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Trump Will Spark a War with Iran – Which Is Great News for Isis
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President Trump made great play when he came into office with his return of a bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office, presenting the move as a symbol of his admiration for adamantine patriotic resolve in pursuit of patriotic ends. Presumably, Trump was thinking of Churchill in 1940, not Churchill in 1915-16 when he was the leading advocate of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in which the Turks decisively defeated the British army with great slaughter.

Trump is reputed to seldom read books or show much interest in history other than that of his own life and times, but it would be worth his while reflecting Gallipoli because Churchill was only the first of six British and American leaders to have suffered political shipwreck in the Middle East over the last century. The prime reason for these successive disasters is that the region has always been more unstable and prone to wars than anywhere else in the world during. Mistakes made on its battlefields tend to be calamitous and irretrievable.

Avoiding this fate is not easy: the six British and American leaders who came a serious cropper in the Middle East were generally abler, more experienced and better advised than Trump. It is therefore worthwhile asking, at the beginning of his administration, what are the chances of him becoming the next victim of the permanent state of crisis in the wider Middle East. He campaigned as an isolationist who would avoid being sucked into armed conflicts abroad, but his first weeks in office and his senior appointments suggest that he will try to take a central role in the politics of the region. The new administration projects a macho self-image devoted to “Making America Great Again” and this, combined with demonization of its enemies, will hinder compromise and tactical retreats. Western intervention in the region has usually come to grief because of arrogant exaggeration of its own strength and an underestimation of the capabilities of their enemies.

These failings unite with a crippling ignorance of the part of foreign powers about the complexity and dangers of the political and military terrain in which they were operating. This was true of Churchill who wrongly assessed likely Turkish military resistance in 1915. Lloyd George, one of the most astute of British prime ministers, made the same mistake in 1922 when his government destroyed itself by threatening to go to war with Turkey. Anthony Eden lost office after the Suez Crisis in 1956 when he failed to overthrow Nasser in Egypt. Tony Blair’s reputation was forever blasted for leading Britain into war in Iraq in 2003.

Of the three US presidents badly or terminally damaged by crisis in the Middle East, Jimmy Carter was the most unlucky, as there was nothing much he could do to stop the Iranian Revolution in 1979 or the seizure of diplomats in the US embassy in Tehran as hostages. Ronald Reagan’s presidency saw military intervention in Lebanon where 241 US Marines were blown up in 1983, and the Iran-Contra scandal that permanently weakened the administration. Significant though these disasters and misadventures seemed at the time, none had the impact of George W Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 which led to the regeneration of al-Qaeda and the spread of chaos through the region.

In retrospect, these leaders may look foolhardy as they plunged into bottomless quagmires or fought unwinnable wars. Some like Carter were victims of circumstances, but entanglements were not inevitable, as was shown by President Obama who did read books, knew his history and was acutely aware of the pitfalls the US needed to skirt in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and beyond. Avoiding disasters which nobody else knew existed will seldom win a politician much credit, but Obama deserves credit for escaping being sucked into the civil war in Syria or into a broader conflict against Iran as the leader of the Shia axis. He justifiably suspected US allies like Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states of the Gulf of being eager to see the US fight their battles for them.

The Trump administration is seen by so many commentators as so uniquely awful in its contempt for the truth, legality and democracy, that they underestimate how much it has in common with that of George W Bush. After 9/11, the Bush administration famously gave the Saudis a free pass despite the many links between the hijackers and Saudi Arabia. Instead the White House channelled popular anger and desire to hit back provoked by 9/11, into its military campaign to overthrow Saddam Hussein as leader of Iraq.

Thirteen years later it is well established through leaked US documents and briefings that Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states of the Gulf played a central role in financing and supplying fundamentalist Islamic groups in Syria after 2011. Trump continually promised during the presidential election that he would focus exclusively in the Middle East on destroying Isis, but the first moves of his administration has been to shift the US closer to Saudi Arabia by backing its war in Yemen. In almost his first statement of policy, Secretary of Defence James Mattis said that Iran is “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world”.

One of the dangers of Trump’s demagogic rants and open mendacity is that these tend to give the impression that less theatrical members of his team, especially former generals like Mattis or National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, are monuments of good sense and moderation. Yet both men are set on threat inflation when it comes to Iran, though without providing any evidence for its terrorist actions, just as their predecessors inflated the threat supposedly posed by Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD and fictional support for al-Qaeda.


This is all good news for Isis, though it has so many enemies committed to its defeat that a switch in US policy may be too late to do it a lot of good. But its main enemies on the ground are the Iraqi and Syrian armies, whose governments are backed by Iran, and the Syrian Kurds who fear that the US may soon give them less support in order to appease Turkey.

Given the high decibel level of the Trump administrations threats and warnings, it is impossible to distinguish bellicose rhetoric from real operational planning. A confrontation with Iran will probably not come soon; but in a year or two, when previous policies conceived under Obama have run their course, Trump may well feel that he has to show how much tougher and more effective he is than his predecessor whom he has denounced as weak and incompetent.

This administration is so heavily loaded with crackpots, fanatics and amateurs, that it would be optimistic to imagine that they will pass safely through the political swamplands of the Middle East without detonating a crisis with which they cannot cope. The diplomatic agreements that Trump denounces as “terrible deals” for the US represent real balances of power and interests and he is not going to do any better. In four years’ time, the select club of American and British leaders who failed in the Middle East, with disastrous consequences for everybody, may have a voluble seventh member.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Iran, ISIS 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Ronald Reagan was able to show the Persians who ruled the Persian Gulf in one day.

    That’s how long it took him to cripple the Iranian Navy in 1988. They soon withdrew from Iraq too.

    US will strike and Iran will back down because they are as weak as they were 30 years ago.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @MEexpert
    , @the lion
  2. It is probably the first time that I agree with you.
    Trump cannot pretend to fight the terrorists (ISIS) and not act against their sponsors: KSA, Qatar and those in the US, Israel and Turkey who have trained the terrorists and provided logistical support to them. US’s action in Syria has not harmed the terrorists but has destroyed Syrian infrastructure.
    In cutting water to Raqqa, Trump has been as criminal as the terrorists cutting the water to Damascus. His intervention in Yemen is also a crime. So Trump is not moving in the right direction. Trump looks like having been brainwashed by Israel and Israel may push Trump to go to war against Iran which support the Hezbollah, Syria and the Palestinian against Israel.
    Israel is the US ‘s “mauvais genie” responsible for the US aggressivity against the whole world and the willingness to submit all nations.
    The time of The East India Company and the VOC is over, nobody today wants to be treated as the British and the Dutchs used to treat the people in their empire. Rohani said it: the Iranians want to be respected.
    The US is no more shining and Trump will have a hard time to have the US shining again.

  3. El Dato says:

    > Ronald Reagan shows…
    > Persian Gulf

    The Persian Gulf is not the US gulf. The hint is in the name,

    US will strike and Iran will back down because they are as weak as they were 30 years ago.

    They are not even backed up and really the only hope of the US to find a way to impose a semblance of order in the region now that the Mullah Regime is mellowing out a bit.

    They are also a bit larger than Iraq. And not unfriendly with actually regional actors as opposed to nimcompoops from half a world away.

    Sparking a war would be the worst retardation ever, solidly going beyond Duby Dumbfuckery Release 1.0. If it comes to this, I hope it will bring the End of The Only Democracy in the Middle East as they would then have really deserved their fate. Well, the Europeans won’t be happy as the last call will be “help us out here or we nuke your capitals”, but it will be too late…

  4. This administration is so heavily loaded with crackpots, fanatics and amateurs…

    that together they amount to one half of one Samantha Power.

  5. The prime reason for these successive disasters is that the [ Middle East] region has always been more unstable and prone to wars than anywhere else in the world during.

    When someone leads off with such a bonehead statement, I lose respect for the author’s knowledge, opinion , and judgement and stop reading because I’ve learned that I’ll probably learn nothing and I have better things to do.

    In the first place, the sentence makes no sense as written, and in the second, the idea the author seems to be attempting to make is flat out wrong.

    Why even publish such drivel?

  6. Why does Cockburn and the rest of his collection of buttboys manage to forget IRAN is primarily Persian and not Muslim?

    If not for the apostate Muslim in the form of Bath House Barry, the Green Revolution would have sent the Imams flying back to the ME deserts already, where there wouldn’t be any sheep or goats safe from their predations!

    • Replies: @Jason Liu
  7. MEexpert says:

    US will strike and Iran will back down because they are as weak as they were 30 years ago.

    For one thing, at that time Iran was involved in an eight year war with the US-Saudi Arabia backed Iraq right after the 1979 revolution. Iraq used US-supplied chemical weapons to gas the Iranian people. Thirty years later, Iran is much better prepared and much stronger than in 1988. Keep dreaming that the Iran will be a cake walk just like Iraq was in 2003 and you will have a rude awakening.

    In four years’ time, the select club of American and British leaders who failed in the Middle East, with disastrous consequences for everybody, may have a voluble seventh member.

    The author gave a free pass to Obama. Obama too failed in the middle east. He did not achieve any of the goals in the middle east. He started three wars in that area. Syria, Libya, and Yemen destroying all three countries. In Egypt he oversaw the overthrow of a duly elected government. In Libya he was responsible for the destruction of a stable country and the murder of its leader. He backed Saudi Arabia in Yemen. In every place in the middle east he was responsible for killing hundreds of thousands civilians. I could go on and on and yet the author skipped over these events. In terms of foreign policy, Obama was a total failure.

  8. Trump start a war with Iran?

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    This might actually be an interesting development.

    The media have been freaking out over Trump as a crazy warmonger but also condemning him for wanting good relations with Russia and winding down the war in Syria.

    So, which is it? Do the media hate Trump the warhawk or Trump the peace-dove?

    If Trump dares to start a war with Iran, it will be interesting to see. Will the media(controlled by the GLOB) support him or denounce him?

    At any rate, Trump is into the art of bluff when it comes to foreign policy especially.

    Also, he must know that if it was crazy for US to get involved in Libya and Iraq, it’d be even crazier to get involved with Iran, a much bigger and stronger nation.

    Since some rich Zionists funded him, Trump has to return the favors. Will he go all the way… or is he just making a lot of noises to pretend that he’s keeping his end of the bargain.. that he really intends to renege on over some complication down the line?

    • Replies: @Connarchy in the USA
  9. Z-man says:

    Great for two terrorist organizations ISIS and Israel.

  10. pyrrhus says:

    Iran is the only country fighting ISIS on the ground, so all this talk about terrorism is just plain stupid. A war with Iran would please Bibi, who will fight to the last American, but otherwise catastrophic, and Trump isn’t a neocon, so it isn’t going to happen.

  11. nsa says:

    It must be a real chore for Cockie to grind out endless learned essays on the destruction of the ME without mentioning the dominant role of the jooies in the wholesale slaughter. Is it not time for the jooies to do their own killing, on their own nickel, using their own troops, suffering their own consequences….and leave the rest of us out of it?

  12. A mixture of misdirection, wishful thinking and bull shit from a man who wants to see Trump fail.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  13. @WorkingClass

    Yes, Old Pat seems to be suffering a severe bout of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  14. Virgile says:

    There is one hope with Trump’s style. He can fire any of his advisors anytime he feels they are not performing.
    He has already accused publicly his National security adviser Michal Flynn for the bad advice he gave him to apply brutally the ban executive order that has resulted in a series of complications..
    Michael Flynn is also accused of lying to Pence about his conversation with the Russian ambassador.
    I think Trump has put Micheal Flynn on notice. He will not hesitate to fire him if there is a new misconduct reported
    That would be a good riddance!

    • Replies: @the lion
  15. Jason Liu says:
    @Old Codger

    They are Persian AND Muslim. You mean to say they’re Persian and not Arabs.

  16. Jason Liu says:

    Why bother doing anything with Iran? Most of America’s enemies are within its borders.

  17. the lion says:

    Iran isn’t stupid it wasn’t all out attacked but invasion is a different matter, the US will have casualties they will get ships sunk, and they will have a war that makes Afghanistan pail in comparison! Firstly Iran does have weapons that US navy has NO COUNTERMEASURES for this is well known and the Admirals have serious misgivings about them. This is not and they know this is not some sort of drummed up fantasy! Iran is not a beaten and cowered Iraq, they have formidable defenses! Also it is not 1988. doesn’t matter how good a ships defense capabilities are when there are literally dozens of missiles incoming at the same time. The usual US bravado but do not forget this UNLESS you count Grenada the US hasn’t actually WON a war in 1945!

  18. the lion says:

    You do realize that the Vice President and those advisers the majority of Cabinet Secretaries can in fact FIRE TRUMP, and do it within the bounds of the US Constitution 25th Amendment article 4 ! And it would literally be that fast. a visit to the two majority leaders and he is fired!

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  19. Didi says:

    ISIL is more than a caliph and a caliphate. Both may be erased by war but there will remain a sympathetic reservoir for a kind of caliphate. That sympathy arose because the great majority of the common people of the region felt that we considered ourselves superior to them. The caliphate was originally hailed by many as a new start leading to equality. That idea will not die.

  20. War with Iran is better than war with Russia. The US imperial class demands an enemy and I don’t think imaginary space alien invasions will satiate their threat inflation narratives. How about a war against harmful organisms? They are everywhere. A battle that would last forever.

    Obama didn’t completely use his wisdom to avoid war with Syria. The American people through Congress prevented him from going to war with Syria.

    Trump is a Salafist terrorist supporter. He like the previous administrations is trying to control and nurture it. Yesterday it was in Afghan caves, today it controls Middle Eastern cities, and tomorrow a caliphate that controls the Sunni world with new acquired territory from places that had other religious groups that weren’t Salafist. I’m sure Trump will give them the training through tough love which they need to fulfill their dreams. Spare the drone, spoil the Radical Islamist.

  21. […] Fonte: Trump will spark a war with Iran – which is great news for Isis – The Unz Review […]

  22. @the lion

    And just as fast, most of the republican congressmen who voted to impeach Trump would lose thier jobs, either in primaries or when tens of millions of us moderate / conservative / libertarian / nationalist voters stay home or vote third-party in the general election.

    The republicans would also have no chance to win the presidency in 2020 and perhaps much longer, again because tens of millions of us will vote third-party (my choice) or stay home.

    Message to the GOP establishment: help the Dems impeach Trump only if you are ready for a new career.

    And by the way, I wouldn’t assume that the people betrayed by such an impeachment will let the traitorous congressmen alone and at peace in their new careers and in their personal lives. I would, of course, but many people would not.

  23. @Priss Factor

    Also, he must know that if it was crazy for US to get involved in Libya and Iraq, it’d be even crazier to get involved with Iran, a much bigger and stronger nation.

    I don’t think he thinks that far ahead. His cabinet is nothing but war hawks and interventionists. If his presidency starts floundering too badly, start looking for something to kick up in the Middle East; boots on the ground in Syria because of ISIS, shadowy mahmouds mucking about in Iran that require some good old-fashioned democratizin’. Something.

    Our president is somewhat of a wild card. My hope is that someone who has his ear has enough sense to whisper “Don’t do anything stupid. Get our guys and gals back home and end this crap once and for all. Let’s lick our wounds, rebuild our country, and stay out of crap like that from now on.”

  24. Pence, Matiss, all the Goldman guys around Trump mean only one thing: War with Iran.

    But the Russians will prevent this. Trump can do nothing without Putin’s consent and Iran ‘s got the upgradeed S300 missile defense in place.

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