America’s warmongers are no longer trying to sell war. Notably, President Donald J. Trump (R-New York); and his neoconservative foreign policy advisers, are making no effort to market their Iran War to the American public.
Instead, Trump and company are quietly preparing for war behind closed doors, The American Conservative’s Heather Brandon-Smith alleges. Moreover, the only public statements coming from the Trump administration concern the president’s reelection campaign.
For instance, all the publicity about Trump’s refusal to bomb Iran and his admiration for anti-war Fox News host Tucker Carlson. The noxious mix of militaristic bombast, righteous indignation, and World War II nostalgia that characterized the two Bush administrations is missing from Trump’s propaganda.
This marks a dramatic contrast from the run up to the 2003 Iraq War and preparations for the First Gulf War in 1991. Intense propaganda campaigns and public debates preceded those conflicts.
What if they Held a War and Nobody Paid Attention
Today, however, the Trump administration seems to prepare for war in silence. Moreover, most of the US media is ignoring the preparations.
Trump is making no effort to sell the the war to the American people or justify his actions on Iran. Plus, the neoconservatives are going along with him.
This is a frightening development because it shows the warmongers think they no longer need the support or tolerance of the American people. Instead, the neoconservatives believe they have carte blanche to attack other countries, go to war, and flaunt international law.
Such freewheeling behavior reminds me of the worst excesses of the Soviet Union. Remember the USSR’s leaders thought they had a right to invade and occupy their neighbors; export violent revolution around the world, and do almost anything to keep their allies in power. Significantly, the Soviet Union no longer exists.
Classic American Warmongering
Plus, Trump’s failure to market the Iran War is in dramatic contrast to the historical pattern of US warmongering.
Historically, America’s warmongers went to great lengths to convince the public; and themselves, into thinking that their crusades were noble, necessary, and just. For instance, President Woodrow Wilson (D-New Jersey) sold World War I to the American people with a fantasy about a German invasion of Mexico (which American troops were partially occupying).
Meanwhile President George W. Bush (R-Texas) had his imaginary weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Plus, President Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Texas) spread the paranoid belief that the fall of South Vietnam would lead to Soviet Occupation of all of Asia.
Why Isn’t Trump Trying to Market the Iran War?
Today however, there are no such paranoid fantasies in the media or hysterical propaganda campaigns.
Modern warmongers have adopted the tactics of James K. Polk (D-Tennessee) arguably America’s most effective wartime president. To clarify, Polk made no effort to sell the Mexican War to the American people. Instead, Polk deliberately provoked war with Mexico by putting US troops on the Rio Grande.
Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton are employing a similar tactic today. They hope to start the war, then sell it to the American people. An obvious means to this end is to put US forces in the Middle East, and hope Iran; or its surrogates, attack and kills a few Americans.
Why Trump is Not Marketing the Iran War
Strangely, the Polk method has some serious advantages over the Bush/Wilson strategy of trying to sell an unwholesome and unnecessary war as a noble cause. Those advantages include:
1. There is no organized debate that can provide Congressional critics with an opportunity to stop the war.
2. No debate or publicity means no noisy and messy antiwar protests which seriously harm a sitting president.
3. No war marketing campaign means no record of false or exaggerated claims that can come back to haunt the warmongers.
4. Trump and his fans in the media can blame the war on the enemy and not the neoconservatives.
5. It will be easier for Trump to force Iran into signing a face-saving or a humiliating peace.
6. If the war goes badly, Trump can blame Bolton and company for bad advice and fire them.
7. With no noble objectives, Trump can market any outcome of the war as a “victory.”
8. President Trump; being an astute marketer and a good judge of public opinion, has decided the American people will no longer falls for neoconservative war propaganda. Consequently, the Donald refuses to waste time, money, and resources on war marketing.
9. The current dispute with Iran is a bizarre and elaborate campaign strategy. To explain, Trump could be trying to portray himself as a reasonable peacemaker by going to the brink of war and pulling back.
Only history can tell if this cynical strategy will succeed for Trump but it worked for Polk.
The High Cost of American War Mongering
War and oppression displaced 70.8 million people; a record number, worldwide in 2018, The Guardian estimates. Disturbingly, America’s efforts to “make the world safe for democracy” are responsible for a large percentage of those refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees names five countries as the source of two-thirds of the world’s displaced people in 2018. Disgustingly, three countries on the Commissioner’s list; Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia are the scenes of ongoing US military operations.
Military operations by US allies using American weapons do even more harm. Saudi Arabia’a bombing is responsible for two-thirds of the casualties in the Yemeni Civil War, for instance, The Armed Location Event & Data (ALED) project estimates.
Military Factory reports that most of the Royal Saudi Air Force’s aircraft are American, Russian, and European made. Additionally, the ALED estimates the death toll in the Yemeni Civil War is over 90,000.
Is the United Nations the Answer?
The United States needs to change its foreign and military policies dramatically; because American warmongering is now a threat to people all over the world. A sensible paradigm shift in US foreign policy could be a heavy reliance on the United Nations.
A United Nations Peacekeeping patrol composed of ships from several navies could police the Persian Gulf and protect oil tankers from attack, for instance. Moreover, I think UN Peacekeeping could work in countries like Syria, Yemen, and Somalia – if we give it a chance.
America and the world desperately need an effective alternative to neoconservative warmongers and their wars of aggression. Perhaps it is time for other countries like China and India to stand up and offer that alternative. The last thing America, Iran, and the world need is more war.