Seven Steps For Trump To Get U.S. Out Of The Mess Of His Own Creation
By Kambiz Zarrabi
Source: Iranian magazine Palakhmon
This time the Islamic Republic of Iran's Revolutionary
Guards Corps, the IRGC, had no problem admitting, even bragging, about shooting
down the most advanced and the most expensive American pilotless drone out of
the skies. The ten-miles-high drone was hit by an indigenous surface-to-air
missile over what the IRGC insists was Iranian airspace.
The Iranian air defense authorities also claim that an
American military aircraft with 35 men aboard (who knows how they knew that
figure), flying at lower altitudes accompanying the drone could have been
targeted instead of, or along with, the unmanned drone, but was spared to avoid
The American forces stationed in the area stress that
the quarter-billion-dollar state-of-the-art drone was about 35 miles away from
the Iranian shoreline and within the international air corridor when it was hit
by the Iranian missile.
This typical disagreement demonstrates, again, the role
of plausible deniability that was the topic of my
previous article, by
allowing broader flexibilities for both sides in dealing with the latest
The President, clearly taken by surprise, needed more
time to contemplate on how to respond to the news. His immediate comments were
understandably vague: the drone, he said, was just an unmanned aircraft, or that
the decision to shoot it down could have been an unauthorized action by some
rogue element within the IRGC; and finally in response to the persistent media
reporters' questions as to what he was going to do about it, he simply repeated:
You'll find out!
The President was quite wisely leaving his options open
without committing himself to any solid answer, as would any experienced
negotiator or businessman.
A conference was called by the White House to discuss
the issues with the various select committee members of both Houses of Congress,
President's advisors, and the representatives of the military, to determine the
best course of action.
Much to the delight of the Administration hawks, such as
Pompeo, Bolton, etc., the decision was apparently reached to take a measured and
proportionate military action against three Iranian targets, such as the radar
tracking stations and missile launchers, during the early morning hours local
But instead of giving the thumbs-up to start the ball
rolling, the President gives the order to hold back the mission while the
"planes were in the air and the ships were lined up." He explained his reason
for that decision publicly the next morning: Just a few minutes before the
initiation of the attack, he had found out that potential human casualties in
Iran numbered around 150. This is why the President decided to call off the
mission, as the expected human casualties made the mission disproportionate with
the downing of an unmanned piece of equipment. Had any American personnel been
targeted, he said, things would have been different.
When pushed more aggressively by the reporters, the
President simply offered the off-the-cuff and strangely non-sequitur remark that
Iran will never have nuclear weapons!!
A few days later, after acknowledging that an American
military aircraft carrying American personnel had indeed approached Iranian
airspace, but the IRGC had refrained from targeting it, the President graciously
thanked Iran for that wise decision.
There are several important indicators in the aftermath
of the initial hot and hostile rhetoric by both sides that point to a positive
change in the weather over the turbulent Persian Gulf:
- We keep hearing the President and his VP, Pence,
repeat that Iran will not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons!
- We also hear the President repeating the
statement that he does not want a war with Iran.
- We now notice at least some sense of uncertainty
as to whether the two American aircraft had actually trespassed into Iranian
airspace, or whether the downing of the unmanned drone by the IRGC was
officially authorized by the Iranian government.
- We also hear the President stating that a
non-nuclear-armed Iran will find him a good friend of the Iranian nation!
- We hear that the United States has little concern
about the closure of the Hormuz Strait, as it receives less than 10% of the
crude from the Persian Gulf; and that America's concerns are only the safety of
its personnel in the region, as well as the security of its allies.
- The sale of more military equipment to one of
American allies, Saudi Arabia, an enemy of Iran, was stopped by the Republican
dominated US Senate, with staunch hawks like Lindsay Graham actually criticizing
the Saudi regime for its horrible internal and regional behavior! Putting the
Saudi regime on notice would limit or stop its horrendous military massacre of
the starving Yemeni populations, which would lead to a merciful detente between
Yemen's Houthis and the Saudis. That would lower the tension between the
regional competitors, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
- And finally, President Trump's official
reelection campaign has already begun, and he must look as good as possible in
competing against the Democrats.
Is there any reason to believe that some positive
developments or a reconciliatory rapprochement toward Iran might be underway? I
do believe so. Dark storm clouds over the Persian Gulf do have some silver
linings, it seems.
I have been called an incorrigible optimist by many
friends and colleagues, who view my optimism more as wishful thinking than
reasoned logic. I don't mind that at all.
Let's look at those seven points above:
agreement, JCPOA, was designed exactly for that purpose. Trump's decision to pull out
of that agreement, to which the US was also a signatory, was a thoughtless
maneuver partially to undo his predecessor's laborious achievement and partially
to appease the Israeli and the Saudi regimes, again, for purely personal
The fact is that JCPOA agreement, on the surface aimed
at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, had little or nothing to do
with that: The
United Nation's watchdog agency, had confirmed that Iran's scientific research
about the feasibility of developing nuclear energy beyond the limits needed for
peaceful purposes, had been abandoned since 2003. A signatory to the
NPT, Iran had remained open to regular, invasive inspections to ensure its
adherence to the requirements.
The true reason for the world's superpowers, United
States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, plus Germany to open that dialogue
with Iran was to use that excuse to open up economic and diplomatic relations
with Iran, which was being isolated by decades-long sanctions imposed by the
United States under the Republican administrations.
Iran welcomed that approach and had no problem agreeing
to not develop nuclear weapons, since Iran was not in pursuit of that, anyway;
plus by signing that agreement, Iran was looking forward to the lifting of
There is no space here to dig through the developments
that had started the row between Iran and the American government, from the
eight-year-long Iran/Iraq war to George W. Bush referring to Iran as a member of
the axis of evil after the 9/11 episode. But, suffice it to say, no matter where
we look, the footprints of Israel are clearly visible.
- President Trump and most members of the US Congress, as well as the high ranking
military staff at Pentagon, understand that another military engagement in the
Middle East would not serve America's best interests. The exceptions are the
radical hawkish elements within the White House circle and the Congress whose
personal interests, egos, or prejudices trump the interests of the nation they
are supposed to be serving.
- There is some uncertainty as to whether the pilotless drone or the military
aircraft accompanying it had actually entered into the Iranian territorial zone;
or whether the shooting down of the drone was authorized by the Iran's military
high command. This uncertainty leaves the door open for reexamination of the
data in some future date. However, the evidence that the American aircrafts had
trespassed into Iran's airspace is quite overwhelming. Most international
observers and our Western and Japanese allies also believe that!
- Trump said that a none-nuclear Iran would find him a good friend of the Iranian
people. But he did not say a none-nuclear, disarmed, friendly to Israel,
none-meddlesome in the region Iran, would find him a good friend of the Iranian
nation. This, in my opinion, is quite significant. The Iranian President might
have responded by saying that: by lifting of the sanctions against Iran, America
would find Iran as a good friend of the American nation!
The significance of President Trump's dwelling on and
emphasizing the nuclear weapons phrase is exactly the fact that he knows, as did
his predecessor, President Obama, that Iran is not after developing nuclear
weapons, anyway. So, getting that reassurance in some future dialogue will not
be a challenge.
Trump's comments regarding the Strait of Hormuz were music to Iran's ears! This
so, especially as the Iranian IRGC has already vowed to keep the shipping lanes
open and guarantee the safety of navigation through the Persian Gulf.
- Forcing the Saudis to stop the indiscriminate bombing of Yemen will also allow
Iran to refrain from supporting the Houthi rebels who have been fighting the
Saudi-backed regime in Yemen. The end of that proxy war will put an end to what
the international observers have called the greatest ongoing human tragedy.
- Trump, more than all other considerations, is concerned about his personal
image, and now winning the upcoming battle over his reelection. As a ruthless
businessman, he has never had any problem changing his mind, breaking promises,
reneging on his commitments, or violating the accepted norms of behavior and
decorum, whenever his personal interests are concerned. And, for the scenario I
am writing, that is a good thing!
In spite of all the bluster and bold threats, all signs
point to a strategic maneuvering by Trump that could lead to a lessening of the
tensions and a potential rapprochement between the United States and Iran.
President Trump's one and only desire is to win the second term and look good
doing so; but he would definitely miss that target if he takes the nation into
another miscalculated and pointless war of attrition. But to achieve his dream
he must handle the following issues:
rid of John Bolton as
soon as possible; and don't replace this a,,hole neocon with another crazy like
Tom Cotton! Remember; going to war will be a disaster for any chances you might
have in 2020.
- Muzzle the windup robot, Pompeo, and program him to simply repeat your own
statements about Iran without embellishing them with his own stupid
the course, being vague and sounding indecisive, thus giving yourself room to
ad-lib and improvise as the situation requires.
- Impose more harsh sanctions against Iran to show your toughness; but don't
insist on enforcing them seriously, which would backfire when the cornered cat
reacts violently. Remember, you cannot afford going to war!
maintain and improve America's relation with the European and East Asian allies,
allow for some exemptions for them in trading with Iran.
the schoolyard game of dare: Dare the Iranians to come to the table by removing
some of the biting sanctions you have re-imposed on them.
- Remember, Iran is not America's enemy, poses no threat to America, and has no
ambition to develop nuclear weapons, anyway; and, therefore, would have no
problem agreeing to any measure that would guarantee it won't, especially if it
would mean lifting the economic sanctions once and for all.
Any chance you might have for winning, God forbid, bite
my tongue, a second term would thus be maximized. And, you might even be awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize for backing out of a global catastrophe of your own
About the author:
Kambiz Zarrabi has devoted the
last thirty-some years teaching, lecturing and writing about US/Iran relations.
Previous to his retirement, his career included working as
geologist/geophysicist in the oil and minerals exploration industries with
American and Iranian firms and in the private sector. His tenure included
serving at Iran's Ministry of Economy as the Director General of Mines in the
late 60s and early 70s.
He received his college education at the University of California in Los
Angeles, graduating in 1960.
... Payvand News - 06/26/19 ... --