean people were. I remember they also visited the war museum, which depicted murals (from floor to ceiling) on how the North Koreans were almost slaughtered, but would not give in. Because North Korea has stayed pretty much on its own, they might end up being one of the only places you could still go to see a true culture, one that hasn’t been westernized to death. Four-minute clip on North Korea’s Mass Games. Wow!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqrg0dO99yE

      • Bill Bodden
        March 19, 2017 at 6:41 pm

        … they were limited in what they saw, but these guys could not believe how kind and patriotic the North Korean people were. I remember they also visited the war museum, which depicted murals (from floor to ceiling)…

        These words from your comment remind me of an article in TIME or Newsweek magazine that I read some time around the late 1950s that ridiculed the Chinese for producing art that consisted of paintings and sculptures of tractors and other industrial equipment. In the late 1960s when I made my first visit to Hong Kong I visited a Chinese Communist store in Kowloon and was astonished and impressed by how exquisite their products were – none of which had anything to do with industrial equipment.

        My reference to TIME and Newsweek is another example of the lies we get out of our mainstream media.

        • backwardsevolution
          March 19, 2017 at 11:45 pm

          Bill Bodden – yes, the truth gets obscured by so many lies. Too bad that countries have to choose between accepting westernization and losing their culture, or keeping their distance while being sanctioned or bombed. Cheers, Bill.

      • March 20, 2017 at 10:23 am

        USA had a mutual defense treaty with the Korean kingdom and simultaneously encouraged Japan to conquer Korea. Contemporarily USA gave Japan a battle plan and an Irish American governor to conquer Taiwan.

  5. March 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I believe “foreign policy” is dictated to the U.S. U.K and other NATO countries. The politicians do as they are told. It could end in a nuclear war.
    more info at link below.
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-war-agenda-of-war-criminals-result.html

  6. Mark Thomason
    March 19, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Some in the Trump Admin do this. Almost all of the DC Bubble Blob of consensus does this too.

    The only opposition to this is on the margins of both parties, among the anti-establishment types.

    They drove some parts of the Trump campaign, and all of the defeated Bernie campaign.

    They were expelled from the Hillary campaign, and never present among the establishment Republicans.

    They are present inside the Trump Admin, and opposed by the Blob that dominates foreign policy “experts” of both parties. Democrats are loud agreeing with John McCain, who is a lunatic on this.

    If we have any hope, it is today for the victory of the minority influence inside the Trump Admin, a victory over “expert thinking” in both parties and all “think tank” lobbyists.

  7. Kalen
    March 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    I would like to live in reality. here it is.

    Millions of gallons of crude oil Americans import from Saudi Arabia = 0.
    Millions of gallons of crude oil Americans import from Iran = 0.

    US shale production in 2012 almost matched production of Saudi Arabia quadruple of Iran production at that time under sanctions.

    What the hell we are doing there? It is all about Israel as 51 US state and globalists’ imperial project, petrodollar hegemony or rather its collapse, and definitely no strategic mainstream economic interests are there for the US to defend as DC argued four decades ago.

    Case closed. Trump? He is only continuing Obama’s puppet show for Deep State and mass entertainment.

  8. jo6pac
    March 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    ” Specifically, the thinking points to a role somewhat closer to that played by the senior Shia cleric in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani.”

    I’m for this and he sure won’t be living in a palace they have built. He a Great Human.

  9. Bill Bodden
    March 19, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    With right-winger Islamophobe Stephen Bannon and very pro-Israel Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner ensconced in the White House within whispering distance of Donald Trump’s ears there is no reason for optimism for a peaceful future in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, Team B in the form of Christian Crusader Mike Pence is not likely to come to our rescue.

  10. John
    March 19, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    The petrodollar 2.0……Iran is not invited…..As we speak Henry Kissinger is working Russia to join the new alliance which includes all trades and purchases made and that will be made with the USA dollar……All those opposed will be a target for sanctions and or military intervention…..The great USA will have a very hard time living in a world where the USA dollar is not king….and the band played on….

  11. Kozmo
    March 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Interesting how when the US throws a hissy-fit at some countries (Iran, Cuba), it goes on for decades, past any rational point, yet other adversaries (Germany, Japan, Vietnam) are able to resume normal relations fairly easily and quickly.

  12. March 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

    The author, Mr. Paul Pillar, is featured on the site of NIAC (National Iranian American Council) which is essentially a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Does he receive funding from them? Moreover, he conveniently avoids mention of the fact that the theocracy in Iran was almost overthrow by mass protests undertaken by liberals, democratic tendencies some five years ago, only to be violently crushed by the regime and sadly abandoned by a shallow thinking US President at tbe time.

    • backwardsevolution
      March 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Pedram – similar to the crushing of Occupy movement after the banks were bailed out and none of the criminals were ever imprisoned.

    • March 21, 2017 at 6:12 am

      how invovled was the ghost of kermit rosevelt?

  13. Alister
    March 20, 2017 at 9:52 am

    America has many smart people in the government; but unfortunately they keep electing dummy president who then become a lapdog of the “International Zionist Franchise” or White Supremacists group; or the Know-It-All Racists like Mr. Stephan K. Bannon who is effectively the U.S. president in Trump Administration. What a shame, America deserves a better government !!!

    • backwardsevolution
      March 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Alister – because the current administration wants to get control over borders, wants to protect people from possible terrorists, they’re suddenly “white supremacists”? Really? If the borders were being overrun by Russians or Germans or Swedes and the government was trying to stop them, what would you say then?

  14. Heman
    March 20, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    “This will be the course of Iranian history as long as we do not screw up the process with mindlessly applied isolation, economic punishment, and attempted subversion.”

    This reasonable conclusion is ignored because it doesn’t have a place in the agendas of those who make our foreign policy. The same can be said for Russia and China.

    The fundamental flaw in our foreign policy is how we vet and elect our representatives. The sometimes rises to the surface then sink into the sea.

    Until someone can figure how to get a handhold to climb out of the morass, little will change.

  15. Brad Isherwood
    March 20, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/381243-iran-mosul-iraq-us-trump/

    excerpt:

    In Iraq, Secretary of Defense James Mattis (an avowed anti-Iran hawk who has claimed the country is a bigger problem than ISIS) announced heplans to keep US troops in Mosul long after the city is recaptured from ISIS. Again, this is nothing to do with ‘stability’ but all about countering Iranian influence. Indeed, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi, Trump promised that he would “double US support, not just continue it” following Mosul’s capture; support here meaning the deployment of occupation troops.
    *********

    With Israel firing stand off Cruise missiles at Palmyra region T4 Airbase,….where Russian forces in Syria
    Are deployed,…indicates the driven risk actions the Israeli and US have …towards confronting Iran’s
    Presence in Syria.
    A US occupation presence in Syria Raqqa is possible future,….and with IRGC and Hezbollah nearby,…it’s
    A given the US will provoke them by any means.

  16. MKhattib
    March 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Unless real, meaningful democratic reforms take place in Iran to move it away from a theocracy and into a governing democracy, things will ever improve. That–more than anything else–needs to be the global focus. This means blacklisting the IRGC and redoing the Iran nuclear deal to finally address related issues such as ballistic missiles, terror support and human rights.

    • March 21, 2017 at 6:15 am

      you meant to write usa?

  17. March 20, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Paul R. Pillar is looking under the wrong push on America’s problem with Islamic regime in Tehran.

    Vice-president Joe Biden who son and daughter are married in Zionist Jew families, understood better the Satan in the room.

    In September 2015, addressing Ahavath Achim synagogue in Atlanta, said: “The only thing that would satisfy (US-Iran nuclear) deal opponents including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is “a regime change” that could only come with US power.”

    It took Joe Biden more than two decades to admit the Israeli agenda, which Netanyahu had been pursuing since 1992.

    “An Iranian nuclear bomb was a lot further away 15 years ago when I started talking about. It was a lot further away 10 years ago. It was a lot further away 5 years ago. It was a lot further away five months ago. They’re getting there, and they’re getting very, very close,” Netanyahu told Fox News’ Jewish anchorwoman Greta Van Susteren, on March 7, 2012.

    Interestingly, some of recently released FBI classified files claim that both Netanyahu and Shimon Peres were involved in stealing US nuclear technology and enrich uranium material to make the first ‘Jewish Bomb’ in the 1960s.

    https://rehmat1.com/2015/09/05/joe-biden-netanyahu-wants-a-regime-change-in-tehran/

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