Congress Pushes Iran Regime Change Over Diplomacy Posted on February 18, 2012 by Yves Smith This is a sobering interview on Real News Network with Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell’s chief of staff, on how Congress and Obama are painting themselves in a corner over Iran. More at The Real News Post navigation ← Can Rep. Bachus and His Money-Crazed Congressional Colleagues Be Stopped from Insider Trading? San Francisco Foreclosure Audit Elicits Predictable Responses from Securitization Mess Deniers → Subscribe to Post Comments 60 comments digi_owl February 19, 2012 at 12:28 am I get the impression some entity or group is hell bent on forcing the rapture into existence by setting off WW3 in the middle east. F. Beard February 19, 2012 at 10:48 am If so, then contrary to Scripture: Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light; As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him. Amos 5:18-19 New American Standard Bible (NASB) But yeah, the world seems intent on suicide. Heretic February 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm Formidable Monseiur Beard! You found a very relevant quote concerning those zealous Pharisee hypocrite Christians. burnside February 19, 2012 at 1:30 am Wilkerson may indeed have the correct appraisal on diplomacy with Iran, but it’s hard to find much evidence for it in the interview. A fog of assertion, really. Yves Smith Post authorFebruary 19, 2012 at 3:38 am If you listened carefully, or read the transcript, this is based on what sound like fairly extensive conversations with Congresscritters and their staffers. The fact that he can’t name names would be expected given the context. lambert strether February 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm Yep. If Wilkerson had hair, it would be on fire. That’s my reading FWIW. psychohistorian February 19, 2012 at 2:37 am Just like growth, war has now become a requirement of economics….along with inheritance and accumulated private ownership of property. Is economics ever going to claim its ugly step-parents? ECON February 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm Maybe it is not economics as such but the capitalist economy that requires economic salvation through feeding the military-industrial complex that D. D. Eisenhower noted…and he was at the nexus for sure in seeing the capitalist dilemma. Bakasone February 19, 2012 at 3:10 am War has always been about economics, even “holy” wars. digi_owl February 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm Especially since ww1, were afterwards the tycoons found themselves with so much excess capacity they had to delve into psychology to get people to buy on desire rather than need. Parvaneh Ferhadi February 19, 2012 at 3:22 am Seems to be a correct assessment to me. The U.S. policy is not about an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program at all because that doesn’t exist, it’s a western invention specifically made to further the goal of regime change in Iran. Iran opposes the U.S. and Israeli imperialist and aggressive policies in the region, that is its real crime. MTRdlvr February 19, 2012 at 4:40 am How you ended up with sick monkeys in charge? They are playing with fire and will get their heads burned. Approaching dangerous threshold.. polistra February 19, 2012 at 4:58 am It’s a ratchet, sort of like the more famous Budget Ratchet. Each “party” has its own standard script, and they work together toward the same end. With the budget: Repooflicans can only cut taxes and Democrats can only raise spending. When they work together, we get zero taxes and infinite spending. With wars, there isn’t even a reference to slogans. Just pure partisanship. When a president wearing the R shirt makes war: R congress approves because He’s Our Man; D congress approves (after complaining) because contractors bring lots of pork. When a president wearing the D shirt makes war: D congress approves because He’s Our Man; R congress approves (after complaining) because contractors bring lots of pork. Needless to say, the original purpose of a two-party system is long gone. One party was supposed to be the accelerator, the other was supposed to be the brakes. Negative feedback. Now it’s all acceleration all the time on all subjects. Only total collapse will stop this psychopathic insanity. Soon, Lord, Soon! tom allen February 19, 2012 at 8:57 am Total collapse … or regime change here in the USA (and in Israel as well.) Vote and support the Socialists, or Greens, or Justice, or some other third party. psychohistorian February 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm Agreed! I expect the alternative parties to forward some credible candidates at all levels in this next election. If would be NICE if we could take the country back through what is left of the ballot box instead of ……….other ways. Heron February 19, 2012 at 10:03 am “original purpose of a two-party system”? I’d say this sort of partisanship is the inevitable outcome of a binary politics. The Founders did not create a two-party system; indeed, many fervently opposed what they called “faction” of any kind. That these two parties have made themselves structural to our political system, and met such success at spreading the fallacy that this was the intent of those who drew up the blue-prints for that system as your comment shows, is one of the primary problems in modern US politics from which so many of the other, “smaller” ones (like bank favoritism, expanded police powers, and defective state & local politics) flow. Fiver February 19, 2012 at 5:44 am I was going to post this on Yves’ piece re China/India, because the context it provides bears directly on the evolution of economic developments there. It speaks even more strongly to this piece on Iran and the grotesque fusion of traditional economic/military post-War US strategic planning with more the recent determination to extinguish any threat, no matter how fantastical, to itself or Israel, anywhere it determines there is one. The financial crisis, of necessity, sprang from the political economy of the soil in which it took root. The way the “resolution” of the financial crisis is playing out (and we all know its not exactly spent), must be seen as intimately tied to the nature of the State whose choice in this matter is without doubt the decisive factor. There are NO justifiable grounds for pursuing the course of the last 4 years. Similarly, an unprovoked assault on Iran is a matter of choice. There are NO justifiable grounds to attack. There is also no doubt short term the power is there to “make history for others to read” whichever way it goes. Nothing is more important than avoiding a couple of immense blunders now: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/14-6 Jim Haygood February 19, 2012 at 8:30 am ‘Similarly, an unprovoked assault on Iran is a matter of choice.” One of the favorite memes of those agitating for these ‘wars of choice’ is to label the target of regime change as a modern day Hitler. Saddam is Hitler. Gaddafy is Hitler. Ahmedinejad is Hitler. And so on. But step back from the personalities, and examine policy on a functional basis. What action defined Hitler’s foreign policy? Answer: unprovoked aggression. Rolling into Poland on 1st Sep. 1939, and all that followed. If the U.S. takes a LIHOP (“Let It Happen On Purpose”) stance toward an Israeli attack on Iran, I will label it as “Israel’s blitzkrieg” — inspired by you-know-who. sgt_doom February 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm “Saddam is Hitler..” when he switched over to selling oil in currencies other than the USD (dollar denominated). And now Iran is switching over to a different currency to sell their oil as well, and these Ameritards believe Iran’s oil and radium belong to them! Bush/Cheney fabricated the Iraqi WMD intel, and their guy, Gen. Clapper is now Obama’s DNI (with how many other neocon appointments from Obama??? From Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Schwarzenegger’s state administration? And former consultants on that Cheney-Poindexter Total Awareness Information project also appointed to Obama’s administration — and now the Obama administration is fabricating the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran’s nuke status as well? I predict short-range missiles one day to be heading towards Europe — from a radicalized North Africa, if Iran is attacked! (I read it in Nostradamus, you know?) Fiver February 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm Jim, They’re really pounding those drums. Don’t think we’ve ever faced up to how badly damaged and/or warped the “psychologies” or “minds” of societies of both winners and losers were by the maelstrom of WWII, and how it has in the US/UK/Israel generated a belief system and goals which are absolutely guaranteed to produce intense opposition, conflict, and war. Here’s hoping it fails this time. Fiver February 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm Here’s the second part for anyone interested in a very good piece: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175503/tomgram%3A_noam_chomsky%2C_imperial_hegemony_and_its_discontents/ hermanas February 19, 2012 at 6:16 am Congress has a 10% approval rating. Charles Frith February 19, 2012 at 8:04 am False flag Straits of Hormuz in March? gregorylent February 19, 2012 at 8:11 am i love iran. fabulous country. lovely intelligent creative people. great food, land, light ….. just has a bit of an odd leadership. i love america, fabulous country, lovely intelligent … etc .. just has a bit of an odd leadership. pray for regime change .. everywhere dSquib February 19, 2012 at 9:40 am Obama first put himself into a corner by declaring that Iran having nukes is “unacceptable”, so that by logical extension everything must be an option if it is towards the end of preventing Iran from having nukes. Iran having nukes is more or less acceptable than any other state having nukes. Even before the 2008 election I remember being in a non-political forum discussion about Iran and nukes, and the more overtly belligerent chimed in, but were met with some resistance by those claiming to support “diplomacy”, yet as they went on they started talking about sanctions, even though they hadn’t stopped talking about diplomacy and hadn’t considered themselves to have lost the argument. This is the mentally of a habitually aggressive country and its people. Sanctions are considered part of some diplomatic action kit. Fiver February 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm So true. And as if nobody knew the Clinton sanctions regime against Iraq cost the lives of half a million Iraqi children alone, quite aside from all other forms of collective punishment – which is the entire logic of sanctions, i.e., attempt to force the population to rebel, even if it’s suicidal. Sufferin' Succotash February 19, 2012 at 9:42 am Wilkerson’s scenario is that Israel will launch strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Then the Iranians–correctly assuming that Israel wouldn’t do this without prior US approval–will retaliate against the US in some way. Since many of Iran’s nuclear facilities are now buried deep underground, what the most assured way of taking them out, given that Israel isn’t likely to have more than one shot at it? This isn’t Osirak in 1981, with the target sitting there in plain view. The most assured way of taking them out is to nuke them. Praedor February 19, 2012 at 9:47 am Obama, being the sick, nasty, empty opportunist he is, should be pressing hard NOT to have anything done to Iran before the election. A dustup with Iran will end his re-election chances, end the pathetic and anemic economic “recovery”, light up the Middle East REAL bright and hot, and fire gas and oil prices to the moon. Lunacy. Stupidity. Corrupt. That is the US government, from Exec to Legisative to the Courts. RW Jones February 19, 2012 at 11:54 am It’s always about the regime change. The US should formally rename itself the “United States of Regime Change”. Mel February 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm Indeed. In fact the whole Iranian mess started when the CIA and British Petroleum took down a democratically elected government in Iran and set up a King. brian February 19, 2012 at 10:28 am its all about domestic politics war profiteers and aipac competing for dollars and votes Conscience of a Conservative February 19, 2012 at 11:01 am There are very few regimes that are truly dangerous to world security. Iran is one such regime. RW Jones February 19, 2012 at 11:51 am Is that because of all the countries they’ve attacked recently? scraping_by February 19, 2012 at 11:52 am And Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. Posting’s free. You have information to share? psychohistorian February 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm Excuse me! The regime that is the most dangerous threat to world security is America. Hell, if Fukushima is an example, America’s commercial nuclear industry is way more dangerous than Iran. And then there is our imperialistic military (just for defense, mind you). Yeah, Iran is a threat to the world at somewhere between a factor of 10 and a factor of 100 less than fascist America….probably closer to 100. Hotel Scheveningen February 19, 2012 at 11:37 am One of the encouraging things that happened in the runup to the Iraq war was a bunch of accessions to the Rome Statute. The treaty parties put it in force, establishing the International Criminal Court in time for our worldwide aggression and crimes-of-concern spree. The Bush administration went diplomatically apesht. This time around, you would think that the natural follow-on would be a rush by states parties to adopt the definition of aggression, Article 8 bis. You don’t see much sign of that, though. Only one state has signed up so far. It would only do so much. There would still be a window for carefree war until 2017, and even then, the most that could happen would be a UN referral of charges that the US is forced to veto (that, at least, would help undermine the legitimacy of the US veto as a form of impunity.) But a clear international consensus on US aggression would be very handy. The US government already got busted for an act of aggression against Iran, by the International Court of Justice, which ruled that our naval attack on Iran was not self-defense (yeah, remember what a huge giant news story that was? Me neither.) scraping_by February 19, 2012 at 11:49 am The anti-Iran hysteria is, in many ways, the old Cold war script updated with a new face. Instead of Godless Communists, you have Godmad Muslims. Instead of Soviet expansionism, you have Islamic Fundamentalism. Instead of evil, crazy Russian leadership you have evil, crazy Iranians. In the late 1940’s and early 50’s, Congressional Republicans used the Cold War to regain the popular position they lost being the Business Party in the 20’s and then the No-War Party before WWII (“Business doesn’t want war – there won’t be a war”). The MSM helped by washing out everything but the messages of “Who lost China?” and infiltration hysteria. Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy doing committees, though putting them on TV didn’t work out so well. They laid it on thicker and heavier as they went. Even many who look back at the old propaganda and sneer watch the current propaganda and do the “viewpoint” evasion. It’s currently just the MSM campaign, it hasn’t much traction with the population, but it will keep repeating in the echo chamber. jsmith February 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm It basically comes down to this: If you don’t want war in Iran you have to hope that Assad in Syria crushes the armed insurrection the West is currently funding and arming. The horsesh*t flying about Iran is only outdone by the horsesh*t flowing about Syria. Both what is being done to Syria and Iran are being coordinated by the same entities. Gee, sure was fortuitous that Qaddafi’s regime in oil-rich Libya fell right before the West started escalating the war talk with the major oil-supplier Iran, too, huh? Sure is strange that there are many reports of the Libyan “freedom fighters” showing up in Syria, huh? It’s almost like it was all planned, eh? Too conspiratorial, right? Nearly every leader in the West is a war criminal and should face justice a la Nuremberg. Don’t allow your sons and daughters to become murderers and thieves for the elite. It’s time every American really begins to see just what their country has become. psychohistorian February 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm Rather than take the puppets to Nuremberg, I would rather we take the global inherited rich that control Western style countries. Laugh them out of control of our society an into rooms at the Hague. Killing each other to keep them in control is sick. jsmith February 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm BTW, it looks like Iran is officially cutting oil to Britain and France. http://news.yahoo.com/iran-oil-ministry-exports-cut-britain-france-133232380.html Hmmm, I wonder if there exist other countries who would like to purchase that oil? Nah. mjay February 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm The US no longer has any conventional core businesses. Our main industries are financial engineering, defense technology and the legal industry. Waging war is the only activity which provides upside to all three. Crazy Horse February 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm I’m working out on the treadmaster trying to keep the middle age spread from spreading. Jewish looking man on the adjoining machine is expounding how drones are revolutionizing warfare and will be the key to reducing the military budget, cutting costs to the point that they will soon be common in domestic police work and traffic enforcement. I pointed out that we already have the largest prison population per capita in the world, and if efficiency is the goal, gas ovens would be much more efficient than prison cells. Pissed him off, because he couldn’t see the connection between the goal of efficiency in warfare and efficiency in the penal system—. Guess he was OK with heat seeking missiles to control speeders though. Crazy Horse February 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm If you want to understand where response to dissent in the USA is going, look at the personnel armament deployed to control 300 unarmed and largely peaceful protestors in Oakland, and compare that to how the police were dressed during the Million Man March a few years ago. Then read the recent history of how the Juntas in Argentina and Uruguay (with a little help from the CIA) brought their dissenting populations to their knees. Looks like we might have a home-grown growth industry after all. neo-realist February 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm Health Care and Big Pharma ain’t doing too bad either and would potentially do well in time of war. walter63 February 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm I suspect Obama and the political elite are following through on the PNAC doctrine formulated by the last regime. Syria and Iran were always on our hit list for almost a decade except Bush didn’t have the political capital to pull it off. Obama does. Not only does he have the support of congressional Democrats but also of Republicans. The only way to stop this, is vote out wholesale the current ruling body in D.C. That means both parties. It means not supporting Obama and his ilk and any GOP presidential contender with the exception of Ron Paul. Of course this won’t happen. We’ll go to war again, vote back in the same warmongers that have led us into perdition like good party hacks. Party loyalty over country. Hotel Scheveningen February 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm True, voters have nothing to say about war, or repression, or development, or anything that matters. If we do avoid the scourge of war, to coin a phrase, it will be because the outside world tripped up our war profiteers. And that just might be happening, http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2012/02/china-steps-up-in-syria.html . Fiver February 19, 2012 at 11:46 pm Re language, you can be sure China takes its efforts outside its traditional sphere with the utmost seriousness, and they have a billion+ people to choose from in terms of talent. I’ll bet they have someone who can speak extinct languages in 150 dialects of text-messaging – but they are still in early days in terms of cultivating the soil of global affairs further afield. Russia and China are both engaged in important, but largely symbolic moves geared more for positioning, current and future, than any decisive impact on the outcome in Syria. The veto WAS the move. It is not nothing, as it has clearly slowed the opportunistic effort by US planners, neocons and their more loosely-tethered Likud partners to QUICKLY ratchet the terrible events of the past year into a major civil war capable of determinant regime change, but that’s about as far as they can go. Russia simply does not have the force structure to compel Israel to do anything, let alone the US – nor would Russia or China risk any sort of real confrontation over Syria in any event. Nor Iran for that matter. But it’s clear to both that their own mere existence as large, still somewhat independent Powers makes them the final Enemies of the US, and they will do what they can to buy time and cement ties – not just between each other, but with other important players seeking a multi-polar world. Perversely, the US seems determined to create a bi-polar US/THEM world which eventually drives most of the globe, including Japan and Europe into the “Them” camp. Hugh February 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm I think you are correct. When you look at our kleptocratic imperial elites, they never abandon their agenda. There are temporary setbacks but they just regroup and return to push the same program or one to which a few non-essential details have been added to confuse the rubes. As I have said before, Obama is the practitioner par excellence of these tactics. The healthcare debate went on for over a year and at the end of it, Obama had in hand the same corporate sellout of a deal he had made in the beginning. He has made not one but three attacks on Social Security: the first was a conference put together by Pete Peterson barely a month after Obama took office, and then there were the two Cat Food Commissions: Bowles-Simpson and then the Congressional one. You can see the current reduction in the payroll tax as part of a fourth attempt. If Obama is re-elected he will go after Social Security again. Beyond these, Obama has embraced and expanded virtually every program and policy of the Bush Administration he was originally elected to dismantle and destroy. Iran and how it fits into the neocon agenda is very much part of this. What we need to understand is that nothing, and I mean that in the most profound and absolute of terms, changed from the Bush to the Obama Administration. War with Iran was a prime goal of Cheney, but its costs were still too high for Bush. It remains a prime goal of the neocons who continue to run US foreign policy. They have simply regrouped for another try, and this time they are trying to rationalize it in terms of the lesser of two evils, by talking down its costs and talking we rubes into its necessity. But again American Empire is an elite project and actively harms the interests of the 99%. Kraken February 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm Perfect summation Hugh. SR6719 February 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm I couldn’t have said it better. Wait, who am I kidding, I couldn’t have come close to saying it even half as good. psychohistorian February 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm I can only hope that Occupy will rise to this occasion. The public clearly does not have the stomach for more war. This may be the tipping point issue for the fascists. K Ackermann February 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm Sanctions are just a long way of declaring war. When demands are not met, sanctions have to increase. They do so until you are managing their economy and making the entire population suffer, and then you begin taking away their sovereignty – no fly zones, no seat at the table, etc. What does regime change mean in Iran? Is it the little guy with the long name, or is it the Supreme Leader and his council? The culmination of all this will probably be the aerial bombardment of nuclear sites which Iran will either laugh at, or, in the event of nuclear contamination, be fully justified in viewing Israel as an existential threat against a country that has not, to the best of my knowledge, invaded any country since the mid-seventeen hundreds. I don’t see any scenario where we will end up with boots on the ground, because we will not be welcomed by 80 million fiercely prideful Iranians. But will be sit off their coast and pummel them while the world looks on and understands what a menacing, dangerous nation we have become? wunsacon February 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm “Sanctions” = Making it difficult for civilians to eat = war. And then there are those assassinations and anti-Iran terrorists the intertoobz say we’ve been funding. The US has already started a war against Iran. It’s just not “official”. Eric L. Prentis February 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm The USA is broke. A new war is economic suicide! Brooklin Bridge February 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm Some are saying the administration considers September and October to be the “sweet spots” for war with Iran. Kraken February 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm This Wilkerson guy seems quite reasonable now. Where was this dipshit when his man Colin Powell, (the only person who could have prevented the war against Iraq), was lying through his teeth to the whole world at the UN? You had your chance pal, and you blew it. Go crawl back into your hole. Crazy Horse February 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm If you have the opportunity, watch old news footage of Powell’s testimony at the UN. Pay close attention to his body language— he knows he is lying. I do appreciate Wilkerson’s outspoken analysis of the present charge toward war, but he had to have known the truth when he was Oreo’s right hand man. Jill February 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm Has anyone read Jeff Sharlet’s book, “The Family”? It’s not a conspiracy, he has the documents to prove everything he is writing about. He speaks about many of the world’s “leadership” having an eschatological world view promulgated by what I can only call a cult called, The Family. Here is a link to an older piece about it that Sharlet wrote in Harpers. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2003/03/0079525 “Jesus plus nothing: Undercover among America’s secret theocrats By Jeff Sharlet” I believe there is a crazed religious dimension to world elite actions. Of course they have the whole plunder the earth and it’s creatures down pat, but this is a dimension of their thought that should be further explored. truthseek February 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm Here’s another cogent perspective about the geo-strategic endgame. http://essential-intelligence-network.blogspot.com/2012/02/from-arab-spring-to-cold-war-winter.html Fiver February 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm Not a good piece, eg, the portrayal of both Russian intent and Russian power is absurd. Russia is not about to put anything at risk for Syria. Comments are closed. 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