Saturday, January 14, 2012

US, Israeli, Iranian Dance Of Death?

The African World


What are We to Make of The USA, Israeli, Iranian Dance Of Death?


By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Editorial Board BC

January 13, 2012


In watching the USA/Israeli vs. Iranian tensions play

out, I found myself thinking about the similarities

with the British/Argentine war in the early 1980s over

the Falkland/Malvinas Islands.  Talk about a useless,

purposeless war.except for one thing.  The ruling

elites of both countries needed it.


In the early 1980s the Argentine military government

was in trouble and they knew it.  Their regime was

unraveling and they desperately needed a means to hold

things together.  Presto!!  They began a pseudo-

nationalist campaign to regain control over the

desolate Falkland/Malvinas Islands that were occupied

by Britain (since 1833).  Hoping to distract the

Argentine population from the economic crisis that

combined with the savagery of the military

dictatorship, the junta carried out a military

operation that under other circumstances would have

been the basis of a comedy.  Unfortunately the loss of

life that accompanied this war was nothing to laugh at.


Britain, under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, needed

its own distractions.  The Falklands/Malvinas Islands

did not possess any strategic importance to Britain but

a nice little war did hold importance.  A quick, dirty,

little war could, and did, distract the British

population from its own political and economic

difficulties.  It also represented an opportunity for

the citizens of a dying empire to reassert themselves,

much in the way that a bully picks on a weak neighbor

in order to reinforce their own feelings of



There were no good-guys in that war.  It was a war that

should never have happened.


In today's situation the USA, Israel and Iran all need

distractions.  All three countries have been in the

midst of severe economic crises.  Hundreds of thousands

of Israelis have protested economic conditions in an

unprecedented display of antipathy toward the Israeli

political establishment.  Iran has been unsettled ever

since the emergence of the massive opposition "Green

Movement," that followed the questionable elections of

2009.  The political challenges faced by the Iranian

theocracy accompany growing economic challenges which

preceded Western-imposed sanctions (though have been

accelerated by those sanctions).  And, of course, we in

the USA are in the midst of the worst economic crisis

since the Great Depression.


The USA cannot really afford a war with Iran (though

this will not necessarily stop the US from initiating

one), a point demonstrated just this past week with

Obama's announced cuts to the Pentagon, the clear

result of the impact of the aggressive US wars against

Afghanistan and IraqIsrael, which claims an

existential threat from Iran, knows full well that such

a threat does not exist.  The only nuclear power in the

Middle East is Israel, and any threat to Israel from

Iran would be met by a terrible response from both

Israel and the USA.  But carrying out an attack or

encouraging the USA to carry out an attack on Iran

would both distract the Israeli population from

domestic concerns as well as provide a cover for

Israeli military operations closer to home, such as

against Hezbollah in Lebanon or against Hamas in the Gaza.


A war with Iran would be a disaster for everyone.  For

the Iranians, war would be used, much as with the

Argentine junta thirty years ago, to clamp down on

dissent and wrap everyone in the flag of nationalism.

It would be a chance to breathe more life into what

appears to be a dying, reactionary theocratic regime

that has carried out brutal repression for years, all

the while claiming to be an anti-imperialist force.


A war would create greater instability in the Middle

East and more than likely encourage some countries that

currently do not possess nuclear weapons to seek a hurry!


Such a war could very likely lead to an even deeper

global economic crisis if the Straits of Hormuz are

blocked by the Iranians, thereby cutting off about 20%

of the world's oil.  It would also be a war that the

West cannot, literally, afford to conduct.


There are many reasons to believe that a war will not

happen precisely due to the potential catastrophe.

That said, there are elements in all three countries

that wish to militarily settle accounts with someone on

the other side and/or find an opportunity to use

"patriotism"-the last refuge of scoundrels, according

to 18thcentury British author Samuel Johnson-as a means

of suppressing domestic conflicts, particularly the

growing demands for political and economic justice.


Let's not get hood-winked.

______________ Editorial Board member, Bill

Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute

for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of

TransAfricaForum and co-author of Solidarity Divided:

The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward

Social Justice (University of California Press), which

examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA.




1 comment:

John said...

You know, this analysis is so American. The British are responsible for numerous islands all over the world that they would sooner be rid of but they have responsibilities. Tristan da Cunha erupted and Britain evacuated the whole population then returned them when it was safe, Montserrat erupted and the Brits intervened again. St Helena is isolated and has no passing shipping or airport so the Brits are building an airport. The Falklands were invaded by a fascist dictatorship and the Brits threw them out. And so on..

Sadly it is the USA who are stoking the conflict by recognising Argentina's claim to sovereignty. The sovereignty issue in the Falklands is quite clear see Falklands sovereignty. Few Americans realise that it was the USS Lexington deporting the entire settlement of Argentines from East Falkland that led to the British taking sovereignty over the whole island.

The USA supported the Brits back in 1833 when they ensured that US Fishing boats would be safe but are causing mayhem by supporting the Argentines now. Does America really want another Falklands war?

The Baltimore Non violence Centre could help by making representations to Obama to get the Argentines to openly declare that they will only ever use peaceful means to resolve the dispute.