January 18, 2007

Once Again, Armageddon Approaches

I've gotten drawn into a long comment thread over at IOZ's place, appended to this post concerning foreign policy, Democrats, and related matters. I've left three comments so far [more as of the time this is posted], several of which are reproduced below. You may want to read all the comments; they are variously provocative, intriguing, entertaining, and occasionally a bit loony. (IOZ tends to attract a somewhat rough crowd intellectually, about which we say no more.)

As I indicate, I will have a lot more to say about all this in the very near future; I've already begun writing a couple of new essays about the "crisis" with Iran. In the meantime, here are two comments of mine:
Re war with Iran: I see in the comments above a failure to remember some critical aspects of how the Iraq disaster unfolded. This is basically how it will go, and the groundwork has been laid for the last couple of years.

Some sort of "crisis" will occur -- an attack on US interests somewhere (or perhaps even a crisis not directly involving the US at all, but which threatens regional "stability"), that will quickly be "sort of kind of" laid at Iran's door. The media will blare the story and pump up the hysteria very quickly. No one will question the storyline, or ask for evidence of the administration's assertions. They didn't last time, they won't this time.

The Dems will echo the line about "intolerable" interference/actions by nations that defy the "civilized world" -- just as they will echo the line that it is, of course, the US that must DO SOMETHING. Before you know it, bombs will start falling on Iran. I see all of this happening in just a month or two. (It is also entirely possible that Bush will give a speech only *after* the missiles start flying, once the "crisis" has gone on for a few weeks.) As IOZ says, and I have written about repeatedly (and will be explaining more in the Dominion series), the Dems won't resist -- *because they believe in the exact same foreign policy.*

You must remember that the entire governing class believes that we are the "indispensable nation" -- that we have the "right" to order the entire world. They will not permit any other nation to threaten our dominance, or our preeminent position. The Dems believe this even more than the Republicans, when you consider the matter historically.

As I wrote in the first part of the Dominion series, people tend to see Iraq as a radical break with American foreign policy. That is absolutely false: it is a *continuation* of American foreign policy. People get distracted by the particular craziness of the Bush Gang, and they fail to see the basic continuity at work. (The Bush Gang is uniquely dangerous in certain narrower respects -- but the fundamental principles involved are identical.)

Some of the commenters above appear to have forgotten how quickly an atmosphere of overpowering hysteria can be created. The media has learned nothing at all from their role in the Iraq debacle -- and they will do it all again, creating panic and fear out of next to nothing.

I went through the basic outlines of this in an essay a while ago -- I was wrong about the timing (I thought it would happen before the election), but I was not wrong about the dynamics involved:

Our Date with Armageddon

There is much more to be said about all this, and I'll try to get to some of it soon.

Cheers...or not.
I then added the following:
One other point, which is critical: it amazes me that anyone thinks the Bush administration will seek authorization from Congress before launching attacks on Iran. The administration has stated repeatedly that it believes the 2001 military force authorization (passed immediately after 9/11) gives it all the authorization it needs. In their view, they don't need to ask Congress for a damned thing.

This is what happens when the original Constitutional assignment of warmaking power is utterly discarded -- as it has been ever since World War II. Congress has ceded all its power to the president, under the horrific and vile notion of "Executive war." The 2001 authorization simply cemented that awful idea, one more time.
So there you go. Glad to have cheered you up.

UPDATE: Just left some further comments, in reply to another commenter:
Larry m: And of course, we all know that foreign policy decisions are based on careful calculation and a rational assessment of the relevant facts. We saw that in World War I, Vietnam and Iraq. What you say is indisputably true.

Can I have some of what you're smoking?
Now I've added several additional comments, including this one:
But note this: the governing class only opposes Bush's wars because he is *undermining* the US ability to maintain its preeminence. They are equally convinced that we *should be* the sole superpower, that we should be preeminent.

And you underestimate how that preeminence relies on warmongering, together with the other corporatist dynamics that give it power -- and how that warmongering has its own self-sustaining power, and its own irresistible logic.

Read this, about Hillary's bombing of Iran:

The bombing of Iran in 2009

It's impossible to know when this or its equivalent will happen; there are an infinite number of variables involved. But it certainly could happen in the next year or two.

And if it doesn't, a Democrat will likely bring us the same nightmare -- if the current system and its underlying beliefs remain in place.

Or our economy (and the world's) may largely collapse in the meantime.

A nightmare is coming -- but we don't know exactly when or in exactly what form. But I still hope to see you all on the other side of it...:>)
And this one:
Keep in mind one other thing: the Bush Gang truly believes that *they* must "reorder" the Middle East, including setting Iran back from its (possible) plans for nuclear weapons. They don't think any successor will do it; they've said that. And their time is running out, as are their options. And, for the reasons discussed above and elsewhere, I doubt the Dems will provide much if any opposition once events begin to gather motion.

So I desperately hope further catastrophe will be avoided -- but as to whether it will be? We just don't know.

la rana (hi!): "Out of Iraq"?? We aren't leaving Iraq for at least 20 years, and probably not during your lifetime. It won't matter a damn whether Dems or Repubs are in the White House.

We're there. We're not leaving. Unless, of course, there's a widespread regional war, in which case the calculus changes entirely. In that event, we might be well on the way to another world war.
On the subject of the irrationality of foreign policy decisions, here are two earlier essays on the subject:

A Decision of Policy -- and the Intelligence Won't Matter

Endless War, and the Destructive Search for "Meaning"

And here are some other previous essays about Iran, and concerning foreign policy more generally:

Folly Marches On -- and Seeking a New Direction

Messianic Zealotry as Foreign Policy (with links to the earlier entries)