John Chuckman



“Unprecedented: US, Russians, Israelis to Meet in Jerusalem Later This Month. Is Iran Screwed?”


This is an interesting and penetrating article.

It deals with Putin as the pragmatic, non-extreme leader that he is.

Putin does have some strong basic ideals, especially around the identity and success of Mother Russia, but he implicitly recognizes the need to be pragmatic in a great many things in order to protect and conserve those central ideals.

He does not deal from a position of limitless strength and very accurately sees himself as working in a stormy sea of conflicting international goals and intentions.

I am not sure what Iran’s exact goals are in Syria, but Iran has made a good friend by helping a state in great need. I do know that Iran has no desire for war with Israel, but, at the same time, it must try securing its position in the region as much as possible because America and Israel have demonstrated unceasing hostility since the Revolution of 1979.

After all, the Shah was America’s pet imperial servant in the region – he was put into power by a 1953 American-sponsored coup against a democratic government America just did not like – and America deeply resented losing his influence, never giving a care for all the oppression and misery the Shah created inside Iran, just as today it never gives a care for the unfortunate women and children of Syria and Libya and Yemen and other places where it now enforces its will.

The sense both of decades of state terror under the Shah – the Shah’s secret police, the Savak, earned an international reputation for excess and brutality, known, amongst other things, for pulling out the fingernails of suspects with pliers – and of legitimate resentment over having their democracy destroyed from outside, naturally has not made Iran friendly to American interests.

When you add the American-inspired (and supplied) 1980-88 war by Iraq against Iran, a war literally as bloody, proportionately to population size, as a world war and intended to destroy Iran’s new-found independence, it is not hard to see how there is little trust. That history does not make the Iranian government evil, but it makes it justifiably suspicious of all American intentions towards it.

And America consistently has done nothing towards easing those suspicions. Indeed, quite the opposite, and recent hyper-hostility serve no worthwhile purpose other than American imperial ones.

Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran and other states, arguably his only worthy achievement in foreign policy, was suddenly and arbitrarily torn-up by Trump. The agreement had begun to work a little way in the direction of trust and understanding. Iran demonstrated through its strict compliance, conformed by every informed expert in the world, that it can be a reliable partner.

That, however, is not something Israel cares to see demonstrated at all, and it has used its extraordinary level of influence with an extremely weak and vulnerable President Trump to create immense new hostilities. In all things, Trump is the kind of man who tries to hide weakness with violent impulses and extreme words, and Israel has played him like a fiddle to get what it wants. Israel always is determined to expand its influence in the region and greatly resents anything that might show Iran, a competitor for influence, in a good light.

There was even the well-known Trump angry-child hatred for anything associated with Obama’s name to play upon. All the more the case, of course, for an achievement that was widely praised.

That perspective on Iran must always be understood as a root cause of America’s intense hostility and as a basic theme in relations between the two states, not any of the endless propaganda about Iranian terror and aggression. Iran has attacked no one in its modern era.

Unfortunately, thanks to all the war and imported terror, Iran’s Syrian friend is not a strong one and is himself dependent on cooperation with Russia, a country which, of course, has its own interests, one of them being to seek a reduction in the general level of American aggression and hostility disturbing it on many sides. After all, the very war in which Syria has been bloodily immersed is itself a covert American, Israeli-inspired, effort.

I cannot think Putin will just treat Iran shabbily, not because he is idealistic, but because he is so practical-minded.

Iran does represent an important potential ally against American aggression, so it cannot be abandoned. These days, we just never know when and where American aggression might next erupt. The country has become unnerving in its sudden destructive lurches. Iran also represents other important connections and a future state of considerable wealth and influence, a state with a population close to that of Germany and great oil wealth. And it is not hostile to Russia.

But if it is pursuing ends in Syria which significantly trouble America, always understanding that what disturbs America in the region reflects attitudes from Israel, then efforts to trade some cooperation there with reduced American aggressiveness in Ukraine make perfect sense and are just the kind of goal Putin might pursue.

I’ve thought from the start that Ukraine’s Zelensky represents real potential for peace in Ukraine, and the article’s author seems to think so too, saying Putin thinks he can work with Kiev. But Zelensky is surrounded by people beholden to American wishes and money. They have to be given permission to relax a bit, permission from Washington.




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