US President Donald Trump’s dire warning to Iran has renewed debate within American news media about whether his administration is seeking regime change in Tehran or merely using threats as a psychological weapon.
Embedded in the US public discourse is the arrogant assumption that Washington has the right to pursue regime change against any nation it chooses. For the American ruling class and its media echo chambers, it is tantamount to a “divine right” – an unquestionable mission with which Americans are “blessed.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week talked about how America was doing “God’s work” in reaching out to Iranian people to encourage the overthrow their “mafia regime.”
“To our Iranian American and Iranian friends, tonight I tell you that the Trump administration dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do,” said Pompeo. “And through our labors and God’s providence, that day will come true.”
Ironically, Pompeo referred to Iranian rulers as “hypocritical holy men.” What does that make the Americans who, it’s well documented, have overthrown as many governments around the world as the number of years that have passed since World War II?
The level arrogance and ignorance amongst Americans about their own government’s malfeasance reminds us of the quote from historian William Blum: “Americans are like the children of a mafia boss who do not know how their father makes his living, but then they are shocked when someone throws a firebomb through their living-room window.”
Trump had angrily tweeted to the Iranian leaders, warning them to “never ever threaten” the US, or they would face consequences “few in history have suffered.” Coming from the only nation to have ever used atomic bombs in battle, that is truly odious rhetoric.
Trump’s outburst echoed previous warnings of “fire and fury” aimed at North Korea before he arrived at detente with Kim Jong-un. So, it could be that Trump is playing hardball in negotiations with Iran. Regardless, it’s unacceptable that the US evidently sees itself as possessing an ordained right to openly consider regime change against any nation.
This American contempt for international law is at the root of global tensions and instability. Iran may be in the cross-hairs right now but the same pernicious principle applies to all nations, as deemed by American rulers. Today Iran, yesterday Syria, tomorrow Venezuela, and so on.
Some 65 years ago, in 1953, it was also Iran, when the CIA and Britain’s MI6 overthrew the elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in a bloody coup that ushered in 24 years of brutal dictatorship under the Western-backed Shah. The current Iranian leadership seized power in 1979 in reaction to US interference in Iran’s politics.
The US corporate news media provide a service to the nation’s government by concealing its crimes or making its crimes unnoticeable. The corollary of that is the fact the same media provide a disservice to the American public by not informing them why certain foreign countries find Washington so abominable, expressing the exasperated sentiment with rhetoric like “Death to America!”
For example, following Trump’s threat to Iran of destruction that “few have suffered in history,” CNN’s celebrity journalist Christiane Amanpour this week discussed with a guest on her program the pros and cons of regime change.
At one point, Amanpour asked without a hint of qualm what a “military intervention” by the US in Iran would look like?
Her guest averred that the Trump administration would likely not go for a large-scale military invasion of Iran like the one the George W. Bush administration carried out against Iraq. Instead, it would more likely carry out “limited air strikes on nuclear facilities.”
At no point in the CNN discussion was the legal or moral right for the US to militarily attack Iran even questioned. The discussion was confined to narrow considerations about the efficacy of Trump’s policy in achieving regime change in Tehran.
Just for the record, a policy of regime change is a gross violation of international law and the sovereignty of nations enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
The same sanguine attitude is prevalent among all US corporate news media. There is simply no scruples or discussion about the American “right to regime change.”
The New York Times and Washington Post, like CNN and others, ran articles this week casting doubt on Trump’s “Iran policy.” But the concern was not about the fundamental violation of international law and the potential horrific human consequences. Again, criticism of Trump’s renewed belligerence towards Iran was more concerned about the efficacy of such a policy, not the policy itself.
Another disservice to public information by the US corporate media is the lack of perspective.
Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton has reportedly ramped up the belligerence toward Iran. That was, apparently, after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Washington not to “play with the lion’s tail.”
But what the US media have not done is to sufficiently put in context why the Iranians issued such a warning. It follows a massive effort by the Trump administration to choke off Iran’s economic lifeline of oil exports to the rest of the world.
It also follows US top diplomat Pompeo launching a new American-government media campaign to target the Iranian population with agitation against the Iranian authorities. Reuters reported that the new US media campaign, including Farsi language broadcasts 24/7, is to “erode support for Iran’s leaders.”
This is an influence campaign at the highest level, openly touted by Washington, without a hint of embarrassment over its hypocritical allegations leveled against Moscow for “meddling” in US internal politics.
Washington claims that its “right” to confront Iran is due to Tehran’s “sponsorship of international terrorism.” This is simply American and Israeli bombast, never substantiated beyond caricature or wild assertion. Such allegations by Washington are in reality more befitting of its own criminal conduct in the Middle East where it has created whole armies of terrorist proxies, along with its NATO partners and client regimes in Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The arrogance of America’s political class and its servile news media is staggering.
For the past year and more, Washington has been convulsed by self-righteous claims of “Russia interfering” in its internal affairs. No evidence has ever been produced to lend those claims any credence. But from the way the US political class has reacted hysterically to the mere claims, one would think that Russia committed the worst transgression in modern history.
Meanwhile, with casual, rampant hubris, the American political class openly ponders the pros and cons of pursuing regime change in Iran.
Iran has warned that it will not tolerate American aggression, that it will block all global oil transport through the Persian Gulf. If that happens the repercussions for America’s cheap-oil-addicted economy will be severe. But the misinformed American public will cry foul, claiming that some crazy “regime” just tossed a brick through their living-room window.
America’s divine right to regime change is predicated on a divine right to stupidity, thanks to its effete politicians and media.