The failure of sanctions and the road to war with Iran
The news media has finally caught up with what I've been pointing out for weeks (here and here) - that our economic sanctions aren't working. In fact, the sanctions are completely backfiring.
Headlines from this morning spells this out in no uncertain terms.
“Russia is one of the main beneficiaries of Trump’s decision on Iran,” said Cliff Kupchan, chairman of Eurasia Group, a New York-based research firm. “Putin senses an opportunity to split the West and escape from pariah status.”
“You f***ing Americans,” the message read. “Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”
It’s a sentiment that has echoed through halls of power in recent weeks following President Trump’s May 8 decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and impose unilateral sanctions, despite all indications that the country was complying. In Year Two of the Trump administration, the number of financial penalties has hit a high after years of increasing use. “The current administration is kind of drunk on the sanctions power,” says Jarrett Blanc, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who was a leading Department of State official in the Obama administration responsible for Iran nuclear issues. “They don’t understand that the tool is limited and fragile.”
Today’s global economy runs through the U.S. financial system, which constitutes a major source of the country’s influence. The dollar is the world’s currency, and Wall Street remains a key financial center, which helps U.S. leaders sway friends and coerce rivals. That status is “not ordained,” Blanc says. “At a certain point, it might be worthwhile for foreign governments and private-sector actors to work around New York.”
As I've pointed out, most of Asia is already "working around New York" and now Europe is exploring the idea. This is especially true now that Italy wants to drop the Russian sanctions while Brexit means Britain no longer has influence in Europe for sanctions.
Which brings us to Trump decision against the Iran deal.
As the Independent put it, the new US strategy on Iran is designed to be rejected.
There are a dozen demands, amounting, in effect, to a declaration of economic warfare, a demand for Tehran to surrender its defence and foreign policy and the threat to force regime change.
The conditions put forward by the new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have no chance of being accepted by Iran.
...No one thinks The US administration’s Plan B is going to work.
Trita Parsi, of the National American Iranian Council, said: “Plan B of the Trump administration is designed to fail and then pave the way for Plan C, which is most likely war… When you combine unrealistic demands with massive pressure then you are by design creating a pathway to confrontation.”
Iran will never surrender their national security and foreign policy, nor should they.
As for U.S. sanctions, they are already springing leaks all over the place. The tighter we squeeze, the more leaks will appear.
Pompeo has talked about "the strongest sanctions in history" against Iran, but that only works if the rest of the world cooperates, and most of the world won't. So sanctions are a dead-end.
That only leaves the military option and the ominous term "regime change".
The freshly-installed National Security Advisor John Bolton has made a long career out of public calls for regime change in Tehran, even saying that the declared policy of the United States of America should be “the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” setting a target of 2019.
Trump lawyer and confidant Rudy Giuliani recently made a call similar to Bolton's long record, saying it was "more important than an Israeli-Palestinian deal[and] the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East," and claiming Trump was firmly committed to it.
I shouldn't have to remind anyone about our disastrous record with regime change in Syria, Libya, and most of all, Iraq.
All of those nations were smaller, weaker and much more politically isolated than Iran is today. What's more, in the cases of Libya and Iraq, we largely had the West on our side when we attacked. This time we won't.
But that doesn't mean we will be alone.
several developments have come together to suggest that the rationale for using sanctions to force a re-negotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is cover for an eventual military assault by the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia aimed at regime change in Tehran.
...Four days before Netanyahu’s speech Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with his American counterparts and, according to Al Monitor, got a “green light” for any military action Tel Aviv might take against Iran.
Oh goody. The U.S. teams up with Israel to attack muslim Iran.
What could possibly go wrong?
One analyst says that war with Iran "would make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”
CNN tried to put a dollar value on this potential war (i.e. Trillions) and simply ignored the horrific loss of life.
Others point out that the war would cause the price of oil to skyrocket.
Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO, said, “Iran scares me. Nowadays we should already know that a change of regime doesn’t work.” And then Solana pointed out what should be obvious.
There is ample scope for the situation in the Middle East to deteriorate further, Solana said, after Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a former militia commander who has led attacks on American forces, emerged as winner in Iraq’s elections earlier this month.
“If there’s a conflict with Iran, what happens to Iraq?” Solana said. “Because Iran is effectively in control there.”
No need to wait for the fallout in Iraq. We are already seeing the blowback in Afghanistan.
Tehran directly supported a Taliban offensive last week against the western city of Farah that’s situated near the border between the two nations, Afghan government and police officials said. Fighters from the insurgent group crossed over from Iran, where they had been trained and armed, Farid Bakhtawar, the head of the provincial council of Farah, told Bloomberg.
“Iran is involved in the recent violence and was actually leading the May 15 battle,” Fazl Ahmad Sherzad, the police chief of Farah province, said by phone on Wednesday. “They have been directly funding and providing arms to the Taliban as Iran sees Farah as part of its strategic interest.”
“Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal poses a clear and present danger to U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan,” Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said in an email. It “gives Tehran a strong incentive to ramp up its military support to the Taliban.”
Afghanistan is just the first nation. Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon will be next.