Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Another Trumpanzee Distraction: Iran


Although Trump is stronger than ever with his base of racist and ignorant, easily manipulated voters who admire him, he keeps losing support among normal Americans who see right through him. I hate to say it, but most-- most-- of his supporters are either strung out on opioids or have IQs too low to allow them to think abstractly. Trump's latest distraction is a transparent wag the dog situation, this time with Iran. Start with The twitter call and answer above.

Just for reference, Iran is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, dating back thousands of years before the Vikings stumbled onto North America. Iran is 636,372 square miles, bigger than California, almost as big as Texas. Today Iran has a population of 82 million people, about the same as a combination of California, New York, Illinois and Ohio. America's longest ever war-- still unresolved-- is in Afghanistan, which is 252,072 square miles and has a population of 35 million. Afghanistan has no organized military and no technological capacity. Iran does.

Late Sunday night, Trump was on his Twitter account stoking up a rhetorical war with Iran and trying to make the mild-mannered Presdient Rouhani into his next Rocket Man. After Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program, for no apparent rational reason, the U.S. has been  threatening more sanctions to destabilize Iran's economy. We're up to some "mother of all wars" rhetoric now and Iran has made it clear that if Trump tries to shut down Iran's oil industry, Iran could block all Gulf oil exports coming through the Strait of Hormuz. My guess is that would cause a recession for a month or two before a full-fledged depression would swallow the entire world.

This is all on the heals of Trump's initial plan to shut Iran out of global oil markets completely by demanding all other countries stop buying Iranian oil before the end of the year.
Last month, the Trump administration said it expected all countries that buy oil from Iran, which has some of the world’s largest oil reserves, to wind down their purchases to zero by November 4 or face U.S. sanctions. Other trade with Iran is also being targeted. The administration has said it will not provide exemptions to the sanctions, even for U.S. allies in Europe who trade with Iran-- a move that will almost certainly hurt Iran’s economy. Iran has said it will remain a party to the accord as long as the other signatories provide Tehran with the investments that were promised in exchange for signing the agreement. The EU has enacted legislation that would target European companies that comply with U.S. sanctions on trade with Iran. But for European companies, with their global supply chains and international workforces, access to the U.S. financial system (which would be cut off in the event of U.S. sanctions), as well as access to the U.S. consumer market, are far more important than any deal with Iran. Indeed, while the EU and its member states say they will continue to abide by the deal, they have few realistic options left to keep the agreement going.

In a speech in May, Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, listed 12 conditions that he said Iran would have to meet if it wanted diplomatic and commercial relationships with the U.S. Among them: an end to its ballistic-missile program, and to its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and its malfeasance in Iran and Syria. Barbara Slavin, the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, told me at the time that the list was a nonstarter. “He’s not asking the leopard to change its spots,” she said of Pompeo. “He’s asking it to become a lamb.”

Iranians expected the nuclear deal to yield a shot in the arm to their economy, which has been crippled by years of international sanctions. But those expected benefits have been slow to materialize-- because, Iran’s critics say, the Islamic Republic is spending its money on military adventurism in Syria, Yemen, and other places in the region, leading to protests against both Iran’s elected leaders as well as the Shia clerics who hold near-absolute power.
Trump is trying to stoke civil discord in Iran but he is widely seen by Iranian as a loud-mouthed bully and his bluster only unites forces that would naturally be at odds with each other. Both Israel and the Saudis are goading Trump on to fight Iran for their own benefit. Netanyahu, for example, had been working hard before Helsinki to persuade Trump and Putin to force Iran out of Syria.

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At 5:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This kind of distraction could end up being a war waged to keep trump's Nazis in the majority in the senate or used as an excuse to suspend elections forever.

He'd need putin's blessing since Iran is allied to putin... but if it came down to putin choosing between Iran and keeping trump in power here... well, you figure it out.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump gets off beter dreaming about the day/night he gets to order a nuclear attack. He'll do anything to make that dream come true.

At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump demanding that other nations stop buying iranian oil (in favor of the Albertan sludge rapidly clogging American waterways due to pipeline leaks and derailments) is only going to cause them to adopt more renewable energy sources so as to minimize the effect they Orange Orifice might have on their nations.


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