Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2017

The Empty Threat Against Iran - National Security Advisor Flynn Embarrasses Himself

Trump's National Security Advisor Flynn keeps demonstrating the limits of is strategic-intellectual capacity. He went in front of the cameras and issued this empty threat:

The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough. The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests.

The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.

What is such bluster supposed to achieve?

Interestingly the statement came out just an hour after Donald Rumsfeld left the White House where he had talked about "process" with Flynn and NSC staff.

The neo-conservatives are of course very happy about such nonsense talk. Obama Should Thank Trump for Putting Iran on Notice writes Eli Lake. James Rubin intones: Finally, the president made a smart move on foreign policy. For the very first time the neoconned Washington Post editors are lauding Trump and highlight Flynn's juvenile outburst.

But the U.S. has no way to coerce the 80 million Iranians into anything. The Bush administration learned that (it was one reason why Rumsfeld was fired), the Obama administration acknowledged it and the Trump administration will have to accept that too.

Iran has been under U.S. sanction since 1979. A few more years of unilateral U.S. sanctions will not change its positions one iota. The "international community" supports the nuclear deal and encouraged the lifting of international sanctions. It will not agree to new ones just because some Trump flunky says so.

Iran is needed to achieve peace and to fight Islamic terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. To even try such without Iranian involvement would require hundred-thousands of U.S. troops. They would fail should Iran decide to not support them. Indeed there is nothing that can be achieved in the Middle East without Iran. While it has only limited capabilities to actively interfere in other countries it can throw up hurdles everywhere and block U.S. controlled solutions.

Smaller direct U.S. attacks on Iran would be responded to with attacks by Iranian proxies elsewhere. U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially their resupplies, would be in imminent danger. A large attack on Iran itself would lead to the destruction of U.S. military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Every U.S. ship passing through the Street of Hormuz would come under fire.

There will be no significant international support for any U.S. move against Iran. Sending the USS Cole to the Yemeni coast while fantasizing about Houthi mining the waters is a just too obvious setup for a "Gulf of Tonkin" replay.

Any significant military move against Iran would be a strategic foreign policy disaster just like the Bush administration attack on Iraq was one. That attack strengthened Iran's long term position. An attack on the country itself would achieve the same on a much larger scale.

The more grown ups in the Trump administration know all this. Secretary of Defense Mattis, no friend of Iran at all, pulled the rug out from under Flynn's empty threat:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that the threat from Iran’s missile program does not currently require the realignment of U.S. forces in the Middle East, striking a note of restraint shortly after the White House issued a strong warning to Tehran.

The U.S. Central Command on the Middle East was not even informed about the Flynn threat towards Iran. The move is obviously no a thought through administration policy.

Is Flynn freelancing with such threats trying to prove his worthiness for the administration? Or was he set up by others to embarrass himself?


Posted by b on February 4, 2017 at 14:13 UTC | Permalink

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I'm no fan of Trump. But I am a fan of the way the American system can put him on his back foot. I'm a fan of Putin. But you can't say a fucking thing against him or you die. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Posted by: peter | Feb 5, 2017 1:16:39 AM | 81

What you are most likely witnessing is the super concentration of MSM power into the hands of but a few... 4 or 5 entities max. You can witness this in the almost uniform fashion Trump is being resisted... which in itself is fine, in the U.S. Republic the Fourth Estate is afforded special freedoms to be able to push back against a governing tyranny.

But, ask yourself where were these contrary voices in the mainstream while Obama and his unruly DOJ was locking up whistleblowers, silencing journalists and generally encouraging a climate of fear against open reporting.

It's great that Trump is getting pushback, its a balancing check on power that is meant to be there. However, with a broader view, Trump is exposing super concentrated power that expected a Hillary win and is still in the pocket of the establishment.

And so, yes, inside this paradigm Putin is a killer and the reason for all ills in western society by default... there is simply no other contrasting voice. All MSM is in the pocket.

Ironic that it took a loud mouth, commercial bankruptcy guru born of the entertainment machine to expose this. Long live the blogosphere and net neutrality.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 7 2017 3:09 utc | 101

@101 mm2

it is not unlike the phenomenon described by did @69 Russia, Ukraine - Neocon Ceasefire Sabotage Fails To Change Trump's Mind.

the empire, the imperial regime, piggy-backs on top of real political dissatisfaction and unrest fostering, funding, encouraging, providing 'leadership' ... waiting for the chance to escalate, and then directing the anger elicited by the state response to the escalation at its chosen target in romania, at the trump regime and order, if not law, in the usa ... romania, berkeley, same thing.

it is startling to some americans to see the american media in full-court press, furthering the regime's ends - not the tee-rump regime's ends, but the imperial, tnc regime behind 'both' sides of the political condominium in the usa. it is not so startling for romanians and other of the cia's habitual victims outside the usa.

the urgency with which they are pursuing strife and disorder in the usa makes me think that things are worse than they're letting on in the rube-goldman machine at the heart of it all.

perhaps if americans, like the stalwart people of donbass, can resist the provocations of koch/soros/et al. in the usa, just as the people of donbass are resisting the provocations of the usa/kiev regime in ukraine, both will collapse of their own dead weight, at a lessor cost to us, the people, in each case than if we answered the provocation.

again, i don't see the un-difference between the trump and the clinton regimes at this point to be what's driving tnc. it's got to be something that 'they know, but we don't", as trump would say, about the urgency of the state of their bubble machine that's got them moving now. maybe i'm wrong. but maybe not.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 7 2017 10:04 utc | 102

@102 jfl
Yeah can't disagree with the Romanian parallel you draw.
Or for that matter the hijacking apparent throughout the Arab Spring.
Or the habitual fuckery in behind any given South American sovereign that's been able to throw off the colonial shackles with any success.

There is a invisible textbook out there being employed quite frequently at the moment.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 7 2017 23:20 utc | 103

back on topic ...

Russia may utilize Iranian airbase to strike insurgents in Syria

“If the leadership of the two countries will consider it necessary to use the Iranian military infrastructure to combat terrorism in Syria or elsewhere, such steps will be taken,” the diplomat [Russian ambassador in the Islamic Republic Levan Dzhagaryan] said.

think the leadership of both countries will consider it necessary to use the iranian military infrastructure to combat us/nato terrorism 'elsewhere' than in syria ... say that ordered by tee-rump against iran itself? could that be the message here?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 8 2017 22:58 utc | 104

mike whitney recounts b's observations four days later ...

Trump Plays Cat and Mouse with Iran

What does it all mean?

It means that coercion and arm-twisting aren’t going to work this time. The agreement is written in a way that make it nearly impossible for the administration to achieve its objectives, which is to return to a bygone era when the US could inflict excruciating economic punishment on Iran without anyone uttering a word of protest. Those days are gone.

But if that’s the case, then why have Trump and his lieutenants stepped up the hectoring, the demonization and the saber rattling? What’s that all about?

That’s where it gets interesting. The Trump team has settled on a strategy of cat and mouse, which means they’re trying to beat Iran by tricking them into making a mistake that will give the US the advantage. In other words, Trump does not want a shooting war with Iran, he simply wants Iran’s leaders to overreact to Washington’s bullying by abandoning JCPOA. That’s the goal. The fact that the administration can’t unilaterally reject the nukes deal, doesn’t mean that Iran can’t be duped into doing it for them. And, if Iran takes the bait and withdraws from the agreement, then Trump will have the allies on his side for another painful round of economic sanctions. That’s what Trump wants.

So the best thing Iran can do is nothing. They need to continue to stay the course, shrug off the provocations, and keep up their end of the deal. That’s it; just hang tight and stay cool.

... whitney usually credits moa when he borrows b's insights. no mention this time.

he may be right, that there is a method to tee-rumps' madness ... then again it may just be tee-rump's habitual madness. snorting and pawing the ground, in this instance to please his bankruptcy attorney and the rest of his zionist command. he's careful to let his so-called subordinates do it for him. he'll need the bankruptcy lawyers in the future, just as he has in the past, so he's knucling his brow and paying his dues. all politics is local, and they've made him what he is today.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 9 2017 21:16 utc | 105

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