Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again

Can’t you just feel it coming? The loonies are on the loose again. Let’s go in and sort out Iran! Have they learned nothing?

Meanwhile, the mullahs hang in there by the fingernails for the one lifeline that will save them – a rumble with the US. Tweak the American nose in an election year and even the calmest of presidents may lose his cool and lash out.

The scenario is as predictable as Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction = invasion = unleashing that most potent of forces – nationalism. It’s the one card the mullahs have left to play.

Leave them be and the US/EU/UN economic sanctions will slowly choke the already tottering Iranian oil industry. And if sanctions don’t work a burgeoning Iranian youth population with a desire for modernity will eventually turn the final screw.

Mess with the mullahs, however, and they’ll resurrect memories of a besieged Persian Empire. You think the Iraqis have attitude problems, Iranians were ruling the world a couple of millennia before Columbus mistook America for India.

The first shot fired in the Strait of Hormuz will knock 10% off whatever nest egg is supposed to cover you when your Social Security has been well and truly gutted.

And don’t even think of taking your gas-guzzler out for a gallop unless you can fork up six bucks a gallon.

What’s the big rush anyway? It’s not as if the Iranians are going to drop a whopper down on McLean Avenue any day soon. Worst-case scenario - as soon they can float a nuclear warhead within a hundred miles of Israel they’re toast.

Speaking of which, someone ought to tell the Mossad to quit the bombings and assassinations in Iran; it has to be them, not even the CIA is that out to lunch. Perhaps a little moratorium on the annual billions Israel receives in US military aid would help?

This is a time for cool heads - give the mullahs enough rope and their own people will hang them, just as the Iraqis would have done to Saddam if we hadn’t butted in.

Guy was shacked up in one of his palaces dreaming about Condoleezza Rice and writing bad romance novels. With a no-fly zone to his north and south he couldn’t have even made darts night in Paddy Reilly’s without George Bush’s permission.

And what did he do – rush in and blow up both Baghdad and our deficit when, given time, a coalition of disaffected Sunnis and Shites would have done the dirty work for him.

What are the chances of a patient, sane policy? Pretty slim, I’d say, given this is an election year and belligerence will play well with every cheap politician whose own children are at zero risk of fighting another stupid war.

And just when we got out of Iraq too and are on the verge of cutting an exit deal with the various drug dealers, nationalists and religious nuts who want to see the back of us in Afghanistan.

Did you ever wonder why this country has been on a permanent war footing since 1942?

Could it have anything to do with the military-industrial complex – as the last great Republican president suspected? But even Ike could never have foreseen the influence of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire on US political life.

There’s always a need for a bogeyman in Mr. Murdoch’s world. If it’s not Ahmadinejad, it’s Saddam; if not Noriega, it’s some other clown who knows he can rally his rubes by picking a fight with the ever-willing US.

Maybe it’s time we went into Canada? Who’s not sick of hearing about their oceans of oil and universal health insurance? While we can’t afford to maintain our infrastructure, properly educate our children or provide an adequate safety net for our citizens. But, hey not to worry, we have a “defense” budget greater than the rest of the world combined!

Its main focus right now, however, is on a two-mile wide shipping lane in the Strait of Hormuz. Let’s hope calm heads prevail and we don’t allow ourselves to be sucked into another military quagmire.

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