Many Jews, many Israelis, and many supporters of Israel have placed their hopes in President Donald Trump. But can he, should he be trusted? Is he even able to act independently from the power establishment? The ‘Deep State’? The ‘Swamp’ he promised to drain?
What is the likelihood he will reverse the long standing, covert U.S. policy of aiding, promoting, and actively colluding with the Iranian Islamic Junta, and finally check their destabilizing expansion throughout Middle East?
Like the ancient Christian Orthodox communities in the Balkans who are now waking up to the fact that Trump (in league with his arch nemesis George Soros no less!) is energetically continuing the criminal policy of regional destabilization, and Islamization by promoting the creation of a greater Islamic Albania illegally carved out of Montenegro, Serbia, Greece and Macedonia, those who hoped for a meaningful change in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East may be in for a sobering reality check.
‘The Bosnian war was still raging when Sir Alfred Sherman, former advisor to “Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of the Centre for Policy Studies, warned that the Muslims’ objective was “to create a ‘Green Corridor’ from Bosnia through the Sanjak to Kosovo” that would separate Serbia from Montenegro. Western powers are “in effect fostering this Islamistan,” Sherman warned, and developing “close working relations with Iran, whose rulers are keen to establish a European base for their politico-religious activities.” In addition, “Washington is keen on involving its NATO ally Turkey, which has been moving away from Ataturk’s secularist and Western stance back to a more Ottomanist, pan-Muslim orientation, and is actively helping the Muslim forces.”
Can Trump (assuming he wants to) transform US foreign policy in the Middle East? To get a sense for how difficult this might be, we must appreciate how traditional the pro-jihadi policy has been. (It wasn’t just Obama.)
Historical & Investigative Research – 10 February 2017 (last revised 2017/4/7), by Francisco Gil-White http://hirhome.com/TRUMP/TRUMP_02_eng.htm
Plus ça change, plus ça devient le même. (The more it all changes, the more it becomes the same again.)
During the presidential campaign, many believed Trump when he said that he would combat jihadism and defend Israel. I was always skeptical. But how to reason from the evidence? What policies will be diagnostic of Trump’s direction? In a Foreign Affairs piece published before Trump took his oath (Part 1), I wrote that if Trump were to:
1) dry off and block the channels that supply jihadists with weapons;
2) support the Rojava Revolution in Syria; and
3) expose the ties between PLO/Fatah and Iran
we would know that the new administration really means to oppose jihadism and protect the Israeli state.
I believe that Trump is already showing his colors, and that he will do none of these things. But that is for a later article. For the purposes of this piece, let us give Trump the benefit of the doubt and ask ourselves: What is a reasonable prior? In other words, even supposing that Trump really had meant what he promised, what was the probability that he could get it done?
That probability depends on the ideology and structure of the US system. Formally and officially, the president calls the shots. But reality might be different. How to know this reality? We must study the past.
At HIR, to free ourselves from the public apologetics of those who make of this planet a chessboard, we try to find patterns in the history of their behaviors—their public policies—which may allow us to infer intentions and goals (‘ideology’). At the same time, we wish to produce a reasonable model of the institutional articulations (‘structure’) that may explain why certain policies are tenaciously consistent over long periods of time.
In this article—Part 2 of the series—I shall point out the tenacious consistency: a US policy tradition in favor of jihadism.
In Part 3, I explain how what seems ‘pro-Israel’ isn’t always. In particular, I will focus on the Trump-Netanyahu summit, which has been interpreted as a ‘pro-Israeli’ development. (I think it is pro-Iranian.)
In Part 4, I explain how the pro-jihadi and anti-Israel tradition is the product of an institutional engine—a bureaucratic machinery—whose moving parts will seem peculiar to any who thought the US system was democratic.
In Part 5 I examine who makes foreign policy for Trump. By comparing them to top officeholders of past administrations we can discover whether the Trump team really does have a different bias or if it is just one more incarnation of a trans-generational team. With this machinery exposed, we may evaluate the probability that Trump can modify the pro-jihadi tradition (even assuming he wants to).
In Part 6 I address the interesting question: Why all that Mexico-bashing? Is it really necessary? It is, indeed, if the US power elite is to adroitly manage the psychological warfare game they are engaged in. The bullying of Mexico is a symbolic tool that allows the US bosses to push around the world system by using the levers of political grammar. The variegated examples of Trump’s seemingly erratic behavior, I will show, coalesce into a coherent and purposeful plan.
In Part 7 I shall do my best to explain why it makes sense for the US power elite to want to strengthen jihadism. This will require bootstrapping some important history that, unfortunately, is not usually taught in school.
But first things first. I proceed, below, to examine the longstanding pro-jihadi pattern in US foreign policy.
A pro-jihadi tradition?
This argument is perforce a polemic, for US officeholders repeat endlessly to the media that they fight jihadism. My readers are thus placed on notice and advised to scrutinize my claims; I urge them to try and refute me, in fact, for this is what science requires.
Any who wish to refute the claim that the US has had a pro-jihadi tradition will do well to study the case of Iran. Why? Because:
1) ever since Ayatollah Khomeini took power in 1979, the Iranian ayatollahs have pushed an imperial jihadism;
2) in their speeches, these ayatollahs have repeatedly promised, as part of their jihadist program, a great genocide of the Israeli Jews; and
3) US officeholders traditionally and publicly call Iran a dangerous ‘enemy,’ and Israel a close ‘ally’ and ‘friend.’
Thus, if we wish to find a US policy that will not favor the growth of jihadism, we should look for it here. We should look for it, especially, among the policies of those presidents who so loudly railed in their speeches against Iran. For example, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Jr.
President Ronald Reagan always had a double identity. On the one hand, he was a movie star, soon identified with ‘the Gipper’ (a college hero he played on the big screen in 1940), and voted fifth most-popular actor of his young generation. On the other hand, he was always a political creature: from 1947—right when McCarthyism was starting, he was president of the Screen Actor’s Guild and a secret FBI informant tasked with fingering presumed ‘communists’ in Hollywood.
Later, from 1967 to 1975, he would be governor of California.
|A young Ronald Reagan as ‘the Gipper.’|
In 1979 he began competing for the presidency. The media impact of his campaign was so extraordinary that we are still talking about it. That Reagan charisma—amazing. The press and the public fell in love with the ‘Great Communicator.’
As 1979 was ending, as luck would have it, an impressive geopolitical backdrop unfurled for Reagan to stride before and play the role of a lifetime. In Iran, where the Islamic Revolution had just succeeded, followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Teheran punched the air with their fists, cursed ‘Great Satan’ (the US), burned the US flag, and took the entire US embassy hostage. It had all become quite difficult, it seemed, for President Jimmy Carter.
The disembodied voice of the Washington Post roved over this drama on December first: “Reagan Finding It Hard to Restrain Himself on Iran Issue.” Under this heading, the Post assured us that Reagan wished to be cautious so as not to derail Carter’s negotiations in favor of the hostages, but Reagan was so mad at Iran, and so mad at Carter, that he could not contain his anger. It was just too much.
Anxious to “make the Iranian issue a major theme of his political campaign,” and “talking more and more forcefully about [it]” and about “the subject of American retaliation against Iran,” Reagan garnered “the heaviest applause” when accusing that the “Carter administration policies of ‘weakness and vacillation’ ” had been responsible for the hostage fiasco. He looked the part of a macho, “impatient warrior,” and the crowds ate it up: “Another applause line,” wrote the Post, “is Reagan’s declaration that he would make the United States respected once again ‘so that no dictator would dare invade a U.S. embassy and hold our people hostage.’ ”
By similarly accusing Obama for his handling of Iran, and promising to “make America great again,” Trump also got lots of applause on his presidential campaign trail. What can we infer? Let us ask, first, what Reagan did.
The day of his inauguration, Reagan presided over what the New York Times called the “Largest Financial Transfer in History,” a hostage-rescue payment prepared by Carter: 8 billion dollars. And right away, the Iranians used that money to… buy US weapons!
“While president Reagan publicly denounced the Iranians as part of a ‘confederation of terrorist states,’ US officials were secretly arranging the first arms sales to Iran.”
When this became public it was called ‘Irangate’ or the ‘Iran-Contra scandal’ (because the Reagan team, diverting some funds, was at the same time financing, arming, and training the Contras, a Nicaraguan terrorist group).
|‘Irangate,’ or the ‘Iran-Contra scandal’: secret weapons, over several years, to the terrorist Ayatollah Khomeini.|
Caught red-handed, Reagan hotly denied this was a rescue payment for new hostages now taken in Lebanon by Hezbollah, a creature of Iran. Not at all. They had merely tried to moderate (yes, moderate) the ayatollahs with… weapons. The weapons were a… gesture. Reagan must have reasoned (unaccountably) that this sounded less ridiculous than “I made another rescue payment.” But then he thought about it. No, he said, the first thing was a lie. Yes, I made another hostage-rescue payment.
And the truth? It was worse: a congressional investigation, years later, documented that secret arms sales to Iran had begun, rather hurriedly, in 1981, right after Reagan was sworn in—in other words, before the first hostage was taken in Lebanon in 1982.
Did the US power elite simply mean to strengthen the ayatollahs?
The presidency of Bush Sr.—Reagan’s former vice-president and his partner in the Iran-Contra doings—would provide evidence consistent with that hypothesis.
In the first year of Bush Sr.’s administration, a CIA operative, working from the important RAND Corp. think tank, published a study claiming that the only way to ‘solve’ the Arab-Israeli conflict was to force the handover of the militarily strategic territories of Judea and Samaria (‘West Bank’) to PLO/Fatah—which is to say, to the group which had created Ayatollah Khomeini’s Israel-bashing, would-be genocidal regime.[6a] Immediately, Bush got busy forcing the Israelis to negotiate with PLO/Fatah. And he succeeded: from his efforts emerged the ‘Oslo Process,’ which would bring PLO/Fatah—Iran’s ally—into Israeli territory.
George Bush Jr.
Another whose mouth ran away from him against Iran was George Bush Jr. In his 2002 State of the Union address he defended his country’s honor, so injured by that comic-book epithet: ‘Great Satan.’ The comeback? Iran would be included in the ‘Axis of Evil.’ Great drama. But what did Bush Jr. do?
Bush invaded Iraq—Iran’s rival.
The officially given reasons to invade Iraq lie in general disrepute, and to this day the real reasons remain a mystery. Those who would solve this mystery should pay attention to the interesting ‘detail’: to invade Iraq, Bush allied with Iran.
|The US as ‘Great Satan.’ ( Mural outside the former US embassy in Teheran. )|
This was barely reported. But the Financial Times did publish an article about how Iran assisted the US destruction of Iraq. And the International Herald Tribune (which is to say, the New York Times) another on how Washington repaid the favor by bombarding Iranian dissidents—enemies of the ayatollahs—who had their bases in Iraq. US troops then chased the survivors by land.
By 2006, the Guardian had concluded already that Bush’s invasion of Iraq had been a great gift to Iran, for it had turned Iraq almost immediately into Iran’s westernmost province. This has now reached its ultimate conclusion: Iranian officers—with the blessing of US generals—are leading the Iraqi armies. So the entire military infrastructure left by the US in Iraq was in reality for… Iran. ‘Great Satan’ and the ‘Axis of Evil’—a match made in heaven!
As these two examples show, it is perfectly possible for a US leader to denounce loudly the ayatollahs whilst benefiting them with expensive policies (costing billions of dollars).
In their speeches, the presidents have been, now more bellicose, now more complacent (or, in Obama’s case, frankly obsequious), but whoever follows the money will see that, since 1979—for almost 40 years—be they Democrats or Republicans, every single president has implemented policies to benefit the ayatollahs. We document that here:
|HIR documents the US policy tradition in favor of Iran.|
And it ain’t just Iran—the pro-jihadi pattern is quite general.
This history makes it somewhat risky to say, based solely on Donald Trump’s bellicose speeches, that he will execute a genuinely anti-Iranian foreign policy. On the contrary, before venturing any such opinion, it may pay to ask ourselves why such a consistent pro-jihadi pattern, for almost 40 years, has even been possible.
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One hypothesis says that the United States is governed by a power elite organized in the manner of a political cartel, so that, despite the alternation of the two big parties, some important policies never vary. This hypothesis predicts that Trump—even should he want to—will find it impossible to change these policies, because he is not the one holding the reins. We shall consider evidence to evaluate that hypothesis in Part 4.
But before we do, up next (Part 3), I shall insist that recent developments have not contradicted HIR’s model. And for this purpose, what better issue than the recent Trump-Netanyahu summit