Leading America to War
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: Senator
Lindsey Graham: Interventionist, Warmonger, Man†of†Empire
are back from Iran after a two-day visit. They wanted to inspect
several sites where Iran is likely to be doing the scientific and
engineering work that provides the specific knowledge of how to
construct a nuclear bomb without actually building it. Iran refused
them access to these sites.
said that the UN team "could not find a way forward".
Another said ""We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no
agreement was reached."
Two days ago
General Martin Dempsey said that attacking Iran was "premature"
and that sanctions should be given time. He did not, however, say
that such an attack was inadvisable due to its consequences. He
did not speak against using the "military option". He
could not do so without going against Obamaís stated policy that
the U.S. will attack Iran if Iran tries to blockade the Strait of
that he had made clear to the Israelis that "a strike at this
time would be destabilizing and wouldn't achieve their long-term
objectives." This is a weak and ineffectual warning. This is
not a warning not to strike at any time, only at this
time. In fact, Dempsey allowed as how the Israelis have "unique"
national interests and "consider Iran to be an existential
threat", which weakened his warning even more.
to do more to if he wants to stop Israel, such as by preventing
Israelís airplanes from flying over Iraq or Saudi Arabia. We have
no indication that he is doing much of anything concrete to stop
an Israeli attack. Obama is intentionally sending weak messages
to Israel and intentionally sitting on his hands, so far as we know.
Obama is leading
America into war with Iran. Israel has the U.S. right where it wants
it. This is, however, where Obama wants to be. So it seems. Let
us hope it is not so.
There are no
good reasons for such a war. Iran is no threat to the U.S. There
are no significant gains to Americans from such a war. The only
gains, and they are far from assured, is that the U.S. regains political
control over Iran. But even that is worth very little to the American
public. Iran will sell its oil into the world market no matter what
form of government it has.
attack on Iran is a tripwire that will being the U.S. into war with
Iran. Obama can stop Israel from attacking Iran. So far he hasnít.
Obama is acting "passively" with respect to Israel so
that, if and when Israel attacks, he can be seen as having been
forced to react against Iran if and when it retaliates against Israel.
Obama has already orchestrated such a "forced" response
by the U.S. by proclaiming a "red line"that, if crossed
by Iran, will result in U.S. retaliation.
Iran can let
Hezbollah loose on Israel with rocket attacks. It can take military
action in the Persian Gulf. Obama regards the latter as a "red
line" that prompts U.S. attack. He could regard the former
or any number of other Iranian responses also as triggers for attacking
Iran has already
made clear that it regards an attack by Israel as an attack by the
U.S. It will retaliate against Israel if Israel attacks it. It may
retaliate against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. In all probability,
an Israeli attack will therefore end up with the U.S. attacking
is ideal from Obamaís standpoint. Obama has arranged the entire
sequence of events for public relations effect and so that he will
not appear to the American public to be the aggressor. Israel attacks
Iran. Iran responds. The U.S. then responds while blaming Iran for
having crossed a red line that the U.S. previously warned about.
has to violate some red line or other if it is to respond to an
Israeli attack at all. What does Obama expect, that Iran will sit
idly by and be bombed by Israel? Of course not. He knows full well
that Iran will respond and that he will have a suitable propaganda
hook of his own scheming concoction on which to base his own attack.
Israel is paranoid
concerning Iran. The existence of the peoples living in Israel are
not at stake. The existence of the State of Israel is not at stake.
However, the power and prestige of Israel as a state in the region
are a growing problem for Israel. As Iran develops economically
and militarily, which it is doing, it becomes more dominant in the
region. Its political power grows. This is what the U.S. and Israel
do not want to see happen, but, in the long run, they are helpless
to stop Iranís development, economically, militarily and politically.
It is far better
to join Ďem, not fight Ďem.
What the U.S.
wants most is to control that development. But this canít be done
without overturning the Islamic Republic of Iran. This will take
more than air strikes on Iranís suspected facilities.
Has the U.S.
government thought through the consequences of getting into war
against Iran? Can it be a limited war with a limited objective of
keeping the Strait of Hormuz open? Or will the U.S. take the opportunity
to bomb Iran extensively and aim for its total defeat?
is likely to retaliate, the U.S. is likely to be drawn deeper and
deeper into full scale war. An Iranian response will not allow a
war to remain limited. The hawks in the U.S. will push for decisive
action. The neocons will see this as an opportunity to overturn
Iranís government. The war will not remain limited for long, if
at all. The U.S. is likely to go for broke.
Will this cause
World War 3? I donít think so.
announced that it will not allow Pakistan to be used for basing
operations of the U.S. military against Iran. Karzai in Afghanistan
has made weaker but similar statements. Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan
have just concluded a three-way summit and said that regional issues
should be settled without foreign (U.S.) intervention. These states
are acting more and more jointly in their joint interests. In the
same cooperative vein, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, now
consisting of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan started up in 1996. There are associated observer
states that include India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan. Throughout
this vast region, there is movement toward peaceful cooperation
along a number of dimensions.
World War 3
is unlikely to break out because the U.S. attacks Iran. These states
are not going to rush to the defense of Iran. Their links are not
of that sort, and their interests do not go that far. They stand
to gain by sitting on the sidelines. What is it to them if the U.S.
gets bogged down in another war?
What are the
implications of a U.S. war against Iran?
suffer. The country endures a massive setback. Its politics become
unstable. The U.S. gets tied down for years. It is far from clear
how the U.S. can change Iranís government or "de-Islamisize"
A large number
of Iranians may mobilize, either for direct or asymmetric warfare.
Iran can keep up asymmetric warfare for a long time if matters go
in that direction. It can hit weak spots in Israel and the U.S.
for many years to come. The U.S. and Israel will face protracted
attacks in any number of places worldwide and be under siege for
a long time to come.
will fall and oil prices rise worldwide. There will be economic
There are no
perceptible gains to the U.S. from attacking Iran, any more than
there were for attacking Iraq or Libya.
War with Iran
means that the U.S. will be drawn even more deeply into Israelís
affairs as protector and supporter because Israel will face greater
and prolonged hostility from Iranians.
of the U.S. will decline. The rest of the world will perceive that
the empire has reached its limits. The U.S. will be viewed as a
retrogressive element in world affairs.
of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and other states in central
Asia will draw closer together as a progressive element.
When and if
the U.S. gains controls of Iran, attention will turn to "whatís
next" or "where next". Obama has already announced
the Pacific as where next. War against Iran is going to firm up
opposition from China and other countries associated with the Shanghai
Cooperation Organisation. War with Iran will weaken the leadership
position of the U.S. in the world. It will signal the decline of
the U.S. empire.
It will be
quite difficult to bring this war to a satisfactory conclusion once
it widens into more than attacks with limited objectives.
If the U.S.
keeps its attacks limited to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open and
to destroying suspected nuclear development sites within Iran, and
if it leaves untouched the existing Iranian government, then Iran
may redouble its nuclear efforts. Bombing does not destroy knowledge
or will. Iran will become even more firm in its antagonism to Israel
and the West. It will develop alternative weapons that it can employ
worldwide against Israel and the U.S. It will build up its conventional
forces even more and become a really serious military threat. It
is for these reasons too that the U.S. will not engage in a limited
war but will seek to change Iranís government and greatly reduce
its military capacity.
I view the
U.S. empire as already in decline. Its last three elective emperors,
Clinton, Bush and Obama, all have made serious mistakes in their
management of the empire, particularly by going to war instead of
finding other means of using Americaís strengths. They have all
let the superpower status of the U.S. go to their heads. All three
have been "do-gooders" who have thought they could use
military strength and war to remove or eliminate perceived evils.
That is not how to run an empire. Not one of them had or has the
skills to manage the enterprise of empire in such a way as to hold
it and lead the world forward. Each in his own way has failed to
have the vision, courage and leadership skills to see the big picture
and control the interest groups constantly pressuring them or to
control their own impulses and predilections.
is to be expected that in a political system such as America possesses,
capable leaders of empire will not rise to the top. It seems the
English system may have been better at it. I do not know. At any
rate, America again faces the sad spectacle of an elective emperor
leading it into a war in which there is little to be gained and
much to be lost.
make up its mind what it wants to be. Does it want to be a peaceful
republic or a dominating empire? Its form of government on paper
is suitable for a republic, while its actions are those of an empire.
The one is incompatible with the other.
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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