The politics of thinking everywhere is Queens

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, Ph.D ow oped | 1/9/2020, midnight

We’re all products of where we’ve been, who we’ve been with, and what we’ve managed to learn along the way. No. 45 is a product of Queens, N.Y., with its rough-and-tumble, small scale political and monetary hassles. He’s had neither prior experience in elective office nor any previous experience making military decisions that can cost peoples’ lives.

There are both economics of scale, and politics of scale. One’s decision-making is very much conditioned by the depth and consequences of the types of decisions one has regularly made in one’s cumulative life. Generally, draft dodgers don’t make very good military decisions, for example. And though there are a few prominent exceptions to this rule, generally those who never played the game—let alone won it—have supreme difficulty recognizing and identifying the game’s nuances, twists and turns.

No. 45 seems to be shining neon according to those principles. Way out of his depth and element, he has designated himself to make decisions about war and peace, punishment and retribution, for which he has little or no prior experience. But, the world ain’t Queens.

His recent decision to scuff it up a bit with Iran, a country with a history and culture a lot older and more extensive than that of the USA, is not some school-yard bullying session where one can flex one’s muscles, maybe even throw one glancing punch at some opponent’s head, and not expect a deathly blow in return. This will not be tit-for-tat, though that may be one’s experience and expectation.

Since we are clearly not going to use them in this situation, our nuclear weapons are virtually useless as a deterrent. Iran may by now have already not only re-started its own nuclear production and research, Iran may already have its own nuclear bomb capacity (informed sources estimated Iran was only two months away from a nuclear weapon when the nuclear deal was signed during the Obama administration). The USA’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal under Number 45, in spite of allied advice and protest, was, quite simply, not a logical move. There will be consequences.

The kill-order and execution of a major national leader of another country—absent some proof of murderous conduct—is also a violation of international law, and can be condemned as a war crime by other countries. The difference between here and Russia is shrinking rapidly. It is the agreement on international standards of behavior that has kept us out of WWIII thus far. No matter what No. 45 thinks, the USA is not so big and bad alone and can be crippled and left for dead without its allies. Our electrical grid vulnerability, for example, is well-known to a lot of other countries out there, some with the technical expertise to exploit that weakness. Iran is one of those countries. Each of us should get a viable portable generator now, if we’re smart.

Just to be clear, Iran and Iraq are two countries sharing a border in the territory we regularly refer to as the Middle East (near Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, etc.). While Iran and Iraq are separate UN-recognized sovereign countries now, in the past they have both been combined into what was called Persia. Now Iran is much bigger territorially and population-wise. The USA-Iraqi war that resulted from the events of 9/11 and disinformation from the Bush administration, is “officially” supposed to be over, and Iraq is independent and sovereign again. The Iranian general assassinated was done on Iraqi soil, a provable violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

In spite of extensive American oil interests in the country, Iraq can, and probably will, require the USA to vacate its territory. Iran, the neighboring country, has the capacity to attack and overwhelm American soldiers who are still in the region. Iran also has the capacity, troop strength, military weaponry and know-how to get one of its affiliate organizations (like Hezbolah) to attack and destroy American embassies in the area (there are still American personnel there), American business interests, and/or blockade the Persian Gulf (through which one quarter to one third of all world-wide shipments of oil have to travel.)

The ball is in Iran’s court. This ain’t going to be pretty, and 45’s daddy is not around to save him or us.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO).

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