2020 Is Not 1979 - Trump May Just Have United All Of America's Enemies In The Region

What Gives?

US President Donald Trump has managed to unite a ginger group of America’s enemies in the Middle East and we will hear from them in the coming weeks and years.

Written By Chitra Subramaniam | Mumbai | Updated On:
Donald Trump

Make no mistake. The United States (US) has launched a war on a sovereign nation and Iran is retaliating. That is something President Donald Trump was not prepared for after Washington assassinated Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani. It is not going to end here. Ships and planes are moving around in the region. Flights have been rerouted. Just ask yourself one question- when was the last time you saw a country take on US aggression?

Trump has just spoken. He has promised to defend American lives. He has threatened Iran with sanctions. Anyone with an inkling of history knows sanctions never work. They drive business underground or find other routes.

The world is not on the brink of a major war. Not every leader is stupid. Today’s wars are fought differently, the grammar for which will be defined by people on the ground. Iran will extract its price. Trump has managed to unite a ginger group of America’s enemies in the Middle East and we will hear from them in the coming weeks and years in good and terrible ways. Soleimani had blood on his hands as do many American Presidents. I know of a few leaders who don’t. His assassination was a mistake.

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America’s political problem with Iran is its geography. A lot of people and leaders are commenting. Many are uninformed or struggling with manufactured motherhood and apple-pie statements before and after Trump’s speech. He is the leader of the world’s strongest democracy. It would be wise to wait and watch what Russia and China do next should Washington continue on its missile spree. The terrible part in all this is that Trump has made every American a target. Why should young adults from America fight a war that neither brings them prosperity nor peace? Will the horror of body bags and coffins draped flags return?

Let us also get a few other facts clear. 2020 is not 1979 when Iranian students held Americans hostage at the US embassy in Tehran. The Berlin wall has fallen since taking with it all the drums, sticks and stones on which Cold War logic was constructed and heaped on an unsuspecting world. The Bretton Woods organizations stand exposed, trade wars have destroyed the last shreds of multilateralism the world was clinging on to and there are over a billion more mouths to feed in a part of the world that has been maintained as consistently poor.

As I write, pundits in Washington and their echo chambers in Anglo Saxon newsrooms are crying hoarse asking if evidence to kill Soleimani was “thin” or “razor-thin,” suggesting they are petrified to hear their own voices lest someone is snooping on them. Go on, say it for your sake– Trump is a liar. Read local press and listen to local radio for other views. Also, remember that foreign policy and national security is party agnostic in superpowers. When it comes to bombing countries neither the Republicans nor the Democrats in America can point fingers at each other, much less the rest of the world. They are all in it for the oil.

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“Iran dominates the Straits of Hormuz, the world’s single most important oil route with over a sixth of the world’s petroleum products are transported and also provide deep access into Central Asia over land and through the huge water body of the Caspian Sea,” tweeted Retired Air Marshal.

This alone has been an eyesore for America ever since Iran’s 1979 revolution. I remember 1979, the roots of which are to be found in the decades-long plundering of the country by the Shah of Iran (read history) and his hundred families that fled when the Shah fell. The rich went to America and Europe and many of the less well off came to Bangalore in south India and integrated with Indians. Some of Europe’s best doctors are Iranian refugees, fleeing both the Shah and Ayatollah Khomeini, who planned his revolution in France.

Link it to the 1972 oil crisis and how a smiling or sulking Saudi Arabia– a continuous culprit that is the cause of random bloodshed even now including Wahhabi Islam- would bankrupt economies. I remember the Gulf War and the mindless bombing of Iraq by Washington of children’s hospitals and aid centres in search of inexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs).

'Death to America' is not a new slogan. It is a terrible one, but it is one that American Presidents generously cultivated. Such was the hatred for the US then that diplomats could be heard saying they wished Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had gone beyond Kuwait to capture Riyadh and sit on some 40 percent of global oil. I remember the seven-year-long Iran-Iraq war where Soleimani emerged as a leader and Washington let him down preferring to back Saddam Hussein because the latter was greedy and pliable in addition to mercilessly killing Kurds. Iran is neither Iraq nor Libya. Neither is it Bosnia.

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2020 is not 1979. There’s been Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria and I’ll skip the rest. Millions of people around the world have aspirations and they are neither rooted in religion nor rebellion, much less vengeance and vitriol. In the preceding lines, I asked if you know of any country that has retaliated against American aggression? NATO will meet later this week for another meeting.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said his country was founded on tolerance and they respect history. Irony died a thousand deaths. We just “celebrated” thanksgiving and gasped at the original inhabitants of the land who now live in reservations without any prospects of a decent life.

Trump's comments are peppered with “we” and “they.” We didn’t start the war, they did is high school bully language. Trump is a bully and he has exposed every American as a possible target. Somebody called him a lusty hater and a poor loser. This all the world needs.

I have seen the best and the worst of America. The people of this great country deserve better than a president who sends them for target practice as cannon fodder while he plays golf.

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