How Trump could avoid another $7 trillion bill in Mideast: Back off war with Iran

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald Trump, having backed the losing (and objectionable) candidate in Alabama’s senate race, suddenly wants to cooperate with Democrats on infrastructure spending.

Trump continues to amaze with his self-contradictory boosterism. Here he posed as someone who minded the expense of war, and who is rolling up his shirt sleeves to collaborate with Democrats so as to pass a bill on spending on infrastructure.

So if he is so concerned about wasted money in the Mideast, here’s what he could do to stop the hemorrhaging of Federal money:

Stop rushing headlong into war with Iran.

Iran is 2.5 times bigger than Iraq with regard to population, and much bigger in its geographical extent.

The Obama administration made peace with Iran. The nuclear deal or JCPOA closed off all four major plausible paths to a nuclear weapon for that country. Iran had to submit to frequent UN inspections.

The Iran deal is what keeps the US from going to war with Iran.

Ever since Trump began running for office he has been trying to find a way to sabotage that deal.

Nikki Haley, for instance. A bully and a liar, she keeps saying that Iran has broken the deal.

It has not.

She says they are working on missiles. Maybe. Missiles aren’t in the deal.

And, if the deal holds, Iran has nothing of significance to put on the missiles.

Haley did a grandstanding news conference about Iran-made missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthis toward Saudi Arabia.

That’s bad.

She said nothing about the intensive daily Saudi bombardment of civilians in Sanaa with US planes and bombs.

That’s worse.

A war with Iran would cost much more than $7 trillion, by the time you counted up the cost of bombs, and airplanes, and tanks and artillery and armored vehicles, but above all of treating all the veterans who will be wounded, it will be many trillions.

Trump says he wants Iran out of Syria from one side of his mouth, then from the other he praises Putin’s role there. Hint: Putin mainly has his Air Force in Syria. Those planes would be worthless in fighting guerrillas without ground troops who can take and hold territory.

Iran oversees the supply of militiamen from Lebanon and Iraq to the Syrian regime.

So you can’t say you’ll let Putin have Syria and also complain about Iran’s role there; they are allies.

Which is it?


Related video added by Juan Cole:

Wochit Politics: “Iran Tells France’s Macron Not to ‘Blindly Follow’ Trump”

24 Responses

  1. It’s a deadly sign to see Israels lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, tripping over himself to praise and defend Trump. Not unlike the Russians, the neocons know they have a “Useful Idiot” sitting in the White….em…Mar a Lago.

  2. Despite the tremendous cost of another unnecessary war in the Middle East for the West, for the region and especially for Iran, there are some ominous signs that the US Administration and a whole army of neocons and think tanks that have intensified their attacks on Iran are intent on provoking a war with Iran. In its latest report, the IAEA and the JCPOA Joint Commission have confirmed that Iran is abiding fully by her commitments link to Nevertheless, Nikki Haley has urged the UN to punish Iran on trumped up charges. link to

    The main problem is to convince President Trump that dialog, finding political solutions, and cooperation with other countries are better than confrontation, unilateralism, issuing idle threats and the use of indiscriminate force. Unfortunately, the sacrifice of American values of democracy, freedom and human rights for the sake of receiving a few billion dollars from some of the most despotic and medieval tyrants in Saudi Arabia (which may prove illusive as Saudi Arabia is broke and MBS’s position is shaky) shows that making money is Trump’s only value.

    I am afraid that Macron may prove to be another Tony Blair in his zeal to please his big brother in Washington. Macron was due to visit Iran before Christmas. He could have used that opportunity to act as a mediator between Iran and America and find solutions to other issues of contention between Iran and the West, but with his hawkish remarks he has undermined that opportunity. Unless there is concerted action by the UN, the EU, Russia and China, and above all by all the peace-loving people in America, another war against Iran cannot be ruled out.

  3. If Trump goes to war with Iran, I’d expect Russia and China to take full advantage of the situation. This would range from selling Iran weapons to either committing their own forces to support Iran – or taking their own actions to seize land elsewhere.

    Remember, the US doesn’t have the ability to fight all-out wars on multiple fronts. All those gold-plated weapons systems need to be replaced once used – and we don’t have the manufacturing capability to replace them as the rate they’d be used up in a peer-opponent war. If the US attacks Iran, the Russians could commit their armed forces to support Iran – or they could attack, say, Estonia or Ukraine.

    Meanwhile, China could finish fortifying the South China Sea – aircraft carriers can sink, but islands with big airstrips cannot. China could then seize, say, Taiwan, threaten Japan, and help North Korea reunify the Korean peninsula by threatening to help them invade South Korea.

    Trump would blame his defeat on sabotage by Obama holdovers (who “stabbed us in the back”) – and use the anger and humiliation the country would face to finish destroying the Constitution.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I see grim times ahead.

    • Several of the outcomes you mention would send the nukes flying. I don’t think France and Poland would tolerate Russian conquest of Ukraine, and that would put Europe on a slightly longer path to nuclear war than the old NATO-Warsaw Pact scenario. Same for Japan and an attempt to force South Korea to surrender.

      However, there’s a very comfortable position for Russia to take if the US invades Iran – exactly what Iran did when the US invaded Iraq. Cooperate up front, undermine in the shadows. Iran’s proxies in Iraq could have wrecked the US as early as April 2004 by sending the SCIR’s militia to ally with the Sadrist uprising and cutting off Baghdad to the south. But Iran was patient, as the US burned thru possible allies until it had to turn the country over to Dawa and the Kurds, all of whom Iran had different arrangements with. Russia can betray its alliance with the current Tehran regime and then let the US occupiers founder trying to find anyone else who has the legitimacy to rule the country intact. The chaos-induced oil price rise will more than pay the costs.

  4. Netanyahu has wanted a war with Iran for a long time as cover for the illegal colonization project, but with someone else doing the actual fighting, dying, and spending – preferably the US and/or Saudi-Arabia.

    With the push from the Israel Lobby and the Saudi Lobby, Trump can get 99 Craven Senators and the vast majority of Congressmen/women to go along with his stupid , costly war. Trump was told that only wartime Presidents are considered great so he needs a war.

  5. I think we need an alternative term for what the US does militarily. War implies us versus them for a tangible goal. In reality it’s us punishing them.

    My guess is that the well developed plan for “war” against Iran starts out with the biggest, longest, bombing campaign in the history of mankind. Somewhat like the opening bombing campaign on Iraq at the start of Desert Storm, but time 100. Nothing left standing that could conceivably represent the government or viable infrastructure in some way. Then send in the Seals. Then send in Saudi Arabia.

  6. Oh, dear, so much to choose from for our dear leader. War with Iran or war with North Korea? Maybe he will pick North Korea instead of war with Iran. Trump is such a horrible disaster, it is not out of the realm of possibility that we could end up in war with both.

  7. Trump is once again engaging in meaningless talk. The foolish adventures in the Middle East which his predecessors have so willingly engaged in will be continued by him. In fact, it will get worse under him, as proven by his alliance with the Saudis and the Israelis. The $7m figure will only get larger.

  8. Russian “disinformation” blogs have long trumpeted that the unholy triumvarite of The American Military Corporate Elites, Israeli/Jewish Neocons/billionaires and Saudi billionaire monarchists are committed to war with Iran, each for their own selfish reasons. The Saudis stepped up and hung a solid gold collar around the newly anointed President Trump one year ago, replacing the Russian financiers whom he had abandoned. Trump must walk a fine line on Iran if he hopes to keep the Kremlin’s dirt on him under the rug while keeping sweet with Netenyahu and the Saudis. And he seems to know that. He will stop short of crossing Putin.

  9. dsmith:
    Dershowitz is an insignificant buffoon. But when it comes to tearing up the Iran Nuclear Treaty (JCPOA), an antecedent for war, Trump will have considerable support in the US Congress among those “Israel uber alles” Democrats. The lead choir-boy being none other than the self-declared “Guardian of Israel”, Chuck Schumer.

  10. Americans never learn lessons from past mistakes. Yes, the signs are all there, Israel/Saudi/USA are all salivating at the thought of shocking and awing yet another Muslim nation (strange, all recent bombs fall on Muslim nations), and they keep looking for excuses to do so. On one side we have a boy dictator sending missiles close to our allies in the Far East, maybe on the brink of having nuclear weapons, and the war mongers keep wanting to have peace talks with him, Trump even saying he wants to be friends, then you have a nation that has never attacked it’s neighbors for over 200 years, being monitored closely by UN nuclear experts, and still honoring it’s agreement with other nations, but that does not seem to be good for the axis of evil, they keep pounding their chests and making war noises.

  11. I’m going to go out on the limb and predict this won’t materialize.

    Then again, I’m betting that the so-called “adults” in the WH can restrain this blithering ignoramus from pursuing what would be a mad decision.

    It’s almost as if he’s pell-mell bent on crapping on everything that Obama did, fired by some psychological need to prove that he measures up to his predecessor.

    All I can say, peeps, is that it’s on us to get out and vote in the next election. If you sit on your asses watching Netflix, or take a pass because your choice doesn’t include a perfect candidate, then what happens next is on you.

  12. Sherm: “My guess is that the well developed plan for “war” against Iran starts out with the biggest, longest, bombing campaign in the history of mankind”.
    How long would it take Russia to airfreight in a few hundred S-300s or even S-400s? Those weapons would turn “The biggest … bombing campaign” into a suicide mission – and I’m sure the USAF command knows this, even if Trump does not.

    • Ron Bruce, have you ever heard of an S-400 downing anything? Remember that Syria is now defended by these missiles but Israel still manages airstrikes with virtual impunity and not even the Russians can fly east of the Euphrates.

      That is, S-400’s are utterly useless as a deterrent and that’s their main function.

      • Moi, the use of any weapon is defined by the political circumstances of that potential use. In the case of Russia in Syria, they brought in their S-400 systems to protect their own planes against attack, period. They did not want a direct confrontation with the U.S. or Israel if they could help it, and they were able to achieve their goal (helping the Syrian government win the war) without shooting down any planes in the U.S.-Israel coalition. Syria is not a test of the S-400 weapon system’s functionality, as it proved unnecessary to use it.

  13. I STILL don’t get the American lust for war. I understand SOME of the elites zeal for war: it is exciting entertainment unmatched by nothing else, and there are unrivaled opportunities for riches for those with intimate knowledge of the pulleys, levers and gears of the American war machine racing into action. But for the rest of Americans, why oh why would anyone be content with another military adventure?
    We got the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan that are actually still going for reasons no one can articulate. We got Syria, where the miasma alone may be permanent. Then we have an escalating mission to play cowboys and Indians in the pathetic country of Yemen. Hell, they don’t even have oil in Yemen!
    So how and why is war still mentionable in America?

    • There can be many reasons for pursuing war. One that may apply here is the need to distract the American public from how badly their birthright is being looted by the Oligarch class. Stage a riot in the street outside, and no one will notice the thieves in the back of the store, taking everything that has not been nailed down….

    • a) Because, as Andrew Bacevich explained, the soldier cult has taken over America as more and more Americans are glad to dump their old responsibilities as citizen-soldiers onto a small elite of hardened professionals – which the military-indusrial complex then uses to guilt-trip the civilians into supporting any was as “supporting the troops.”

      b) You think the Germans weren’t sick of war in 1919? Yet they also saw how quickly war can turn around fortunes. To people as spoiled as Americans, especially White Protestant Americans, they now are suffering as much as Weimar suffered under Versailles and the Depression. They really think this is an unnatural low created by a giant conspiracy of everyone different than themselves. So many imagine an overseas war under martial law allows them to overthrow these alien injustices as thoroughly as the Left thought revolution could. Especially because of their personal certainty that their manhood is wildly superior to those many, many races and groups they hate and intend to slaughter, once it is finally freed from the shackles of Political Correctness and equality before the Law.

  14. It’s not war on Iran – it’s war on Iranians.

    These are people just like us who want nothing more than to live their lives free from the interference of people just like us. Instead they’re threatened with death and utter destruction because, like it or not, they live in times when dangerous bigots hold sway.

  15. War feeds money and power to the Military Industrial Complex which is an uncontrolled virus along with its sister, the corrupt Surveillance Industrial Complex. War also feeds the Federal Reserve, a private corporation that you will not find in the government pages of any telephone directory.

    How can any intelligent, thinking person consider war with Iran? I worked in Iran and Saudi Arabia and found the Iranians very intelligent and resourceful more so than the average American including the Electoral College electors that voted in a woman abuser, an idiot that lies and that will bankrupt America making the rich and the Federal Reserve richer.

    I can’t believe that Congress will approve Trump’s tax bill which gives billions(trillions?) of dollars to the rich and their corporations.

    How can any thinking, responsible individual consider a war with Iran?

    The average American does not read Informed Comment or other online sources. But, is brain washed with PBS and the other public news media.

  16. Great title for an article and great advise for Trump. It would also be great for all those who would have to fight in a war and it would be great if all those children in Iran didn’t have to have their lives upset because Trump wants a war.

    Wars are expensive. On the other hand, there are corporations who make sooooooo much money out of wars and a lot of those are friends of Trump and Haley’s.

    Haley has her nose so far up Trump’s ass, she must be coming out of his nose by now. If she keeps this type of “act” up at the U.N. people will simply start ignoring her as just Trump in a dress. Her threats are straight out of Trump’s play book and although it might make him happy, the rest of us, not so much. Every time I see Hailey flapping her gums at the U.N. I just think, OMG, is that the best the U.S.A. can do. Like anyone can sit and read out of a book………

    Now of course the next thing is: who joins in the “war”? Europe may not be up for it. G.B. may not fair so well, the brits have other things to deal with than an expensive war. Most of Europe remembers the last “invasion”.

    As a Canadian I will not want our country to engage in any type of war in the middle east. I don’t think I know any body who would want a war with Iran. Another war means more children killed. More children traumatised. Its not as if we can’t take more refugees, but why force people to relocate just because some guy in Washington D.C. has a small dick. If Trump wants a war, let him put on the combat boots and carry a rifle and let him do a little fighting of his own, oh, and have the sons and son in law enlist. At one time rulers of countries led their people into battle, perhaps we ought to do that again. Bet there wouldn’t be many wars. Can you just imagine Benni and Donnie having to survive on rations……

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