Insights Into Tomorrow: Episode 3 “Battleground Iran”

This week’s episode is ripped from the headlines as we explore the rising tensions between the United States and Iran. We look back at nearly a century of history between the two nations and what brought us to the current brink of war that exist between the two countries. We’ll explore the current relationship not only between the United States and Iran but also how that relationship is influencing the United State’s position around the world with both it’s allies and adversaries. Then we’ll take a look at the various scenarios laid out before us and speculate on the direction that the current conflict will go, the impact on future administrations and the overall stability in the region.

Transcription

Speaker 1: 00:00:02 Insightful podcast by informative a podcast network.

Speaker 2: 00:00:26 Come to insights into tomorrow where we take a deeper look into how the issues of today will impact the world of tomorrow from politics and world news to media and technology. We discuss how today’s headlines are becoming tomorrow’s reality.

Speaker 3: 00:01:00 Welcome to insights into tomorrow. This is episode three, battleground. I’ve ran. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon and my cohost, Sam Wayland. How are you doing today, Sam? Doing good. I’m doing all right. So this is kind of a topical issue considering everything that’s going on here. But I think my hope here is that we’re going to sort of kick off a new theme, thematic format. I last our last podcast was a little bit more lighthearted and a little more less world impacting. I think we could say it’s hard to Dodge these issues. This is all over the news lately. And I think this is when these sort of things crop up. I think we kind of have to take a look at these. Absolutely. So this is like I said, this is the first in this series that we’re going to be doing it.

Speaker 3: 00:02:01 So what we’re going to do in this series, in this particular episode is we’re going to take a look at the history of the U S Iran relations, which date back, you know, 10 all the way back, the 1914 where the instability in the region really started. Although I mean it’s an area that’s been in conflict for thousands of years now. So it’s kind of a hot bed for a long time now. Then we’ll took a take a look at the current relationship between the U S and Iran, which is an evolving thing. As I was putting the notes together for the show every day I had to go back and add what the latest thing was for the, for the news on it. And then what we’re going to do is take a look at the future and where we think it’s going to go. And, and really what we think the, the far reaching impact is going to be. And that’s, that’s really what the focus of the show is. So questions, comments before we get started? All right, let’s go.

Speaker 3: 00:03:12 So really U S involvement in Iran government can be traced back to 1914. So, you know, great Britain had obtained a majority stake in, in the state run oil company that was there around about world war one after the Anglo Persian oil company, which is what it was called retained exclusive rights to all Iranian oil fields. Around 1935 was really where a lot of our drama seems to start. So after world war two, things were kind of left in limbo in the middle East. Things, countries were broken up, new countries are being formed and Britain in particular encountered some political issues with their oil rights in Iran and they turned to the United States to try to settle the matter here, enters the United States. So under the Truman administration, the United States was originally opposed to British policies in the, in the region there.

Speaker 3: 00:04:28 So the United States was not exactly an impartial player when it came to mediating the the issues. And then because of our involvement that we were brought in with the British we start playing kingmaker in the region here. And that’s something that the United States is infamous for starting with the Eisenhower administration and all through the 20th century to this day. So in 52 with the change of administrations, America’s position on the Iran and British British affair shifts a bit there. So British intelligence officials kind of nudge us in the direction of, Hey, you know what, maybe that prime minister didn’t sit in there. Now maybe he’s not good for, for our interests, so let’s, let’s kick them out of there. So Churchill ultimately convinces Eisenhower that prime minister and I’m going to murder these names. Moza day I’ll say, was leaning towards adopting communism and convinces the United States to run an operation to basically asked him from power. So in 53, United States puts together their operation. They work with the British and secretary of state John Foster Dallas directs the CIA to draft plans to overthrow the government. And we have the CIA’s operation Ajax, which uses various methods to convince Iran Monarch to dismiss the prime minister. So step one in United States relations in Iran. What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 4: 00:06:14 I mean, I think it’s a hell of a first step. I mean, I guess it could be written off as kind of like a proxy war kind of thing, but to have direct involvement like that, removing a a prime minister, not even the United States, palladium acting alone, it was a co a cooperative effort from two major powers to dethrone this prime minister over resources too. I mean, like they say it’s for communism so they can get away with it. Exactly. But it’s ultimately over resources. I mean, that’s pretty terrible. Yeah. And this is back in 53. So I can imagine things are probably only going to get worse. Yeah. So obviously, you know, you have to imagine this leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Iranians, that you have a foreign power influencing your government and the choice of your people and who’s going to be in the government. Not to mention this is right after the world powers carved up this entire area and these people that live there got no say in any of that. Exactly.

Speaker 3: 00:07:09 Exactly. So you now have, you know, United States in here dictating who’s going to be in your govern. Sounds a little, you know, kind of neat to draw a parallel between that and the 2016 election where you’ve got an outside power affecting the United States, which the United States took exception to. But we have a proven history of almost 60 years of doing it around the world and central America and the middle East and so forth. So as a result, you start to build this resentment towards the United States with the people in the region that you know explodes in 79. So in 79, you have a revolution in Iran where the U S back Shah I’m not even going to try to pronounce the name at this point is forced to leave the country. So the Islamic fundamentalists take over the country under Ayatollah Khomeini, who returned from exile and basically for claims a Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States embassy in this whole process is seized by protesters and you have prisoners that are taken hostage from the embassy.

Speaker 3: 00:08:23 Now, that action alone is wholly attributed to influencing the 1980 election in the United States where Carter was unable to get any of the hostages freed. And Reagan ultimately winds up running a back room deal to get the hostages free. But have the Iranians wait until he is on his watch and he gets to take credit for it. So now you’re looking at us having overthrown a government, that government itself being overthrown and taking hostages, those hostages now influencing elections in our country now. So it’s this muddled mess. It really is not to mention the U S president or president to be using our own citizens as pawns. Exactly. You know, gain power and influence all that. Exactly. It’s, it’s, it’s alarming how how myered we get in this, then it gets even worse. So then in 85, as part of that hostage release, we get the Iran Contra scandal.

Speaker 3: 00:09:29 So the U S is secretly shipping weapons to Iran and exchange for terrains help fraying the U S sausages that are held in Lebanon by terrorists that Taran is associated with. In 88, it gets even worse. The USS Vinson shoots down on Iranian airplane, which again echoes what’s recently happened in the escalation of conflicts now where the Iranians have shot down Ukrainian aircraft. In the midst of this escalation, we killed 290 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims on their way to Mecca. Again, it’s bag full of martyrs. Yeah. And it like, they like, it’s bad enough to escalate the tensions and to kill people, but now you’re killing people that are on a Holy pilgrimage at this point, which just makes it even worse. There’s nobody more pure than people that are just seeking, you know, exactly. Pilgrim. And so then we fast forward a few years here, resentments building up. Then we top it off in the United States in 2002 after the nine 11 attacks and we start our war on terror here and president George W. Bush denounces I ran as part of the axis of evil, which I’m sure must have really helped our prestige in the middle East there.

Speaker 3: 00:10:52 Actually, I want to double back to the USS Vinson shooting gun, that plank cause I’d never heard of that. I was, I had a question for you. How was that taken at the time? I had like how did they, did they spend it to make it a positive thing? It’s kinda hard to do that. You can’t really make that a positive. What it was was the plane itself had strayed too close to the aerospace in the Gulf and they weren’t, they weren’t listening to howls. And if I remember correctly, it was because the Vincenzo was trying to raise them on a frequency that they weren’t using. And it was one that commonly wasn’t used by them. So there was this complete miscommunication and the commander on the Vinsons assumed that they were under eminent attack and fire. Okay. But you will do, the other thing that you have to keep in mind is in the 80s is where we get all the terrorism.

Speaker 3: 00:11:44 You get the hijackings from the 70s and the 80s, you get passenger liners. So there’s this total escalation, especially that region because you’ve got countries like Libya and Kadafi that are sponsoring openly sponsoring terrorism. They, they sponsored the locker B plane Downing the discotheque attack in Germany. So the 1980s was very volatile when it came to these random attacks. So everybody really was on edge. And when you had a military force there, everyone was trigger happy. And that makes more sense because just reading the facts, that just sounds like we just blew up a plane. Like for no reason. Yeah. I’m going to contest it doesn’t make it any more morally. Right. But it makes a lot more sense. Yeah. And you know, it, this isn’t the first time in history that a passenger, and it’s not the only time in history, a passenger line has been shot down by military.

Speaker 3: 00:12:37 The Russians had a similar situation at, on the peninsula cam, Chuck in the eighties or nineties, I think it was, where they had shot down and it was a Japanese airliner and it was a navigational error where they flew too close to a Soviet airspace where that one was at least a perceived threat where it was your Homeland, you’re defending there where, you know, it’s kind of hard to say that VIN Sans is out there in international waters, mind you, but certainly not defending our territory. So it just looked bad. Yeah. So then, then Bush comes out, calls him the axis of evil and reveals that Iran’s developing nuclear facilities, including uranium in Richmond. And this is like everyone kind of suspected that you kind of knew I ran, was going towards nuclear. And the other thing to keep in mind at this point in time, in the early two thousands, the only country that has nuclear weapons in the area is Israel.

Speaker 3: 00:13:43 Now, they don’t openly acknowledge it. Even to this day. They don’t openly acknowledge it. They have nuclear weapons. But given the volatility in that area, it would, it’s kinda terrifying to think that somebody else could just nuke an entire country off the face of the earth. And given the history of the various Arab Israeli Wars that we’ve seen so far, that’s probably not too far from reality. So we move forward to 2013 president Obama places. I had a, has a phone call with the Iranian president which is really the first top level conversations. So we’re, we’re starting to see an ease of relations with Iran at this point in time under the Obama administration, which ultimately, you know, yields in 2015, the Iran nuclear deal, which call it what it is, it came under a lot of criticisms. A lot of people said it’s, you know, all it’s doing is slowing down Iranian pursuit, a nuclear bomb, they’re going to get it no matter what. And this is just going to sort of regulate it.

Speaker 3: 00:14:58 But it was, it was really the first groundwork that was laid to try to ease these tensions of over 60 years at this point. And then in 2018 president Trump decides that he’s going to abandon the nuclear deal because he doesn’t agree with it. And he reinstate sanctions on the country. So all the Goodwill that was put in for six or seven years under the Obama administration is now thrown out the window basically. And we’re back to a near state of war with Iran.

Speaker 3: 00:15:34 This is when retaliation and, and tensions rapidly escalate. The U S deploys a carrier strike group to the area. We have B 52 bombers that are now stationed in the Gulf, a lot of saber rattling on the part of the United States trying to show, you know, the kind of power that we can wield there. So in 2019, Iran does what it thinks it can do and it covertly attacks several oil tankers and the Gulf of Oman to sort of extra, you know, rattled their own sword. They shoot down a U S drone over the Strait of Hormuz, which, you know, you’re not killing any lives there, but you know, these drones are a couple million dollar drones, so there’s some money involved. They claimed that the drone itself was in their airspace. The United States States claims it was in international water. Ironically I ran, was able to recover the drone from their land and produce evidence of it.

Speaker 3: 00:16:41 So maybe it was shot down over international waters and fell on their land. I not really sure, but okay. And then what else did we have? Then the Shiite militia group backed by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guard Corps a stages, attacks on USB bases, near cook killing a civilian contractor. When we say civilian contractor, they’re almost always security contractors. In this case, when they’re this close to a frontline post, it’s not an electrician. It’s out there changing light bulbs. Then the United States, because you know, an eye for an eye conducts air strikes. I’ll five facilities in Iraq and Syria controlled by, has a of a offshoot of Hezbollah which is they think was responsible for the missile strikes. So traced back to our Ram then pro Rainium protesters demonstrating against American air strikes, attack the us embassy in Baghdad. Then I ran his tap general Kaseem Soleimani, which is what’s been in the news lately is killed by us air strike in Iraq.

Speaker 3: 00:18:02 And that sort of forces all hell to break loose at that point. So now the United States is actively assassinating members of the arena and military, not only that, they’re doing it on foreign soil, wasn’t the justification for this that he had ties to that group, the IRC. I think that, yes, it doesn’t justify, but no, he was definitely traced back to being involved. He was basically the guy that headed up their, their terrorist organization ties. It still looks really bad though, cause like, imagine if a U S general got blown up and like Michigan. Exactly. Like exactly. It’s insane. So, so, okay, let me, let me just continue down our path of eye for an eye. And then by the end of the story, everybody’s blind. So we assassinate general Soleimani. Then I ran fires, ballistic missiles at two U S bases in Iraq, which, and here’s where the propaganda comes in, where the United States cleans all well.

Speaker 3: 00:19:12 They just stand in the middle of nowhere and nobody was hurt. Nobody was killed. Well that’s great. So it was really just, I’m trying to save face. Well, it turns out you read recent news accounts and there were casualties. There weren’t any deaths, but there were casualties. I did watch a video and unfortunately I didn’t cue it up. I should have and it was a video that showed the United States air defense failing systems, the automated Gatling guns that you see on us ships. Apparently they had them in place at the air bases and when the missiles were detected, these things spring into action and it’s impressive, pretty cool to see these things and they’re shooting missiles down left and right and everything. It’s kinda terrifying, but also kind of cool. It is. It is. So I could turn, I could certainly see why.

Speaker 3: 00:19:59 Cause like the Iranians kind of knew the U S air defense is everyone thinks when you think missile defense, they think Patriot missiles. Well, it turns out the Patriot missiles were great propaganda weapons during the Gulf war, but that was almost 30 years ago now. And they were about 30% accurate then. So there are great propaganda piece, but they’re really only one part of the overall air defense. And I ran what the United States are saying is I ran, knew that we had this good missile defense system, so they were just firing these things blind just, you know, in fury so they could keep their people happy. So ironically, around the same timeframe that this ballistic missile attack happens, a Ukrainian passenger jet is shot down in Iraq as well, leaving Baghdad. And

Speaker 3: 00:20:57 At first, no one claimed responsibility for it. You had the airline itself basically claimed that it was a mechanical problem and later it turns out that it was shot down by an Iranian surface to air missile. What was interesting here is once that information came out and I ran, was aware of it, they basically blamed us adventurism so they basically said, all right, look, if the U S hadn’t escalated things, we would’ve never attacked and we would have never shot this claim down. It sounds like, you know, sound logic, right? Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau seemed to think it was sound logic because apparently there was a number of Canadians that were on that plane that were killed and he wants all the facts come out. He makes a statement basically saying, you know, we need to deescalate, you know, partially blaming the United States for the Downing of the airliner.

Speaker 4: 00:22:04 That’s a sticky situation. It is. Cause I mean, he is right, but I don’t think I ranch it just get away with blowing up a plane full of people. I mean, just like we shouldn’t back when we did it apparently in the eighties or nineties. I agree. But I think it’s a lot easier to frame Iran as the type of country that would shoot down a plane full of people for the U S propaganda. It’s going to be harder to spin it.

Speaker 4: 00:22:32 I dunno, because Trudeau does have a point, especially if his citizens were killed. What’s he supposed to do? He can’t say, well, you know, I just keep doing what you’re doing. His people are dying. He has, he has constituents he has to answer to. And the U S is obviously part of, you know, it’s on the U S just as much it is on Iran. More so on the, on the U S I think, but I don’t know what this situation, it’s difficult if a nation shoots down a plane full of innocent people that it could be another nation’s fault that had happened.

Speaker 3: 00:23:00 Yeah. Well, and the, the interesting thing is you look at all of this right now, this recent history that we’re talking about here is all happening over a country. It’s neither of the two combatants country. So a rack is stuck in the middle here. United States and Iran are waging a proxy war in Iraq and not for like territorial sovereignty or resources or anything. Just a pissing contest. That’s it. So that’s where we are from a historical standpoint. There were a few other things that have happened, but it was mostly political rhetoric back and forth. There weren’t any key events that have happened since then. So let’s come back and we’ll talk about where we are relationship wise between the U S and Iran.

Speaker 3: 00:23:50 So let’s talk just a little bit about general Solemani. Okay. So he was the head of Iran’s elite Koons force. He was the architect of Iran’s proxy Wars in the middle East. The U S killed him. And this is the reason the white house initially gave because he was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members and Iraq and throughout the region. Now, the interesting thing about this is after that statement came out by the Trump administration there was a top secret briefing that happened where justification was given to certain members of Congress and there were two Republican Congressman who came out and I didn’t write their names then I guess I probably should have who basically said that was the most useless briefing we’ve ever been at there. They’ve offered absolutely no justification for why we would have basically committed an act of war on another country’s territory. Yes,

Speaker 4: 00:25:01 I’m not up on my foreign policy. I’m obviously not an expert on these things, but I don’t understand how we’re not at war at the moment because I mean this seems like an act of war. Like I don’t understand how we haven’t, they haven’t declared on us or we haven’t declared on them. Is it, is it a well

Speaker 3: 00:25:17 And that’s a very interesting point and this is why Congress had demanded that briefing because only Congress can declare war. The president does not have the right based on the constitution to declare war and sign off on drone strikes that bull up lunch for you. That’s, yeah. I mean, some of those executive orders are questionable, but if the United States is going to actively go to war, the president has to go to Congress and ask Congress to go to war. And this is one of the reasons why there’s a lot of people, both Democrat, every Republican who were kind of annoyed at the fact that that Trump is authorizing these types of airstrikes on foreign soil against foreign nationals who aren’t members of the country that you’re actually attacking. So there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on. The U S also accused Solemani of approving attacks on the U S embassy in Baghdad earlier in the week.

Speaker 3: 00:26:18 And the Aransas Ayatollah company called Solemani the international face of resistance. So now is trying to hold this guy up as the ultimate champion of the underdog for every other kind of martyr, which is always what happens exactly. But not even just a martyr for Iran. He’s, he’s basically saying, okay, this was the man that everybody should look up to if you’re being beaten down by the United States. Yeah. So, so he’s trying to rally other countries to his calls now and he, you know, declared three days of public mourning for Solemani as well. So obviously tensions are inflamed at this point in time. Iran’s president Rohani responded to the tack through his advisors saying Trump through his gamble has dragged the U S into the most dangerous situation in the region. Whoever put his foot beyond the red line should be ready to face its consequences now.

Speaker 3: 00:27:27 Okay. I can’t really expect them to say anything other than, you know, a little bit of military bluster there. Clearly, if the United States went to war with Iran, the United States would win. The problem you run into here is that if the United States goes to war in that region, we knew it back in the 90s when we had to, you know, confront Saddam Hussein when he went in to Kuwait the first time that the only way to be successful in that region is through a coalition. You, the United States is never going to be able to get involved in that region and not have to fight every Arab nation there if they’re going up against another Arab nation. The problem you have here is the Trump administration has systematically pissed off every Arab nation in the region. So there’s not very much chance of forming a coalition at this point in time should the attentions rise to that point, which means the United States won’t have any bases in the area, which was key to the first and second Persian Gulf Wars. The DNN and States was involved in because everything was based out of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is going to probably get a little bit too much pressure from the Arab world to allow that to continue to happen, especially when we’re dropping missile strikes on countries that were not, you know, openly in conflict with and killing civilians and killing those countries. Yeah. Just like with Trudeau, the leaders of those countries have people they have to answer to when their citizens are dead because of the Lilly. Yeah.

Speaker 3: 00:29:10 So at this point in time, you know, we talk about Trump’s authority and Trump can’t declare war. So this point in time, by all accounts, it’s unclear what legal authority of the U S relied on to carry out the attack. Other than Trump’s word, which we’re all meant to believe, which is terrifying, by the way, the fact that Trump, I mean not to get let it go, but just as a human being, the fact that he can just say it and a missile comes out of the sky and kills a bunch of people. It’s scary and it is frightening. You know, American presidents claim broad authority to act without the approval of Congress when U S personnel and interests are facing imminent threat. But the Pentagon did not provide evidence to back up the assertion that Solemani was planning new attacks against Americans. Now a lot of times this has happened in the past where the Pentagon won’t provide that information because it could compromise an intelligence source. But really I, he’s, I think Trump’s having significant issues trying to justify this, especially given his history over the last three and a half years or so of every time, you know, he does something that’s controversial. He does something else to sort of distract from it.

Speaker 4: 00:30:29 Yeah. I mean that’s, that’s the elephant in the room, right? I mean, we have the impeachment and there’s, I don’t know if you’ve seen it online, it’s been all over the place, but the tweet of his back from like 2013 calling out president Obama saying that president Obama is going to start a war on Iran in order to get reelected. And it’s, it’s impossible to ignore that. I mean, it seems like that’s what it is. I mean, that’s, that’s the most obvious candidate for why this is all happening. And coincidentally, it’s an election year and all of a sudden we’re dropping misses

Speaker 3: 00:30:57 Is on Iranian general. So and don’t want to get too political here, but let’s read between the lines.

Speaker 4: 00:31:05 I mean, yeah, it’s impossible. Not.

Speaker 3: 00:31:08 So obviously there’s, there’s blow back from this. So from a domestic standpoint democratic Connecticut, a Senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal. So the Trump owes a full explanation to Congress and the American people. And I agree. And, and I think that crosses party lines. Everyone needs to know because if this goes down the natural path that you think it would with an all out war, you’re putting American lives at risk. It’s one thing to have a drone drop a missile on someone and not have any American lives at risk. But now you’ve exposed American lines to retaliation, which you knew was going to happen. It did. Fortunately, we didn’t have any lives lost. But this is a very early stage here. So if you’re going to take the United States down that path, the president needs to provide justification for the present authorizations for use of military force and no way covers starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades. Blumenthal goes on to say. Yeah, and I agree. It’s probably right. Well, I mean, if you’re, yeah, it’s, it’s hard to, to think it’s the most consequential given the duration we’ve been in Afghanistan.

Speaker 4: 00:32:40 Yeah, that’s kind of what I mean. I mean, this, this just seems like another step and the endless middle Eastern conflict that we’ve had since the 90s.

Speaker 3: 00:32:47 It does. But the problem that you run into now is you have Iran who has had, they were devastated after the Iran Iraq war, so they were not a threat to the region. They’ve had almost 30 years to build up their military. They are actively pursuing nuclear weapons. There are those that suspect they may have several nuclear warheads that perhaps they didn’t create, but they may have gotten from elsewhere, such as South Korea. So you have someone who is potentially armed with nuclear weapons who, not to sound insensitive, but they’re crazy enough to use them, and then you have other targets in that area besides the United States. For instance, if Israel knew that I ran, had nuclear weapons, they’d nuke them in a minute to neutralize them.

Speaker 4: 00:33:45 I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I think, I don’t know. I take the stance that it’s mutually assured destruction, especially with things like NATO and so many countries still being tied up in alliances is just, you know, we’re repeating that mistake again from history, but I think, I don’t think anyone is going to use nukes like that because as soon as one person does it, everyone’s going to have to do it to retaliate and then the world is gone. And I think, I don’t know. I, I think there’s basic human instinct that prevents it. I think the nukes, whether they exist or not, are just part of the saber rattling that we’ve been talking about. I don’t think they’re ever going to be really deployed.

Speaker 3: 00:34:19 And I think when we were talking global super powers, United States versus Soviet union, I would agree. Mutual assured, sure. Destruction meant we could destroy civilization 10 times over if we went to war. The problem I think we have to with regional conflicts like this is you have fundamentalists who clearly have no problem killing themselves in a righteous attempt to further their cause. So the idea that mutually assured destruction is a deterrent is kind of out the window. Yeah, it’s a good plant. Number two, you’ve got the Israelis who, you know, to coin a phrase from a movie are pilgrims in an unholy land there. You know, you’re surrounded by your enemies in all sides. You’ve already fought three Wars. Now to preserve yourself, it’s self preservation. Israel’s are going to do whatever they have to, I mean, they’ve already flown air strikes against nuclear facilities in Iran to disable their ability to produce nuclear weapons.

Speaker 3: 00:35:26 Now you have a international coalition who basically says, okay, well you can have some aspects of a nuclear weapons program, but we want to make sure that we’re inspecting you. And I don’t necessarily agree with the Obama administration’s approach to handling nuclear weapons in Iran, but it is what it is. And we’ve had it for so many years and it’s better than nothing. That’s true. So if they felt threatened, Israel would strike against Iran. Now Israel probably wouldn’t initiate a nuclear strike, but they absolutely would retaliate with one if they were hit with one. And I think

Speaker 4: 00:36:09 It’s, it’s, you have to think of the geography of that region too. I mean, everybody’s on top of one another and one nuke would probably devastate everybody there. So, yeah, even more. And I can’t imagine it’s, you can’t even comprehend it, you know? And that’s why I think that region

Speaker 3: 00:36:25 Could certainly explode with nuclear weapons regardless of your allies and your treaties. I think any nuclear confrontation would be confined to that area. Not that that justifies anything given how much of the economic output from that region, the entire world’s dependent on world population and the fallout that would be, you know, any atmosphere, you know, I mean it’s either way, it’s not good, but you’re not going to wipe out the entire planet with that, which is, it’s almost why I think it’s more likely that it would happen in that way because you’re not going to wipe out. There isn’t mutually assured destruction of everyone. You know, you’ve got two fanatical groups that are, that are what they think are vying for their own lives. So it’s a powder keg waiting.

Speaker 4: 00:37:22 It always has been. Not to mention that what months? Maybe a little over a year ago we were just having the same discussion about North Korea. Yeah, you can have weapons. So everyone seems to be, and that new North Korea talk just seems to win away now to be replaced with Iran. It just seems like it’s, we’re trading one

Speaker 3: 00:37:41 You know,

Speaker 4: 00:37:42 Tyrannical powder cake for another and we are also a tyrannical powder keg. I think, you know, to be completely honest.

Speaker 3: 00:37:48 Well, when you start dropping missiles randomly on people in other people’s countries, it doesn’t look good no matter how you cut it. So Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut, a member of the Senate foreign relations committee called the targeted killing of Iranian general Solomanis shocking, despite the fact that he unquestionably is responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans. And you also have to take a step back and think, what precedent does this set? So this is this saying it’s okay to assassinate military members now when you’re not at war. So if somebody you know, is angry at, you know, our joint head of our joint chief of staff and they happened to be on vacation somewhere, it’s okay to kill him. Like how is that okay? Like there literally are international laws that prevent you from assassinating heads of state at a state level.

Speaker 3: 00:38:47 And in his weird qualifier of it, shocking. But let’s not forget he killed. So like what if he killed tens of Americans? Like is it not okay to blow him up in his, like his hometown town or something? What’s that threshold like? Where do you draw that line? It doesn’t, it’s so weird. The semantics of it. I, yeah. You know he goes on to say that the U S should expect that Iran will respond disproportionally, which strangely enough they didn’t do in their first response. They responded by attacking military targets, which they were very explicit about, which I thought was kind of interesting. He also added, it’s incumbent upon the administration to come to Congress and explain why they had to take the specific action in order to prevent harm to Americans abroad. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. Never, especially with impeachment.

Speaker 3: 00:39:41 He’s never going to do that now. And it’s all going to be mired and smoke and mirrors and, and pointing finger pointing and that, and there’ll be smothered because it’ll be sensitive information. It’s, that’s vital to national security and that’s how they’re going to get away with it. So we talked briefly about the effect on the foreign affairs, but let’s delve a little deeper in the blow back that we’re going to get from foreign affairs. So the European Gideon’s already stepped out and talked about this. A former European union, foreign affairs chief Frederica Frederica Mogherini has called for wisdom and rationality warning against a major scale confrontation and Italy’s what? We can roll that out. I just don’t think that the people in charge that you’re dealing with now on either side. Yeah, I feel bad. Like when I read statements like this from people, not just from Europe, but like even Trudeau to a certain extent, they all seem so calm and like, you know, level headed and then you hear a statement from Trump and he’s just like, I’m going to kill everyone.

Speaker 3: 00:40:47 We get them all just like, it’s just insane. The, the contrast between, you know, leaders hope that those who still believe in wisdom and rationality will prevail. That some of the diplomatic achievements of the past will be preserved and that a major scale confrontation will be avoided. An extremely dangerous escalation in the middle East. She says and the problem that I have is you don’t really have a storied history of positive diplomatic relations there. You had a little bit of an outreach by the Obama administration, but that lasted six years maybe. And that’s compared to 60 some years of America basically trying to strong arm its way in that region. And then the Trump administration comes in and starts at the same old policy again. So we really don’t have a lot of credibility, I don’t think in that region. I think the damages is too far.

Speaker 3: 00:41:53 You know, it’s already been done and I think it’s, it’s to the point where it would take, you know, double the amount of time to repair it that we’ve already done. I mean, dating, we dated, we’re dating back with Britain to 1914 it’s almost a hundred years of, of systematic manipulation and, and oppression to a certain extent. Yeah, I agree. Economically, at least European council, president Charles Michel called for an end to violent and provocative action in Iraq warning and a statement against a flare up of violence in the region. The cycle of violence, provocations and retaliations, which have witnessed in Iraq over the past few weeks has to stop. Okay. Go work. Sure. Yeah. The risk is a generalized flare up of violence in the whole region and the rise of obscure forces of terrorism that thrive at times of religious and national tensions. And I think that’s probably the most profound part to take from that statement is that when we run into these situations here, we’ve seen them time and time again in the past where the United States has forced an issue.

Speaker 3: 00:43:06 The United States is a superpower. Countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, they can’t compete with the United States on the grand scale of open warfare. So what do they do? They do. They resort to terrorist tactics, to guerrilla tactics. Everything that was used against the United States who was still the majority, you know, the major force in Vietnam and kicked us out of Vietnam after huge losses. The United States has proven time and time again. Did it cannot fight an unconventional war. Mainly based on humanitarian principles. You know, if you’re not going to play by the rules of the terrorists, then you shouldn’t play the terrorist game. And the United States and most of Western Europe refuses to play by those rules. Because they’re brutal. Could you see a drone strike assassinating a foreign general as an act of terrorism from the other side? I mean, it is. You’re the intent there was one to kill and to terrorize the rest of the staff to change their policies.

Speaker 3: 00:44:16 I mean, what’s the difference between a drone strike in a car bomb? You know, at that point you’re right. A couple of million dollars. That’s about it. So yeah, I mean, what we did was nothing more than a terrorist attack. Michelle statement is the first collective by the European union following the U S drone strike. It certainly not come to me. The last China chimed in as well. A United nations ambassador for China spoke about the killing of Soleimani and a U S strike before a closed door, United nations security council saying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq should be fully addressed. And I think that’s, you know, as much as assassinating open assassination of a foreign military asset outside of war is a whole issue in and of itself. The fact that you’re doing it on someone else’s soil is a whole nother issue.

Speaker 3: 00:45:12 But I also think we should take China’s word with a grain of salt and sitting there actively like taking pictures of people and like making them disappear. I don’t think we should take moral foreign advice from and from China, honestly. Well, yeah, they’re deaf. They definitely shouldn’t be our moral competence, but they do have a good point. Based on what you said there, it’s pretty bad when China has room to criticize us. Okay. So that, that itself is a problem. France came out at the United nation and call for de escalation of the situation too. Now France, granted France is not our biggest fan. It hasn’t been for years. But ultimately that leads to you know, Justin trio coming out with his statement against the United States. So now you’ve got the European unions specifically, you know, France included in there. You have China and you have Canada that are kind of pissed off at us at this point.

Speaker 3: 00:46:10 That’s not even counting them. The countries in the middle East. We’ll get to the allies. We’ll get to that in a minute. So the next thing that you have as a troop build up now. Okay. So the United States will deploy thousands of additional troops to the middle East as tensions with Iran. Mt. Following the air strike, the additional truths will come from the immediate response force of the 82nd airborne. These forces forces had been in place on prepare to deploy orders and would be sent to the region if the situation Marita, which at this point I can almost guarantee it. Well following the disturbance, the U S embassy in Baghdad, the U S deployed 750 troops from the same unit already. The new deployment encompasses the rest of the brigade, typically around 3000 soldiers. So we’re already building up troops over there, which just by doing that, you’re inflaming the situation. I’m not saying we probably don’t need them in there to protect what interests that we have, but you know when you go nose to nose where the bully that’s going to cause tangent. When you spit in the bully’s face, which is what we’re doing now, that’s just going to inflame things more. It’s like from

Speaker 4: 00:47:30 Before Wolf or run one, right where you had like Russia and England and all those countries mobilize on like a day and then the next day war broke out on multiple fronts across the country. Like when you do things like this, that’s not the escalating tension. That’s just making it more tense. It’s adding more gunpowder to the keg. You know when you have more people add it was staring contest. You’ve got more people that are going to blink and it’s like what? What are the troops kind of do like it, short of an invasion. Why are they there? Because we’re using, we’re clearly using missiles and drones to kill, like to fire at each other. It’s not like it’s ground warfare. Well, and that’s the thing, you know, I could certainly see you bringing in additional troops

Speaker 3: 00:48:10 For security. You’re going to secure your mic, you’re gonna pull your perimeters back. You’re going to minimize the chance of a car bomb getting by. Okay, that’s great. But they’re lobbying ballistic missiles at you.

Speaker 4: 00:48:21 You’re just putting more lives over it, right? Are you going to, what are you going to pile the bodies up to make it a little harder for them to kill you? I can imagine Trump or his advisors or whatever, we’re seeing this as a show of force. You know, if we, if we show them the might of the American army, then maybe they’ll back down. Except that they don’t care because they don’t need an army to match that because they, it’s just a more, it’s a bigger target that they can just shoot more missiles at. And that’s the thing. You’re not going to see a tsunami

Speaker 3: 00:48:47 Hussein responds where you’re going to have a row of tanks stand up against the United States. You’re going to have more, you know, terroristic attacks. And

Speaker 4: 00:48:56 Because they work and they they don’t need to do and putting more troops there is just

Speaker 3: 00:49:00 More targets of opportunity for the terror. Exactly. So regional stability. So protest against the current regime in Iran have already begun in the wake of a Downing of the passenger plane. President Trump has offered. And this is like,

Speaker 3: 00:49:19 I just wish he would shut up sometimes. That’s all. So okay, so you had protests that were, that before all this happened, the protesters and I ran were protested in the S burning us flags, burning Trump and effigy and they hated the U S so then you have this escalation, you have this accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian plane and now the protesters are protesting their own government and Iran. So what does Trump do? Instead of just sitting back and thinking, okay, job well done. Let them do their job. Trump steps out in offers words of support to the supporters and Iran further raising tensions. PSI. Good job guys. Yeah, get mad at your people over there. Cause we’re the good guys now. Right? And like it’s, is it really gonna end that way? No. Cause they, they hate us as much as they hate their own government at this point.

Speaker 4: 00:50:14 I’d wager they hate us more cause at least their government has a face they can yell at their government has the guns that are right there 5,000 miles of crossing the ocean, pulling the strings for them. They haven’t even met us or seen us, you know. Yeah. So the thing that

Speaker 3: 00:50:28 Kind of really was the other boot dropping as I ran has requested the departure of all American forces from their country in the wake of the unauthorized a tech go figure that United States attacks our country and kills a foreign dignitary and what a wreck was just supposed to accept that and Pat you on the back end. Thank you for it. He wasn’t in the country on vacation. He was there for a reason. So now Iraq is now pissed off at the United States and wants to side of the country which will destabilize the region. Even more guitars. Amir Sheikh to meme, Ben , Hammad Al Donnie, that’s a really long name. And Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau have held phone conversations during which the two leaders agreed on a knee the DSK. So Justin Trudeau is now building friendships in the middle East in the wake of this.

Speaker 4: 00:51:25 Is it an election year for Canada? I don’t know cause Trudeau’s been getting some bad press. I wouldn’t be surprised if that capitalize on it.

Speaker 3: 00:51:33 He could certainly be capitalizing on that.

Speaker 4: 00:51:35 Not saying it’s a bad thing, you know, it just might serve an anterior purpose.

Speaker 3: 00:51:39 Right. So to summarize where we are right now, the United States has spent 60 years pissing off the people of the middle East. Our tensions have risen at this point in time because we’re openly assassinating people. Generals of Iran in other people’s countries. The European union, China, I’m pretty much every responsible nation out there is calling us on the carpet for being terrorist basically. So we’ll come back and we’ll look at where we think this whole mess is going to go. So I took the Liberty of putting the gas, they gather some scenarios where I think this could go and I want to get your thoughts on it. So the first scenario is the most obvious one, and that’s continued escalation is very likely under the Trump administration. It’s going to get worse. Trump’s already threatening more sanctions against Iran and it’s a lead up to an election year and Trump needs a win and foreign policy affairs to solidify his run. What do you think about, you think that’s the most likely scenario or how do you feel about that?

Speaker 4: 00:52:51 Probably, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to be seen as a foreign policy when though even by his supporters, I don’t, I, I mean there’s a certain amount of delusion that comes with, with it, you know, that they just blindly support him from what I’ve seen anyway. For people that I know that support him and things like that, but I don’t see how you could spin this as a positive other than just pure, you know, American military might and you know, wanting to support that. But when the entire world, or at least money in the major powers in the world are saying that this is wrong, it’s difficult to be ignorant of that. And it’s difficult to ignore that. And I don’t, I think at this point pretty much, no matter what he does except for maybe deescalation would be seen as a win. I don’t even think if he deescalated it would be seen as a win because I think he’s done doing damage already for whoever, even if he gets reelected or whoever takes over after him.

Speaker 3: 00:53:45 Well, and it’s hard to claim a whim when you cause the problem and then fix it or trying to fix it is it is. So the next scenario I see is, is that we do deescalate tensions. It’s, it’s unlikely under the current administration, but it is an election year. You know, we’re not, we’re not making this a whole political thing here, but there’s a chance that Trump isn’t president after the election. Do you think somebody else can come in and do this? I think it’s going to be difficult under the Karen Iranian regime unless that regime changes as well. But do you think of of the democratic candidates now, do you think of any one of those wins? The election becomes president, that they’re going to be able to go in there and fix this?

Speaker 4: 00:54:29 I think it would be a repeat of what we got with Obama. Right? I mean we had George Bush who escalated things, did the, not to the extent that Trump is doing, but he ramped up our presence in the region, you know, inflamed those tensions that’d be, had Obama come in and kind of calm things down. I mean Obama is still used, drone strikes a lot and killed a lot of people. But for the overall foreign affairs side of it, he did calm things down. Then we’ve got Trump that said a little bag again. Right. So I think, I think if we get a Democrat in office that they’re definitely gonna try to ask. I don’t think they’re gonna, you know, want to go to war. It doesn’t seem like they’re kind of thing. But I, I’m not sure how far deescalation would go without it looking like the United States is just playing rolling over, which I don’t think would sit well either. So

Speaker 3: 00:55:13 That’s a good point. I agree with you there. So the other scenario that I see or the other question I guess really that I see from those two scenarios is how does the regional stability play out? So I ran in Iraq are grown openly hostile to the U S already other minis countries are charming and, and showing their discontent towards the U S policies and regime regime change in Iran appears that appears to be influenced by the U S could have wide ranging impacts. So right now the, the citizens are protesting the government. If there is a forceful change of regime there, it’s very likely to be attributed to us interference. How do you think that’s gonna play out in regional stability in the Arab world?

Speaker 4: 00:56:02 I think it might help unite them. Maybe. I mean, if they have a common enemy, which is us it might help just like, you know, there’s, there’s, I had a history teacher that said there always has to be an other, you know, we have, you know, the Nazis though, they were the other, there’s always gotta be an enemy for someone to get behind. And I think in this case the United States actions make them the other for the middle East and it, it might help them get behind something, maybe put aside their differences, which might be a negative thing in the long run cause it would make the home a larger threat. But it would also maybe stop the killing and the infighting. I’m really not sure. I think there’s so many factors in play that it’s almost impossible, you know, to try to call it.

Speaker 3: 00:56:42 Yeah. And Sandy, I think you’re right. I think we tend to play that other, the bad guy and the, especially when it comes to the middle East and we’ve played that role and we’ve owned it since the Eisenhower administration. And I think it’s, it’s been dangerous for the region. So I have to ask the nuclear question. Okay. Iran is already stepping up efforts to develop their nuclear capability. They’ve already said that in the wake of these attacks the U S has already pulled out of the Obama nuclear treaty and a nuclear armed Irfan could seriously be stabilized the region. How do you think Duke’s are gonna play into this if I rang, gets a nuclear weapon?

Speaker 4: 00:57:27 Well, you mentioned it earlier and I think it’s a pretty likely scenario where it’s, it’s a contained thing just to that area. I think in originally I had the sense that it wouldn’t with Mugisha destruction, but, but you definitely changed my mind on that with fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism and how that ties into the culture and the tactics. So I think if, if they were to be used, it would be self-contained. I do wonder though, if they might try to do some kind of rogue attack in the United States, but I think that would not end well for anyone. And I think that they would be able to see that as well, even if it’s not mutually assured destruction. I think that that would, I think that’s might be even too far, you know, for them. So I think it would be something self-contained just in that area.

Speaker 3: 00:58:15 So the impact on future administration. So even if Trump is reelected, he’s only got another term to go another four years. So what do you think the negative impact on future administrations for the next four to six years? Probably would be

Speaker 4: 00:58:32 If Trump’s elected or no? Well, just that region

Speaker 3: 00:58:36 Whoever, whatever administration we have,

Speaker 4: 00:58:38 Well I think it’s terrible. It’s pretty bad. We didn’t really have, I mean even with Obama we didn’t really have anything positive. I mean we did a positive but not nearly as much as we should have. And we were just getting a foot in the door and you know, that door was done, slammed and torn down and you know, blown up 10 different ways. So I think no matter who’s in power, I think if the situation is going to remain pretty similar for the next four to six years, unless some miracle happens where you know, peep, rationality, ne wisdom end up prevailing, which is highly unlikely.

Speaker 3: 00:59:10 What do you think about the United States, his ability to, to form an international coalition moving forward now with so many countries against us? Do you think there’s any of doing that right now or preparing what we have in doing it in the future?

Speaker 4: 00:59:25 I think that’s also highly unlikely. I think if anything it would go the other way. I think that they would form a coalition against us which would be pretty dangerous. And I think the U S is running out of allies to deal with the situation since most countries if they realize that there’s no power play in it for them would probably just wipe their hands of it. Not to mention China and Russia doing joint military exercises, North Korea being involved with that as well. I mean you’ve got a, almost a coalition of super powers as well, maybe pulling strings behind the scenes. So it’s, I think it’s all bad.

Speaker 3: 01:00:02 Yeah, no, I, and I, and I agree. I think you’re right. It’s to say that it’s an uphill battle would be an understatement. And I think what influence we had in the region previously, I think we’ve kind of spent all that currency at this point in time and we don’t really have much in the way of control there. That was all I had to talk about. Did you have anything you wanted to add?

Speaker 4: 01:00:27 Just, and it’s, it’s, it’s pretty simple, but you know, when we, when we’re talking about it, you know, two white guys in suburban New Jersey, you have to remember that the people being effected by this ultimately are the people that live there. And when we’re fighting these proxy Wars, and when the people in charge thousands of miles away from the civilians in the middle East, they’re the ones that are going to end up getting killed. And as well as the U S troops as well. They’re the ones being sent over there to fight the dirty work and do the dirty work of the people in power. And I think that a lot of that gets overlooked. And I think that a lot of the focus in maybe the media or in just discourse is, you know, I can’t believe Trump did this or I can’t believe we did. You know, we did that drone strike. But ultimately there’s a human cost to this. And I think that that’s something we should, you know, think about.

Speaker 3: 01:01:13 That’s a very good point. And it really is. I mean, not only is there an immediate cost, you know, in the lives that are affected by this, but you look, you know, 20, 30 years down the line and the orphans that we’re making today are the terrorists that we’re going to have to deal with, you know, in the future. So, very good point there, but I think that was it for today. I think a good podcast, rough subject to do it on, but I think it was, you know, had to be done, right. Yeah, absolutely. You can check our podcasts out at online on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/insights into things. You can email us@commentsatinsightsintothings.com. You can get our audio@podcastdotinsightsintotomorrow.com. You can hit us on Facebook at facebook.com/insights into things podcast, or you can hit us on Twitter at insights underscore things. And I think we’re done for another one in the books and we’re out.

Show Notes

Introductions

  • Insights Into Tomorrow Episode 3 “Battleground Iran”
  • My co-host Sam Whalen
      

Introduction

  • This is the first in a recurring series of episodes where we’ll explore the past and present foreign policies the United States shares with other countries and look at the future to see where that foreign policy may lead us.
      
    • Introductions
      • Insights Into Tomorrow Episode 3 “Battleground Iran”
      • My co-host Sam Whalen
          
    • Introduction
      • This is the first in a recurring series of episodes where we’ll explore the past and present foreign policies the United States shares with other countries and look the future to see where that foreign policy may lead us.
          
      • In this first Battleground episode we look at Iran. Home to the ancient civilization of the Persions Iran’s government has had a storied history with the United States starting back in the first half of the 20th century
          
      • We’ll take a look at the brief but tumultuous history to understand why tensions are so high between the two countries today.
          
      • We’ll explore where today’s relations stand, what’s at stake, what’s in dispute and what our paths forward might be.
          
      • Then we’ll take a look at the future of these two countries and try to speculate based on what we know as to how this nearly 75 year struggle will end up in the coming years
          
    • History of US-Iran relations
      • 1914
        • Great Britain obtained a majority stake in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company
      • 1935
        • The Anglo-Person Oil Company retained exclusive rights to the Iranian old fields
      • After World War II
        • Britain encountered political issues with their oil rights in Iran and turned to the United States to settle the matter.
        • Initially under the Truman administration the United States opposed British policies
      • 1952
        • American position on Iran and Britain shifted when Eisenhower was elected
        • British intelligence officials suggested to their American counterparts that the prime minister should be ousted
        • Churchill convinced Eisenhower that Prime Minister Mosaddegh was leaning towards adopting communist support
      • 1953
        • United States and Britain agree to work together to remove Mossaddegh from power
        • Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the CIA to draft plans to overthrow the Iranian government
        • The CIA’s “Operation Ajax” used various methods to convince Iran’s monarch to dismiss Mosaddegh
      • 1979
        • Iranian revolution where the US backed Shah  of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlevi is forced to leave the country
        • Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile to proclaim the Islamic Republic of Iran
        • The US embassy in Iran is seized by protestors and Americans taken prisoner for 444 days
      • 1985
        • Iran-Contra scandal; US Secretly ships weapons to Iran in exchange for Tehrans help in freeing US hostages held in Lebanon
      • 1988
        • USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian Air Flight over the Gulf killing 290 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims on their way to Mecca
      • 2002
        • US President George W. Bush denounces Iran as part of an “axis of evil”
        • Its revealed that Iran is developing nuclear facilities including a uranium enrichment plant
      • 2013
        • US President Obama and newly in place moderate Iranian president Hassan Rouhani talk by phone, the first such  top level conversation in more than 30 years
      • 2015
        • Iran agrees to long term deal on it’s nuclear program with a group of world powers including the US
      • 2018
        • US President Trump abandons the nuclear deal with Iran and reinstates sanctions on the country
        • Relations between the US and Iran rapidly deteriorate
        • US deploys a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the gulf
      • 2019
        • Explosions his six  oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the US blames Iran
        • Iranian forces shoot down a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz
        • Shiite militia group backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on a US base near Kirkuk Iraq killing a civilian contractor
        • United States conducts air strikes at five facilities in Iraq and Syria controled by Kataib Hezbollah, the group believed responsible for missile strikes on Kirkuk base
        • Pro-Iranian protesters demonstrating against American airstrikes attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad
        • Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani is killed by a US airstrike in Iraq
        • Iranian ballistic missiles strike two bases houses US forces in Iraq
        • A Ukrainian passenger jet was accidentally shot down by Iranian forces who blame the tragedy on “US adventurism”
        • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tensions between the US and Iran contributed to the downing of the Ukrainian flight that kill a number of Canadian citizens
  •  
    • Current Relationship between the US and Iran
      • The United States kill Iran’s most powerful General in a Baghdad airstrike
      • General Qassem Soleimani
        • Head of Iran’s elite Quds Force
        • Architect of Iran’s proxy wars in the middle east
        • US killed Soleimani because he was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”
        • The US also accused Soleimani of approving attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week
        • Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Soleimani “the international face of resistance”
        • Khamenei declared three days of public mourning for Soleimani
      • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded to the attack through his advisor Hessameddin Ashena
        • “Trump through his gamble has dragged the U.S. into the most dangerous situation in the region,”
        • “Whoever put his foot beyond the red line should be ready to face its consequences.”
      • Trumps Authority to Act
        • It’s unclear what legal authority the U.S. relied on to carry out the attack.
        • American presidents claim broad authority to act without the approval of the Congress when U.S. personnel or interests are facing an imminent threat.
        • The Pentagon did not provide evidence to back up its assertion that Soleimani was planning new attacks against Americans.
      • Domestic Blowback
        • Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Trump owes a full explanation to Congress and the American people.
        • “The present authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades,” Blumenthal said.
        • Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani “shocking… despite the fact that he unquestionably is responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans.”
        • Murphy said that the US should expect that Iran will respond disproportionately.
        • He added that “it is incumbent upon the administration to come to congress and explain why they had to take this specific action in order to prevent harm to Americans abroad.”
            
      • Foreign affairs blowback
        • EU
          • Former European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has called for “wisdom and rationality,” warning against a “major scale confrontation” in the Middle East.
          • “Hope that those who still believe in wisdom and rationality will prevail, that some of the diplomatic achievements of the past will be preserved, and that a major scale confrontation will be avoided,”
          •  “An extremely dangerous escalation in the Middle East,” she added.
          • European Council President Charles Michel called for an end to violent and provocative action in Iraq, warning in a statement against a “flare-up of violence” in the region.
            • “The cycle of violence, provocations and retaliations which we have witnessed In Iraq over the past few weeks has to stop,” Michel said, adding that “further escalations must be avoided at all costs.”
            • “The risk is a generalized flare-up of violence in the whole region and the rise of obscure forces of terrorism that thrive at times of religious and nationalist tensions,” Michel warned, reiterating that Iraq remains a “very fragile” country.
          • Michel’s statement is the first collective response by the European Union following a US drone strike in Baghdad which killed Iran’s top military commander, Qasem Soleimani.
        • China
          • United Nations ambassador from China spoke about the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a US strike before a closed-door United Nations Security Council consultation on the Middle East today.
          • China’s UN ambassador said “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq should be fully addressed.”
          • June declined to comment when asked whether Beijing officials had been in contact with Tehran since the killing of Soleimani.
        • France
          • United Nations ambassador from France spoke about the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a US strike before a closed-door United Nations Security Council consultation on the Middle East today.
          • France’s UN ambassador Nicolas de Riviere called for further de-escalation.
        • Canada
          • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tensions between the US and Iran contributed to the downing of the Ukrainian flight that kill a number of Canadian citizens
  •  
    • Troop Buildup
      • The US will deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran mount following the airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani
      • The additional troops will come from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division.
      • These forces had been placed on prepare-to-deploy orders and would be sent to the region if the situation merited it.
      • Following the disturbance at the US embassy in Baghdad, the US deployed 750 troops from the same unit and said that additional deployments were possible.
      • The new deployment will encompass the rest of the brigade, typically about 3,000 soldiers.
          
    • Regional Stability
      • Protests against the current regime in Iran have already begun in the wake of the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet that kill many Iranians on pilgrimage
      • President Trump has offered words of support to protesters in Iran further raising tensions
      • Iraq has requested a departure of all American forces from their country in the wake of unauthorized attacks on their soil
      • Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have held a phone conversation during which the two leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation in the region.
  •  
    • Looking to the future
      • Continued escalation
        • Very likely under a Trump administration
        • Trump already threatening more sanctions against Iran
        • The lead up to an election year, Trump needs a win on foreign affairs to solidify his run. Is that win a military or political defeat of Iran?
            
      • De-escalation of tensions
        • Unlikely under current administration
        • Difficult for current Iran regime to deescalate and not lose face or lose control of government
            
      • How does regional stability play out
        • Iran and Iraq are or are growing openly hostile to the US
        • Other Mid-East countries are chiming in showing their discontent to US policies
        • A regime change in Iran that appears to be influenced by the US could have wide ranging impacts
            
      • The nuclear question
        • Iran is already stepping up efforts to develop nuclear capability
        • US pulled out of the Obama nuclear treaty with Iran under the Trump administration
        • A nuclear armed Iran could seriously destabilize the region
            
      • Impact on future US administrations
        • Negative impact on future administrations for at least the next four to six years
        • Ability to form coalition forces in the region in the event of a new conflict is seriously jeopardized
        • Uphill battle to exercise any meaningful influence in the region for either political party for the immediate future
  •  
    • Closing Remarks and Shoutouts
  • In this first Battleground episode we look at Iran. Home to the ancient civilization of the Persions Iran’s government has had a storied history with the United States starting back in the first half of the 20th century
      
  • We’ll take a look at the brief but tumultuous history to understand why tensions are so high between the two countries today.
      
  • We’ll explore where today’s relations stand, what’s at stake, what’s in dispute and what our paths forward might be.
      
  • Then we’ll take a look at the future of these two countries and try to speculate based on what we know as to how this nearly 75 year struggle will end up in the coming years
      

History of US-Iran relations

  • 1914
    • Great Britain obtained a majority stake in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company
  • 1935
    • The Anglo-Person Oil Company retained exclusive rights to the Iranian old fields
  • After World War II
    • Britain encountered political issues with their oil rights in Iran and turned to the United States to settle the matter.
    • Initially under the Truman administration the United States opposed British policies
  • 1952
    • American position on Iran and Britain shifted when Eisenhower was elected
    • British intelligence officials suggested to their American counterparts that the prime minister should be ousted
    • Churchill convinced Eisenhower that Prime Minister Mosaddegh was leaning towards adopting communist support
  • 1953
    • United States and Britain agree to work together to remove Mossaddegh from power
    • Secretary of State John Foster Dulles directed the CIA to draft plans to overthrow the Iranian government
    • The CIA’s “Operation Ajax” used various methods to convince Iran’s monarch to dismiss Mosaddegh
  • 1979
    • Iranian revolution where the US backed Shah  of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlevi is forced to leave the country
    • Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returns from exile to proclaim the Islamic Republic of Iran
    • The US embassy in Iran is seized by protestors and Americans taken prisoner for 444 days
  • 1985
    • Iran-Contra scandal; US Secretly ships weapons to Iran in exchange for Tehrans help in freeing US hostages held in Lebanon
  • 1988
    • USS Vincennes shoots down an Iranian Air Flight over the Gulf killing 290 people, mostly Iranian pilgrims on their way to Mecca
  • 2002
    • US President George W. Bush denounces Iran as part of an “axis of evil”
    • Its revealed that Iran is developing nuclear facilities including a uranium enrichment plant
  • 2013
    • US President Obama and newly in place moderate Iranian president Hassan Rouhani talk by phone, the first such  top level conversation in more than 30 years
  • 2015
    • Iran agrees to long term deal on it’s nuclear program with a group of world powers including the US
  • 2018
    • US President Trump abandons the nuclear deal with Iran and reinstates sanctions on the country
    • Relations between the US and Iran rapidly deteriorate
    • US deploys a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the gulf
  • 2019
    • Explosions his six  oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the US blames Iran
    • Iranian forces shoot down a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz
    • Shiite militia group backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on a US base near Kirkuk Iraq killing a civilian contractor
    • United States conducts air strikes at five facilities in Iraq and Syria controled by Kataib Hezbollah, the group believed responsible for missile strikes on Kirkuk base
    • Pro-Iranian protesters demonstrating against American airstrikes attacked the US Embassy in Baghdad
    • Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani is killed by a US airstrike in Iraq
    • Iranian ballistic missiles strike two bases houses US forces in Iraq
    • A Ukrainian passenger jet was accidentally shot down by Iranian forces who blame the tragedy on “US adventurism”
    • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tensions between the US and Iran contributed to the downing of the Ukrainian flight that kill a number of Canadian citizens
  • Current Relationship between the US and Iran
    • The United States kill Iran’s most powerful General in a Baghdad airstrike
    • General Qassem Soleimani
      • Head of Iran’s elite Quds Force
      • Architect of Iran’s proxy wars in the middle east
      • US killed Soleimani because he was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”
      • The US also accused Soleimani of approving attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week
      • Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Soleimani “the international face of resistance”
      • Khamenei declared three days of public mourning for Soleimani
    • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded to the attack through his advisor Hessameddin Ashena
      • “Trump through his gamble has dragged the U.S. into the most dangerous situation in the region,”
      • “Whoever put his foot beyond the red line should be ready to face its consequences.”
    • Trumps Authority to Act
      • It’s unclear what legal authority the U.S. relied on to carry out the attack.
      • American presidents claim broad authority to act without the approval of the Congress when U.S. personnel or interests are facing an imminent threat.
      • The Pentagon did not provide evidence to back up its assertion that Soleimani was planning new attacks against Americans.
    • Domestic Blowback
      • Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Trump owes a full explanation to Congress and the American people.
      • “The present authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a possible new war. This step could bring the most consequential military confrontation in decades,” Blumenthal said.
      • Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the targeted killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani “shocking… despite the fact that he unquestionably is responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans.”
      • Murphy said that the US should expect that Iran will respond disproportionately.
      • He added that “it is incumbent upon the administration to come to congress and explain why they had to take this specific action in order to prevent harm to Americans abroad.”
          
    • Foreign affairs blowback
      • EU
        • Former European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has called for “wisdom and rationality,” warning against a “major scale confrontation” in the Middle East.
        • “Hope that those who still believe in wisdom and rationality will prevail, that some of the diplomatic achievements of the past will be preserved, and that a major scale confrontation will be avoided,”
        •  “An extremely dangerous escalation in the Middle East,” she added.
        • European Council President Charles Michel called for an end to violent and provocative action in Iraq, warning in a statement against a “flare-up of violence” in the region.
          • “The cycle of violence, provocations and retaliations which we have witnessed In Iraq over the past few weeks has to stop,” Michel said, adding that “further escalations must be avoided at all costs.”
          • “The risk is a generalized flare-up of violence in the whole region and the rise of obscure forces of terrorism that thrive at times of religious and nationalist tensions,” Michel warned, reiterating that Iraq remains a “very fragile” country.
        • Michel’s statement is the first collective response by the European Union following a US drone strike in Baghdad which killed Iran’s top military commander, Qasem Soleimani.
      • China
        • United Nations ambassador from China spoke about the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a US strike before a closed-door United Nations Security Council consultation on the Middle East today.
        • China’s UN ambassador said “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq should be fully addressed.”
        • June declined to comment when asked whether Beijing officials had been in contact with Tehran since the killing of Soleimani.
      • France
        • United Nations ambassador from France spoke about the killing of Qasem Soleimani in a US strike before a closed-door United Nations Security Council consultation on the Middle East today.
        • France’s UN ambassador Nicolas de Riviere called for further de-escalation.
      • Canada
        • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says tensions between the US and Iran contributed to the downing of the Ukrainian flight that kill a number of Canadian citizens
  • Troop Buildup
    • The US will deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East as tensions with Iran mount following the airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani
    • The additional troops will come from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division.
    • These forces had been placed on prepare-to-deploy orders and would be sent to the region if the situation merited it.
    • Following the disturbance at the US embassy in Baghdad, the US deployed 750 troops from the same unit and said that additional deployments were possible.
    • The new deployment will encompass the rest of the brigade, typically about 3,000 soldiers.
        
  • Regional Stability
    • Protests against the current regime in Iran have already begun in the wake of the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet that kill many Iranians on pilgrimage
    • President Trump has offered words of support to protesters in Iran further raising tensions
    • Iraq has requested a departure of all American forces from their country in the wake of unauthorized attacks on their soil
    • Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have held a phone conversation during which the two leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation in the region.
  • Looking to the future
    • Continued escalation
      • Very likely under a Trump administration
      • Trump already threatening more sanctions against Iran
      • The lead up to an election year, Trump needs a win on foreign affairs to solidify his run. Is that win a military or political defeat of Iran?
          
    • De-escalation of tensions
      • Unlikely under current administration
      • Difficult for current Iran regime to deescalate and not lose face or lose control of government
          
    • How does regional stability play out
      • Iran and Iraq are or are growing openly hostile to the US
      • Other Mid-East countries are chiming in showing their discontent to US policies
      • A regime change in Iran that appears to be influenced by the US could have wide ranging impacts
          
    • The nuclear question
      • Iran is already stepping up efforts to develop nuclear capability
      • US pulled out of the Obama nuclear treaty with Iran under the Trump administration
      • A nuclear armed Iran could seriously destabilize the region
          
    • Impact on future US administrations
      • Negative impact on future administrations for at least the next four to six years
      • Ability to form coalition forces in the region in the event of a new conflict is seriously jeopardized
      • Uphill battle to exercise any meaningful influence in the region for either political party for the immediate future
  • Closing Remarks and Shoutouts

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