Remember: the Democrats are the Wall Street party, and the GOP is the Pentagon party. Those are the primary interest groups that control each party, based on their enormous leverage to make things go from good to bad if they don't get what they want, one in a financial way and the other in a security way.
The Pentagon wants to weaken Iran because they are a historically powerful nation in the region, and threaten to upset the existing balance of power, whereby the US supports the jihadist states of the oil-rich Gulf, their terrorist proxies throughout the region, and bringing Israel along as a sidekick (no oil). Once the Iranian Revolution removed themselves from the list of client states of Uncle Sam (under the Shah), the Reagan and Bush administrations targeted them for weakening. That went somewhat dormant under Clinton, but reached another fever pitch under Bush Jr. (they were part of the "Axis of Evil" speech). That fell dormant again under Obama, and has picked up again under Trump's Pentagon-controlled foreign policy.
Recall that Trump himself has always preferred detente with Iran and wants to make deals with them. But between a total political neophyte with minimal political capital, and the institution that controls the armed forces, that view has lost out to the standard neocon BS.
Why were Clinton and Obama relatively less hostile toward Iran, including the major deal that the Obama team led to get them to reduce their nuclear program in exchange for removal of economic sanctions? The Democrats are controlled by Wall Street, who is not interested in playing the geopolitical chess game -- they just want to make shitloads of money from whoever they can, however they can. Iran is a nation of 80 million people, stable compared to other Middle Eastern countries, increasingly prosperous, and sitting on a ton of oil wealth that could be spent on consumption of foreign goods and services.
This early after the sanctions have been lifted, most of the foreign companies doing business in Iran are manufacturers, and not big banks -- but give it time. Here is a review from the WSJ a couple months ago:
After years shunning Iran, Western businesses are bursting through the country's doors -- but U.S. companies are noticeably absent.
Dozens of development projects and deals have been hammered out since Iran's nuclear accord with world powers in 2015 lifted a range of sanctions. Among them, France's Peugeot and Renault SA are building cars. The U.K.'s Vodafone Group PLC is teaming up with an Iranian firm to build up network infrastructure. Major oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell PLC have signed provisional agreements to develop energy resources. And infrastructure giants, including Germany's Siemens AG, have entered into agreements for large projects. ...
Government-approved foreign direct investment shot up to more than $11 billion last year, official figures show, from $1.26 billion in 2015. Pedram Soltani, the vice president of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, said more than 200 foreign business delegations have visited Iran since the nuclear deal took effect.
So far most of the foreign investors are from Europe or China, with the US still too anxious to get deeply involved. Probably because the European governments are not so heavily committed to antagonizing Iran in the geopolitical game, meaning less risk for those investing over there. The American companies must always be worried if the Pentagon party wins the White House and starts targeting them for doing business in the country that the Pentagon most wants to weaken and contain.
American manufacturers may not be able to participate so much, but the Wall Street money men are globalist in outlook, and just want to open up Iran to foreign direct investment already, and the Americans get to join whenever they get to join.
The half-baked view is that Obama sought the Iran deal because he's a Muslim-lover whose main goal was apologizing for past American imperialism. In reality, he was a figurehead whose entire Cabinet was hand-picked by Wall Street, and they just wanted access to a new market. In the half-baked view, Trump is Mr. Muslim Ban hell-bent on undoing the Iran deal -- in reality, his Pentagon overseers just gave hundreds of billions in arms to the custodians of the Two Holiest Cities, and only want to contain Iran for geopolitical reasons.
More and more policies start to make sense when we see the Democrats as the Wall Street party, and the Republicans as the Pentagon party. It also helps us make sense of Trump before he got boarded by the Pentagon, back when he was just a commentator or candidate. He was kind of a Republican but also kind of a Democrat -- wanting to open up Iran for American companies, though presumably with greater deals for manufacturers than banks, and with as much of that investment consisting of finished goods sent over there rather than locally manufactured, to help out American workers.
As long as the Pentagon is aligned with the dissolute and nearly bankrupt jihadist Gulf nations, though, American workers will never get their products sold into large, stable, and relatively prosperous Iran.
It sounds like we should be trying to dislodge the military from the gop, to confine the elites and strivers in the democrats.ReplyDelete
The Pentagon may also be spoiling for a fight with Iran because of the job opportunities. If we ever do manage to invade the country, they will have to bring in all kinds of experts to help rebuild the country. These experts will become modern-day viziers.ReplyDelete
I first realized this when I saw how many Greek scholars are hard-core neocons. The reason is that they have learned so much about ancient Persia, and many speak Persian, so they want to be involved in a reconstruction of Iran.
It's impossible to dislodge the military -- they're the ones with the guns, tanks, planes, and submarines. That's more than enough leverage to maintain their grip on one of the major parties. They will not switch to controlling the Dems b/c of the switching costs to no greater benefit.ReplyDelete
Same reason why Wall Street will not be dislodged from the Dems.
What we need to do is strengthen our leverage relative to theirs -- more collective action where our superior numbers are an advantage. Voting in Trump-friendly Congressmen so we're not so isolated at the top political level, pooling resources to run ads (or other media campaigns) against military expansionism, holding marches or protests, spreading the word on social media, and so on.
Eventually, the military brass will see that it's them vs. the American citizens, and they are not going to wipe us out. The rank-and-file, at any rate, will be on our side, de-fanging the brass.
The other force breaking their power will be the string of failures coming up that will be more and more high-profile, given how all-in we're going against Iran and NK, and therefore against Russia and China.
Between the internal and external pressures, the brass will have no choice but to scale back their expansionist goals, and shift toward using the military for defense, which they currently do not do (MS-13, 9/11, etc.).
We may also have to wait for some generational turnover at the higher levels -- the Boomers have been the most militarist generation since they were teenagers during Vietnam (who always approved the war at higher rates than the older generations). Gen X officers did not grow up believing that "America never loses a war," and are more realistic about our prospects for world domination.
Another fault line to consider is junior officers vs. the brass. The #1 source of military coups is the officer corps not getting paid; the #2 source is when the colonels and the captains start getting on board with the rising new ideology, like socialism or nationalism.Delete
" Gen X officers did not grow up believing that "America never loses a war," and are more realistic about our prospects for world domination."ReplyDelete
Yes, Gen X came of age after the diminution of American wealth in the 80s. That made them more life-style oriented, not as interested in becoming megarich or being "the best".
On the other hand, they could end up being less politically assertive. Observe someone like Paul Ryan who was powerless to stop the Trump uprising(also a lifestyle striver into weightlifting and health food). His Baby Boomer equivalent would have put up a tougher fight.
well, it's important to remember that in january of 2007 trump said the us should bomb iran. and during the campaign he went back and forth over whether he would even accept the iran deal. the fact trump and a good chunk of the foreign policy establishment has accepted the framework laid out under obama is itself huge.ReplyDelete
He didn't mean we should bomb Iran, or else he would have brought that up during the long interview he had on Fox & Friends when Ahmadinejad was visiting New York later that year.ReplyDelete
He didn't mention striking it militarily at all, but making deals, and that they might have a reason for not liking us so much (either referring to the 1950s coup or sanctions or just getting blown off all the time). He says several times that Iran did not attack us on 9/11, nor did Iraq -- that it was Saudi Arabia and other (Gulf) countries.
That's one hell of a defense of Iran for someone who honestly believed in bombing it.
He's never suggested striking Iran on Twitter, or in any medium during the campaign when it would have mattered.
The remark you're talking about was an off-the-cuff reaction to some speech by Bush, saying "Yeah, that part sounds like a good idea" rather than being an idea of his own brought up spontaneously.
Part of Boomer militarism is their hyper-competitiveness, but it's also due to the narrative and mythology they were brought up on, about how "America never loses a war".ReplyDelete
It's ingrained, and resistant to proof to the contrary for 70 years, like trying to teach adults a foreign language.
Lower militarism for X-ers and Millennials is only somewhat about not being such competitive strivers, and more to do with 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan happening while their minds were just forming their impressions about American military power.
Vietnam could have done the same to Boomer minds, but it might have seemed like a fluke loss at the time, compared to all the successes from the battles against the Indians up through WWII (with the Korean War being more of a stalemate than an outright loss).
that's the conclusion i've come to more or less. kind of mind boggling but i guess it is what it is.ReplyDelete
worth noting though that only 47% of republicans support nato going by recent polling (up from 2013, no doubt from partisan baby boomers reacting to events now, but still pretty low). and younger republicans are a lot less negative on russia, lacking those cold war memories. the partisan cleavage here has been present since the early obama years...
There's also the apocalyptic and judgemental style of Boomers, which Strauss/Howe pointed out decades ago and still hasn't diminished.ReplyDelete
Whatever their hobby horse happens to be at the moment, if we don't rise to the occasion and meet their expectations/demands, it means imminent destruction.
If you're convinced that any moment now, we'll be destroyed for our sinful ways, then you open the door to justifying extreme and forceful solutions.
Restraint is almost a foreign concept to Boomers. Who started the obesity epidemic? You've gotta know when to say no. I blame it on the curse of too much privilege and power acquired too fast. Previous generations thanklessly toiled away from a young age and we're taught to respect elders and traditions. They were socialized better, and since they didn't get too much too fast, they valued what they had when they did get it.
Most Boomers grew up in the idealism and comfort of Post-WW2 Western life. They didn't truly get how lucky they were, how so little was asked of them. When you don't understand how exceptional these circumstances were, you won't be that interested in preserving the things that made them possible.
The needs of a given Boomer's ego are massive. If they want something (rationalizing it as something they need), we've got to drop everything and focus our resources on it. Nothing is ever too big, too expensive, or liable to create unintended consequences.
There have been some studies of the link between prosperity and liberal individualism. It seems to me that Boomers are the gen. least interested in corralling people into distinct groups with distinct needs and territories. That's cuz they came of age in a period in which economic security diminished ethnic/national/cultural territoriality.
The liberal Western capitalists fought to claim as much of the world as possible, so as to ward off the spread of communism which was more upfront about seeking to erase distinct nationalities. Two sides of the same non-nationalist coin; after WW2, in which we allied with the Soviets against the fascists of Italy, Germany, and Japan, it was a battle between Western liberal democracy and the more heavy-handed collectivism of the Soviets. "We" won. With memory of communist excesses fading, it's becoming more apparent that turbo capitalist liberal democracy is willing to assume the same aggressive stance towards ethnic nationalism as the Soviets. One world, over which the supreme state and/or the soulless marketplace rules, is the goal. The idea that any Western military is fighting for it's country is absurd. Our elites, and the foreign barbarian invaders they welcome, do not even believe in protecting the distinct national identity of any country anymore.
Twitter and Facebook are wailing about facilitating dissident team-work and communication. Howard Dean says that there ought to be limits to "acceptable speech". The campuses are obviously Marxist training centers that would make Stalin proud.
Basically, what united the capitalists and commies alike during/after WW2 is disdain for isolationism and ethnic segregation. Both are threats to utopian liberal ideas.