Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Trump Wars

The United States is at war - with itself at the moment. Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States, wants to reverse all the wrongs he sees plaguing his country. Fair enough. New leaders often come in with the strongest of intentions. Nothing new there. This time it's different though. It is said that politics is the game of rich men. Trump won the presidency without having to cut deals with the US establishment. In doing so he cut them out of the power equation they have been used to holding, and that has become dangerous. Only a rich man could do it. One who could fund his own campaign. One who could pay for his own mistakes. That is Trump, and that's exactly what he did.

Now we have the aftermath. An unprecedented situation in western political history which many would welcome, but which also holds real danger for all. Trump is not controlled by the US elite. He now has the power in many ways to act unilaterally on the international scene - including deploying US forces into conflict.  The Chinese refer to politics as war without bloodshed, and to war as politics with bloodshed. A very accurate way to measure the dynamics of mankind. Today we are at the point of war without bloodshed - at least in the West. In the near future we will be immersed in politics with bloodshed - unfortunately for us all.

A troubling sign of  this was Trump's election campaign, and the constant reference to Iran as a pariah state. Another was a similar view of China. In my mind though, the Iran war is more immanent than the Chinese conflict. The reason for that conclusion? In a word - Israel. Trump has made his son-in-law his strategic adviser on the Middle East. His son-in-law is Jewish. That creates an immediate problem of perception. For instance, what if his son-in-law was Saudi or Palestinian? The optics are quite obvious - the strategic advice is more than likely to be slanted in one direction. That creates real danger for the world. It leaves him open to influence.

On the campaign trail, a bombastic Trump promised the crowds that he would "rip up" the Iranian nuclear deal which is just months old. That in itself is troubling. Even more troubling is the fact that such an act is fully inline with Israel's policy on the agreement. Just remember that without a nuclear deal Israel was pressing for a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. It appears that is now back on the table. They aren't talking about it publicly yet, but a curious, foreboding message was just released from the Israeli Prime Minister. The video message is directed at the Iranian people, and not the Iranian government he says. In it he calls the Israeli and Iranian people friends who are being separated by a religious dictatorship (regime). At one point, in the two minute video, he let's slip that the Iranian people will not he under the yoke of this regime much longer. The inference is clear. Iran is on the cusp of being "liberated". Regime change. War is coming, and he is asking the Iranian people to view Israel as a liberator.

That simple insinuation says a few things. Firstly, it says that the Israeli Prime Minister knows there is a war coming with Iran - otherwise he wouldn't have put the words in that context. It also jives with the new US President's view toward Iran. Trump has promised to stop the US's foreign wars, and essentially make the US a pre-World War One isolationist power, so is there a contradiction in his view of Iran? Consider that Israel was prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities prior to the nuclear agreement, but former President Obama would not "green light" that operation. Israel was held back. Now, however, the water on the beans has changed. Trump, it appears, is fully prepared to allow Israel a free hand in dealing with Iran. And that is very dangerous indeed.

It is now almost certain that Israel with attempt to bomb Iran. It's just as certain the Trump will turn a blind eye to it, with a quiet promise the US will back Israel if things get ugly. It's curious that just last week two unidentified drones were spotted over Iran's capital city - one was shot down. It's also interesting that during the same time Russia moved state of the art s-400 anti missile systems into the Moscow area, and placed them on "combat alert". The war of words with China dramatically escalated, as well, to the point Trump threatened China with a naval blockade. China, in turn, said it would not be deterred in the South China Sea by "word bombs" from the US. Clearly the world is moving dramatically toward conflict - armed conflict more likely than not. I suggest the first concrete step in that conflict will be Israel bombing Iran - sadly.

On the face of things it seems odd that Trump would be seeking to repair relations with Russia on the one hand, but raise the spectre of war with Russia's two most important allies, China and Iran, on the other hand. There seems to be a disconnect there. Of course, Trump is accused by his detractors as having many different disconnects on many different issues, so perhaps this is just another case. Or perhaps it is a ruse. Perhaps it's an attempt to split Russia away from China like Hitler tried to do with Britain and Europe. In any event, Russia is not about to abandon its eternal alliance with China, and strategically important alliance with Iran, to make nice with the Americans. That is not going to happen. So when Israel bombs Iran, and Iran and Israel go to war, it would seem inevitable that the US would back Israel and Russia/China would back Iran. Such a situation, if you can put the thought of nuclear destruction out of your mind for a moment, would give Trump the ammunition he needs to block China's access to many markets - a key plank in his way of thinking. Made in America, not made in China, is his goal. It fits pretty nicely.

One last very key point. The US is more divided as a country now than it has been since their civil war. Trump is not the cause, but he is the symptom. As Lincoln said: "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Has there ever been a clearer example of that than today's United States? The US, as a country, is in desperate need of a unifying cause. The US loves to unite for causes. In today's case, Trump is looking to use a war for that purpose. Dislike of Iran is almost universal in the US. It's almost a safe bet that the American people would rally around that - especially if Israel was attacked in retaliation for the bombing of its nuclear facilities. You can hear it now: "USA...USA..USA". Unfortunately, a war for the United States has become almost a national imperative. A patriotic duty to keep the country from breaking apart at the seams. The fact that such a war will almost certainly lead to a wider conflict with Russia and China will likely not mean a lot to a people in desperate need of a unifying cause.

Hope I'm wrong.

 

2 comments:

  1. Hope I'm wrong.
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    No, you are not in a sense that attack on Iran becomes more probable but Russia's role in all this will be that of a enabler of Iran's resistance. If this "war" is conceived as merely a series of air-strikes, it is one thing, but if we are talking about actual invasion of Iran, that is a whole other can of worms and such a war can actually see US suffer a scale of casualties not seen since Korea. Iran is not Iraq and it is connected to Russia by Caspian and Russian Air Space and Air Defense forces will make sure that approaches to Enzeli are open. But the other possibility is to see Iran being simply admitted to ODKB organization thus entering formal military alliance with Russia and other members from CIS. This will completely change the calculus and we may yet see BiBi visiting Moscow very often.

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  2. It is all a big game of Chess and I think you are more right than wrong, Brad......

    ReplyDelete

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