Are we really here again? Is the US actually contemplating another military, nation-shaping intervention, this time in Iran?
President Trump shouldn’t have to look far to see grim testaments to the folly of such a move. He could look at the ongoing conflict in Syria, fuelled, fatally, by America’s decision in 2011 to back the ‘rebels’ against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Or he could look to Libya, a ruined, war-torn nation – a nation in name only, now – following the US-backed overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011. Or, of course, he could look to Iraq, the ne plus ultra of the interventionist creed, a territory ripped apart and plunged into chaos, disorder and Islamist terror after the Bush- and Blair-led invasion of 2003.
They all show the grotesque reality of the dream of ‘regime change’ — that you cannot emancipate a people on their behalf; that you cannot impose democracy from without; that you cannot bomb your way to a brave new world order. The Anti-Capitalistic ... Best Price: $5.00 Buy New $3.95 (as of 04:45 EST - Details)
And yet despite the horrific damage these interventions have wrought – the death and displacement of people, the destabilisation and disorder, the terrorism and the sheer suffering – it really does look as if there is a concerted effort being made by a coterie of politicians, think-tankers and pundits to go again; to blunder headlong into another conflict with another unpleasant regime.
Trump may have wavered, aborting a ‘cocked and loaded’ military strike at the last minute, and opting to celebrate a cyber-attack instead. But the threat of a war persists, because the will to a war persists. The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is still there, making the case for military action against Tehran. As is US national security adviser John Bolton, who continues to push, as he has done since the 1980s, for the ‘overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran’. And, around them the hawkish advisers and think-tanks continue to circle, dropping their reports and research into willing laps just looking for the slightest justification for war.