Boys Go to Baghdad. Men Go to Tehran.

By Thomas Neuburger Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

The red arrow shows the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most important shipping lanes (and bottlenecks) in the world. It’s also within Iran’sUN-defined “territorial water” if it wishes to make that claim.

“‘Anyone can go to Baghdad; real men go to Tehran’, an administration official was heard saying shortly after the fall of Baghdad” (source).

This quip was then widely transmuted to the much more macho (and euphonious) “Boys go to Baghdad. Men go to Tehran”:

My first encounter with the phrase came late in 2003 when, newly enrolled in graduate school, I gathered in the department lounge with a group of first-year students for an ad hoc session on foreign policy. With the Bush administration still mobilizing consent for America’s second go-around with Iraq, a very conservative, very well connected classmate shared with us what he was hearing from his friends inside the government. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein was but the first step in a larger project, he said in a whisper, as if to make us accomplices in a tragic conspiracy. Iran would be next. “Boys go to Baghdad,” he intoned, “but men go to Tehran.”

The Trump administration is the latest to ride that train. It’s now the stated policy of the United States to aggressively reduce all Iranian exports “to zero”:

“President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May,” the White House said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.”

Strong words indeed.

Yet it’s one thing to declare a sanctions regime that tries to prevent all Iranian oil from reaching the market; Iran has dealt with sanctions before and survived. It’s another to classify all oil owned by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), an affiliate of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as the property of a terrorist organization, as the U.S. has in effect done — and then declare an international sanctions regime against that oil, with no waivers, sanctions that affect China, India, Turkey, Japan and South Korea.

Those sanctions started May 1. If no one backs down, this path leads to war.

From a good analysis by Scott Ritter of the latest U.S. assault on Iran (emphasis added):

What if Iran Retaliates and Shuts Down the Strait of Hormuz?

Some 18 million barrels of oil transit through every day. The economic impact would be catastrophic.

…There is a major difference between 2018 and today, however. The recent decision by the Trump administration to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC) a terrorist organization has complicated the issue of Iran’s oil sales, and America’s reaction in response.

The IRGC has long been subject to U.S. sanctions. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), determined that National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was an “agent or affiliate” of the IRGC and therefore is subject to sanctions under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (ITRSHRA). Other Iranian oil companies have likewise been linked to the IRGC, including Kermanshah Petrochemical Industries Co., Pardis Petrochemical Co., Parsian Oil & Gas Development Co., and Shiraz Petrochemical Co.

While in 2012 the United States determined that there was insufficient information to link the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) as an affiliate of the IRGC, under the current sanctions regime imposed in 2018 the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and the NITC have been blacklisted in their entirety.

By linking the bulk of Iran’s oil exporting capacity to the IRGC, the United States has opened the door to means other than economic sanctions when it comes to enforcing its “zero” ban on Iranian oil sales. Any Iranian oil in transit would be classified as the property of a terrorist organization, as would any Iranian vessel carrying oil.

Likewise, any vessel from any nation that carried Iranian oil would be classified as providing material support to a terrorist organization, and thereby subject to interdiction, confiscation, and/or destruction. This is the distinction the world is missing when assessing Iran’s current threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. It’s one thing to sanction Iranian entities, including the IRGC—Iran has historically found enough work-arounds to defeat such efforts. It is an altogether different situation if the Unite[d] States opts to physically impede Iran’s ability to ship oil. This would be a red line for Iran, and a trigger for it to shut down all shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

Ritter points out that, so far at least, “U.S. naval and commercial vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz continue to respond to the queries transmitted by the IRGC naval forces responsible for securing Iran’s portion of the strategic waterway—an awkward reality given that the IRGC has been designated a terrorist organization, which means the U.S. Navy freely communicates and coordinates with terrorists.”

But what will happen when the sanctions inevitably fail? As Ritter points out, Iran’s Foreign Minister has bragged that “Iran has a PhD in sanctions busting.” Will the “real men” in the Trump administration — the Pompeos, the Boltons, and Trump himself perhaps — be forced to “do something” or sacrifice their manhoods on the altar of pointless threats?

If the U.S. attempts to deny or restrict traffic through the Strait, Iran could enforce the 1982 United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea that grants all countries the right to declare its “territorial waters” out to a maximum of 12 miles from the coastline, and then close the Strait to all U.S. shipping. Ritter is certain this is their next step if the U.S. tries to “do something” to enforce its failed sanctions.

What then? Do “real men” back down or respond with force? If the U.S. does respond militarily to Iran closing the Strait to U.S. shipping, the U.S. will be the aggressor under international law, and this time few nations that matter will support us.

Stay tuned.

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  1. LawnDart

    Gee, oil at $200+ per barrel and more war… …difficult to see who benefits from that. (/S)

      1. polecat

        If by ecosystem, you mean sudden DNA ‘rearrangement’ via X and Gamma Radiation .. then yes, I would concur …

  2. jackiebass

    I believe the US is already at the point where our traditional allies will no longer blindly follow us. Trump has done too many things that have eroded their trust in the US.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The erosion of trust started way before Trump. The motivation behind Iraq war II, and the results of Libya and Afghanistan, should give pause to any Ally who would join the US in war.

    2. Louis Fyne

      When the Europeans finally stop being DC’s lapdogs, the world will be a safer place. If it takes Trump to do it in an unconventional way (via spite versus the Europeans coming to their own senses), so be it.

      But not holding my breath as the irrationality shifted with the European establishment (aka NATO) have gone full tilt with idea that Putin’s going to storm across Eastern Europe like it’s 1945

      1. Procopius

        Bolton was well known as a lunatic during the Iraq operation. So were Flynn, McMasters, Mattis, and John Kelly. It’s not clear why so many of Trump’s first appointees were bloodthirsty warmongers. Most of their replacements have not been, except for Pompeo. The thing that scares me the most is they seem to believe that nuclear weapons are just bigger bombs, not capable of destroying civilization and maybe all life on the Earth.

    3. John Wright

      Trump may unintentionally be a force for good if “traditional allies will no longer blindly follow us”.

      In my view, following USA’s leadership in the past (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, South American adventures, Cuba sanctions) has not been good for much of the world.

      As I’ve suggested before, Trump may be so bad that he is good as the world order, post Trump, may be far better for his actions.

      1. rd

        Afghanistan was a NATO action. I think the primary lesson learned by the NATO allies on this is that the US is easily distracted and so unable to finish a primary task. A second lesson is that the US will quickly forget that allies were involved and not be thankful for them (e.g. Canada had the highest casualty rate of in-country troops but became the brunt of US tariffs as soon as Trump became president). The US was pretty pissed that Canada didn’t support the Iraq invasion, but Canada didn’t see the justification and begged off.

        The US has proved that it is willing to renege on previous treaties, many of which have been quite successful. The Iranian nuclear treaty and the the Soviet intermediate missile treaty are major defaults that I don’t think the allies are pleased with. Britain has historically been a major ally with respect to US foreign relations, but they seem to be pre-occupied with shooting themselves in the feet over Brexit.

        It was pretty clear in 2003 that Iran was the preferred exit route from Iraq, but surprisingly, the Iraqi Sunnis didn’t get the strategy memo and got in the way of implementing that particular brilliant idea.

        That’s ok. The Trump now has chance to invade both Iran and Venezuela. What could go wrong? The past few foreign adventures have gone swimmingly, so the brain trusts behind those should be permitted to continue their stellar work.

        /sarc, in case anybody wondered.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    I suspect Trump thinks that the more he ratchets things up, the more likely it is that the Iranians (and Venezuelans, etc.,) will back down so he won’t have to go to war (or at the very least, he may have been persuaded a war could be contained and localised to air strikes). But he is clearly out of his depth with this. You have the lunatic fringe of the neocons at the controls who actually want war with Iran, pushed by the Saudi’s, UAE and Israel. Too many people in senior positions actually want to press the button.

    I wonder what the gossip is among senior military people about this – Surely there are plenty still in the Pentagon and elsewhere who know enough about history to see this is lunacy and will not want to be dragged into an Iraq x10 for the sake of Saudi princelings and Bolton, especially if they drag them into a jungle war in Venezuela as well. Or have all the level headed ones been driven out by ideologically driven careerists?

    This could also break the western alliance. For all their poodleness behaviour up to now, surely the main European and Asian leaders know the time is coming where they have to refuse to co-operate with anything that will push Iran over the limit. Only the UK will reliably follow Washington over the brink.

    1. Ignacio

      If senior military are key expect military intervention, if only to justify spending.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I’m not sure you’re right about Europe. The ruling elite as a class in Europe are close allies of Washington and feel the Empire benefits them more than it harms them and I don’t think they’ve made up their mind to lean towards China. As for the people, that may be a different matter as major war in the region would mean more refugees but the vast majority of the population in Europe cares mainly for their comfort and is not, as far as I can see, interested in morality. At any rate the current leadership in the Blob doesn’t care about whether other countries will follow them.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its not a case of siding with China – I agree that the European elites are nowhere near doing this – but it is a case of increasingly not co-operating with the US – we’ve already seen many small scale examples of this where its clear that the EU in particular is trying to insulate itself from US espionage and control and in particular trying to gain independence from the international clearing bank system so it can continue to trade with Iran.

        1. RepubAnon

          I spy with my little eye a Chinese effort to set up a payment schema independent of US banks. If Chinese-flagged vessels are carrying Iranian oil, things could get very interesting…

    3. Procopius

      Surely there are plenty still in the Pentagon and elsewhere who know enough about history to see this is lunacy

      Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

    4. Arthur Dent

      Any policeman will tell you that the last call they want to get is to go to a domestic dispute. They know that as soon as they show up, there is a good chance that those adversaries will unite and turn on the cop.

      So far, that has been the nearly universal experience of the US military since the Korean War (fought to a stalemate at the same starting point). showing up in a country bigger than Grenada means that much of the local population will turn on the US military or fight their own wars on their own agendas, so you can’t tell the good guys apart from the bad guys. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc.

      The US keeps believing the fairy tale that the oppressed local population will rise up and cast off their oppressor and strew flowers at the feet of the Americans. Hasn’t happened yet. In general, the US can’t find a popular leader who will not be corrupt and authoritarian causing an new revolt a few years hence. I don’t think Iranians are looking to throw off Khameini in favor of a new Shah. The invaded countries know that the US will generally either abandon them (South Vietnam) or install a corrupt despot (Karzai has not been a raging success in Afghanistan, Iran will still remember the Shah).

  4. allan

    I’m old enough to remember when some commenters claimed that a Trump administration would have
    a noninterventionist foreign policy in general and a balanced U.S. policy in the Middle East in particular.

    1. Louis Fyne

      No one can argue that the opportunity cost with Hillary would be any better. I’d rather not send any American to Ukraine/Venezuela to shoot Russians/locals. Just saying.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed. The Hillary camp has similarly delusional ‘advisers’ and ‘senior functionaries.’ That bunch look to be thinking like it’s the Summer of 1812.
        To rebut ‘allan’ above, I was one of those “poor deluded fools” who hoped for some “outside the box” thinking from a Trump Administration. Just as happened with Obama, the quality of ‘advisers’ appointed to top positions within the Administration showed that I was just as wrong as were those who hailed the election of Obama as the ‘Second Coming.’
        This is politics. One can not be too cynical.

    2. workingclasshero

      The number of people who believe trump is some sort of paleo conservative non interventionist is incredible.S stated earlier,the likes of bolton and gang ought to have dispelled that.

    3. Foy

      Yes, one of those was me, I put it up as a possibilty, that he might be less interventionist than previous Presidents, given his words back then on the Middle East that the US should get out of Syria, Iraq etc, and that I thought he might be less of a warmonger than Hillary. I still think he’s less than a warmonger than Hillary might have been so far, she was beating Russia bongo drums which to me was really scary, and had zero qualms with Middle East intervention, see her words and actions on Gaddifi, but that is a hypothetical. But things are not looking good. Appointment of Bolton etc was a bad omen. And I’m not a republican or democrat (or the Australian equivalents where I live, I would be with AOC and her positions if that gives any indication), not exactly sure what I call myself if totally disenfrachised with the major parties. So the observation back then wasn’t from an ideological perspective (hopefully).

  5. everydayjoe

    I read someplace credible that Trump is war averse and his bark is bigger than his bite( unlike Bush). I believe this to be true as he is not a religious fundamentalist like Bush 2.
    That being said , all it takes is a spark for the war of words to escalate into a full blown conflict.
    Iran is probably kicking itself on it’s lack of nuclear capabilities unlike North Korea or Pyongyang.
    There is not stalemate here. Iran will lose to American and Israeli might but one has to wonder if Iran needs nukes as it’s current arsenal can do sufficient damage to Israel . Hopefully calmer heads prevail.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Elements of the Deep State have been trying to get a war going against Iran for some time. In the past couple of decades there have been threats and build-ups and attempts to get it going but key elements within the military have nixed it every time.

      The U.S. military, for all its faults, has been a moderating factor in US foreign policy because its officers understand the nuts and bolts of war and, as important, the aftermath of war. Iraq is a case and point. During the first Gulf War it destroyed Iraq’s military and infrastructure and continued bombing for the next decade to make sure the Iraqi people suffered sufficiently but still the Iraqi government would not be controlled by Washington. Invasion and occupation worked to utterly destroy Iraq, on the surface, as a civil society (and this was deliberate) yet Iraq still survives and is still not controlled by Washington. The same is true of Indochina which the US attempted to control but settled for destruction and still these societies re-emerged.

      At any rate, senior military officers understand that a war with Iran would be a disaster for the US military. Destroying armaments, killing millions, would not bring Iran under control of Washington for more than a year even under a very expensive occupation particularly if Israel got into the action. From a strategic point of view this would do nothing to improve the American economy and would make the Chinese initiatives much more attractive to everyone in the long term.

      1. JBird4049

        The same is true of Indochina which the US attempted to control but settled for destruction and still these societies re-emerged.

        Jobs program? Oil prices? Ego gratification? Who knows?

        Just like every country in Europe, China as well as the Uighurs and the Tibetans under them, French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), The Confederacy (The American South), India, Afghanistan, and so on. Nations and societies are often very good at surviving anything done to it. Even when the government and military are obliterated, and years of occupation follow, people do not quietly acquiesce. Even when successful, it can take decades, even centuries.

        This is something very common, which is why the American establishment’s continuing belief that just bombing the stuffing out of a country and then occupying it for just a few decades will work, especially when it is the corrupt, the cruel, or the incompetent are chosen to be puppet rulers for the invaders.

        So why the continued efforts?

    2. ambrit

      It depends on what Iran defines as “winning.”
      I am fully certain that there are Persian “bitter enders” who would be quite content to ruin the world economy for a decade, even if they do lose the formal conflict. Think the destruction of the water desalination plants on the Eastern shore of the Arabian Peninsula. That and the multi layer mining of not only the Strait of Hormuz, but the Bab-el-Mandeb as well. Add in the sinking of an American aircraft carrier, and you have a phase change in international military thinking on your hands.

      1. JohnnySacks

        Sinking of an entire carrier fleet more like it, militarily Iran is most certainly not Iraq. They actually have weapons just a bit more modern than Korean War vintage, weapons designed specifically to take out our naval fleets, Soviet Moskit cruise missiles – lots of them. Our military has been reluctant for a very good reason. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are goading Iran to fire the first shot, and the world is going to reject our wishes for a USA USA pity party.

          1. MK

            No way would the Navy send a carrier group anywhere near the Straight, or at least anywhere within range of a Moskit from Iran. I’d think more of a B-2 bombing raid – level Tehran in one night.

            1. rd

              Bombing doesn’t win wars. It pisses off a lot of people and make them hate you. The best thing that could happen to an Iranian regime looking to get public opinion on their side would be an air raid on Tehran.

              Massive bombing in WW II still required brutal fighting to take ground. It killed a lot of people in Vietnam but did not stop the inevitable. There is debate about whether or not it was the A-bomb or the Russians invading northern Japanese islands that triggered the Japanese surrender.

              Air support of ground forces to help take specific objectives is effective but dropping lots of bombs based on bad intelligence doesn’t solve much and creates many enemies.

            2. The Rev Kev

              Doesn’t Iran have the Russia S-300 anti-air missile system? That could make life complicated for those bomber crews.

  6. Darius

    People who say things like “Real men go to Tehran,” are over-compensating sissies. Did their mothers make them wear dresses until they were 12?

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Crassus was a real man with skin in the game who went to somewhere in Iran or Parthia as it was then known. Mark Anthony was of the same ilk, but unlike the billionaire consul, he managed to get out alive. Real men might go to Tehran as they did Baghdad, but unlike those who send them, they like the above will have real skin in the game.

      Bolton has according to the NYT deployed a carrier & bomber strike group to the Persian gul

      Of course there is also the consideration of how Russia & China would react & the latter needs Iranian oil.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        ‪Crassus and his son died in Parthia along with thousands of Roman troops. These people don’t die in battle.‬ Think Nassim Nicholas Taleb said it best: “… the interventionistas pay no price for wrecking the lives of millions. Instead they keep appearing on CNN and PBS as ‘experts’ who should guide us in choosing what country to bomb next.”


        This relatively small group has repeatedly urged successive administrations to intervene militarily or economically in foreign countries—Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, etc.—whose governments did not meet abstract standards of political acceptability and that pose no threat to the United States. Each of those interventions, including sanctions, have made conditions worse in the nation being “saved”.

        Instead of paying a price for policy failure, they continue to lead very comfortable lives, continue to be appointed to senior positions in government and think tanks, and to have policy influence.

        ‪IMO Taleb’s suggested solution has merit: Prevent these people from coming back. ‬ Require them to have some “skin the game”. Further, reconsider the policy role of MIC lobbyists. Absent such measures, I fear we are destined to continue to travel a deeply troubling path.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I am in full agreement & a good example of how the Neoconservatives make sure that they have constant influence was during the 2013 election campaign, when Victoria Nuland was at Obama’s side while her husband Robert Kagan had Romney covered.

        2. rd

          They also support tax cuts to decrease the national deficit. Two sides of the same coin.

  7. Winston Smith

    “Boys go to Baghdad. Men go to Tehran”. The inherent stupidity of that statement is glaringly obvious.

  8. Thuto

    How can so few people (Trump, Bolton, Pompeo, MBS, Bibi et al) place so many people (this is an event of worldwide import) at the extreme margin of a precipice of a history defining confrontation? The fallout from this will be catastrophic yet somehow contemplating this horrific end state doesn’t seem to be inspiring the warhawks to dial down the rhetoric and tamper their all-consuming, burning desire for hegemonic dominance with rational foresight.

    1. fajensen

      They need to get on with Project Armageddon, which is the ritual summoning of Jesus to buy themselves a free ride off the planet … before they get so old that they, quite deservedly, will suddenly croak while unforgiven of their many sins, sitting in a puddle of their own pee.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Because they are authoritarians. War is the perfect situation for those who want to control and coerce not for any particular situation but because in a major crisis the world would be run by the most ruthless and violent people and those that are most ruthless and violent would be able to force others to do their bidding and that, for people you mentioned, is their goal in life. Or to put it crudely, power is a rush to these people a goal in itself. Most people are under a mistaken impression that people with a university education and who wear suits are somehow civilized. I know, for a fact and from experience in Washington, that this is not the case–they are as barbaric as the gangsters you’ve seen in Goodfellas.

    3. False Solace

      Trump’s pattern of behavior is to escalate tensions to an almost unbearable level, then relent and take credit for “making peace”. He did this in North Korea, where his efforts merely led to a dismal crash in US credibility, yet he still brags about his international diplomacy to the crowds at his MAGA events. As he will on the campaign trail. In Syria, he promised peace, bombed anyway, told everyone he was pulling out US troops, then quietly reneged. This is the guy who’s handing out “Finish The Wall” signs at rallies. Meanwhile the media is hyperfocused on Barr and Mueller and voters will remain steeped in ignorance.

      Trump, who despite the evidence thus far believes himself to be a master of negotiation, may be trying to run the same playbook with Iran. Ramp up tensions, get “something”, then declare victory and walk away. However, the neocon establishment and local allies are so eager for war that I can’t see any good outcome from this. For anyone.

      1. djrichard

        I agree with you, but I don’t think it’s necessarily dysfunctional. Trump hasn’t got us into any new wars yet, has he?

        That said, I think Trump is cut from the same cloth as FDR, in the vein of “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it”. Trump just needs political cover for a new war. And this is where the real dysfunction begins.

        Because Bolton, Pompeo and the media can get him there. Bolton and Pompeo just need to goad Iran into responding in a way that Bolton, Pompeo and Trump himself can portray as a US red line being crossed. Sure Iran may have done it in response to one of Iran’s red lines being crossed, and sure Iran may well be within its rights jurisdictionally. But who in the media is going to stand up for Iran? Nobody. They’re evil doers after all. Nope, the media is going to do what it’s born and bred to do: support the campaign for war. It really is that simple.

        1. Schmoe

          “Trump hasn’t got us into any new wars yet, has he?” Being a target of a total blockade via sanctions, Iran might beg to differ with that statement. Ditto for Venezeula. Ditto for Syria (we are occupying their fields north of the Euphrates).

      2. ExpatZ

        Funny thing about the North/South Korean meeting: Trump didn’t do anything except be a loud mouthed beligerant.

        It was Kim’s sister at the Olympics who made first contact and brokered the meeting, there are photo’s of her in discussion with the South Korean President and his wife in the stands and they had meetings outside of the event.

        Once South Korea announced officially that it was going to meet with the DPRK Trump hit the press claiming to be responsible for making it happen and trumpetting about how US beligerence was instrumental in making it happen.

        Total tool.

  9. Jesper

    I am afraid that sooner or later a situation like this one will take on a life on its own – > Events to unfold to make war inevitable. The logic of the inevitable being the equivalent of some stupid office-politics where jostling for power, influence and prestige might make people act like real life is some sort of computer-game. The effect of a war would be so little noticeable by the ‘players’ so it might as well be a computer-game the difference for them being that there is no do-overs by using save and re-load to try again.

    Let the one who wants to invade be the first one off the plane/boat to face the bullets of the enemy, anything else would surely be an insult to their courage, integrity and their honour. If their lives are too precious to risk then what are they willing to personally risk?

    1. Punxsutawney

      Not only their skin, but if this is so important they should be funding it as well. So I propose a war tax on wealth to show their dedication to the cause, whether Iran or Venezuela.

  10. rob

    the old line is “the road to damascus leads thru baghdad”….
    This is such an old trope here.
    I still have a copy of Foreign Affairs, where on the back cover is a cartoon that has the leading edge of an invasion in iraq, with the countries in line behind them , syria and iran…. and that issue was from 1998.
    Who really thinks this stuff is new? There has been a steady march in this direction, sometimes televised sometimes not….. since ? which decade? which century? it is all such a blur.
    The american establishment and the british establishment have been sowing these seeds of disaster and war for longer than I have been alive, or my parents for that matter…. and when my grandparents were born, they were already at it..
    It is so funny we are surprised,by what should be known to all as “standard operating procedure”
    I knew a guy who was the assistant ambassador to tehran in 1953, he was the guy who was supposed to stay in the embassy that weekend we overthrew mossadeq, in the coup we orchestrated. His job was to say” we don’t know anything”, meanwhile kim roosevelt was running around in the basement of the embassy running the show, while the american ambassador was conveniently out of town that weekend. All to allow BP (anglo-iranian oil; at the time), to continue ripping off the people of IRAN, which they had done for decades before and after…. We caused the iranian revolution of 1979, in 1953. We stole the prospect of a democratically elected leader, in the name of stopping communism(which was a ruse, and a farce) ;from the oppressed and impoverished people of iran.
    The anti communist furor was all the public needed at the time, too bad the reality is we had people like joe mccarthy, the wisconson senator and ardent anti commie(in spotlight only), looking back at his accomplishment of a couple of years earlier, when we were at war in korea,, of getting a special permit for the Andreas family who controlled ADM, to sell the soviets a special vegetable based lubricant used in the manufacture of airplane engines,(which the soviets at the time were making and using their own pilots in their planes over korea that were killing american servicemen).
    AMerican foreign policy is 100% BS…. and is sold to the public, by propaganda….
    and here we are… venezuela… in motion… and Iran still has oil under the ground…. who will get to “liberate” that poor carbon? that is the question…
    And too many people still think there is a reason we are not privy to, that justifies the actions they know nothing about…. It is bizzarro-world… every day….

    but wait… if only we get to hear what meuller has to say…maybe we can get to the bottom of something…. vomit….wipe… back to live action….maybe the democrats… or the republicans….maybe the federal reserve is really “the us government”… and not some private contractor…. making our money for us….maybe wall street greed is good, and “the market” will show us the truth…..quick… give me more kool-aid…

    1. Procopius

      Yes, I believe 1998 was the year PNAC (Project for a New American Century) was issued. Bolton was a signer of the letter. So was Richard Cheney. The project to remove the Assad family from control of Syria certainly started no later than 2003 and was probably under discussion as early as 1998.

      1. Dan

        The entire strategy goes back to the early 1980’s and earlier. PNAC was an outgrowth of the “Clean Break” (A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm) paper written in 1996 by a cabal of U.S.neoconservatives with intimate ties to Israel (such ties essentially being the definition of a neoconservative). The “Clean Break” paper was a continuation of an earlier strategy that developed in Israel in 1982 known as the Oded Yinon plan, more formally “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” The plan can be summarized simply as:

        1. all the Arab states should be broken down into small units, something which occurs again and again in Israeli strategic thinking

        2. a strong connection with neo-conservative thought in the U.S. is to be established and maintained, the aim being to make an Imperial Israel into a world power.

        1. rob

          the people in power have “plans”, to outsiders they look like “conspiracy”….if it walks like a duck…… as the saying goes….

          except, to call anything a “conspiracy”, trips the public perception “breaker”, which has successfully been installed on the public ,by the central scrutinizer, and means,…. don’t trust your judgement… trust US…. ;” now sit down, shut up… and let us alone with our “plans”…. they are meant to make the world safe for eh,em…. democracy.”.

          1. Dan

            Anything that’s verboten in polite society – politically, historically, or otherwise – instantly attracts my attention. Anything that’s banned, i.e. books or speech that call into question the official historical narrative – are an immediate red flag. Most “dissident” views are much closer to the “truth” than anything sold for public consumption. This is true even in the sciences.

            If I told most people what I believe to be true about the world I would immediately be tarred a crazy alt-right (or lunatic leftist, depending on the day) antisemitic conspiracy theorist. In fact, I’m just a humble guy trying to maintain my sanity and wondering why we can’t all just get along.

  11. The Rev Kev

    An interesting aspect of this article is the map at the top. The Persian Gulf has been know by that name since Alexander the Great was knee high to a grasshopper. It has only been since the 60s that the Arab states have tried to change the name to the Arabian Gulf as Iran is Persian and not Arab so not in their good books. The US Armed Forces has also gone along with this in an attempt to de-legitimize Iran. Needless to say the rest of the world is not having a bar of it. The International Hydrographic Organization calls it the Gulf of Iran which amounts to the same thing while the rest of the world simply calls it the Persian Gulf.
    Perhaps Trump is not worried by oil shipments being closed down through the Gulf as he thinks that the US will not be effected because of the oil the US produces. If the end game is to get Iran to buckle, to go under direction of Washington and to get rid of their defensive missiles as well, it’s not going to happen. Also ‘any vessel from any nation that carried Iranian oil would be classified as providing material support to a terrorist organization, and thereby subject to interdiction, confiscation, and/or destruction.’ is problematical on a whole other level. It is basically saying to the world that if you have any trade with the US, then Washington has the right to decide who you can and can’t have trade relations with. We are seeing this doctrine being applied to other countries like Russia and Venezuela.
    With time getting closer and closer to election season, maybe Trump can make one of his wonderful deals with Iran.

  12. Susan the other`

    The reason CO2 levels rose dramatically as we were proclaiming how we were going to control them is because we, the EU, China and Russia have all been in industrial overdrive preparing for… sea level rise. We are getting better bits of info now, but still not the full monty. Yesterday’s post estimating an inevitable 130 feet was sobering, and that was hopeful. I’m convinced that China has almost a dam a year on its big rivers; there are 6 all down the Mekong. Why? Because they are anticipating the end of glacial water from the Himalayas and are preparing to capture torrential rain. Why else? So it only makes sense that inland oil fields are crucial to maintain the flow of oil. Other operations will be shut down, moved inland, etc. Pipelinestan isn’t turbo capitalist greed – it’s more like survival. It will remain true that whoever controls oil controls the world. Even more so. The Saudis and the Gulf refineries are vulnerable to being shut down or becoming inaccessible. Already Iran is “pumping oil to Iraq.” When I saw that blurb, I thought huh? But in light of global climate change it makes perfectly good sense. Which always makes nonsense out of politics. We don’t get the in depth info because it is a question of pretending to maintain the moral high ground. Not merely high ground. With 130 feet of inevitable coastal swamping, the Persian Gulf will be a marsh anyway. But nobody is gonna tell us that in so many words. It’s scary as hell.

  13. another anon

    One wonders if there has been an increase in the insurance rates that tanker owners have to pay to transit that area. I have heard it said that just the very declaration that the strait of Hormuz is closed will cause rates to sky rocket
    and tankers will avoid it just the same.

    1. j7915

      Anticipate US gov guarantees to shippers and LLoyd’s of London to cover their risk of suddenly having lots of tankers US flagged like during the Iran-Iraq war. Amazing how the patriotic ship owners have so many stars and Stripes in their signal lockers when their asses are at risk

  14. Cal2

    Whenever anyone around me complains about gas prices I reply:

    “The price we pay to sanction Iranian and Venezuelan oil from the market.
    Real patriots will celebrate ten dollars a gallon!”

  15. VietnamVet

    The trouble with psychopaths is that they know no history and they think that they are normal. The oil embargo of Imperial Japan got the USA into WWII. A blockade of the Straits of Hormuz to confiscate Iranian oil will start WWIII. Psychopaths are also incompetent. Recent results of crazy thinking are 737 Maxes that are unsafe to take off or the failure of the Venezuelan Coup. There is no grasp of reality in DC. Senator Amy Klobuchar running for President said that Russia interference in the 2016 election “was an invasion of our democracy”. She must mean the $100,000 Russians spent on Facebook advertising not the $1.5 billion wasted by the Clinton Campaign. There is no stockpiling of tanks for a drive to Tehran. There is no million-man army to invade Iran. The USA is pretty great at destroying cities and occupying the rubble with proxy forces like the Kurds. American proxies in the Middle East to take on Shiites are radical Sunnis. Except, they have be rounded up into concentration camps in Syria and Iraq and packed into Idlib Province in the Northwest Corner of Syria where they are plotting the return of the Caliphate and killing unbelievers. A bombing campaign with no troops won’t work. After losing a carrier group to a swarms of supersonic missiles, the war will quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange.

  16. Ralph Johansen

    I haven’t followed all the preceding comments through yet, but I doubt that my comment has been made, so far.

    If we follow the money, we can see that imperative of opening all avenues to profit above the norm, everywhere on the globe, to ravenous capital as it sloshes around the world, drives the foreign policy of nation-states in command positions in the pecking order, as it drives everything else in a world saturated with capital. That smaller, weaker nation-states maintain national ownership/control of precious resources and do not permit the free flow of transnational capital into, around and through that resource is really all we need to know, isn’t it? It’s not so much the troika of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton that should call for our scrutiny, but the vast financial and extractive transnationals that buy and sell governments and call the shots, up to and including WW3.

  17. mrtmbrnmn

    Thnx for your contribution to this gumbo, Jerri-Lynn. Every time the bat guano – brained Trump speaks about Iran or Venezuela it sounds like he is reciting a hostage tape. Satanyahu & the Saudi Butcher MSOB are wagging the mad dog’s tail over Iran and Venezuela. The demented duo-Pompeo & Bolton-are the bark.. These guys are just nutz. It really is about the oil and the Benjamins, after all.

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