Fifteen years ago last week, the U.S. invasion of Iraq began. It was to be beyond glorious. It was to signal the start of an unprecedented new era in which a single imperial superpower, left alone on the planet, would organize more or less everything to its own taste for the first time in history — and by force of arms, if necessary. There had never been such a moment in this world of ours. And don’t forget, for the top officials of George W. Bush’s administration and their neocon backers, geopolitical dreamers of the first order, the invasion and occupation of Iraq was just a starting point, while all those protesters out in the streets insisting that such an invasion would be catastrophic were obviously fools of the first order. No question about it, the invasion would be a “cakewalk” with even better to follow.
Well, what a piece of cake that walk would turn out to be, inaugurating as it did a rolling catastrophe of sprouting terror movements, failed states, and uprooted populations across the Greater Middle East and then Africa — and only 14 years later, the Trump era. After all, without the invasion of Iraq, the pouring of staggering numbers of American dollars into disastrous, never-ending wars, and the subsequent “invasion” of this country by (fears of) an onslaught of terrorism, ISIS, and refugees, President Trump would have been unimaginable.
Standing at the side of some highway to hell, he is the American equivalent of a failed state and, as TomDispatch regular John Feffer, author most recently of Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams, suggests today, he’s in the process of making everything oh-so-much worse. Think of Donald Trump as the invasion of Iraq raised to a global level. In the years after the 9/11 attacks but before he arrived on the scene, the U.S. helped unsettle parts of the planet stretching from Pakistan to at least Libya. As Feffer so vividly points out, President Trump now seems intent on unsettling the rest of the planet by going to war, in his own unique fashion, with the international community. Consider his approach the latest version of the shock-and-awe or “decapitation” tactics which began that 15-year-old invasion. What could possibly go wrong?