Trump’s Saudi/Israeli First Foreign Policy

President Trump boasts about his America First foreign policy committed to “jobs, jobs, jobs,” except when he parrots the Saudi-Israeli hatred of Iran, a hostility that hurts U.S. interests and costs jobs, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

In his first inaugural address, one of President Barack Obama’s messages to America’s adversaries was that “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” A few years later, the unclenching of Iran’s fist was marked by the election of reformist Hassan Rouhani and the entry of Iran into negotiations with the United States and five other powers, leading to a detailed agreement in which Iran accepted severe limitations on, and intrusive scrutiny of, its nuclear program and closed all possible pathways to possible acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on May 22, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

Today, as far as U.S.-Iranian relations are concerned, the clenched fist is found in Washington, in the form of the Trump administration’s vehement, relentlessly expressed, and unqualified hostility toward Iran. This hostility is one of the few constants in a Trump foreign policy that otherwise is laden with inconsistencies and flip-flops.

As vividly displayed in the President’s speeches at the first two stops of his current foreign trip, the hostility toward Iran has taken on the character of automatically expressed dogma, seemingly divorced from actual events in, or involving, Iran and with no apparent attention to the specific interests of each country and where they conflict or converge.

Whatever political, rhetorical, or visceral purposes this hostility serves, it has major costs. The costs arise from the hostility itself and from policies that flow from it, either directly as established by the Trump administration or indirectly by encouraging damaging actions by the U.S. Congress and setting a tone that sustains political support for the damaging actions. The policies in question involve rejection of any positive cooperation with Iran and support only for isolation and punishment of, and aggressive confrontation against, Iran.

The costs exist no matter what position one may take regarding the degree and nature of Iranian transgressions, or how these transgressions compare with those of other states in the Middle East. The costs are first and foremost to U.S. interests, and to what most Americans would agree are U.S. interests. But more specifically, the costs include damage to some of the very objectives that President Trump has enunciated.

Costs of the tightly clenched fist include the following ten.

–Impeding resolution of regional problems. Like it or not, Iran is a major player in the Middle East. A nation of 80 million people will not go away, nor will it curl up and pretend it is not part of its region and not be heavily involved in its region. No solutions to problems such as the highly destructive war in Syria will be possible without full Iranian involvement. Attempting instead to isolate Iran will make would-be solutions infeasible and give Iran an incentive to be a spoiler.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sitting next to President Hassan Rouhani and addressing the cabinet.

–Misunderstanding regional problems. Coming to believe one’s own rhetoric is a common fault. To the extent that the Trump administration starts making policy based on the belief that Iran really is the root of all security problems in the Middle East, the result will be policy that is misinformed and thus misdirected and ineffective.

When Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who is supposed to be one of the adults in the Trump administration but has at least as much of a personal fixation on Iran as does any other senior figure in the administration, says that the three gravest problems in the Middle East are “Iran, Iran, Iran,” he is doing a disservice. There is no one root cause or origin of the serious security problems in that region, and to preach that there is such a single cause is a recipe for bad policy.

–Risking the loss of nuclear restraints on Iran. Iran so far has complied with its extensive obligations under the nuclear agreement — a fact the Trump administration grudgingly had to acknowledge even while trying to offset that acknowledgment with as much of its anti-Iran rhetoric as possible.

The main uncertainty regarding compliance is on the U.S. side. The anti-Iran drumbeat has encouraged some members of the Congress to march toward enacting legislation that includes provisions that would directly violate U.S. obligations under the agreement. If the laboriously negotiated nuclear agreement were to die because of U.S. noncompliance, the alternative would not be some unicorn-like “better deal”; it instead would be no deal and a return to unrestricted Iranian ability to spin as many centrifuges as it likes and to produce as much fissile material as it likes.

–Isolating the United States and estranging it from its most important allies. The other powers that negotiated, and are parties to, the nuclear agreement — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China — are all firmly resolved to uphold the agreement and to build on it in developing more normal diplomatic and commercial relations with Iran. To the extent the United States moves in a different direction, then it, not Iran, is the odd one out.

–Losing American jobs. As the Europeans, as well as the Russians and Chinese, develop their commercial relations with Iran, American companies are losing business. U.S. sanctions against Iran already have cost U.S. business hundreds of billions in lost revenue. A prospective sale by Boeing of civilian airliners to Iran — a sale that Trump has criticized and that some Republicans in Congress are trying to derail — would support, according to Boeing, nearly 100,000 jobs at the company and its suppliers.

–Directing international blame at the United States for impeding moves toward peace. As long as the U.S. administration is the odd one out on issues such as the nuclear agreement and its aftermath, the costs go beyond the self-inflicted economic damage and specific differences with the other parties to the agreement. There also is the wider opprobrium that comes from being the recalcitrant one. That opprobrium will underlie suspicion and cynicism about anything else this administration says about seeking peace, especially in the Middle East.

–Promoting hardline Iranian policies and leaders. Iran, like other countries, has real politics. Also like other countries, the politics are influenced by what is inflicted on the country from abroad. It is foolish to pretend that all contending politicians in Tehran constitute an undifferentiated mass and that Iran will be horrible no matter who holds office within the structure of the existing regime.

It is especially foolish to cling to that assumption in the wake of the election that gave Rouhani a second term. A strong majority – and even the Supreme Leader in Iran cannot ignore the election returns — supported Rouhani’s rejection of hardline policies, but his support will be sustainable only if the economic improvement that has come to be associated with sanctions relief and improved external economic relations comes to pass.

To undercut Rouhani with U.S. policies that center only on isolation and sanctions would be a gift to Iranian hardliners who support the sorts of external policies that we most dislike.

–Trashing the concept of America First. To follow the nothing-but-hostility-and-isolation approach to Iran is to outsource U.S. foreign policy to other states that do not have U.S. interests at heart, and to two other states in particular: Saudi Arabia and Israel. Such outsourcing may make for congeniality with the local rulers during visits to those countries, but it diminishes Trump’s chances of making progress on the very matters on which he said during the trip he wants to make progress.

President Donald Trump touches lighted globe with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman and Donald Trump at the opening of Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on May 21, 2017. (Photo from Saudi TV)

For Saudi Arabia, highlighting Iran as a demon, besides pushing the Saudis’ side of a local rivalry and sustaining rather than lessening tension in the Persian Gulf, is an excuse for further repression of Shia populations, and such repression makes terrorism and other forms of political violence more, rather than less, likely.

For Israel, the constant assertion that Iran is “the real” source of all trouble in the region is the best possible diverter of attention from its occupation of the Palestinian territories. Trump’s singing from the same sheet of music makes it all the less likely that the Israeli government will feel pressure to make the decisions necessary for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever to be resolved, as Trump claims he wants.

–Losing a channel for defusing of tensions. A useful byproduct of the negotiations on the nuclear agreement was establishment of communications at the foreign minister level that could be used to address other problems, even in the absence of full diplomatic relations. We saw the value of that channel when U.S. naval craft strayed inexcusably into Iranian territorial waters. Addressing the situation in the foreign minister channel was key to getting quick return of the U.S. sailors. Now that channel is gone, and the Trump administration shows no interest in re-establishing it. The next time a similar incident occurs, the subsequent step might be escalation into a crisis rather than repatriation of Americans.

–Risking a new Middle East war. Donald Trump probably does not want a new war, and during the presidential campaign he said things that suggested to some ears that he would be less likely than his opponent to get into one. But there are people who would welcome war with Iran and will seize on events to try to spark one. And there are people who evidently have the President’s ear — Secretary Mattis, for one — who favor the sort of confrontational approach toward Iran that increases the chance of events spinning out of control.

The lack of a channel for defusing tensions and resolving misunderstandings—and the overall climate of hostility that the administration’s rhetoric has done so much to build up — make that chance disturbingly large.

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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36 comments for “Trump’s Saudi/Israeli First Foreign Policy

  1. mike k
    May 25, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Given the choice of ten ways to shoot itself in the foot in dealing with Iran, the US says, “I’ll take all ten!” The great deal maker decides to use Mafia coercion instead of negotiating. Little boys love to play with guns; it makes them feel adult and powerful. Trump, like so many American men, has never really matured.

  2. Max
    May 25, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    They could gun down the reporters and not lose any votes!

    New plan might be a press vest to stop them. With body armor, we’ll have new jobs and press first policy.

    Supreme art of war is to disable the other side without fighting, so writing should be effective. Camera is also better cleaner than gun.

    Stay positive and vested.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    May 25, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    On December 28th 2016 when out of nowhere, and after the U.S. abstained over Israel’s settlement expansion with it’s UN vote, John Kerry speaking as still sitting Secretary of State admonished Israel over their expansion project, as this was a welcome relief for a change. Here was Obama and Kerry, on their way out the door, and now finally and in the spirit of a little to late, but none the less their reprimanding message to Israel was a long overdue pleasant surprise. This has to make one wonder, to if once a U.S. politician is in their final stretch, and with little to lose, then and only then the truth will come out. I guess once your about to be dropped from the payroll of AIPAC then a U.S. politician may find their critical thinking mind, and their compassionate soul.

    Welcome to the White House President Trump, you are now finally acting like a U.S. President. As president you may shed those rhetorical anti-Saudi remarks, as well as you may get rid of that nonsense of getting both sides to the table between the Israeli Palestinian 100 year old struggle, and forget what you said in Ohio and Georgia to now say what needs to be said to our Middle East friends, oh and that includes Israel too. Forget selling Boeing aircraft to Iran, because the Saudi’s need those weapons or rather ISIS does, and how much is too much or not enough for our dear cuddly ally Israel? Yes, Mr President you have finally arrived, as long as you haven’t played nice nice with any Russians, buy here you are now doing what America does best…sponsoring chaos in a place we don’t belong.

    Maybe when Trump is in his last 23 days of holding the office of president, he too will say what needs said about Israel ……Rex could ask Swift Boat Johnny for help writing that speech. Who knows, they are all soulless greedy parasites who feed off the people who do all the work. Nothing has changed, it’s just a different party in office doing the same as the party before it did.

    • Ma Laoshi
      May 27, 2017 at 6:42 am

      The Kerry–settlement episode was typical Obama in trying to have it both ways. Never mind the body count of the terrible things he’s *chosen* to do; when in an obscure forum he says in an interview “of course I know better” his devotees selectively latch on to those words and swoon “See, he’s always been one of us.”

      Of course, Kerry stating something which was approximately true for a change was refreshing. But at that stage, did it have any chance of helping Palestinians, or was it calibrated to make Democrats feel good about *themselves*? For me, the latter comes uncomfortably close to the truth about modern liberalism. If Trump’s people felt it was an attempt to box in the incoming administration, seems like they have a point.

  4. John P
    May 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    This is a must visit site which also allows you to read :
    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2017-05-08/syria-is-the-dam-against-more-anarchy/

    “Syria is the Dam Against More Bloody Chaos” – 8 May 2017
    A decade ago I published a book, Israel and the Clash of Civilisations, that examined Israel’s desire to Balkanise the Middle East, using methods it had refined over many decades in the occupied Palestinian territories. The goal was to unleash chaos across much of the region, destabilising key enemy states: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon…….”

    You will find a link to Mondoweiss within the article, a magnificent piece, and a further link in that article on how the Zionists tried to sabotage him, Tom Suarez.

    “Terrorism: How the Israeli State Was Won” – Tom Suarez – Mondoweiss – Jan. 1, 2017

    “On December 14, Tom Suárez spoke at The House of Lords, London, at the invitation of Baroness Jenny Tonge. Drawing from his recently published book State of Terror, he addressed the centennial of the Balfour Declaration and his views on the way toward ending today’s Israel-Palestine “conflict”. The following are Suárez’s remarks. The book was reviewed here by David Gerald Fincham.”

  5. Maryon
    May 25, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    It’s hilarious to think voters believed Trump’s electioneering ‘America first’ slogan and could even believe Israeli would *not* come first. lol.

    • john wilson
      May 26, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Maryon, the voters didn’t exactly have much choice did they? It was that horrible war monger Clinton or Trump with his beguiling message of hope. I do believe that Trump really did mean what he was saying on the campaign trail but what he didn’t bargain for was his total subjugation by the deep state and the war lords of the arms industry once he was in the White House. You may recall that Obama had all kinds of ideas wen he was campaigning one of which was closing Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The deep state soon put a stop to that from then on Obama became a puppet and was soon having lots of nice little wars etc for the rest of his time in office. It will be the same with Trump.

      • Gregory Herr
        May 26, 2017 at 6:51 pm

        john, you post contains an interesting question to which your answer I have no quibble.
        We can see in full hindsight that Obama performed his Presidency in the fashion of a “puppet”. This can be said because of the consistency by which his actions benefited the usual suspects that have basically been having their way since the requiem of the post-war dream. The question is, “when exactly did Obama become a puppet?”
        Did Obama, at the time of his candidacy, believe in his “ideas”…were they his own? Or did Obama knowingly craft, with help, a campaign of “ideas” meant to further an image…or more precisely, a mirage? It may very well be that it was after Obama gained the Presidency that his understanding of “options” was “retooled”. I wonder.

    • JWalters
      May 26, 2017 at 6:17 am

      It looks like Israel has Trump by the balls.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 26, 2017 at 12:21 pm

        JWalters – “It looks like Israel has Trump by the balls.” With a death grip.

        • Gregory Herr
          May 26, 2017 at 6:56 pm

          By the looks of that horrid image of Trump-Netanyahu, I would say so.

    • Ma Laoshi
      May 27, 2017 at 6:52 am

      Well yes, but it’s not much of a betrayal if that’s what his deplorables *want*. Looking on say Breitbart sometimes, they loved MAGA in the abstract, not in the least because it made Democrats’ heads explode. But in their considered judgment, giving moar bombs to Bibi is the most reliable pathway to getting their own ignorant asses in heaven.

      If Trump wants to whack Iran, his followers will immediately rationalize “See how a real man of action deals with the mullahs.” For all of the non-interventionist campaign rhetoric, getting Trump’s people to jump into the breach will only take saying “Obama was too soft”, some religion, and a flick of the finger. Least worst outcome is that the Trump clan just wants to snatch up some Iraqi oil fields, and the noise is just to intimidate Iran enough to stay out of it or “you’re next”.

  6. Zachary Smith
    May 26, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Risking a new Middle East war. Donald Trump probably does not want a new war, and during the presidential campaign he said things that suggested to some ears that he would be less likely than his opponent to get into one.

    Considering that Trump has given away his military authority to the Generals, what does it matter what he “wants” or “doesn’t want”?

    Besides, Nuclear Israel has the whole area (except Lebanon) nailed down to its satisfaction, and who does that leave? Saudi Arabia. That nation has quite a stash of large missiles, and it also has on tap an unknown number of Pakistani nukes as soon as it asks for them – assuming it hasn’t already. Would it actually use them? Perhaps the plan is to follow the Israel pattern of threatening to use them on a large city so as to extort aid from the US. Recall how we in the US of A listened to our Master’s Voice in 1973 and quickly “assisted” our little Excremental “Ally”.

    Operation Nickel Grass was an overt strategic airlift and operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In a series of events that took place over 32 days, the Military Airlift Command of the U.S. Air Force shipped 22,325 tons of tanks, artillery, ammunition, and supplies in C-141 Starlifter and C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft between October 14 and November 14, 1973

    Saudi Arabia could do exactly the same thing – attack Iran with the piles of shiny new weapons Obama and Trump have given them, and see what happens. If they win, no problem. But if they begin to lose, the blackmail card can be played – same as in 1973. All of a sudden the neocon newspapers would start telling us about the need to Do The Right Thing and finally smite the serpent which is Iran. I’d expect Trump (or Pence) would allow the Mattis types to do just that. And of course 97% of Congress (both houses) would cheer them on.

  7. king279
    May 26, 2017 at 2:16 am

    The enemy has to be there or the USA does not know what to do with their lies and weapons.
    Since it is clear that the USA will always do what Israel wants, oppression of the Palestinian people will be tolerated by the Western countries. Iran has been sanctioned for not doing what the US wants and it is about time that they do develop their own nuclear weapons to ensure they have a chance to survive after the destruction of countries near them. It might be the only way to save themselves as the long-standing plan to mess up all these countries (since 9/11 even expressly quoted as a plan by Gen Wesley-Clarke). They could well survive better without the constant threat of this moronic policy towards them.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      king279 – yes, Iran and Venezuela should have followed North Korea’s lead. It is the ONLY thing that keeps the wolves at bay. Of course, I don’t mean this, I hate these disgusting weapons, but it appears that if you can’t defend yourself against these tyrants or don’t do exactly what they tell you to do, you get pulverized.

  8. Realist
    May 26, 2017 at 4:11 am

    Frankly, I would trust Iran to do what is right and moral more than I would Israel or Saudi Arabia any day. Yes, Iran is officially a theocracy, their leaders wear turbans and they have onerous penalties against some actions, especially sexual ones, that we consider mere lifestyle choices in America.

    If that is considered a valid excuse to choose sides against them, I would remind readers that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are theocracies as well, the latter being way more severe than Iran. In Iran they have freedom of religion, you are not executed for consuming alcohol, and women are not kept in a box under absolute control of their male relatives.

    Israel’s religious leaders might tolerate more sexual pecadillos than the two Islamic countries, but the ruling council of rabbis define precisely who is a Jew and therefore who is entitled to immigration into and citizenship within Israel. They have stoked the racial and religious animosity against their mostly Arab and Islamic neighbors, instigating the never-ending theft of land on God’s supposed directives.

    Plus they enforce all kinds of restrictive laws about keeping the Sabbath on both believers and non-believers alike. To answer JC’s 2,000-year old question, no, they would not allow you to retrieve your ass from a pit on the Sabbath. Too many Joules expended in raising the known mass the specified height against the force of gravity (wherein Work = Mass x Height x G).

    • Sam F
      May 26, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Iran is plainly more amenable to negotiation than either Israel or KSA, who would have to be brought in line to find peace. That would require BDS against them both, cutting off arms sales and aid entirely.

      The reversal of Trump on wars for Israel shows his complete capitulation to US government corruption, his complete unpreparedness for the presidency, his unwillingness to sacrifice for truth and justice, his dishonesty, and his ultimate cowardice and selfishness. For one who saw him as the lesser evil, but knows the extreme corruption of the US government and it business oligarchy, that is not surprising. It simply shows the futility of all hope for reform of the US through the duopoly, and the likely futility of peaceful reform.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm

        Sam F – you are right about “his complete unpreparedness for the presidency”. Trump was not a warmonger, and he thought war was stupid and a waste of time and lives. This is evidenced by his saying, “Well, what’s the use of having nuclear weapons if we can’t use them?” He didn’t know a nuclear weapon from the end of a knitting needle. That’s because he’s not a warrior (like McCain) or a conniving politician. Take a look at Schumer. That’s a conniving Shylock if I ever saw one.

        Trump thought that if he won the Presidency, he could do what he wanted, within reason, and end wars and cut back on NATO. Wrongo! He did not know the depths of the Deep State.

        Nor should he have had to. That’s what wrong with this picture. None of this crap should be going on. If it wasn’t going on, then someone like Trump could come in and work on domestic issues. That’s what Trump is interested in. He doesn’t know foreign policy, he’s not at all interested in it. He wants to cooperate and do business, not make war.

        Trump doesn’t want to (and shouldn’t have to) play Israeli or Saudi games. But he’s up against EVERY single senator. Try that one on for size!

        I feel for the guy. It’d be like me in Anderson Cooper’s chair, being told to lie, which I would find very hard to do.

        If none of this crap was going on, if North Korea could just exist the way they want to (without a frigging central bank), if countries weren’t sanctioned because they didn’t follow rules, if Israel was told to shut up and sit down, you could actually lead a country and get something done, something worthwhile like helping families.

        I don’t think we can call anyone a coward until we’re sitting in their shoes. It could be Trump is trying his best to get back to what he campaigned on. Maybe he’ll be successful, maybe he won’t, but I doubt very much whether he’s caving in to them because he’s dishonest or selfish.

        • Sam F
          May 26, 2017 at 1:49 pm

          Yes, I will withhold judgment of his character until the facts are known. I too wish to encourage him to do all that he can do, and see no gain in vilification.

          But we should not presume that a president can be forced to actions with which he strongly disagrees. If threatened, he needs only to get the message out, who made what threat, which would be instantly known to the people regardless of mass media collusion. Of course he might be assassinated, but that would bring revolution against the conspiring group. A president who does not have that courage is not well chosen.

          Neither can a qualified president be readily deceived that he must reverse course on foreign policy matters due to facts secret from him until taking office. If he did not know enough to declare his views, if he is so easily deceived and led about socially by the NSC, then he would not have been competent and prepared.

          Such changes in views on the part of a qualified candidate should be accompanied by extensive public declarations and reasoning.

          If his character is appropriate he must quickly appoint more appropriate people, get control of the basics, and take the necessary action to restore democracy, and sanity in foreign policy. I do not see that happening at this point, but would be very pleased to be surprised in the matter.

        • Sam F
          May 26, 2017 at 2:01 pm

          If Mr. Trump is confronted by a uniformly corrupt Senate, he should promptly investigate and remove every last one of them if necessary, announce new principles of popular funding of elections supervised by the US, place the mass media into the hands of state university committees (after a period of preparations), hold new elections, demand the necessary amendments to the constitution to protect elections and mass media from economic influence, and dismiss Congress until they do so. It is massive overreach, but necessary to eliminate massive corruption, Where the alternative is revolution, eventual isolation and collapse, or indefinite tyranny, it is well warranted. Such action would elevate and preserve his reputation forever, if he cares for that.

        • Realist
          May 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm

          That was very well stated, b-e. Folks here can see wherein the problem lies, unlike the general public being hoodwinked by the MSM.

        • Skip Scott
          May 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          I don’t know about cowardice, but someone who has had five bankruptcies is definitely dishonest and unethical in my book. How would you feel if you were depending on getting paid by the Donald to pay your mortgage and feed your kids? He is a buffoon and a shyster, but America was faced with him or Hillary, the evil Queen of Chaos. Arsenic or cyanide?

          BTW, I voted for Jill, the only candidate with a vision for a better America after Bernie caved.

  9. john wilson
    May 26, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Of course Trump and his Yankee deep state minders have to be hostile towards Iran because that’s where their next war is coming from. The reason the Americans are so desperate to get Syria under their thumb is so they can use Syrian territory as a launching pad for the coming war which these war mongers have planned against Iran. As has been pointed out in previous posts, peace is not an option because anything that hinders the profit of the arms industry has to be snuffed out.

  10. mike k
    May 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

    The United States government does not have a serious commitment to peace. Quite the contrary. This government is the most prowar government on Earth. Until this changes, America will remain the criminal enemy of Humankind. This overwhelming devotion to the War God is the real religion of America at this time. Everything the US does is destructive to the real interests of Humankind. We are far and away the Rogue Terrorist Nation of planet Earth. If there is a definition of extreme evil, the USA is it.

    • Sam F
      May 26, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Very true that most US government acts are destructive of “the real interests of humankind.” The US has no commitment to peace and prosperity for all, because its people do not control their government.

      Of course, the US oligarchy controlled by Israel and Saudi Arabia selects Russia and Iran as the targets, because Israel sees their cooperation with Hezbollah as a threat, and the Saudi Sunni extremists oppose Shiite Islam. The WallSt/MIC profits from any small war. Their political tyrants create foreign monsters to pose as protectors and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. The oligarchy mass media sells wars to those angry at the misfortunes oligarchy brought them, as the means to symbolic personal triumph by identifying themselves with oligarchy and killing all who disagree.

      So we cannot stop the wars, establish a humanitarian democracy, nor achieve benefits for the people of the US, until the oligarchy is deposed. Stabilization of democracy further requires amendments to protect elections and mass media debate from economic power, better checks and balances within the government branches, purging the corrupt judiciary and Congress, monitoring of government officials for corruption, and regulation of business so that bullies and scammers do not rise to control economic or information power.

      The path to destruction of oligarchy is the greatest problem of civilization. Apart from the revolutions of the largest present democracies (US and India), where the colonial power was small and remote, every solution in history has involved external conquest (e.g. Rome) or violent revolution (e.g. Russia, China, and Cuba). Unfortunately the US is now in the latter category. We may seek and hope for some new solution, but we must see and resolve that this is the only historical meaning of our lives.

      • Realist
        May 26, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        What’s a mind f*ck is that the US government and its minders the Israelis do not merely see war with Russia, China and Iran as “imperative,” they find it “urgent!” Otherwise, why not take a “wait and see” approach and “give peace a chance?” No, peaceniks are considered a threat and warmongers, the more bellicose the better, are the Pied Pipers to be followed over the cliff.

  11. mike k
    May 26, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I am not happy about the situation I outlined above. I am trying to do what I can to change it. What I said is not a curse or a final condemnation; it is just an honest evaluation of the present reality. We need to change this, and we can. Whether we will act effectively is unknown. But if we don’t the result will probably be human extinction.

    • Realist
      May 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      It is amazing how reckless the human race is with its future, especially considering that it took 4.5 billion years of slow painstaking evolution for us to get to this place in time. No sane system of logic, ethics, morality or just plain common sense would risk total annihilation by developing nuclear weapons and casually threatening to use them on such over-the-top pretexts. Only complete fools would throw away everything our kind has created and everything it might ever become just because a handful of bullies who have elbowed their way to the top think that their will must be obeyed by everyone, including complete strangers on the opposite side of the planet. ET, if you’re out there, please start dumping anti-psychotics into our water supply.

      • Gregory Herr
        May 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

        I like your long view…and yes we need some anti-psychotics, quick!

  12. J. D.
    May 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    To say nothing of the fact that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, educated virtually all the principal Islamist extremists and terrorists in the world. It is not going to help President Trump rebuild New York, against which it launched destruction 15 years ago — no more than it will rebuild Yemen, which it has leveled and tormented now. For that matter, Saudi Arabia has been canceling its own power and other infrastructure projects since the oil price went down — the exact opposite of China’s “win-win” Belt and Road great projects. Meanwhile Iran, which is crucial to any peace or development in the area, has not reacted to the rhetoric and is patiently waiting for the administration to adopt a more rational policy, As for security and the fight against terrorism, the relationship with Russia is still the most strategic and indispensable.

  13. May 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    A good article. It seems that Trump was far weaker to resist the sheer numbers of deep state forces and players once he got into office. And I do wonder about that son-in-law Kushner with his ties to Israel and Netanyahu. As for the intransigent, warmongering nation which the clerics of Iran and former president Ahmadinejad have called “The Great Satan”, I am inclined to agree with the Iranians! I don’t believe all Iranians say that, though, as they have a modern, advanced culture. People like James Mattis probably don’t know much about the incredible history and culture from which the Iranian nation derives its modern form.

    • Realist
      May 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Iranians are a very intelligent industrious people who aspire to be successful like the United States, which is why so many are immigrants to this country, usually working in professional, technical or middle management positions. Most Iranians who have settled in the US generally have relatives constantly visiting our country, if not seeking permanent residence. They integrate into our culture as readily as Israelis and other Jews from abroad. The people are not radical, they are not into mass murder and suicide bombings like some crazy Wahabi Jihadists. But we intend on making them all pay for the ill-considered taking of hostages from the American embassy by overwrought student activists nearly 40 years ago. Well then, let Russia and China reap the benefit of interacting respectfully and freely with Iran.

      • Skip Scott
        May 27, 2017 at 7:14 am

        I can’t help but think how different Iran would be today if we had never taken out Mossadeq.

    • Gregory Herr
      May 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      One of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world…

  14. No More Neos
    May 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    “If the Saud family again finance and participate in directing an attack against the U.S., such as 9/11, it will be with the participation of the U.S. aristocracy, just as it was on 9-11. In other words: the aristocracies of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel, are joined-at-the-head, inseparable. They function as one gang, though, like in the Mafia and other criminal gangs, they each have their respective turfs.

    However, Donald Trump clearly knows about “Saudi Arabia’s role on the World Trade Center and the attack. That’s very serious stuff. It’s sort of nice to know who your friends are and perhaps who your enemies are.” But, after he was elected, he got bought-off, by the Sauds, and by the Israelis. However, the Americans — this nation’s aristocracy, and not its people — have clearly been pushing him to do this, or else he’ll soon be replaced by his Vice President, Mike Pence. So: the people who have been carrying out this Saudi operation are their U.S. partners, who have big megaphones in the U.S.

    Ranking the relative power between these three aristocracies would be difficult and merely a guess, but my own ordering of them would be: (1) the Sauds; (2) the Israeli and pro-Israeli aristocracy; (3) the U.S. aristocracy. In any case, since they’re all joined-at-the-head, they’re basically all one aristocracy — each of them needs the other two in order to be able to do what they do. That’s the world’s most powerful political force. It is by far the leading gang. And this is actually the most important thing to understand about international affairs today.

    The main factual basis I can offer for that ranking, would be that, whereas the U.S. has been physically invaded by both of the others, (by Israel in 1967, and by the Sauds in 2001), the U.S. has not invaded either of the others. The U.S. instead continues to accept both of the others as ‘allies’. This is remarkable. What self-respecting, sovereign country would do a thing like that? None. This is the main factual basis. But it’s not the only factual basis.

    For another factual example, several American Presidents have been captured on photographs as bowing down to the Saudi king. Never once has any indication been published of a Saudi king having bowed down to an American president. (Of course, no head-of-state ever should bow down to any other, except perhaps in a public and physical surrender. And for the American people to accept it from its presidents, is stunning. But the American people accept lots of abuse from the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel. It’s par for the course in the tri-partite relationship — which yet further indicates that the U.S. is at the bottom of this totem-pole.)”

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/05/24/which-government-dominates-us-saud-alliance.html

  15. May 26, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I believe this is what happens:

    When Gangsters Are In Control

    When gangsters are in control, endless wars slaughter millions of souls
    And countries are destroyed by the hit men of the gangster ghouls
    The unethical money changers finance their dirty depredations
    And corporate cannibals profit from the bloody confrontations

    Government by gangsters is now “the rule of law”
    And “justice” is in the hands of criminals and outlaws
    The language is twisted and debased
    To suit these evil demons of the “human race”

    [more info at link below]

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/01/when-gangsters-are-in-control.html

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