Aletho News


Stumbling into Catastrophe

By Daniel McAdams | Ron Paul Institute | February 1, 2020

There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it’s even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.

Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.

President Trump was sold a bill of goods on the assassination of Iran’s revered military leader, Qassim Soleimani, likely by a cabal around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the long-discredited neocon David Wurmser. A former Netanyahu advisor and Iraq war propagandist, Wurmser reportedly sent memos to his mentor, John Bolton, while Bolton was Trump’s National Security Advisor (now, of course, he’s the hero of the #resistance for having turned on his former boss) promising that killing Soleimani would be a cost-free operation that would catalyze the Iranian people against their government and bring about the long-awaited regime change in that country. The murder of Soleimani – the architect of the defeat of ISIS – would “rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the [Iranian] regime depends for stability and survival,” wrote Wurmser.

As is most often the case with neocons, he was dead wrong.

The operation was not cost-free. On the contrary. Assassinating Soleimani on Iraqi soil resulted in the Iraqi parliament – itself the product of our “bringing democracy” to the country – voting to expel US forces even as the vote by the people’s representatives was roundly rejected by the people who brought the people the people’s representatives. In a manner of speaking.

Trump’s move had an effect opposite to the one promised by neocons. It did not bring Iranians out to the street to overthrow their government –  it catalyzed opposition across Iraq’s various political and religious factions to the continued US military presence and further tightened Iraq’s relationship with Iran. And short of what would be a catastrophic war initiated by the US (with little or no support from allies), there is not a thing Trump can do about it.

Iran’s retaliatory attack on two US bases in Iraq was initially sold by President Trump as merely a pin-prick. No harm, no foul, no injuries. This despite the fact that he must have known about US personnel injured in the attack. The reason for the lie was that Trump likely understands how devastating it would be to his presidency to escalate with Iran. So the truth began to trickle out slowly – 11 US military members were injured, but it was just “like a headache.” Now we know that 50 US troops were treated for traumatic brain injury after the attack. This may not be the last of it – but don’t count on the mainstream media to do any reporting.

The Iranian FARS news agency reported at the time of the attack that US personnel had been injured and the response by the US government was to completely take that media outlet off the Internet by order of the US Treasury!

Today the US House voted to cancel the 2002 authorization for war on Iraq and to prohibit the use of funds for war on Iran without Congressional authorization. It is a significant, if largely symbolic, move to rein in the oft-used excuse of the Iraq war authorization for blatantly unrelated actions like the assassination of Soleimani and Obama’s thousands of airstrikes on Syria and Iraq.

President Trump has argued that prohibiting funds for military action against Iran actually makes war more likely, as he would be restricted from the kinds of military-strikes-short-of-war like his attack on Syria after the alleged chemical attack in Douma in 2018 (claims which have recently fallen apart). The logic is faulty and reflects again the danger of believing one’s own propaganda. As we have seen from the Iranian military response to the Soleimani assassination, Trump’s military-strikes-short-of-war are having a ratchet-like effect rather than a pressure-release or deterrent effect.

As the financial and current events analysis site ZeroHedge put it recently:

[S]ince last summer’s “tanker wars”, Trump has painted himself into a corner on Iran, jumping from escalation to escalation (to this latest “point of no return big one” in the form of the ordered Soleimani assassination) — yet all the while hoping to avoid a major direct war. The situation reached a climax where there were “no outs” (Trump was left with two ‘bad options’ of either back down or go to war).

The Iranians have little to lose at this point and America’s European allies are, even if impotent, fed up with the US obsession with Saudi Arabia and Israel as a basis for its Middle East policy.

So why open this essay with a photo of Trump celebrating his dead-on-arrival “Deal of The Century” for Israel and Palestine? Because this is once again a gullible and weak President Trump being led by the nose into the coming Middle East conflagration. Left without even a semblance of US sympathy for their plight, the Palestinians after the roll-out of this “peace” plan will again see that they have no friends outside Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. As Israel continues to flirt with the idea of simply annexing large parts of the West Bank, it is clear that the brakes are off of any Israeli reticence to push for maximum control over Palestinian territory. So what is there to lose?

Trump believes he’s advancing peace in the Middle East, while the excellent Mondoweiss website rightly observes that a main architect of the “peace plan,” Trump’s own son-in-law Jared Kushner, “taunts Palestinians because he wants them to reject his ‘peace plan.’” Rejection of the plan is a green light to a war of annihilation on the Palestinians.

It appears that the center may not hold, that the self-referential echo chamber that passes for Beltway “expert” analysis will again be caught off guard in the consequence-free profession that is neocon foreign policy analysis. “Gosh we didn’t see that coming!” But the next day they are back on the TV stations as great experts.

Clouds gathering…

February 1, 2020 - Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , ,


  1. Excellent analysis…simply head-shakingly, “this should be but is not a nightmare” excellent throughout.


    Comment by roberthstiver | February 1, 2020 | Reply

  2. The title is apt, but it is not stumbling, really: it is being led, like a blindfolded idiot. The title then, should be thus, “Maneuvering the Blinded United States into Catastrophe.”

    Or, “Manipulating the United States into a Catastrophic War for Israel.”

    Then, look at the picture, the people, their action: their agent sits and holds a declaration, for which they are happy, for which they smile and applaud, for he has done a fine performance for them.

    Then, look at any pictures of the Israeli soldiers armed and in action. Look at any of the pictures of Israeli civilians armed and in action. The former are so well armed, protected with vests and knee pads and helmets with visors and uniforms of the first rate, and on and on, so well protected and lethally armed.

    Against children who throw rocks at them. Or people who must flee in the middle of the night lest them be crushed by tanks and artillery and bombs and tractors and bulldozers and soldiers and soldiers and soldiers.

    Look at all the military equipment the soldiers use as move about, to intimidate and subjugate their captives.
    Look at the airplanes the Israelis fly to bomb and mutilate.
    Look at the walled fortress and its towers to shoot from and hide behind.
    Look at what you don’t and won’t see: the submarines Israel has bought from Germany; the spying drones all day and night; the missles shot with guided precision.
    Look at the boundless money Israel extorts from the American taxpayer without his consent.
    Look at how Israel’s emissaries conduct a propaganda war through the entertainment industry of America, endlessly and aggressively damning anything which seeks to better the Palestinians, or those countries in the middle east which have attempted comfort or resort for the Palestinians forced by the most immoral and cruel army/nation of present time.

    Certainly the American politicians who vote endless money to Israel do not see, but that is seen by people with any moral consciousness or sense of justice. One is blind. The other has a moral vision.

    And that’s what this enterprise doesn’t want you to see. In print. In colleges. And on and on. This entity’s ability to bribe, to buy, to intimidate, to persuade, to have the contributions to what it does, leads to an undoing, perhaps not even realized.

    Israel is not an ally to the United States, as well as to the other countries which it has ensnared into defending and endorsing and contributing to its crimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by michael | February 1, 2020 | Reply

    • Thanks — an *admirable* epilog to McAdams. I’d offer only one caveat to your observations and facts: at ” the submarines Israel has bought from Germany…,” I recall from reports a decade or so ago that at least 6 or 10 of -?- submarines in the Ziofleet were GIFTED by Germany to the effing “shi*ty little Zioentity polluting the Middle East.” Reparations, you know….


      Comment by roberthstiver | February 1, 2020 | Reply

      • If the submarines were, in fact, ‘gifted’, then awful. Why would the submarines be a gift? Contrition?

        Don’t know.

        And no need to answer. Israel has the submarines. The submarines are armed with a missile which is capable of being fired at an oil tanker transporting Iranian oil.

        A convenient false flag.

        Enough said?

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by michael | February 1, 2020 | Reply

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