Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shaping the Foreign Policy of the United States

By Paul Iddon

A hawkish foreign policy towards Iran may not be a very smart option for the next US administration.

Bush in Beirut after the Marine barracks bombing.
“We're not going to let a bunch of insidious terrorists. Cowards! Shape the foreign policy of the United States,” George Herbert Walker Bush loudly proclaimed as he stood by the rubble of the former US Marines barracks in Beirut which had been leveled - the prime suspects being Iranian surrogate forces who were at that time establishing themselves in Lebanon - leaving in its destructive wake the single greatest loss of US Marines in a single incident since Iwo Jima. Bush's firm pronouncements would ring hollow during his second term as Vice President of the United States when he oversaw the illegal and unconstitutional sale of weapons to the Iranian regime. The Iran-Contra Affair which undermined Congress and almost saw Reagan impeached certainly shaped “the foreign policy of the United States” contrary to Bush's prior assertion.

When Bush the son became president in 2000 after a campaign opposed to nation building and in favour of a more humble foreign policy he inherited a questionable foreign policy that saw the United States recent endeavors in the past administration engage in questionable policies. The most salient being the concept of dual containment, hence containing two respective countries – Baathist Iraq and the Islamic Republic – that under their then present leaderships loathed each other. Following the 9/11 attacks a much less humble foreign policy (to say the least) was subsequently adapted and the United States intervened in both Afghanistan and Iraq and subsequently ousted two of Iran's enemies, the Taliban (which had murdered what it saw as Shia “heretics” in Afghanistan as well as Iranian diplomats who opted to negotiate a settlement with them in Mazari Sharif back in 1998) and the Iraqi Baath party (which under the leadership of Saddam Hussein attempted to plunder and annex the oil fields of southern Iran).

The latter country was technically at war with the United States since it invaded and attempted to permanently abolish Kuwait. George HW. Bush led a successful military coalition to evict Saddam's army from Kuwait, but following the ceasefire which was supposed to officially end hostilities the United States ended up launching further military operations as it later in 1991 established no fly zones in both the north and south of Iraq to protect the respective Kurdish and Shia populations of whom Saddam had murdered in their hundreds of thousands. Bush is often said to have incited the Shia's giving them the false impression that the US would back them in a revolutionary struggle to overthrow the Hussein dictatorship. In his book Republic of Fear author Kanan Makiya illustrates how the Baath Party from its rise to become all powerful in 1979 was established to be in a literal sense 'coup proof'. Makiya references a statement from an interview with then National Security Advisor Brent Scowcoft in which Scowcoft makes it clear the US was favouring a coup to what was then a mounting revolution in the Shia south. Makiya then points out that this is a very salient example of how little the US knew about a country and a dictatorial apparatus that it had mobilized 500,000 soldiers in which to combat.

To backtrack a bit and also to make clear, Iran is not Iraq, however I make these various comparisons and points simply because of the importance Iran is commanding in the present Presidential elections in relation to US foreign policy. With the exception of Ron Paul the other prominent contenders for the Republican nomination Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich (Rick “I hope Iranian nuclear scientists continue to be murdered” Santorum can be pretty much discounted at this late stage) have made statements in recent weeks that amount to adopting a hawkish foreign policy towards Iran if they are elected to office.

Whilst previously Iraq weighed in as a heavy factor in US foreign policy debates in the 2004 and 2008 campaigns Iran seems to have taken its place following the final withdrawal of US troops from Iraq late last year. Whilst the likes of Gingrich assert that the US could break Iran in a year one needs a little more reassurance as to how a Gingrich or a Romney administration would handle the aftermath of a military engagement with Iran. And how exactly would they bring about regime change? Are they simply calculating that a so called “shock and awe” military bombardment of Iran's forces would cause the regime to 'lose face' in front of its own people at a pivotal moment and therefore bring about its demise. To the contrary, any pre-emptive attack will surely empower the regime and also make them more brazen in crushing internal dissent. A regime that foments hate for Israel and the west on a weekly basis to take attention off the domestic woes and ever growing discontentment within its own borders will surely be empowered by such an attack, and anger resulting from the dire circumstances that come from war will be directed outward making a genuinely more hostile Iran and the overall situation in the region much worse.

If the regime is pursuing nuclear weapons it is most likely doing so for leverage purposes. We're not looking at a suicidal regime here, this is a status quo regime that wants to maintain its elite position of power and wealth in a manner similar to the North Korean elite. They will get occasional concessions on sanctions by aggressively testing long range missiles or making malevolent manoeuvrings over the Strait of Hormuz by threatening the steady flow of oil that many countries are heavily dependent on. This is clearly the kind of game they are aiming to play.

For a future US administration to make any headway besides waging a horrific war with regards to Iran would be to engage its people in international solidarity. Addressing and magnifying their qualms and extending a hand of friendship and conciliation with them whilst exploiting the true divided nature of the present political system in Iran would have more strategic imperatives for Washington than any amount of aircraft carriers or missile destroyers. Therefore it is my strong contention that more bolder, confrontational and hawkish rhetoric from the next administration is not the solution to this wider issue. The regime in Tehran is looking for such a diversion for itself. Rest assured that a few dramatic displays of powerful air dropped munitions at the country's various nuclear sites is exactly what this regime needs at this time, to divert away from it the growing anger emanating from a progressively more discontented and disgruntled public.


mat said...

What are those Zionist's allies and slaves waiting for!

First of all: Stop that 33 damned long years of 'B A R K I N G', immediately


secondly: just do the striking, attacking or even invading the whole nation of the mighty Islamic Republic of Iran, right now.

It is that simple!

Anonymous said...

So Iranian Gov. is waiting an attack to divert her people attention!!

And the US do not do the same thing??

They love to divert attention from domestic affairs, like economic crisis,with empty patriotism and militar maneuvers!!

Anonymous said...

A policy of opposition to the Iranian regime is good. A war with iran is not good.

Contain Iran and don't engage in trade with Iran and let the Iranians choose whether they want to be like North Korea or whether they want something different.

Anonymous said...

This filthy regime would love an attack so that they have more martyrs.
This way they divert attention from reality which is Iran's economic and political woes.
This dastardly satanic regime of liars thieves and murderers are praying every day for an attack so that our Iran can be ruined and then divided.
This is the job of the mullahs that's why they were put in power by the West.Truly Satanic.

Anonymous said...

well, Paul, as the next US administration is going to be headed by the same person heading this present one, and as this president entered office with an offer of negotiation with Iran in attempt to find grounds for ending hostility, your post is somewhat oddly-based.

As well, it ignores that Iran has offered unrelieved hostility and hawkishness toward the United States since the time that Khomeini came to power.

You're quite on point to mention the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in your otherwise pointless and somewhat fatuous post.

Just as Khpmeini's hostage-taking was a reflection of the CIA's 53 coup, there is a rather large outstanding bill that is going to presented to the iranian theocracy for their part in Lebanon.

Anonymous said...

What US "foreign policy"??????

A bunch of Zionist organ harvesting, human trafficking, financial scamming,land theiving Jews have hijacked the FOX/CNN braindead rednecks and are running AmeriKKKa into the ground with Islamophobia and Iranophobia. They have used average redneck's IGNORANCE and GULLIBILITY to turn the hatefilled, violent US into a POLICE STATE and a perpetual warmonger, albeit a GLOBAL LOSER.

US is a global laughing stock that is being bled with losing wars and a $15 TRILLION debt (all owed to China/Asia)to death while the Zionists profit and laugh all the way to bank while average made in China Walmart flag waving redneck now lives under the bridges and is homeless, jobless and hopeless.

Thanks to Zionism, US "foreign policy" is much like its divisive domestic poicy, both on a ROAD TO HELL.

Steve said...

It's completely irrelevant what foreign policy the US (and EU and Israel) pursue regarding Iran, as not one of them will succeed in hindering Iran from ascending as the leading regional power of NE + ME.
The only way to stop Iran would be a nuclear attack destroying most of the capabilities of Iran. But such a move would inevitably trigger WW3.
WW3 could easily be the end of civilization on earth, and thus it hopefully won't happen.