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Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?

Image Source: James Montgomery Flagg – Public Domain

Earlier in 2019, the US Congress utilized its power to wage or not wage war and voted to end US involvement in the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen. Donald Trump vetoed the bill and it died. Meanwhile, the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies were ramping up pressure on the nations of Venezuela and Iran. Other than a couple press releases from a very few elected representatives, there have been no motions to invoke that same power in regards to the threats against either of these nations. This is despite the fact that the intensification of US pressure could fairly easily result in war in either nation.

According to US imperial thinking, the reasons for the growing threat of some kind of US military intervention in Iran or Venezuela are many. At the top of the list would be oil and the control of that oil—who gets to buy it, at how much, and who profits from it. Other reasons include Washington’s desire for full spectrum dominance (world domination), its fear of the example the Bolivarian movement represents in Latin America, and the desire to return Iran back to the days before the 1979 revolution. Then, of course, there’s the profit to be made by the war industry and its investors. On a more superficial level, one can also speculate about the boost in the polls Mr. Trump might get should he start a war and have the opportunity to strut across the deck of an aircraft carrier wearing some kind of uniform.

On the other hand, there’s the great unknown of war. Any honest historian will tell you that wars rarely if ever go according to plan. Some military officers might even admit to as much. In recent times when it comes to US wars, it is safe to say that they never go according to plan—unless the plan is to not win. Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are all failures in that regard. The 1980s low-intensity conflicts in Central America ended with mixed results. Only the Yugoslavian campaign might be considered successful according to these terms. Closer to home, there’s the war on drugs. We are still watching that losing cause. It is this great unknown that looms large in any conflict with Iran or Venezuela. Both nations, while divided politically, are fairly united in their opposition to US imperialism, especially if it arrives on their shores or drops explosives from the skies. From where I sit, it seems the only Venezuelans supporting a US military intervention are those around the US asset Juan Guaido. As for Iran, it appears that the sole supporters of US intervention are some of the monarchists in the US, and the members and supporters of the Mujaheddin el-Khalq, a group that signed on to the US neocon agenda over a decade ago. Both groups of interventionists seem to know that their call to intervene are contrary to what their countrymen and women want; hence their allegiance to Washington.

According to a May 6, 2019 article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the ramping up of pressure against Iran in the wake of Trump’s canceling the nuclear agreement has very little to do with preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. In fact, the end of two of the so-called nuclear waivers makes it almost impossible for Iran to dispose of heavy water and the enriched uranium limits of the agreement. In short, despite Iran’s desire to comply with the limitations imposed by the agreement, the current US establishment seems intent on preventing them from doing so. As for the US attempts to prevent certain nations from buying oil from Iran (through ending the so-called oil waivers), it is clear this action is intended to hurt the Iranian public because it removes funds used to purchase medicines and food.

The US strategy regarding Venezuela and Iran is nothing new. Put simply, it is designed to create a situation where the countries in the crosshairs have no recourse but to wait until the missiles are launched. No matter what diplomacy or concessions they suggest, Washington will always demand more until there is nothing left to give. Agreements are signed and then broken by the United States; Washington never intended to keep them. This modus operandi has been the US standard since its first treaty with an indigenous nation in North America. There’s a reason for the saying “white man speaks with a forked tongue.”

News reports regarding specific moves made by the US in recent days are conflicting. The New York Times reported on May 14, 2019 that the US is ready to move 120,000 forces into the Middle East while Donald Trump says the report is “fake news.” My guess is that the obfuscation is somewhat intentional and designed to keep the rest of the world on a bit of an edge. The underlying facts remain the same. Washington has ended its participation in the Iran Nuclear Agreement and Secretary of Defense Pompeo is traveling around Europe trying to convince other nations to do the same. B-52s are heading toward the Persian Gulf and stories of attacks on Saudi oil tankers are in the news. In Venezuela, the US asset Guaido is demanding a meeting with the leader of the US Southern Command to “coordinate.” The sanctions on both nations are tightening and most US politicians and the media are anticipating war. Some are calling for it.

It is time for us to apply maximum pressure against war. I don’t wish to be a cynic, but I wonder if such a manifestation can still occur. Text, email and call your friends and comrades. Talk to people you never met who are against another war. Have a vigil. Hold a meeting and plan a protest. Hold a protest. Hold lots of protests. Let your elected representative know you don’t want war. Go to their offices. Sit in if you think it will work. Pay attention and give a shit. The threat of war is greater than we want to think it is.

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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