Aug. 10, 2019

Another Voice: Dennis Boatwright II: Trump Builds War With Iran To Distract From His Domestic Proble

When former president Bill Clinton began to feel the mounting pressure of two articles of impeachment debated in the House of Representatives in 1998, he launched over nighty tomahawk cruise missiles on Sudan and Afghanistan in August of that year.  In Jan. 1999, upon the eve of his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, he ordered another round of airstrikes. In the following days, his job approval ratings began to climb. 

Thereafter, many foreign policy analysts began to compare Clinton’s decision to attack Sudan with the movie Wag the Dog, wherein the president in that movie decided to fabricate a war with Albania so that the media would focus more of its attention on the war than on him being caught having sex with an underage girl. Later on, U.S. analysts acknowledged, however, the targets in Sudan did not manufacture or store chemical nerve gas as the defense department insisted.

Pres. Donald Trump’s actions show he’s watched that movie, too.

Shortly after being sworn into office, he signed a xenophobic executive order that temporarily banned Iranian citizens from entering the United States. The following year, Trump tore up the historic Iran nuclear deal agreed to by the Obama administration which prevented Iran from achieving nuclear capabilities but in return lifted many economic sanctions. In the last few months, in particular, Trump has stiffened his posture towards Iran, with each new pronouncement making war feel imminent.

Tensions in the U.S.-Iran relations have escalated in the last few months.

Last April the U.S. State Department branded the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist group. In May of this year, the U.S. announced it was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and B-52 bombers to the region along with 1,500 additional troops to send a clear message to Iran. In the last few weeks, for instance,  there has been military skirmishes between the two countries. And to appease anti-Iranian factions in the U.S., Trump announced he would place a total ban on Iran’s export of oil. This measure would prevent Iran from selling oil on international markets, essentially crippling the country that relies heavily on its export of petroleum. 

In June, Iran shot down a U.S. drone it claims flew over its air space. Two weeks later, the U.S downed an Iranian drone it said had flown too close to a U.S. military ship patrolling the Gulf of Hormuz. Since then, these skirmishes have grown into Iranian military ships seizing a British-flagged vessel, accusing it of wandering in its territory. 

The Trump administration is trying hard to create a pretext for war. Trump likes Americans to believe Iran is the aggressor because it wants to establish its dominance in the Persian Gulf region. Hence,  the United States is obliged to protect Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives counted ninety votes for impeachment.  Though there must be at least 235 votes to proceed, this is an improvement of thirty lawmakers. 

This number is expected to surpass well beyond one-hundred when lawmakers return from their summer recess. 

Meanwhile, the call for impeachment is gaining momentum since the last two mass killings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. There is a growing belief that Trump’s own white supremacist rhetoric is inspiring domestic terrorism against people of color.   

Because Trump doesn’t have any bipartisan domestic policies to offer, bombing Iran may be the only measure that can keep him in the White House.