By Martin Love

Trump’s “Threat” Administration is a one trick pony so far

May 11, 2019

The Trump Administration ought to be renamed “The Threat Administration”. Even the so-called “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. has been threatened simply because the Brits seem to want to buy top of the line Chinese 5G Huawei broadband technology. In fact, it’s not hard to get the impression that Trump and his foreign policy team, Bolton and Pompeo especially, are now bouncing off the bloody walls of the White House of late frustrated by their own failures so far and beginning to bump in to each other.

First, the apparent biggest failure of late: The planned coup d’etat and the failed installation of the hapless Juan Guaido, who now may be more useful dead than alive to the coup plotters in Washington. They have found no firm pretext to militarily invade Venezuela even though invasion may be the last card they have, and they have been looking for one, but not even the people of Venezuela and its army, who have rallied behind Maduro on balance, want to deal with American military gringos rampaging in Venezuela.

But the result of stalemate in Venezuela has evidently shifted the focus rather decidedly towards Iran, based apparently on some bogus “intelligence” coughed up by the Zionists suggesting that American troops may have been specifically targeted by Iran should military hostilities commence. Thus, Trump has sent a flock of four B-52 bombers to the big American airbase in Qatar, and as well sent the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln through the Suez Canal towards the Persian Gulf. What to make of this? Well, it’s no secret that Trump or at least Mike Pompeo and John Bolton want to provoke Iran in to some action that might serve as a pretext for an attack. But the qualifier “at least” is important here. Because Trump, if he has any sense at all, must be aware that a new war anywhere will sink his Presidency and his reelection chances IF he caves to the belligerency of his advisors towards Iran. One not privy to Iranian forward contingency planning cannot know what Iran’s leadership is exactly thinking, but to say any action by Iran might be dicey must be the understatement of the century so far.

One thing is known, however. Trump has expressed alarm at the idea of a war on Venezuela, which Bolton and Pompeo have threatened, and he has lately expressed some dissatisfaction with Bolton. Whether he has the intelligence to fire Bolton remains to be seen, but it must have at the margin occurred to him that Bolton has been leading him towards actions that will ultimately spell his personal doom as President and make him a one termer. 

Observers note that a number of notable Americans have ensconced themselves in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington to obviate any of Guaido’s comrades setting themselves up in the embassy as de facto representatives of Venezuela, but Guaido supporters have gathered on the streets outside the embassy in Washington and tried to break in, and meanwhile the police and Secret Service members have permitted power cuts to the embassy and refused to allow well-wishers to deliver food to the brave people inside. How long the peace activists can hold out under pressure inside the embassy is anyone’s guess at this point, but the key point is that Trump had or may still be having misgivings about his advisors that could, with some luck, spill over to the delicate situation with Iran and the bad advice he has received from them.

Spokespersons for Trump claim Trump does not want a war with Iran, but at the same time the administration maintains “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic. What does this “maximum pressure”, which has just included sanctions against Iran’s metals industries (in addition to Iranian oil) aim to achieve? One obvious bet is that Trump or at least Bolton want to provoke Iran to precipitous actions that would be used as a pretext for what Bolton has called “unrelenting” military action. The pressure is on Iran to change its foreign policies, but no one has cited specifics about exactly what changes are desirable a year after Trump scuttled American participation in the JCPOA. Iran, in any event, is unlikely to roll over and suddenly become a whimpering puppet for the U.S. and abrogate its independent postures which, in fact, do NOT constitute anything but ideological differences with the U.S. and its imperialism and never have. One might easily wonder if the U.S. government has lost its mind, so easily does it think, on both sides of the aisle, that militancy is okay…except for people like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Sanders, both of them the best candidates for the 2020 election. 

But Iran’s leaders have announced that it would halt compliance with marginal, self-imposed elements of the JCPOA commitments without throwing the deal overboard unless the situation improves and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal get off their backsides and fulfill their trade promises with Iran. And meanwhile, Mike Pompeo paid a surprise, four-hour visit to Iraq this past week trying to “trump” up a panic about Iran’s alleged plans to attack U.S. troops in the Middle East should the U.S. commence war.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi insisted nonetheless that Iraq would not participate in any economic boycott of any country, apparently declining to cooperate with U.S. efforts to squeeze Iran. President Rouhani’s threats to restart some modest enrichment of uranium stock may or may not be foolish given that this could provide ammunition to the warmongers in Washington, even while this does not constitute steps towards a bomb. It must be noted, as ever, that Iran has never ever intended to create nuclear weapons on sincere religious grounds.

Pompeo in any case must be bonkers, because if a war does break out, how can he possibly expect Iranian forces, in defense, NOT to try to fend off the American troops, ships or bombers, putting American troops at risk? How gullible is the American public not to see through this dangerous game? We shall see, but one minor positive is that the B-52 bombers now on the tarmac in the Mideast are in Qatar, a country that has maintained relatively good relations with Iran, which came to Qatar’s aid in 2017 when the Saudis imposed a blockade on Qatar while Trump tweeted falsehoods about the Qataris siding with the Saudis.

Given that members of the Trump gang are proven dissemblers, they don’t deserve credibility. And Iraq’s Shi’ites, including Muqtada al-Sadr, whatever else they think, remain anti-imperialists at bottom and have claimed that U.S. pressure to stop doing business with Iran may result eventually in the closure of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the world’s largest, and the expulsion of some 5000 remaining U.S. troops in Iraq. It’s a wonder the embassy has not been shut down already, like years ago.

The utter truth is that Trump and gang know very little about the Middle East, and have no serious interest in the general welfare of the people of the region. This fact alone is ultimately going to haunt the U.S., and not merely in the Middle East. As well, the closer ties the U.S. has developed with the fascists in Israel, who have for decades pushed for war on the Islamic Republic, will also ultimately haunt the U.S. If Trump wants to sink himself, and he’s already doing that to some extent domestically even by withholding his tax returns, he’s well on his way to perfidy by listening to the warmongers surrounding him. His Presidency has been a nightmare for many thoughtful Americans.

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