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09

Feb

2007

The Bush Regime's 'Bluff & Bluster' on Iran
Friday, 09 February 2007 17:21
by Edward Strong

Is the Political Left a Patsy in Bush's Propaganda War on Iran?

Left-wing websites are full of articles predicting the war against Iran. This is playing into the Bush Regime's hands. Hyping the threat of war was supposed to be the task of the right-wing. Yes, they've done their bit. Particulary, the Zionists in Israel and Washington.

Then along came the Left, only too ready to escalate the threat. Why have we been dupes? Bush has been using 'games theory' with Iran. Playing 'bluff & bluster'. We have backed him by writing jeremiads about the impending catastrophe.

Leftist writers should have ridiculed Bush's bellicose rhetoric, rather than believing it. Unfortunately, we pounce on a 'good' story. Especially, one that portrays Bush as a madman, out of control [see the 'madman theory' of conflict below].

It's only a game of “chicken". By now most of the mainstream media are proclaiming that the US and Iran are locked into an unavoidable collision course, each saying that it will not back down under any circumstances. We are as responsible for that as the zionists and neocons.

The threat of military strikes against Iran doesn't indicate the likelihood of military action but America's desperation. It seems to have exhausted all its cards and can only hope to scare the Iranians into negotiating. [1]

Bush Ups the Ante

Bush and the neocons want war with Iran. Bush is weak, so war would rouse his base. Got it? With disturbing deja vu, the U.S. Congress and media are swallowing the administration's torrent of unproven allegations against Iran precisely the way they lapped up its grotesque lies about Iraq

Is the cornered Bush Regime trying to provoke an air and naval war against Iran as a last desperate, ideologically driven assault against the Muslim world, and divert attention from its Iraq debacle? Or is it the same old bluff and bluster? [2]

Bush Goes to War...Therefore, He Exists

Maybe what is really going on is that the Bush regime finds itself competing with Iran for influence with erstwhile allies in Iraq and losing.

As Washington grows weaker in Iraq, it is concerned that Iran not pick up the pieces and establish hegemony over its smaller neighbor.

The Bush Regime may also be casting about for some issue that will galvanize the American public and give it a pretext to expand its presence in Iraq despite how badly the war has gone. [3]

The Left should Call Bush's Bluff on Iran

Unlike many of my radical left brethren, I am seem to be out of step about the apocalyptic visions that are currently populating the web concerning an imminent invasion of Iran.

No doubt the US have plans for every country on the planet, that is after all, one of the roles of the ‘think tanks’, to do ‘what ifs?’

What if France goes really socialist? What if … But planning various scenarios is one thing, following through is something quite different.

I tend to view the release of documents that reveal the existence of plans to invade Iran as being a quite deliberate ploy on the part of the US ruling class.

On the one hand to put the frighteners on any country that dares oppose US objectives and on the other, they bolster just how ‘serious’ the US/UK are about the alleged threat that Iran poses (or any other country that challenges the US).

The central issue here is the role of propaganda, it's creating a context that enables the USUK, at some point in the future, if the necessity arises, to have an entire 'inventory' of reasons why it's so important to 'take out the mullahs'.

These reasons have to have a complete ideological as well as false historical context in order to have an effect. They have to exploit the deeply-rooted racist ideology that has served the interests of imperialism down the centuries.

It should surely be obvious of the intimate and vitally important relationship between the MSM and imperialism without which such disinformation campaigns, constructed often over several years, would be impossible.

I would say that the timing is not yet right for either an invasion or attack on Iran, a good deal of groundwork and preparation has first to be done, some of which if successful might well remove the need for direct military action.

The 'nuclear threat', Iran's alleged role in Iraq, Islamic extremism, 'our shared values', are all part of a carefully planned lexicon, built up over time that will be rolled out by the MSM as and when the necessity arises. [4]

"The Madman Theory"

Bush is deploying a radical coercive strategy that Nixon had earlier dubbed "the madman theory."

At its core, this strategy consisted in the making of threats of excessive force by a leader who projected an image of being irrational, unpredictable, or uncontrollably angry.

A leader who chose this strategy did not actually have to be certifiably crazy—reckless and ruthless perhaps, but not really mad.

He (or she) simply needed to convince an adversary that he was crazy enough to carry out his threats. As game theorist Thomas C. Schelling says:

"...the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack, and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation.

"These insights have proven to be of great relevance for conflict resolution and efforts to avoid war."

So, if the strategy worked and its practitioner won the game's payoffs, the strategy could be considered "rational" in geopolitical terms. [5]

The 'Dr. Stranglove' Strategy

Tyler Cowen, one of Thomas Schelling’s former students at Harvard University, explained Schelling’s irrational-behavior theory relative to nuclear deterrence this way:

Ever see Dr. Strangelove? Tom developed the idea that deterrence is never fully credible (why retaliate once you are wiped out?).

The best deterrent might involve pre-commitment [e.g., the Doomsday Machine], some element of randomness [e.g., ambiguity about one’s deterrent strategy], or a partly crazy leader [e.g., a madman such as General Ripper]. I recall Tom telling me he was briefly an advisor to Kubrick.

Michael Kinsley, another former student, recalled a classroom lecture of Schelling’s whose lesson Kinsley associated with the purposeful projection of “madness.”

So you’re standing at the edge of a cliff, chained by the ankle to someone else. You’ll be released, and one of you will get a large prize, as soon as the other gives in.

How do you persuade the other guy to give in, when the only method at your disposal—threatening to push him off the cliff—would doom you both? . . .

Answer: You start dancing, closer and closer to the edge. That way, you don’t have to convince him that you would do something totally irrational: plunge him and yourself off the cliff.

You just have to convince him that you are prepared to take a higher risk than he is of accidentally falling off the cliff.

If you can do that, you win. You have done it by using probability to divide a seemingly indivisible threat.

And a smaller threat can be more effective than a bigger one. A threat to drag both of you off the cliff is not credible.

A threat to take a 60 percent chance of that same thing might be credible. . . . Madness can be wickedly rational.

If one of those two folks on the cliff can convince the other that he is just a bit nuts, that makes his threat to drag them both off the cliff much more plausible.

Some defenders of Richard Nixon used to claim that the evidence of insanity that bothered a few Americans was actually a purposeful strategy to enhance the deterrent power of our nuclear arsenal.

[The same could be said of Bush]

Jonathan Schell had made similar remarks in May 2003:

[Schelling argued that] if you visibly arranged to make yourself a little bit out of control, the foe would no longer be able to imagine that you might desist from nuclear war in a last-minute fit of sanity.

They’d think that you might plunge into the abyss in spite of yourself. And so they would fear you, as hoped. . . .

Another solution, also pioneered by Schelling, among others, was the deliberate cultivation of a reputation of irrationality. Schelling called this policy the “rationality of irrationality.”

In this policy, the foe would believe in your self-destructive threats not because it thought you might slip on a banana peel, so to speak, at the brink but because it believed you just might be lunatic enough to go over the edge deliberately.

Richard Nixon was one practitioner of this strategy. . . . He called the strategy the “madman theory.” [6]

Call My Bluff

Bush's answer to defeat in Iraq is to start another war, the target, of course, Iran.

He has two rationales that are working for him, Iran's nuclear program and, as Bush charges quite frequently, Iran's "meddling" in Iraq by helping out fellow Shiites. Meddling? (Look who's calling the kettle black)

The drumbeats have begun. And the mainstream media is picking up the rhythm. The usual prognosticators say the attack will come in April.

America, Beware! Iran is not Iraq. Ahmadinejad is not the patsy the Shah was.

Remember the hostage crisis of 1979 when 66 Americans were held in Iran for three months during the Iranian Islamic Revolution? As the saying goes, "Don't Mess with Texas!" The same can be said of Teheran. [7]

[1] Ed Strong
[2] Eric Margolis
[3] Juan Cole
[4] William Bowles
[5] Jeffrey Kimball
[6] Jeffrey Kimball
[7] Stephen Fleischman
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a guest said:

0
Where's your proof?
There seems to be a small but insistent body of opinion that maintains that this is indeed all a bluff, that the neocons aren't in a position to go to war with Iran, that they wouldn't dare. That they can't for some reason. Yours is the first piece I've come across however that says lefty sites are helping their ploy along by raising fears that they'll push the button.
I disagree with you most strongly. If anything, we're much more in danger if we dismiss out of hand the threats being made here. We can't underestimate the sheer vicious criminality of this bunch. They just don't inhabit the same world we live in. I recognized their gambit when they pulled off 9/11 - at that point they showed that everything from then on was going to be balls to the wall going for the glory all the money on the table.
As for the naval deployment - how long do you think they're going to have them all steaming around in circles? Do you really think this 'surge' stuff is temporary? Knowing their MO, is it possible they're going to pack up, fold the tents, turn around and come home? Do you actually believe they're going to retreat on any of this? Heh heh, sorry boys, all a mistake, we'll just take those Patriot missiles back home now, OK?
No. A massively destructive region wide war is in their best interest and is going to happen probably sooner than later. Fear and war are their ONLY tools.
 
February 10, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Control of Oil
Mr. Strong's analysis is a little naive. The war on Iran has already begun. There is no bluff and bluster. It is simply a matter of tactics.

The US has already attacked two countries in order to control their oil or routes for oil transport. The US will militarily attack Iran if this provides the means to control Iranian oil. If they can effect favorable regime change in Iran without militarily attacking Iran, then they may not need to attack. Indeed, the war has already begun on the financial front. Domestic considerations in the US are irrelevant, as there is no effective domestic opposition in the US.

It is important not to lose sight of the reasons for these wars - global hegemony, particularly with regard to the control of energy resources. To this end the creation of chaos in the ME for the purposes of favorably redrawing borders to ease resource control for global imperialists is a clear goal. There may be other minor goals concerning Israel, but the main goal is resource control. This is US foreign policy, independent of whichever party is in "power".

The problem for the US in attacking Iran militarily is what Iran may be able to do in retaliation. Afghanistan and Iraq were in no position to do anything. Iran's position is somewhat stronger. There is no question of bluff here. The Iranian regime is not going to fall of its own accord tomorrow. The question is how to nudge it out? Will an aerial attack accomplish this goal? Will the financial war already being waged be sufficient? That the Bush administration leans toward military solutions suggests that some form of military attack will be forthcoming to augment the economic attacks.

Bluff, madness - no, cold blooded murder.

This has been done before
 
February 10, 2007
Votes: +0

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