Eric Zuesse, originally posted at The Saker
On June 26th, U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox Business News that, as the Washington Post immediately headlined it, “War with Iran Would Not Involve Ground Troops and Would Not Last Long”. He said: “I’m not talking boots on the ground. … I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.” However, even if his planned surgical missile-strikes against Iran’s non-existent facilities for manufacturing nuclear warheads ‘succeeds’, how is it even possible for anyone to be able to know that none of the blowback from the invasion of Iran by the United States would require placing U.S. boots-on-the-ground in Iran, and that none of the blowback would entail Iranian-and-allied retaliatory missile-strikes against, for example, water-purification facilities in the extremely arid lands of Trump’s friends, Israel and Saudi Arabia — and maybe even against U.S. air bases and other military facilities in the region? Of course, the answer is: There is no way for anyone to know that, and anyone who would trust Trump’s words to the contrary would be taking them on pure faith, just as religious believers believe the Bible, the Quran, or any other allegedly sacred Scripture. Maybe Trump knew that this is so and was merely talking to his base, the people who do still trust him, but a recent event excludes such mere lying, and can be explained only by his being, actually, stupid:
One of the most important and highest quality news-reports to have appeared in the New York Times was by Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman and Thomas Gibbons-Neff on June 21st, and was titled “Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake”. It reported that Trump had called-off the planned June 20th missile-attack against Iran at the last moment because he had asked his advisors how many Iranians would be killed in it and was told that 150 would be, and because he considered that number of Iranian corpses to be too high, and so he called it off. This same day, Trump himself tweeted that those 150 Iranians were the reason why he had called off the invasion. In other words, even according to his own account (which he since has repeated many times), he totally ignored the millions of people that could very possibly be killed from the general conflagration in the Middle East and elsewhere, which would likely result from America’s invasion upon sovereign Iranian territory. It’s stunningly short-sighted, but he is the person who is presenting himself this way. Maybe he’s not even intelligent enough to recognize that he is there confessing himself to be stupid. If he really doesn’t recognize it, then he’s an idiot, because that would be sub-stupid: below merely stupid.
Though Iran has no military assets which could threaten the United States, it does have sufficient military assets to defeat one of America’s two allies who are urging the U.S. to invade Iran: Saudi Arabia. And it also possesses sufficient military assets to wreck another U.S. ally who is urging the U.S. to invade Iran: Israel. Though it does not possess sufficient military assets to defeat Israel, because Israel is nuclear-armed and Iran isn’t, Iranians are fiercely opposed to imperialism and a great many of them would rather die than be conquered — especially if they are being conquered by invaders who aren’t even Muslims. Furthermore, stirring the hatreds that almost all of Israel’s Jews feel toward Muslims, and also the hatreds that almost all of Iran’s Muslims feel toward Israel, would make impossible for any stooge whom either the U.S. or Israel would try to impose upon Iran to rule there; and, consequently, any government that would be imposed by either of them would fail and ultimately become overthrown — and what would follow from that would be vastly worse for the United States than when Iran in 1979 overthrew the U.S.-imposed (in 1953) dictator there.
It is obvious that if Trump hadn’t called-off the attack that all of his advisors except the Obama-appointed General Joseph Dunford were urging upon him, then the Middle East would have become destroyed, and a war between the United States and Russia would likely be resulting.
For Trump to have been concerned only about the 150 Iranians that his military advisors thought would likely be slaughtered in this planned invasion, and for him not to have been concerned at all — and especially — about the likely millions of corpses that would almost certainly have followed from such an attack, is simply amazing stupidity on the part of a nation’s leader. It might not be as stupid as Hillary Clinton’s repeated and constant and never even moderated urgings for a “no-fly zone” to be imposed by the U.S. regime over sovereign Syrian territory, which almost certainly would have resulted quickly in World War III (a U.S.-versus-Russia war) (since Russia wouldn’t accept the U.S. shooting down Russia’s planes over Syria), but it’s close to being as stupid as that.
If America’s political Parties again choose two such incompetents as Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton, as being the final contenders for occupying the most powerful post on this planet, then what chance is there that civilization won’t be destroyed in fairly short order? The only U.S. Presidential candidate who is campaigning upon the theme of “no more regime-change wars” is the Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, and her polling-numbers from registered Democratic Party voters are below 1%; so, anyone who in such a world as this, is willingly bringing new children into the world, has to be either uninformed or else unconcerned about the world in which that child will be living. The likelihood of global catastrophe during the next few years is vastly higher than most people are aware. This issue is virtually ignored in American politics. An uninformed and misinformed electorate is impossible in an authentic democracy, and the future of the world is now dependent upon precisely such an electorate, in the most powerful nation on this planet.
According to the Times report, what finally swayed Trump against invading Iran was “one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson. While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran’s provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president’s best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.”
Though that might have been, for Trump, an even bigger factor to consider than the number of only-Iranian corpses that would result immediately from the attack, it still is not denying that what Trump had asked from his advisors was only for them to estimate the likely number of deaths that would result directly from the proposed invasion. To say that Trump’s main concern is instead his re-election (such as one might infer from that passage) is to say that he’s a psychopath; and, yet, what is even scarier than his being such, is his being so stupid as to have tasked his advisors to consider, as the possible down-sides of the planned attack, only its direct and immediate negative consequences, and not the negative consequences from those negative consequences. Apparently, Trump’s stupidity poses, to the world, an even more enormous threat than his psychopathy does.
This impression is also supported from a different angle: that Trump is so stupid that he allows his staff to control his decisions. This argument was well put in an anonymous blog-post on June 19th titled “How John Bolton Controls The Administration And Donald Trump”. It presents evidence to the effect that Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, stovepipes (filters) the information that gets to Mr. Trump — Trump doesn’t get to see or hear anything that doesn’t fit Bolton’s agendas. That analysis would also explain why Tucker Carlson, who isn’t part of the U.S. Government and certainly has no power to “stovepipe” the information that Trump receives from his advisors, might have been the only way that dissenting information or analysis was able to get through to Trump regarding this issue. Bolton wasn’t able to prevent Trump from talking to Carlson or other people outside the White House. According to that blogpost, not only does Bolton control Trump, but the Secretary of State, the equally neoconservative Mike Pompeo, now controls not only the State Department but the Defense Department. If this is the case, then probably the team of Bolton and Pompeo is what actually will decide U.S. foreign policies and invasions (unless Trump will increasingly rely upon outsiders such as Carlson). The only possible hope for Trump, and for the world, would be if he fires very soon both Bolton and Pompeo, and replaces them with non-neocons. If he doesn’t do that, he’s not only stupid, he’s evil, because he’s virtually inviting such catastrophes as he luckily avoided in the present instance. That seems to be the path he is on: stupidity, psychopathy, and evil.
This is an exceedingly perilous situation, all-around. It is intolerable. If Trump actually did care more about an estimated 150 Iranians who might have been killed from his planned invasion than he cared about the follow-on millions-or-more corpses that could result from it, then he is not merely a psychopath, but an idiot — totally incompetent to serve as the U.S. President.
Consequently, also, one can reasonably assume that when Trump said on June 26th that, after his missile attacks against Iran, there would be no lengthy war between the U.S. and Iran, and no American troops in Iran, he really believed it. And that’s how intolerable the current situation is. We really do have a deluded President. His V.P., Mike Pence, who would replace him if there is to be a forced removal of Trump from office, would be no better.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.