Since 1979, America’s relations with Iran have been vastly more inconsistent than the manner in which they are often portrayed. It was in 1979 that an indecisive Jimmy Carter administration betrayed its Iranian ally and did nothing to prevent the Iranian Revolution from fomenting regime change in a country that had been a loyal ally of the US since 1953 – a year when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Even before the infamous overthrow of Mosaddegh, in 1921, a pro-British coup whose aftermath finished off the Qajar dynasty in 1925, rendered Iran firmly in the western camp where it would largely remain until 1979.
Thus, one sees that British behaviour in the 1920s and 1940s plus the CIA led coup of 1953 sowed the seeds for a popular revolution in the ancient civilisation that is Iran. Perversely, the US did little to resist this revolution when it came, opting instead to throw its loyal ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the scrapheap.
The resulting hostage crisis and failed attempts by the US to rescue the Americans being held in the US Embassy in Tehran did much to change the mind of the average American when it came to Iran. Images of bearded clerics whose youthful compatriots were holding US citizens hostage whilst shouting”death do America” did little to win Iran any favours in Main Street USA.
And yet, the same Reagan administration that ultimately oversaw the release of the hostages without a shot being fired was all too willing to covertly sell Iran weapons throughout most of the 1980s. As America’s Israeli ally was already covertly arming Iran, it was arranged for Israel to supply Iran with western weapons whilst Washington would subsequently reimburse Tel Aviv for these transactions.
Thus, whilst the US was overtly arming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, it was covertly arming Revolutionary Iran via an Israeli state that technically was the enemy of both Iran and Iraq. Making matters more strange, by the middle of the 1980s, some of the arms America was selling Iran switched from being transacted via an Israeli proxy to being direct sales, the proceeds of which were illegally re-routed to fund the Contra insurgents in Nicaragua. This became known as the Iran-Contra Scandal which at one time threatened the very legitimacy of the Reagan administration.
Making matters more surreal, a month before the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the United States shot down an Iranian civilian passenger jet, Iran Air Flight 655 over the Strait of Hormuz. 290 civilians perished, there were no survivors. In the fall out from the downing of Iran Air Flight 655, US Vice President George H.W. Bush who was still on the campaign trail for the 1988 US election stated the following:
“I will never apologise for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologise-for-America kind of guy”.
In the 1990s, Iran continued to suffer in the aftermath of the incredibly costly war with Iraq. Likewise, low oil prices and diplomatic isolation from much of the west (in a post Cold War era) took its toll although by the turn of the 21st century, Iran had in fact begun to recover economically.
Then in 2003, the United States gifted Iran something beyond its wildest dreams. Iran’s Revolutionary government had long dreamt of influencing Arab Muslims in countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. The biggest obstacle to this was never the wealthy but militarily inept Saudi Arabia. The biggest obstacle was an oil rich and militarily strong Iraq led by the fiercely anti-Iranian Saddam Hussein, a one time ally of both the US, Britain, France, West Germany and USSR.
In the 1990s, Saddam feel out of favour with the west and the USSR had ceased to be. Crippling sanctions began to take a mighty tool on the Iraqi people but the strength, size and discipline of Iraq’s army continued to contain Iran in many respects.
This all changed when George W. Bush and Tony Blair conspired to illegally overthrow Saddam. The rapid overthrow of the legally recognised Iraqi government led to Iran becoming the primary regional ally of the forces in Iraq which soon rose to power in the vacuum left by the chaotic and blood-soaked overthrow of Saddam’s Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. In the subsequent years, Iran began expanding its political influence in Iraq, a generally friendly Syrian state and several key factions in Lebanon, most notably the increasingly popular (especially after 2006) Hezbollah. Even Sunni theocratic parties in Palestine such as Hamas ended up engaging in surprisingly warm relations with Iran in the aftermath of Saddam’s ouster.
Thus, the removal of Saddam allowed Iran to consecrate a political land bridge to the Mediterranean shores of Lebanon, Syria and Palestine as was long desired by many in Revolutionary Iran. Even the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant and its progeny Daesh did not ultimately curtail Iran from expanding its influence west.
And now, the very Iran that the US and Israel armed in the 1980s – the Iran that was then bolstered by America and Britain in the early 2000s has become more powerful than countries including the US and Israel would like it to be. And thus, one comes to the liberals of the United States.
The modern ultra-liberal movement in the United States that is increasingly represented by the Democratic party is one that is socially so far to the left that it sickens the very core of moderate Middle America. In their quest to destroy American and western social values, the American liberal movement has likewise become incredibly pro-war in recent decades. Western aggression against Syria, Libya, Russia and against Chinese assets in south east Asia has been primarily driven by liberals and ultra-liberal governments including and especially that of Barack Obama.
With this in mind, one would think that the liberals of the United States would support a potentially forthcoming war on Iran. And yet, many such liberals do not. But one should not assume that these liberals have the best of intentions in such matters.
As part of their drive to systematically demoralise a Middle America that remembers the hostage crisis of the late 70s/early 80s but may remember less about Iran-Contra and the implications of removing Saddam, Iran still carries near universally negative connotations on Main Street USA. Therefore, liberals effectively wrapping themselves in the Iranian flag, a flag which represents a government whose most popular slogan is “death to America”, will have the perverse effect of mobilising much of Middle America in a pro-war direction.
If Middle America were to join with the likes of John Bolton and demand war, this would severely undermine Donald Trump personally as it is becoming crystal clear that at a personal level, Trump is anti-war in almost all instances. Therefore, through alienating Middle America by becoming cheerleaders for Iran, the liberals are attempting to undermine one of the most personally pro-peace American leaders since the era before the Second World War (if not since the time prior to the First World War). In so doing, the ultra libearls of the Democratic party are likewise attempting to associate anti-Americanism with the objectively correct desire to avoid war in a further attempt to demoralise a Middle America that does not seek war but nevertheless does not seek humiliation.
The truth is that Iran hates America but Iran does not threaten America. This should be the end of the story. Instead, US liberals are cheerleading for an anti-American Iran which counter-intuitively makes them the best friends that an otherwise cartoonish John Bolton could possible have.
When all is said and done, Donald Trump now looks as though he’s the most rational person in the room. Bolton looks more and more like the criminally mad war monger he has always been and the liberals of the Democratic party look less than patriotic.
With his recent statement on Twitter, Trump now looks reasonable, compassionate and ultimately a man who believes in peace through strength. This it the reality. The sooner it is acknowledged, the sooner a sustainable peace might prevail.
….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Whether the entire thing was a bluff from the beginning or whether Trump’s Tweet is a clear statement of fact, the end result is much the same and for now it is a positive one. It has achieved a thaw in supreme tensions and this is the most one could hope for at this point in time.