On January 3rd, 2020, the world got a taste for what the reigning hegemon’s reaction to real war would be like. The window into the American soul had the drapes pulled back. The globe should be frightened. The droning of Gen. Suleimani by US forces in Iraq unleashed a torrent of emotions from the imperial subjects. Just as fast as it came on, it passed. This is not the way to run a nuclear armed global power.
This entire back and forth between Iran and the United States points to a rather interesting development in international relations. After winning re-election in 2012, Barack Obama announced he had called the Iranians on the phone. This was a shock to some as it was direct contact between the two nations’ leaders. Fast forward to late 2019. President Trump warns the Iranians not to continue with the attacks on Americans at bases in Iraq and that they will be held responsible. The account for Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Khameini), replied with a taunting tweet that included the phrase “you can’t do anything“. President Trump responded by droning Iran’s top strategist. This is diplomacy now. This is the potential for communication, which is a follow up to Trump’s tweets to Kim of North Korea. Phone calls, diplomats, embassies… what need do we have for them?
The droning itself set off hysterics both of the joyful and fearful varieties. On one hand, every Jewish pundit and their neocon friends wrote tweets that dripped with demonic mirth. These are the paid salesmen for wars. These are the foreign policy experts who appear on television. They were closer to pagans dancing around a bonfire praying to the Bomb God, calling for more bombings in Iran. The zone was flooded by curiously similar talking points, showing how journ-o-list coordination has spread to all walks of life. For a man so effective and so evil, it is odd that these same journalists did not mention Gen. Suleimani in 2005, 2010, or 2015.
America is an anxious nation. We are heavily medicated to deal with this mental illness. The hysterical reaction to the droning was evident by the immediate social media tags of #WW3. Suddenly, the entire online ecosystem was acting like the Guns of August was streaming. Due to network effects, this rash hysteria spread like an Australian wildfire. The Selective Service’s website was bombarded with page hits by young adults too dumb to realize we have a volunteer army. The memes were at least entertaining whether related to IQ standards for troops or the expectations of the SJW feminist crowd’s reaction to a war. Female soldiers posted crying pictures to a variety of social media. Empowerment! America has been at war for twenty years, why was this reaction so strong and so bizarre?
America had finally droned a nation’s asset that could fight back. Iran is not a tin-point dictatorship like Iraq was in 2003. Iran has more than a handful of jets like Afghanistan in 2001. Iran is a nation of 80 million people with a decent size economy and battle tested armed forces. Iran has contingency plans that would make American allies hurt like attacking Saudi oil infrastructure, attacking Dubai, Qatar and Oman. There are many things they can do and they have force projection that our little imperial war opponents could never dream of doing when we sized them up twenty years ago.
Our pundit class jumped on this hysteria with out of touch takes as well. There was a debate as to the droning being an act of war. This is the level of autism they have or the lie that we have to tell ourselves consistently. America has been fighting a low level proxy war against Iran for decades now. We do it at the request of Israeli and Saudi elites. Of course the droning of Gen. Suleimani was an act of war as an assassination of Iran’s big heavy but not technically openly declared with pomp and circumstance war like in days of old. The media is there though to debate it just like they sold the Boomers on “it’s not war if all you do is bomb the nation“. This is the state of the empire. Large percentages of Americans do not consider it war when we send fighter jets and cruise missiles. Then again, this is the same nation that bought the line that it is not sex if it’s just a blow-job.
Few pundits were level-headed enough to discuss how no, a war does not pop up against a large country with few assets around it. Fox and MSNBC both had talking heads saying “no new war” as if a ground invasion was imminent. Forget the pundit class, Sen. Graham was tweeting for more bombings after the Iranian response, which was as tepid as they could perform and still save face. An actual ground invasion would be impossible in that environment with that few assets and would not be necessary. America could simply bomb the oil refineries and other infrastructure of Iran to plunge the regime into chaos. Likewise, few pundits discussed how Iran was in a real hard place after the Suleimani strike. A narrative, practically promoted by MSNBC, was the embassy protest-riot by Iranian proxies served as justification for some response. If Iran responded, they had to know the jets would be flying and it would be lights out for their oil and gas exports, which are the only things keeping their economy going.
A further revelation was the stark contrast between Obama and Trump. We found out Obama had tipped the Iranians off to Israeli attempts to kill Suleimani. We witnessed Trump tweet in Farsi to support protesters, which considering the Green Revolution attempt of 2009 means that Obama really did nothing for protesters since he too had not one but two Twitter accounts. Must have been his open hand policy for reaching out to Iran. We should engage with Iran. As America must withdraw from different spheres and lower our profile, we need to recognize the bigger regional players and possibly resurrect the old Twin Pillars strategy of Nixon or the regional cop strategy used by other empires.
Within 72 hours, this was all gone. Trump could chalk up a win after his gambit. More figures leaked information to reporters so they could take some credit for the gutsy decision. Practically no one has noticed that Trump’s Middle East strategy seems to be “disengage, avoid commitments but pop Iran + its proxies whenever possible to please Sheldon“. Neocons gloated that despite all evidence to the contrary for feasibility that maybe they would get their big Iranian war with Trump at the helm. American anxiety and blood-lust was on full display. This is the population that would fight and sell a new war. A war? There’s no way America could stay sane long enough to fight a war versus a decent opponent let alone an existential war. Whatever your reaction in the moment, I hope you look back on all the ravings by the warmongers and the pill popping nervous wrecks and feel nothing but disgust.