January 24, 2012

The Easiest Thing in the World

Chris Floyd writes about the European Union's decision to impose an embargo on Iranian oil:
The embargo will have serious, perhaps disastrous effects on many of Europe's sinking economies, which are heavy users of Iranian oil. This is particularly true in Greece ...


[T]he effects will be even more catastrophic for millions of innocent people in Iran. Already the lives of these innocent people -- including all of the dissidents supposedly so cherished by the West -- are being diminished and degraded by the series of sanctions imposed by the United States and its pack of tail-wagging Europuppies. But who cares about that? After all, it is glaringly obvious that our Euro-American elites are more than happy to see their own rabble go down the shock-doctrine toilet; it is inconceivable that the ruin of a bunch of dirty Mooslim furriners would disturb them for even a nano-second.

The ostensible aim of all these sanctions, we are told, is to "force Iran back to the negotiating table" on its nuclear program. This is patent nonsense. Innumerable "negotiations" -- including major concessions by Iran -- have been rejected by Washington and the puppies.
What are the actual reasons for the actions of the United States and the EU? Floyd explains:
[T]he current strategy here is two-fold.

First, while long-running sanctions do not in themselves overturn a regime, they do make the entire country much weaker. Infrastructure falls apart, society crumbles, communities wither, families fray, the people themselves become physically weaker -- indeed, they can die in droves, in multitudes, as in Iraq. All of this makes for a much softer target when you finally decide to pull the trigger on military action.

Second -- and I think much more relevant to this case -- there is the hope that ever-tightening sanctions will provoke a violent response from the victim, thereby "justifying" a war of "self-defense" against the "unprovoked" attack. The series of escalating provocations being carried out by Washington and its allies, chiefly Israel -- including an increasingly open program of assassinations -- is clearly designed to goad the Iranians into a casus belli retaliation.
To anyone who knows even a smattering of history -- which group decidedly does not include most Americans or their leaders -- all of this is horrifyingly familiar. I've described this pattern before. I beg your indulgence for offering the following passage once more, but I cannot express these ideas any more effectively than I did three years ago. In "The Slaughter of the Diseased Animals" (the title is a reference to a harrowing scene from the film Hud, and the post explains the relevance), about Israel's ongoing torture of the prisoners of Gaza, I said:
For a very long time, the United States government has specialized in the pattern pursued by Israel. The vastly more powerful nation wishes to act on a certain policy -- almost always territorial expansion, for purposes of access to resources, or to force itself into new markets, or to pursue the evil notion that economic and ideological success depend on brutality and conquest -- but a specifically moral justification for its planned actions does not lie easily to hand.

So the powerful nation embarks on a course designed to make life intolerable for the country and/or those people that stand in its way. The more powerful nation is confident that, given sufficient time and sufficient provocation, the weaker country and people will finally do something that the actual aggressor can seize on as a pretext for the policy upon which it had already decided. In this way, what then unfolds becomes the victim's fault.

The United States government has utilized this tactic with Mexico, to begin the Spanish-American War, even, dear reader, in connection with the U.S. entrance into World War II, most recently in Iraq, possibly (perhaps probably) with Iran in the future, and in numerous other conflicts. It's always the fault of the other side, never the fault of the United States itself. Yet the United States has always been much more powerful than those it victimizes in this manner. The United States always claims that its victims represented a dire threat to its very survival, a threat that must be brought under U.S. control, or eliminated altogether. The claim has almost never been true. This monstrous pattern is "The American Way of Doing Business."
If this pattern remains unchanged, the U.S. will initiate a much broader and more overt attack on Iran at some point (that is, much broader and more overt than the covert operations already ongoing). A decade passed between the first Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but the bipartisan agreement on regime change and American control of the Middle East arrived at outright war in time.

If the pattern holds, the same will be true of Iran. The timing will depend on events, many of which are unforeseeable with the requisite degree of specificity. I will offer one far from consoling thought. This coming fall, if the presidential race appears to be very close, perhaps even with the Republican nominee enjoying a lead in the polls, it is entirely possible that the Obama administration will accelerate the timetable. In this manner, Obama and his fellow criminals will hope to ensure his reelection. As even the compressed history above demonstrates, it's frighteningly easy to manufacture a reason for military action (which I would expect to take the form of continuing air strikes, over a period of weeks or even months). Perhaps Iran sinks a U.S. ship; at least, our government will say it was Iran that did it. Or Iran kills some U.S. soldiers; at least, our government will say it was Iran that killed them.

Whatever the U.S. Government might claim, history should teach you one thing, if nothing else at all: the truth of the claim will not matter. The facts will not matter. The U.S. Government and its compliant media have been preparing this ground for years. Most Americans already believe that Iran has nuclear weapons, or is determined to get them. Most Americans will vengefully embrace the notion that Iran is evil incarnate; many Americans believe that now. The atmosphere of growing hysteria will do the rest. And Obama and his supporters will repeatedly declare that it is far too dangerous to change leaders in the midst of a military crisis. Besides, Obama will welcome the opportunity to kick some serious ass. Many Americans, even many Republicans, will heartily enjoy that aspect of his performance.

A few of our political leaders, as well as many commentators, say that Americans are exhausted by a decade of bloody war and death. (It's odd that the same thought seems not to occur to them with regard to Iraqis, or the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, etc. The wars are being fought in their countries, not ours. Of course, we are superior to all other peoples in all respects, including in our capacity for exquisite suffering.) These leaders and commentators insist that Americans would reject another conflict, that they are not "prepared" for it. This pays Americans a compliment they have done nothing to deserve.

And it is simply not true. An American plane is shot down, an American ship is sunk, American soldiers are killed -- and the government says, "Iran did it!" They have conclusive evidence that Iran did it! They won't show us the evidence, but they have it! Or Iran takes some action which the criminal Obama gang declares "absolutely unacceptable," an action that threatens our "national security" in some bone-chilling manner. Americans will rend the heavens with their screams for revenge, retribution and murder.

I leave the final words on this question to the superbly perceptive and wise Robert Higgs. In a long-ago post which also discussed the sheer idiocy of appeals to the wise, gentle, peace-loving "American people," I excerpted Higgs as follows:
No one should be surprised by the cultural proclivity for violence, of course, because Americans have always been a violent people in a violent land. Once the Europeans had committed themselves to reside on this continent, they undertook to slaughter the Indians and steal their land, and to bullwhip African slaves into submission and live off their labor—endeavors they pursued with considerable success over the next two and a half centuries. Absent other convenient victims, they have battered and killed one another on the slightest pretext, or for the simple pleasure of doing so, with guns, knives, and bare hands. If you take them to be a "peace-loving people," you haven’t been paying attention. Such violent people are easily led to war.
After Iraq, after Afghanistan, after Libya, after all of these horrors and many more, can the American people be led into another war? Why, it's the easiest thing in the world.