As the United States evacuated non-essential personnel from the U.S. embassy in Iraq, national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that the country would respond with “unrelenting force” if Iran attacked.
In response, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps issued its own announcement, claiming that “we are on the cusp of full-scale confrontation.” Now, President Donald Trump is telling his acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he does not want to go to war with Iran, despite his administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign.
Trump set himself apart during his 2016 presidential campaign by speaking against the Iraq war and by showing the country he wasn’t necessarily eager to go to war in the Middle East. But once he was elected, his promises were tested on several occasions, especially after he bombed a Syrian military base over a chemical weapon attack that was never officially investigated.
With Iran, Trump always talked tough, calling the country the world’s top supporter of terrorism, even though we all know US ally Saudi Arabia is the Middle Eastern country that proudly holds that title. So when his administration announced they would put an end to the Iran deal, many feared the reenactment of sanctions would give Iran plenty of incentives to become hostile toward America.
With the addition of Bolton to his team of advisers, it became clear that Trump was trying to push for a more neoconservative agenda abroad, but now that the tensions are brewing thanks to the sanctions and tough talk coming from Washington, it looks that, perhaps, Trump is hoping to embrace the same kind of strategy that put him and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un face to face, and that later led to the historic handshake between the North Korean communist dictator and South Korean President Moon Jae-In.
While the relationship between the US and North Korea seem now to be cooling off, Trump could be trying to use threats to, perhaps, set up talks with Iran. After all, he did say he was open to renegotiating the Iran deal. Unfortunately, Iran doesn’t seem to be buying into Trump’s strategy, with the country’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, saying Tuesday that “our resoluteness is more unwavering than theirs.” Would it be wiser if he didn’t engage in war tactics, such as sanctions, to try to obtain peace? Better yet, wouldn’t it be great if the US didn’t have the power to destroy an entire nation by threatening private companies and foreign nations that do business with its enemies?
As Mises Institute’s Tho Bishop once wrote, the United States has militarized the financial system, using it to wage war with those who do not toe the line. And so long as the “dollar enjoys its privileged position,” he explained, “the rest of the world is vulnerable to the US leveraging that against them.”
While it’s OK to hope that this show of force will die out and America and Iran will finally begin to talk, it is important to look at what makes the United States so effective in launching wars and calling for the decentralization of the financial system.