For all the fearmongering about Iran’s alleged danger to civilization, they are guilty merely of what should be called “Contempt of Empire.” I say “merely” with a slight caveat: the penalty for “contempt of Empire” mirrors the punishment dealt by many cops who deem their victim insufficiently deferential to their authority: humiliation, pain, and possible death. As the latent bully within is unleashed by the power conferred by a badge and gun, so the title of “Empire” infects the unfortunate nation with all the characteristics of an out-of-control cop.
Case in point: Iran, a relatively modern country (far more tolerant than Saudi Arabia, considering the number of synagogues within its border) that has never attacked the United States and has in no way threatened the US, is nevertheless the target of a never-ending campaign of threats, warmongering, and acts of war by those with decision-making power over US foreign policy (I really hate saying “we” when discussing the actions of the political elite). The Iranians, while never having threatened the US with attack, have nevertheless committed the unforgivable sin of refusing to bend to the will of DC, a severe crime as seen from the warped capitol of the papier-mâché Empire, a crime that many within the political class are bristling to watch Iran burn under the “false sun” of nuclear fire.
A power-mad cop doesn’t know much else than brute force. Diplomacy is deemed “cowardly,” offensive to his manly self-delusion, and prefers to threaten violence to obtain compliance as a first resort, and the demands made are usually worded so that compliance is nigh impossible. The power-poisoned Empire operates in much the same way: brute force, threats, sanctions, more threats, all to achieve either complete submission, or an excuse to attack. Diplomacy is disparaged, even in the face of its effectiveness, in favor of coercion, threats, and sanctions, tactics that produce an outcome bad for all sides involved. An entrenched jumpiness and paranoia pollute the judgment of both the tyrannical cop and Empire; threats emanate from everywhere.
“Officer safety” is the standard refuge of the cop who just assaulted or killed a non-threatening civilian. “He reached for his belt,” “he lunged at me,” the rationalizations are endless and very effective at absolving him of responsibility in the eyes of a grand jury as well as much of the public. “Police worship” mirrors the military worship that pervades our society.
So too the Empire looks for any reason to launch a credible “counterattack.” Trumped up evidence about “weapons of mass destruction” was the excuse for the 2003 Iraq War that devastated the country and provided the catalyst for the subsequent social disintegration surged over the region. The Iranian nuclear program has been the excuse cited by interventionists as reason enough to destabilize, destroy, and murder thousands of Iranians in the process. Any problem can be solved with force, so goes the logic of both the rage-filled cop and the rage-filled Empire, both of whom become more sensitive to slights to their ego the greater their power grows.
Consider the capture of ten United States sailors just before it was declared that Iran was in full compliance of the nuclear agreement. How can this be viewed in any other light than as a Hail Mary in hopes that Iran would blow the sailors out of the water and derail the lifting of the sanctions and pave a road to war? Rather than an engineered crisis, the decent treatment the sailors received, as well as their speedy release, was another humiliation to US hawks. How dare Iran be courteous to our sailors! God knows what would happen if two small Iranian military vessels were captured off the coast of Maine. Well, we probably have a good idea how they would be treated. They were released unharmed, not waterboarded, not held in some dungeon for years on end. They were released with everything save two SIM cards, confiscated from two US satellite phones. The power-drunk cop looks for signs of noncompliance, he wants a violent response so he can execute the smart-ass who questioned his authority. So does the Empire.
Iran is said to be a step closer to being considered “civilized” after compliance with the nuclear deal, along with the release of American prisoners. But who’s being more civilized than whom in this situation? Shouldn’t it be Iran’s right to enter the modern world by developing peaceful nuclear power? Should the exercising of that right provoke threats of utter annihilation, along with debilitating sanctions, an act of war that harms the most vulnerable of civilians within the country? Coercion as a first resort is the mark of the brute, the bully, the hotheaded, and the power-drunk. To Iran’s credit, they’ve remained calm in the face of the endless threats of preemptive war while trusting that diplomacy would work in their favor. Their calmness is like a slap in the face to the warmongers, who, after trying with all their might, failed to get their war with the nation they most love to hate.
Shane Smith lives in Norman, Oklahoma and writes for Red Dirt Report.