A main issue with wars, indeed Sun Tzu’s first admonition, is that war should be a last resort, not the first as Washington seems to favor. Because one never knows where wars lead once they start. The fear is that Iran, once the United States attacks it, will be faced with the Hobson’s choice – either fire its missiles, it’s main non-obsolete weapon, or risk the U.S. destroying them. Firing them risks conflagration of much of the Persian Gulf oil shipping infrastructure. New technology in cheap mines and drones might also close the Gulf to shipping. This would devastate the world economy much of which depends upon the oil.
Add to this America’s penchant for starting wars, very often based upon lies or false premises. False flag operations mean having an attack blamed upon another nation which actually was not the culprit. Syria’s questionable fault for gassing of innocent civilians was used by Washington to bomb its Air Force. Now Secretary of State Pompeo has set us up by publicly stating that any attack on any American soldier in Iraq or Syria would cause America to attack Iran. He’s put every soldier at risk of death by some Israeli or Saudi fanatic.
Trump now says he does not want war with Iran. But he is surrounded by advisor who do. Both Secretary of State Pompeo and Vice President Pence are profound end times Evangelicals. In 2017 I wrote, Iraq, Syria, Iran…Are We To Destroy Iran Next? about the original neo-conservative program to re-mold the Middle East. A main new concern is Trump’s Secretary of State’s strong evangelical beliefs in the end times. The NY Times describes his beliefs The Rapture and the Real World: Pompeo Blends Belief and Policy. The belief is that a stronger and greater Israel will bring about Armageddon sooner and their rapture straight to heaven without a judgment day. Not all evangelicals are in this camp, e.g. see below about Jimmy Carter, but rather an important sector who moved from forecasting Armageddon to trying to bring it about. Destroying Iran’s being a threat to Israel is thus seen as helping God’s intentions.
The Financial Times explained in "Pompeo’s Global Rapture Tour" the concerns about Pompeo’s beliefs:
"Yet I can’t help but feel anxious that both of Donald Trump’s main global envoys, Pompeo and Pence, have a conflict between their private beliefs and what they publicly claim to be doing. Both profess to be pro-Israel for example. Each enthusiastically backed the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year. Each also subscribes to the Christian Zionist belief that the rapture will only come once the Jews have all regrouped in the Holy Land."
The FT also links to a Guardian article quoting Pompeo, "Pompeo told a church congregation in Wichita three years ago. "It is a never-ending struggle . . . until the rapture. Be a part of it. Be in the fight." Pompeo’s actions as a "Christian Zionist" are described in a New Republic article "The Christianization of US Foreign Policy."
The theory was originated in the mid 1800’s by an Irish priest, John Darby, that Jews’ return to Jerusalem would finally bring about the Second Coming and Armageddon, based on his interpretation of the bible’s chapter on Revelations. The Chapter is so brutal and contrary to the rest of Christ’s teachings that Martin Luther did not include it in his original translation of the bible which brought forth the Protestant reformation. However, evangelicals dwell upon it.
The prophesy is getting a little long in the tooth as it’s now already some 75 years since the founding of Israel. The believers nearly all expected Armageddon to have come about already by now. Younger evangelicals are becoming more skeptical of their elders obsession with Israel, see Harretz report. Longings and fantasies for the End Times are described in a famous series of books called Left Behind. I wrote about them once in an article, The Brutal Christ of the Armageddonites, how they depict the torturing and killing of the whole human race except for their sect of born again Christians.
This may all sound a bit farfetched for many of our readers, however just months ago the evangelical pastor, Robert Jeffress, chosen by Pompeo’s people to officiate and bless the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, had earlier stated (NY Times) that "Jews, Muslims and Mormons are all bound for hell." Another group, Christians United for Israel, had its leader, John Hagee, also invited to the ceremonies. He is famous for the theory that God created a special second paradise, for Jews who will die in the Second Coming. It’s called the Dual Covenant, meaning that God made a second covenant with Jews.
The embassy move was strongly supported by evangelicals. Indeed, J Street, the large Jewish group which support a dual state with Palestinians, reported on polls showing that most American Jews, opposed the unilateral move without a settlement with Palestinians.
Of course, the above is by no means directed about all evangelicals. Former President Jimmy Carter was evangelical, and he strove mightily to bring peace to the Middle East with the Camp David accords. But the evangelical subset I describe above is very powerful, has done tremendous damage to America’s interests in the world and is a threat to the whole human race. Pompeo is one of them.
Jon Basil Utley is the Publisher of The American Conservative and longtime writer for Antiwar.com. He was a foreign correspondent in South America for the Journal of Commerce and Knight Ridder newspapers and former associate editor of The Times of the Americas.