The US Wants War with Iran

The United States and Iran are closer to war than ever before. This is precisely the outcome the Trump administration has been working toward.

A year after announcing the US would leave the JCPOA, the Trump administration announced an end to sanctions waivers for allies doing business with Iran – another step in the short-sighted maximum pressure strategy against Iran. Then on Sunday, May 5, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that US warships were headed to the Persian Gulf in response to Iranian threats to US interests in the region, threats that may or may not have been inflated.

The days following the announcement have seen the requisite saber rattling from Iran. The US forces in the Gulf weren’t threats, but instead targets and opportunities, according to a senior Revolutionary Guard commander. President Hassan Rouhani has called for a united front in the face of economic pressure at a severity the country hasn’t seen since the 80’s during its war with Iraq.

The US continues to state that war is not its goal. Bolton himself stated that, “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.” Of course, he followed that with, “but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

The farce of the situation and its coverage in the media is that the current dynamic of escalation and brinksmanship is exactly what the Trump administration set out to achieve, and not in fact some tragic occurrence borne out of Iranian noncompliance.

The situation began with the marriage of Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton atop the US foreign policy machine. The unholy trinity has brought together a special combination of political spite, a regime change fetish, and war-mongering.

From the outset, one of Trump’s most powerful animating forces has been reversing and erasing any and all of Obama’s accomplishments. What should have been a lasting foreign policy legacy, the JCPOA lasted barely 18 months after Trump’s election, despite all evidence that it was working exactly as designed. Mind you, the Trump administration had issues with the deal not addressing Iran’s missile program or its actions elsewhere in the region.

This is a dogshit line of critique that shouldn’t pass muster in a high school social studies paper, let alone in the geopolitics of a superpower.

Pompeo’s ascension as Secretary of State marked the open arm embrace of a military hawk with a long history of angling for regime change in a number of countries, not least of which Iran. Bolton promotion to National Security Advisor sealed Iran’s fate in terms of US foreign policy. Bolton has called for regime change in Iran for years, and has yet to meet a manufactured war he doesn’t like. He likes them so much, he appears to be following the same playbook he used to get his last masterpiece rolling.

He’s playing the classics, folks.

At no point in the past year has US actions regarding Iran helped to deescalate the situation. Despite the rhetoric coming from the administration, every action taken has brought us closer to war.

It begins with leaving the JCPOA in the first place. A deal that was by all measures working to curb Iran’s nuclear program should have provided a solid base for diplomatic relations to continue to grow and improve, providing an avenue to address other problematic Iranian behavior, like their missile program and funding of proxy forces across the region.

It continues with announcing a list of demands to be met before the US will end its asymmetric war that amounts to nothing less than complete and total capitulation and effectively put the onus on the Iranian people to remove the current regime in order to receive sanctions relief. Most recently it involves designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, the first such designation given to a state military.

Continuing to parrot that the administration insists it’s not looking for war with Iran is journalistic negligence. If I told you I was trying to be healthier but continued to eat like shit, even after my friends pointed out how unhelpful this was and that it was in fact counterintuitive to my stated goals, you’d sound like an idiot if you continued to genuinely believe and make note of the fact that I was trying to be healthier.

And yet here we find ourselves. The Trump administration is accomplishing exactly what it set out to do a year ago. Continue to push an isolated nation into a corner and unilaterally implement a crippling economic sanctions regime, after reneging for dubious reasons on a diplomatic agreement that took years to come together, while making demands that are tantamount to the regime abdicating power, in a region that is a complex web of proxies, militias, and other personnel and primed for an accidental escalation into open conflict.

You’d be forgiven for assuming the administration was being open about their desire to go to war in that situation.

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