Those of us who supported President Trump in last year’s election because he promised a less interventionist foreign policy need to be aware of a rising danger. Neo-con influence in the Trump administration seems to be on the increase. Rumored high-level personnel changes could put neo-cons into key foreign policy positions. Just as their neo-con predecessors led President George W. Bush into the disastrous Iraq war, a gift that keeps on giving, so today’s neo-cons want a war with Iran.
The obvious question is, how could anyone be so stupid? War with Iran is a lose-lose proposition. If the Iranians defeat us, we lose. If we defeat them, we also lose because there is a high probability the Iranian state would disintegrate and Iran would become another stateless region. That would be a huge victory for our real enemies, Islamic non-state entities such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that wage Fourth Generation war.
The neo-cons refuse to see this because they are playing another game, a game driven by the misconceived interests of a foreign power. To put it bluntly, many influential neo-cons are part and parcel of Israel’s Likud party. Years ago, around the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, they helped Likud devise a strategy for Israel. That strategy called for the United States to destroy every Middle Eastern state that could be a threat to Israel. That was why the neo-cons pushed the Bush administration into war with Iraq.
Likud has largely abandoned that strategy since, because Iraq, Libya, and Syria showed them that destroying neighboring states merely creates new basis for far more dangerous enemies, Islamic 4GW forces. Israel now works quietly with a number of Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to prevent further state collapses in the region.
But there is one state Likud still seeks to destroy: Iran. It needs the United states to attack Iran not only because it sees Iran as a deadly threat but because it wants a major Middle East war for cover as it solves the Palestinian problem.
While Likud and the U.S. both pretend to be working for a two-state solution to the problem of Palestine, in reality Likud wants a one-state solution. The whole of the West Bank is to be annexed. But unless Israel is then to have a majority Arab population, it must take the land but not the people. The Palestinians must be pushed into Jordan.
Such an act of ethnic cleansing is impossible in peacetime. World reaction would be disastrous to Israel. In fact, population transfers, voluntary or compulsory, are sometimes the only way to solve otherwise intractable problems. The Greek/Turkish population transfer after World War l is an example. But left-wing world opinion now categorically rejects population transfers under any circumstances. If, that is, they are visible.
Just as the Holocaust was only possible because something far larger was going on around it, to the point where it was hardly noticed, so ethnically cleansing the West Bank can only be done in the context of a much larger regional war. There is only one such war that would be big enough to provide the necessary cover: a war with Iran.
Here is where the neo-cons come in. Likud does not want to fight that war itself. Israel can only reach Iran with air and missile attacks. That kind of war is not sufficient to provide the necessary cover. Enter the United States: unlike Israel, we could actually invade and attempt to conquer Iran. The attempt would be folly and the result would be disaster for both us and Iran. But with all that going on, who would notice some ethnic cleansing in the West Bank (at least until the job was done)?
If all this seems far-fetched, remember this is exactly how and why we invaded Iraq. American neo-cons created that war in service to Likud and Likud’s strategy at that time. Now, Likud has a different strategic objective. But it still requires America to go to war, and some American neo-cons remain Likud’s humble and obedient servants.
President Trump’s supporters need to remind him that “America First” means exactly that. We go to war only for our own interests, not for the interests of any foreign power or party. No “America First” president would ever turn this country’s foreign policy over to agents of a foreign power. He would never send American soldiers to die to provide cover for another country’s actions. The neo-cons used a Republican president once. Never again.