Let’s imagine, for a second, what a full-scale invasion of Iran would look like. There is an important difference between this war and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: there would be TWO armies involved. We’re not talking about a lopsided invasion and occupation here. We’re talking thousands of American sons and daughters coming home in boxes.
Iran has the capability to shoot down every plane that enters their air space. Their coast is well protected by a navy. The easiest path for a land invasion would be through Iraq, where Iran is allied with battle-hardened Shia militias.
Iran itself is also much more united than Iraq or Afghanistan were. There is no large and mobilized opposition ready to step in. Washington’s biggest Iranian allies are a Saudi-funded terror cult called the MEK. They are hard-line extremists who have committed mass atrocities for decades. They allied with Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War. Secretary Clinton had them removed from the terrorism list in 2012. They are headquartered in Albania and have pretty much no support in Iran. That’s the opposition Washington is going with.
America has not been involved in a fair fight since Vietnam, and the average person has forgotten what it’s like. It’s difficult to imagine the US and its allies conquering Tehran. And if they were successful, it would likely cost them tens of thousands of lives. There would probably be massive anti-war protests. The war would likely cost over 10 trillion dollars (The Iraq war costed 7 trillion).
The civil unrest from unnecessary wars and wasteful spending would all but guaranty a changing of the guard in Washington, at least symbolically. The long-term fall out would be devastating. Trust in the government wouldn’t recover for decades, and the economy would likely go into a deep recession from which it would never fully recover. In short, even if successful, it would be the end of America as the lone global super power.
America would go on to be a large and relatively important country similar to Brazil or India. (But Hollywood would still be cooler than Bollywood.) China would rise to super-power status.
The main question is whether or not the Trump Administration is capable of such a reckless move. I think the Neocons, like Bolton and Pompeo, would be fine with this. They’ve shown us again and again that their primary job is to serve Israel. I really don’t want to sound like a but the Jews guy who puts (((…))) around everything, but the Neocons can’t stop confirming my worst suspicions. There is absolutely no argument to be made that an invasion of Iran would be good for America. However, Israel and Saudi Arabia would benefit tremendously. Jews don’t control the world, but Zionists (Christian and Jewish) do control the Neocons, and there are a lot of Neocons in power now. I’m not sure yet whether Trump is a full-on Neocon or just a useful idiot that they’re taking advantage of.
I wrote more than a year ago in The Upcoming War that the Iran war would largely be to combat Chinese hegemony is Central Asia. That still may be the case, but it doesn’t mean that China’s decline is necessarily to the benefit of America.
The establishment was also counting on being able to manufacture consent for this objective. War propaganda, though it has definitely made major gains on the left, has overall not been as successful as hoped. There is a respectable non-interventionist movement on the right. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Obviously Iran is playing defense. They’re not setting up bases in Mexico or encircling Hawaii. The widespread belief that Iran is the number one state-sponsor of terror is one of the most impressive achievements of Western propaganda I’ve ever seen. For anyone who has taken the smallest peak at the reality in the Middle East with objective eyes, the idea is laughable. Iran has does more to FIGHT Islamic terrorism than almost any country in the world.
All that having been said, their behavior is not that of a country that is trying to avoid war at all costs. They view America as an evil empire (a claim not without merit). Their actions must be viewed with a basic knowledge of the history of American imperialism. Their foreign policy is rational and calculated. (Understand that this is not an endorsement of the Islamic Republic’s domestic policy, which is extremely authoritarian and should be condemned by all sane, caring people.)
Iran seized a UK oil tanker last week: a rather provocative move. Granted, the UK seized a Syria-bound Iranian oil tanker a week earlier. “But The UK is on the good team, so they’re allowed to do whatever they want,” so we’re told, and I’m paraphrasing. Iran also arrested 17 of its own citizens who it claimed,without proof, to be CIA spies: again, not the work of pacifists. Arrested spies in Iran have a way of ending up dead.
US drones fly over many Middle Eastern countries unmolested, but Iran made a statement when they shot one down. They’ve also been publicly testing new missiles, which every country has a right to do, but I think the optics of it are calculated. They could be doing it privately, rather than televising it.
US sanctions have severely weakened the Iranian economy, and they could be thinking “What do we have left to lose?” It’s a valid question. Their economy is practically in free fall and who knows how much worse it will get. They could end up like 1990s Iraq or today’s Venezuela.
If America did squander away its super-power status on a foolish invasion of Iran, the world would maybe come out the other end as a safer place. Latin American countries would be free to elect their own leaders. Libya and Afghanistan might rebuild. I can’t imagine things getting much better for Syria though. It remains to be seen how responsible China would be with its elevated status.
The main question is whether or not Iran is looking this far ahead. They certainly have an unelected power structure that is capable of such long-term planning. It’s also important to note that this would be a selfless act; things would be very rough for Iran in the short term.
Maybe Iran is just trying to look tough to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of its own people, but maybe it hears the death rattle of a dying empire and is considering closing its hand over the nose and mouth to snuff out the last desperate breath.