Obama Prefers Mid East Hegemony Over a War of Choice on Iran

John Glaser, September 04, 2012

The news that the Obama administration covertly contacted the Iranian government to confirm that the US would not back an Israeli strike so long as Iran doesn’t attack US assets in the Persian Gulf is at once a dramatic development and utterly predictable. (The White House has denied the reports, which first surfaced in Israeli newspapers, but they’re probably true). On the one hand, it’s extraordinary that a sitting US president would momentarily lapse from the near-constant deference and subservience to the Israeli state. On the other hand, the administration simply reiterated what has clearly been their policy for more than a year.

Beneath all the bluster and war rhetoric from both Tel Aviv an Washington, what is by now established is that Iran presents no imminent threat, that its postures are defensive in nature, and that the nuclear weapons program everybody keeps getting hysterical over doesn’t even exist. Therefore, a military attack is entirely unjustified.

Given this, the grave consequences that a US or Israeli strike would generate aren’t worth it to Washington. Despite Obama’s overture, Iran might still attack US assets in the region – US troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the Navy’s Fifth Fleet in nearby Bahrain, etc. As Iranian-backed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said just yesterday, “If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility.” A declassified war simulation run by the Pentagon earlier this year forecasted such a “strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States” and would immediately get at least 200 Americans killed in Iran’s retaliation, not to mention heavy Iranian and Israeli casualties.

The Obama administration simply ain’t up for that – not when more valuable goods like “stability” and unchallenged control of oil flows from the most geo-strategically important region in the world are at play. As a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report reiterated in June, US interests lie in maintaining as much hegemony as possible in the Gulf, without provoking “popular backlash.” And the Obama administration has certainly considered what an unprovoked US-Israeli attack on Iran would do to the popular framing of the Arab Spring across the Muslim world. Overthrowing domestic regimes might go on the back burner as ousting the Imperial Crusader becomes priority.

This could present a bigger challenge to US hegemony even than an Iran that can deter a US attack.

As his first term has shown, Barack Obama is prone to violence and bloodshed, especially when it’s on the cheap and especially when it’s secret. But Bibi Netanyahu has no regulating feature in his ideological make-up. He is messianic and perfectly willing to disregard other core interests of the state in order to carry out some apocalyptic war. Obama, however, would rather maintain US hegemony, than destroy it with imperial hubris.

None of this is to praise Obama. To calculate that war should be held off because oil and hegemony are more important is to have really lost a piece of your humanity. The immense human costs of war on Iran should cast it out of the rational person’s consideration. Additionally, Obama’s cruel policy of economic warfare on the Iranian people is a policy of collective punishment, starvation, and deprivation that puts tens of thousands of lives at risk.




9 Responses to “Obama Prefers Mid East Hegemony Over a War of Choice on Iran”

  1. I'd like to believe that this is true, but Nasrallah probably has it right (assuming that the quote is accurate, there is quite an industry in manufacturing statements by Nasrallah). If an attack happens, Israel will be doing it with a lot of American supplied equipment. If the attacks go awry, there will be tremendous pressure for the US to intervene on Israel's behalf. Iranian military planning is likely to be based upon the assumption that an Israel attack means that subsequent hostilities between the US and Iran are inescapable and have planned accordingly. So, the Iranians may have planned preemptive attacks upon US facilities to address this. Also, keep in mind that the Saudis have been publicly promoting an attack. If one happens, why wouldn't the Iranians respond with an attack upon Israel's ally in the endeavor, Saudi Arabia? Hard to see how this conflict, once launched, is contained.

  2. Hear hear.

    I hope someone is drawing up plans for a quick tactical strike on certain military installations of America's Best Ally in the Middle East. If the Best Friend decides to stir the pot, I would rather have U.S. SLCMs nuke the Best Friend's nukes than have the Best Friend's nukes used or threatened to be used in case the endgame does not go its way.

  3. Glaser is completely wrong.

    Obama most definitely intends to attack Iran. He simply doesn't want Israel to do it first.

    Whereas Bush and Cheney wanted Israel to attack Iran first – to avoid blaming Bush for THREE failed wars – and Israel wants the US to attack Iran first – to avoid being blamed IN the US for another failed war – we are well past that situation now.

    The military-industrial complex is seeing Afghanistan winding down and they know they're $100 billion a year in windfall profits is going away. They need another war and Iran is perfect. They don't care about the consequences to the US economy since they are supported by the taxpayer directly, not consumers. The oil companies don't care either – an oil price spike means windfall profits. The banks who finance these scum don't care either.

    Obama is owned and operated by the Crown and Pritzker families who have financed his entire political career in Chicago. They are stockholders in military-industrial complex corporations and Israel-Firsters. They control Obama and he will do as he's told.

    They just don't want Israel attacking without notifying the US because that would put US naval assets in the Gulf at risk. They also want to find a way to blame Iran for starting the war – thus Obama will set up a "faux naval blockade" next year. This is a typical sneaky Obama "plan" – finesse the fact that even a "blockade" not directly involving US ships is still an act of war, and then blame Iran when they are forced to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation.

    But before this can occur, they have to degrade Syria and Hizballah's missile arsenals so that Israel can have a "cheap war" without massive economic problems caused by disruption of the Israeli economy and irritation of the Israeli electorate who might turn on Netanyahu as a result.

  4. Unfortunately, I think RichardHack might be onto something here. Divining Obama's intentions can be difficult, but the U.S. economy will no doubt continue to tank in the next few years. Ginning up another war might be just the ticket for this president.

  5. Glaser may be reading too many of those crazy "foreign policy" books written by people with all sorts of 'crazy' ideas…. The only thing Obama "prefers" right now is to get reelected… I'm fairly sure that's about the extent of Obama's 'thinking' concerning this "situation" right now in Obama's mind.

    Obama has either made some 'mistakes', or he wanted Israel to unilaterally initiate the bombing of Iran all along–even if it meant immediately before the 2012 Presidential elections (which I think is less likely of a scenario) . If Obama seriously thought Iran would capitulate to some sort of "credible military threat" in this situation, he, and his advisers, are either stupid and/or on some sort of drugs.

    George W. Bush even refused to supply Israel with "Bunker Busters", yet Obama did so for whatever reason. My guess is that Obama most likely just wanted this entire 'situation' to just "go away"–at least until after November–which was, at best, a wishful delusion which obviously didn't play out…

    Obama has (willingly) relinquished full control (to a significant degree) over this 'situation', and if the Israelis don't strike Iran (soon), it will be due to external factors beyond his control.

  6. [...] outburst is illustrative of Netanyahu’s frustration at seemingly failing in his push to pressure Washington to back it’s preemptive strike on Iran, for a nuclear weapons program [...]

  7. I wonder also whether the U.S. understands the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Israeli interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turkmenistan where it has energy and geopolitical interests and imperial designs, or whether Britain understands the vulnerability of BP's operations, given Britain's economic dependence on BP's own health. Pipelines all over could be destroyed, Saudi Arabia and the GCC could be decimated, Israel could be expelled from Central Asia the Caucasus and Iraq and suffer more than a bloody nose. Is this in their interest or ours? Meanwhile one leader and his defense minister, in the face of opposition from their military and intelligence experts, continue to throw fits unless we plunge into another war. Bibi and Ehud are existential threats to world peace and should be removed from Israeli politics and taken far, far away.

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