It is a familiar story. When the US is preparing for war with some country that has been designated as an enemy, it follows a pretty standard method. It first applies all manner of non-military pressure using its clout to impose economic sanctions, boycotts, and diplomatic isolation on that nation. Then it creates military pressure by ostentatiously sending its troops into the region (even though it already has military bases pretty much everywhere) and even imposing blockades. And then it waits for the inevitable ‘provocation’, some act by that nation that can be interpreted as a hostile attack that justifies war.
For example, the Trump administration said a year ago that it was withdrawing from the treaty that the Obama administration agreed to with Iran. But when the Iranians recentlyaid that they might scale back their compliance with that treaty, the US treated that statement as a monstrous betrayal that warranted retaliation in the form of further sanctions.
The US also has no compunction in sending its military forces to the very edge of the borders of another country and then complaining that it is the victim of aggression when that country pushes back in any way, just like it calls ‘terrorists’ any person who attacks its troops that are in the country it has invaded. If no incident occurs, it makes up one. Some examples of this strategy (and there are so many more) are the Maine warship that lead to Spanish-American war, the adverse effects of land reform on the United Fruit Company that led to the US overthrowing the elected government of Guatemala in 1954, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident that escalated the Vietnam war.
Betsy Woodruff and Adam Rawnsley write that the current rising tensions concerning Iran are mainly due to the US’s aggressive moves against that nation.
Trump administration hawks have spent the last two weeks decrying an increased threat from Iran. But U.S. intelligence officials assess that Iran’s aggressive moves came in response to the administration’s own actions.
Three U.S. government officials familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast that officials in multiple U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that Iran’s new, threatening activity–which the administration points to in justifying its military presence in the Persian Gulf–is in response to the administration’s aggressive steps over the last two months. The National Security Council, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not provide comment for this story.
In addition, multiple lawmakers on Capitol Hill familiar with American intelligence about Iran told The Daily Beast that Tehran’s aggressive moves—reportedly planning attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq and loading missiles on fishing boats in the Gulf—appear to be in response to Washington’s moves to press the Islamic Republic and its leadership. The Trump administration’s decisions to tighten oil sanctions and to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group were particularly provocative, lawmakers said.
So here we are again. The US has deliberately created a powder keg atmosphere and is now waiting for a spark to ignite the fuse. While Donald Trump keeps saying that he does not want to start a war with Iran, his hawkish advisors John Bolton and Mike Pompeo seem eager to do so.. All it might take for the situation to change Trump’s shallow and ignorant mind is for some incident, however minor, to be portrayed as an attack on the US.