Sunday 5 January 2020

The killing of Suleimani starts a new decade

“If you don’t have a political education, you’d think he killed hundreds of Americans in a shopping mall, hes a figure like Bin Laden. When in fact those Americans were occupying invaders in Iraq and it was in Iran’s existential interest to deter American presence”@MaxBlumenthal

Iran was asking for what I suppose was the murder of Suleimani, by tweeking the American lion's tail too often. Still Max Blumenthal, son of Hillary Clinton's close adviser Sidney Blumenthal, makes a good point. Suleimani was fighting for his government's interests as Americans do for theirs.

America defeated Iran's two great enemies, Saddam and the Taliban. Suleimani and the Iranians had as much right to be in Iraq as the Americans had. They had much more right to be in Syria, where the Americans had no right to be at all. And Iran is not a threat to America or to Europe, though it is a threat to the Saudis and the Sunni powers and to Israel.

Still, the USA say that they had received information that Suleimani intended killing Americans, and it is necessary for great powers to be feared.

Iran and the USA certainly do not want to go to war, so war will not happen, even if the Saudis and Israelis may want one. Will Iran retaliate? Even that is not certain. The future never is. Only journalists are unaware of this eternal truth.

The wider question is whether Donald Trump was right to resile from Barack Obama's Iran deal, which was not a great deal but stopped Iran getting the bomb, prevented conflict between America and Iran, distanced the Americans from the Saudis and Israel and let the USA withdraw from the Middle East. I was in favour of that deal but am absolutely no expert on the matter, unlike most readers of newspapers.

Now what happens is unknowable, but whatever happens will be blamed on, or just possibly credited to, Donald Trump.

I of course agree in principle with Tucker Carlson, when he said: 

“There are a lot of bad people in this world. It isn’t our job to kill all of them, assuming we could. Our government exists to defend and promote the interests of American citizens. Period. How has the killing of Soleimani done that?"

He is right about that and was addressing Fox News viewers who have a Manichean view of the universe, but America had to stand up to Iranian aggression. 

I agree with Charles Moore on that.

Don’t forget that America spent (at least) $1billion dollars and 4 years building an embassy the size of Vatican City with a bigger population than VC at peak only to have its security comprised by Ugandan contractors who have the job as a stepping stone to visa/citizenship.

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  1. An (imperfect) treaty that limits conflict versus an incendiary attack, threats to destroy cultural heritage sites, and an invitation from Iraq to please get the hell out that the administration can't respond to coherently. Gosh, it is awfully hard to choose between those options.

    1. I agree. I hope Trump having won this trick now gets out of Iraq. I was of course horrified but unsurprised that he spoke of destroying historic sites and demanded to be reimbursed for the cost of the US Embassy which Osama aptly called a crusader castle. The Shia now rule Iraq and will rule it badly. The fault is the Wilsonian liberalism of George Bush II and the neo-cons. No more wars for values, please.