The Donald’s action to ash-can the Iranian nuclear deal marks the War Party’s complete and baleful triumph. There is now nothing much left of America First.
Trump’s reckless, unwarranted and utterly irrational action will pull Washington ever deeper into an incendiary middle eastern vortex of political and religious conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with the safety and security of the America people.
To the contrary, picking a fight with Tehran is an exercise in unprovoked Imperial aggression. The Iranian regime has no means to attack America militarily and has never threatened to do so. Nor has it invaded any other country in the region where it was not invited by a sovereign government host.
Even Iran’s minor skirmishes with American forces in recent years have been owing to the happenstance of Washington’s far-flung imperial ventures.
For example, Washington destroyed Saddam’s Sunni/secular government in Iraq and installed a Shiite regime in Baghdad, thereby leaving the Sunni lands of western Iraq in chaos. Only then did Baghdad invite their shiite co-religionists from Iran to help excise the scourge of ISIS that formed from the remnants of Saddam’s army and government.
Likewise, Washington and its allies sent thousands of jihadist warriors and billions of aid and supplies into Syria to topple its dully elected government. Only then did the Alawite (Shiite) Assad regime invite help from its confessional compatriots in Tehran.
And you can’t find any more ludicrous example of the cat calling the kettle black than the Donald’s claim that Iran is a terrorist state because it is aligned with the Shiite population of Lebanon represented by Hezbollah.
For crying out loud. The War Party pretends Washington has turned much of the middle east into rubble and barbarism in order to spread democracy – whether they wanted it or not, and whether they were ready for it or not.
But Lebanon is a serviceable democracy and last weekend Hezbollah and its allies – including certain Sunni factions – won an overwhelming election victory. They now control a clear majority in its legislature, where Hezbollah will have the power to name a new Prime Minister (a Sunni) and Speaker of the Parliament (a Shiite) – both of whom will be pledged to work with the country’s Christian president.
That particular outcome of democracy the War Party can’t abide. But it fairly violates the english language itself to call it state sponsored terrorism.
In a similar vein, the Houthi tribe of Shiites have dominated much of northern and western Yemen for centuries. So when a Washington installed government in Sana’a was overthrown, the Houthi took power in northern Yemen – as had been the case during the long expanse from 1918-1990 when the two Yemen’s were finally unified.
But it is the Houthis who are the victims of aggression by the brutal Saudi bombing campaign that has left more than 10,000 civilians dead and the land plagued with famine, cholera, rubble and economic collapse.
There is no telling which faction in Yemen’s fratricidal civil war and invasion by Saudi Arabia is the more barbaric, but the modest aid provided by Iran to its Shiite kinsman in northern Yemen is absolutely not a case of state sponsored terrorism.
In a word, the Donald has fallen hook, line and sinker for the War Party’s lie- and propaganda-filled demonization of the Iranian regime. We have debunked this false history elsewhere, but suffice to say that it boils down to two very imperialist propositions.
To wit, that Iran is not entitled to have its own foreign policy via alliances with Iraq, Syria, the dominant party of Lebanon or the official government in Sana’a Yemen because Washington (and Israel) say so; and that it’s not allowed to have even intermediate and medium range missiles (that can’t reach either the US or most of Europe) to defend itself – even though Washington has armed its far wealthier Sunni rival across the Persian Gulf with upwards of $250 billion of America’s most advanced warplanes, attack helicopters, missiles, drones and sundry other accoutrements of war.
And that is to say nothing of a tiny residual capacity to enrich uranium to 3.5% purity (compared to 90% weapons grade) for civilian power reactors on fewer than one-fifth of the oldest and slowest centrifuges it had before the 2015 nuke deal.
Nor does it consider that all 17 US intelligence agencies certified in an official NIE (national intelligence estimate) in 2007 and again in 2011 that Iran only had a small weaponization research program between 1999 and 2003, which was then abandoned and never restarted.
Moreover, the documentary proof of that was thoroughly investigated by the IAEA after the 2105 deal, which then re-validated that the Iranian weapons program was indeed disbanded in 2003.
In short, the Donald has fallen for a pack of lies and distortions that are only remotely plausible if the aim is to find enemies and territories around the planet to police, occupy or otherwise hegemonize. And to thereby keep the Warfare State in business, its $800 billion budget funded, and the Imperial City’s vast beehive of think-tanks, contractors, NGOs, lobbyists and racketeers in clover.
The invincible grip on power of the above – the Deep State for short-hand purposes – has now been proven. And that’s a full-on tragedy because the Donald’s inchoate notion of America First was an incipient challenge to its power – the only one since the end of the cold war.
To be sure, Donald Trump never had a coherent or articulated notion of America First. But all of his impulses were in the right direction.
Perhaps like renegade Sarah Palin before him, for example, he could see Russia from his airy on the 68th floor of Trump Tower and recognize that it is no threat whatsoever to America’s security.
That is, from his perch the Donald could gaze upon metro New York’s $1.6 trillion of GDP, which is greater than the entirety of Russia’s economy ($1.5 trillion GDP); and whether he knew the precise numbers or not, his impulse toward rapprochement with Putin was spot on.
Likewise, whether he had gotten George Bush’s folly in Iraq right on day one or not – he was loud and clear in his consistent denunciation years before Hillary sprouted her dawkish feathers.
Nor was he any less correct when he averred that NATO was obsolete. After all, the GDP of the EU-29 is 10X larger than Russia’s, and their combined military spending is 4X greater.
If you’re not a prisoner of Imperial Washington’s twisted group think you cannot possibly believe that Russia’s supremely rational leader – Cool Hand Vlad – intends to militarily assault his European neighbors. He’d like to supply their markets, not occupy their cities – something that anyone except the demented, self-serving bureaucrats of NATO can easily understand.
Ditto for Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia et. al. They aren’t cold war "dominoes" because the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history 27 years ago; they don’t threaten America directly, either, because they don’t have two dimes to rub together economically or militarily; and whether they affiliate with the Saudi-Sunni axis or the Iran-Shiite crescent makes not one damn bit of difference for the safety and security of American citizens in Lincoln NE or Springfield MA.
In the case of the Korean Peninsula, the Donald also rightly questioned why we are still funding 29,000 US troops when the war there ended 65 years ago.
The truth is, it is a war that never should have been fought in the first place because the now open Soviet archives show both Stalin and Mao were against it. US national security was never at stake.
Rather than a domino, it originated purely as a civil war between the communist/nationalists under Kim II-sung, who had fought the Japanese occupiers to the death, and a puppet government in the South under Syngman Rhee.
The latter was an aristocratic dandy who moved to the US in 1904 and spent most of the next 40 years hob-knobbing in Washington. So doing, he promoted endless schemes to install himself in power back in Korea, which finally happened when Japan’s 35-year long occupation was ended in August 1945.
At length, the two Korean political rivals got into a war that the north would have handily won – and might well have turned itself into a cheap labor based export platform just as did Mao’s heirs on the mainland. It might even have become a darling of Wall Street – just as the Red Suzerains of Beijing are today.
That is to say, there was exactly nothing at stake in June 1950 – until the rabid cold warriors in Washington persuaded Truman to intervene.
So doing, the US military launched the most destructive and vicious bombing campaign in history under the blood-thirsty top Air Force general, Curtis LeMay. By the 1953 armistice, North Korea had become a bombed-out wasteland with hardly a city or town not reduced to rubble and with millions of civilians dead or starving.
But it was not merely a pointless war and waste of American blood and treasure; it also became forever embraced by the people of the north as the patriotic war of resistance that paved the way for six decades of the brutal Kim family dictatorship and a life of poverty and misery for its 25 million people, who could otherwise be working in Apple factories and auto plants today.
Needless to say, Imperial Washington has no regard for honest history – only its own self-serving narrative and imperative need for enemies and missions to justify nearly $800 billion per year for the machinery of war and empire. In the case of North Korea, in fact, its imperial pretensions and penchant for "regime change" under the neocons in recent decades, unleashed a veritable monster.
That is, a drive by the Kim family to obtain nuclear weapons, thereby hoping to avoid Saddam’s fate at the end of a rope or Khadafy’s bloody demise with a shive up his rectum.
Fortunately, the Donald has been blessed with a historic serendipity. His military bluster and name-calling apparently caused Kim Jong-un to stage so many nuclear bomb tests culminating in a huge (for N. Korea) 160 kiloton explosion last September that the Fat Boy of Pyongyang has literally destroyed the mountains which house his Punggye-ri test site.
A recent authoritative study actually warns that if North Korea were to use the same area for another test it could cause an "environmental catastrophe."
"North Korea’s past tests have altered the tectonic stress in the region to the extent that previously inactive tectonic faults in the region have reached their state of critical failure. Any further disturbance from a future test could generate earthquakes that may be damaging by their own force or crack the nuclear test sites of the past or the present".
Of course, Kim Jong-un is now attempting to make a virtue out of necessity by ostentatiously shuttering the no longer useable site and inviting the world to witness its entombment. But if that leads to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, so be it.
And let it also be an occasion to reverse the mistake of June 1950, and get American forces off the peninsula once and for all: Return Korea to the Koreans to work out their own governance as they see fit!
Yet even on this matter, where the Donald has recently tried to explore a drastic reduction, if not complete removal, of US troops as part of the pending deal with Kim Jong-un, the Deep State has come down on him with all fours.
In that regard, here is what former "peace" candidate Barack Obama’s leading advisor on the topic had this to say:
Kelly E. Magsamen, a top Asia policy official at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said, “U.S. presence in South Korea is a sacrosanct part of our alliance.”
In fact, apparently the entire global empire of Washington is sacrosanct – including the ridiculous fact that in the year 2018 Washington still has military bases in the defeated powers of World War II. Yet neither Japan nor Germany have any mortal military enemies and both are utterly dependent on the trade custom of the US for their high standard of living.
So the Deep State now owns the Donald and America First is not even a slogan. It’s inoperative, Nixon-style.
Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before the Donald gets the ultimate Nixon treatment – now that he has done the Deep State’s dirty work and ash-canned the deal that could have opened a broad avenue toward peace in the world and drastic retrenchment of the fiscally bankrupting Warfare State at home.
That is to say, at length the ingrates of the Deep State will put the Donald on the Dick Nixon Memorial Helicopter for his final ride to Gonesville.
To paraphrase the great Randolph Bourne, Demonization of the Unwilling is the Health of the Deep State.
At least that much the Donald has now, regrettably, confirmed with his sophomoric attack on Iran.
So doing he has also lurched America drastically forward on the path to a monumental financial catastrophe. That’s because taken together the Warfare State and the Welfare State are also the fiscal demise of the state.
One of these days even the lemmings of Wall Street – which took day’s calamitous news in stride – will finally get the memo, too.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.