Tell the Truth (Lessons from Iran and Iraq)

In the early 1980s, the United States decided that Iran was a far greater threat to world peace than Iraq. This proved to be a very costly mistake.

Later in 1980, Iraq attacked Iran in the most blatant case of naked aggression since World War II. The goal was to annex some territory in southwest Iran, although there is some debate as to how much. Subsequent events suggest that Saddam wanted the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, home to Iran’s vast oil reserves. In a shameful act of “realpolitik”, the US supported the aggressor in the war.

Advocates of realpolitik like to portray their critics as fuzzy-headed idealists who do not understand the realities of national security. In fact, it was the realists who undermined US interests in the Middle East. We thought that Iran’s leader was the Hitler of the Middle East, whereas the 1980 invasion showed that Saddam Hussein more closely resembled that famous aggressor. As a result, the United States did nothing to verbally dissuade Saddam from later invading Kuwait, and this inaction led to the 1991 Gulf War and the more costly Iraq War of 2003.

The long and tragic history of our policies toward Iraq and Iran has important lessons for today. Imagine the United States facing two great powers. Our Foreign Policy Institute insists that the greater threat to world peace is between the two countries. Subsequent events proved that this was not the case, as the smaller leader of the two major powers proved himself to be the “new Saddam Hussein”, a militarist who attacked one neighbor after another, with dreams of taking over large swaths of territory. the country

One would hope that our foreign policy establishment has learned the lessons of Iraq and Iran, and understands the need to update their beliefs as new information emerges. One would expect that they would respond to evidence that which power was the greatest threat to world peace. Alas, it doesn’t seems to be the case.

The United States has decided to provide military aid to Ukraine. We decided (wisely in my view) not to go to war with a nuclear armed Russia. Unfortunately, President Biden made it Very clear If war breaks out between China and Taiwan, the US wants to go to war with nuclear-armed China. And the entire US foreign policy establishment seems to be on board With this project. China is seen as the “real enemy”.

Make no mistake, in a US-China war the US would likely be the aggressor. China has no interest in attacking the US. And China has enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of our major cities. Even if a nuclear war is unlikely, once two nuclear-armed countries go to war there is a risk of spiraling out of control, especially if the attacked country loses a conventional war.

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a morally unjustified move. However, China is only a threat to Taiwan (which the United States and most other countries officially consider part of a unified China.) Russia is a threat to many countries in Eastern Europe, which are internationally recognized as sovereign, independent nations. There is simply no comparison between the two cases.

When a US administration can only defend its foreign policy with a series of Obviously misleading statement, it is clear that there is something wrong with the policy. A country that is doing the right thing should be able to tell the truth.

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