elections in sight

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The situation in the Middle East is extraordinarily tense, to the satisfaction of the neo-Nazi regime that governs Israel, the barbarian monarchies of the Persian Gulf and the scattered gangsters of the defeated Islamic State

By Atílio A. Boron*

One of the first lessons taught in all courses on the political system in the United States is that wars often reverse the declining popularity of presidents. With a Donald Trump approval rating of 45% in December 2019, the “twin deficits” (trade and fiscal) growing out of control, as well as public debt and a threat of political judgment in the House, against which advisers and aides from the White House certainly recommended that the president resort to traditional recourse and start a war (or a high-impact military operation) to rebuild his popularity and put him in a better position to face the next elections in November of that year.

That would be a plausible hypothesis to explain the immoral and bloody attack that ended the life of Qassem Soleimani, arguably Iran's most important general. Washington officially reported that the operation was explicitly ordered by Trump, with the cowardice that characterizes the occupants of the White House – fans of bombs being dropped thousands of kilometers from Pennsylvania Avenue, as well as the annihilation of enemies or terrorist suspects by drones, handled by some morally and psychologically disturbed young men from some caves in Nevada. The press took it upon themselves to present the Iranian victim as a heartless terrorist who deserved to die in that vile way.

With this criminal attitude, the situation in the Middle East becomes extraordinarily tense, to the satisfaction of the neo-Nazi regime that governs Israel, the barbarian monarchies of the Persian Gulf and the dispersed gangsters of the defeated – thanks to Russia – Islamic State. The perverse calculation is that, in the next few days, the New York tycoon's popularity will begin to rise, as the US propaganda mechanism is set in motion to blunt, for the umpteenth time, the population's conscience. As we said above, this call to war was routinely used in that country's history.

As noted last year by former President James Carter, the United States has been at war for 222 years of its 243 years of independent life. This is no coincidence, but due to the pernicious belief, deeply ingrained after three centuries of brainwashing, that the United States is the nation that God placed on earth to carry the banners of freedom, justice, democracy and human rights to the remote corners of the planet. It is not a matter of making an account of the wars started to help presidents in electoral danger, but it is convenient to bring up a recent case that also involves Iraq and whose result was different from what was expected.

Indeed, in 1990, President George HW Bush (Bush Sr.) was having problems with his re-election. Operation “Just Cause”, a sugary name for the criminal invasion of Panama in December 1989, did not have the desired result, as it lacked the volume, complexity and duration necessary to have a decisive impact on public opinion.

Later, or washington post carried a front-page headline (October 16, 1990) stating that the president's popularity had collapsed, commenting that "some Republicans fear the president will feel compelled to initiate hostilities to stop the erosion of his popularity." Predictably, the Democrats triumphed in the November 1990 midterm elections. Bush Sr. got the message and opted for the old call: he doubled the US military presence in the Persian Gulf, but without declaring war.

Right after the declaration of one of the main advisors of Bush Sr., John Sununu, saying, in words that fit like a glove to understand today's situation, that "a short and successful war would be, politically speaking, gold dust for the president and guarantee his re-election”. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait offered Bush Sr. that opportunity: to go to war to "liberate" little Kuwait from the yoke of its arrogant neighbor. In mid-January 1991, the White House launched Operation "Desert Storm" against Iraq, a country already devastated by economic and political sanctions and its long war with Iran, and against a ruler, Saddam Hussein, who he had been demonized by the stodgy world media oligarchy with the unforgivable complacency of “Western democracies”.

But, contrary to what his advisors expected, Bush Sr. was defeated by Bill Clinton in the November 1992 elections. Four words summed up the defeat: “It's the economy, stupid!”. Who can guarantee that an equal result cannot be repeated this time? This, of course, is said without the slightest hope that an eventual Democratic successor to the satrap of New York will prove to be more favorable, or less dire, for the future of mankind. However, we are certain that the “international order” built by the United States and its European partners is in an advanced state of decay.

Otherwise, the complicit silence or hypocritical condemnation, if not open celebration, by White House allies and the so-called “free press”, in the face of a crime perpetrated against a high military leader – not an alleged “terrorist” suspect – from a member country of the United Nations, on the orders of the President of the United States, in open violation of international law, including the Constitution and US law. A new war appears on the horizon, caused by Washington, invoking the usual pretexts to cover up its insatiable imperial ambitions. The “military industrial complex” celebrates with champagne as the world shudders at the tragedy to come.

*Atilio A. Borón Professor of Political Science at the University of Buenos Aires

Translation: Roberto Bitencourt da Silva

Translation published on the website GGN newspaper

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