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Childish Diplomacy: Donald Trump’s New Play Against Iran


Submited by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Diplomacy has been seen historically as a practitioner’s art, nurtured in schools of learning, tested and tried in the boardrooms of mild mannered summitry.  Klemens von Metternich and Otto von Bismarck practiced it with varying degrees of ruthlessness and skill; the man who thought himself a modern incarnation of the Austrian statesman, Henry Kissinger, dedicated a text to the subject which has become the force-fed reading of many a modern student of international affairs. (Kissinger, for his part, was a pygmy shadow of his hero-worshipped subject.)

Childish Diplomacy: Donald Trump’s New Play Against Iran


The Trump administration is supplying another version: diplomacy, not as subtle art but as childish outrage and pressings, brinkmanship teasingly encouraging of war.  The result of the latest round of bile-filled spats between Iran and the United States is that diplomacy has ceased to exist, becoming a theatrical show demanding the lowest admission fees.

On Monday, Washington announced that another round (how many will they be?) of sanctions would be imposed.  They are of a very specific, personal nature, though their effect is one of insult rather than tangible effect.  Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, deemed by Trump “ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime”, is the crowning glory of the list, as are his appointments and those in his office.  An important aspect of the sanctioning lies in the allegation that the Ayatollah has access to a vast fund that showers largesse upon the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.

Some eight commanders of the Revolutionary Guard, including the commander of the unit responsible for shooting down the exorbitantly priced RQ-4A Global Hawk last Thursday, have also made the list. This effort was seen as proof that Iran’s air defences worked, a dastardly thing in the mind of any Pentagon wonk.  Jeremy Binnie of Jane’s Defence Weekly, throwing petrol on the fire, suggested on CNN that, “when the Iranians really make investment, it can really count”.

The response from Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was one of seething displeasure, marked by a medical diagnosis.  The Ayatollah was a man of modest possessions, owning “a Hoseyniyyeh [prayer venue] and a simple house”.  Then came the snipe.  “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks.  The White House is afflicted by mental disability and does not know what to do.”

Trump was obligingly apocalyptic.  “Any attack on Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.  In some areas overwhelming means obliteration.”  Short of obliteration, US policy is designed to throttle, and, in so doing, create the pretext for war.

The tweets from Trump on Iran read like self-portraits of psychological affirmation, disturbed yet consistent.  Broadly speaking, they are also brief notes towards a character of the US imperium, suggesting the psychopath open to both sanctimonious violence and condescending dialogue.  “America is a peace-loving nation,” Trump assures us.  “We do not seek conflict with Iran or any other country.  I look forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous and productive nation.”  He insists that this could happen “tomorrow” or “years from now.”

Iran is the Rorschach inkblot, supplying the pattern upon which meaning can be imposed:  “Iran [sic] leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ and ‘compassion,’ they never have,” goes one remark.  “Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone”.  The only thing Strength and Power comprehend in the shallow expanse of Trumpland are, naturally, Strength and Power.

This play of psychological mirroring also finds form in the utterances of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who seems to have turned purist on matters of budgeting and transparency.  Khamenei, he argues, “has enriched himself at the expense of the Iranian people.” His office oversees “a vast network of tyranny and corruption.”  No neater and concise description of Trump business practice could be possible, but here it is, being applied to a foreign power in terms more appropriate for an ascetic order of monks.

False empathy, doled out in spades, is also necessary: victims must be found, even as they are being victimised by the virtuous.  In one sense, Trump sticks to another traditional theme of US foreign policy, praising the people a policy punishes even as it seeks to distance them from the leadership.  Sanctions, blunt and broad, rarely find their mark, and usually fall indiscriminately upon the target populace.  “The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all.”

The current round of sanctions, in any case, have been given the heave-ho in terms of effect by such figures as former Treasury sanctions specialist Elizabeth Rosenberg, who sees their application as being “in the realm of the symbolic.”  And what dangerous symbolism it is proving to be.

Wiped of history, the context of such sputtering is isolated, ignoring the bountiful US contribution to the creation of the Iranian theocracy.  The role of the Central Intelligence Agency in sending Iran’s Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh packing in 1953, assisted by their British cousins, leaving the way for a quarter century of byzantine, eccentric and occasionally cruel rule by Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, was deemed an exemplar of destabilisation.  Even then, the scribes of the CIA effort were alert enough to note that unintended consequences could arise from such enthusiastic meddling.  “Blowback” became intelligence argot, and after September 11, 2001, has become the signature term for the actions of aggrieved nations.  The effort to push Iran towards war even as tinfoil claims are made to embrace peace, sink under that realisation.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com



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  • Jacob “Wraith” Wohl

    the time will come when Trump decides to go full force against mullah regime iran. and there aint gonna be no turnin’ back! USAF and US Navy will have a field day turkey shoot picking off Iranian targets one by one :-]

    • Raptar Driver

      What is he waiting for, is his vagina hurting?

      • Ishyrion Av

        wohl’s vagina is hurting

        • Concrete Mike

          You mean the fuel pump for his rocket nose??

    • John Whitehot

      u mad bro.

    • goingbrokes

      What happened to the tomahawks? I thought you were going to say they are going to rain tomahawks on them!!!

      • Ishyrion Av

        tomahawks rained in an empty desert last time and US is still trying to find them

  • FrontLine

    Preparing the invasion of Iran: the US empire regroups its proxies in Afghanistan

    • John Whitehot

      invasion from where? the US has no place to springboard a large enough force into Iran.

      Unless someone believe that the USMC and USN are able to open and keep a beachhead at any point of the Iranian coast which would be the craziest thing ever done in a war.

      • PZIVJ

        Exactly, From where and with what force.
        Any landing would be worse than Gallipoli. :)

        • John Whitehot

          I get the impression that this could be one of those all-american things where they deploy their favourite bullshittery, the one where they lock their eyes onto another guy and the other guy blinks.

          i’m expecting them to exploit (or entirely create) some event that can make the ziomedias tell just that, so that they can go home without losing face. Although the ones who’ll lose their faces are only Bolton, Pompeo and the bunch of zionists they faithfully serve.

          I could be wrong; in that case, they’ll try to bomb Iran and it would be a disaster for both sides and the region in general.

      • Ishyrion Av

        There will be no invasion from US, simply because US army are naturally cowards. It will be a bombing campaign, like over Serbia, if US will be sure they are safe. If Iran can defend its air space, nothing much will happen.

        • John Whitehot

          “because US army are naturally cowards”

          they prefer saying that they take all measures to minimize losses.

          i wouldn’t call them cowards, that would be a word more apt to wahabists, for example.

          Though, all branches of the US military in general seem to have forgotten what is like to be shot at.

          Now, when you are protecting your people, as a servicemen you accept being shot and even killed.
          But when you have to die (and kill) only to make a bunch of jews have more money and power like in this case, then it’s not cowardly to refuse to die – it’s actually the other way around.

    • adzsiam

      Frankly, I doubt very much there will be a military invasion of Iran. The best the US can do, strategy wise, is to isolated and strangle the nation through the blockade or destruction of economic / financial choke points via sanctions, surgical strikes, limited invasions and enforcement of will (with the cooperation of regional ‘allies’ who are either rewarded or coerced. ) The desired results will take time and its not like Iran will sit placidly for that to happen. If the will of the common Persians buckle, then the future of the present government will be in doubt. We just have to look at Iran’s history to get the idea.

      • Tommy Jensen

        If there can be 120 000 radicals in Idlib, there can be the same in Afghanistan from where “moderate rebels” can invade Iran, backed by US Air Force and Allies.

        Remember the world is full of psycos willing to do the job as foreign mercenaries.

  • Sorna Karbaschi

    By reading this article, I just can come to one conclusion, that Trump’s Head is playing with His Ass. !

  • Rob

    Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter Valeria drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross into the US from Mexico, June 24, 2019.


    • Ishyrion Av

      First of all, get lost with images taken who knows where and by who knows who and with who knows who.
      Second, if there is a man who took a small child to such a risky expedition (and without anything deadly pushing him from back), that man is a murder.
      And third, no matter how you or me feel about Trump, in this matter he is protecting the country’s borders as he is required to do so. He is right in this matter.
      Fourth, everybody should stay in his own country.

      • Rob

        That’s I mean white people, Trump and Israel should move their asses out of America, Palestine, Syria etc to their own native lands. White people do not belongs to America, Palestine, Syria.

        • Ishyrion Av

          You would be surprised to find out how much white are many Syrians.
          As for America, this discussion is too general. If you talk about North America, it was colonized by a majority of Caucasian white people speaking English language (and France in north). If you talk about South America, as far as I know, Spanish and Portuguese – who colonized it – are still Caucasian, so they are white. If the color changed is because they mixed up with local populations, darker in skin.
          So, where in America white people does not belong???
          Why you placed Palestine problem in your comment now? To make it closer with the article’s subject?

    • John Whitehot

      those who are exploiting these pictures to promote their human-trafficking agendas are much worse than anyone they might be pointing at as the responsible for these deaths.

      Human traffickers in Europe and the US are the main responsible for all the bad that might happen to illegal migrants. They are the ones that started this fuckery, in particular people like Soros, who are hellbent on change the current world order to one of zionist domination – the first step of this being to create contrast and hate between the non-jewish peoples.

      • Rob

        This is not due to human trafficking, open your eyes. Trump have imposed sanctions on every single country in the world. People should have to live. Therefore, they are moving towards America for survival.

        • John Whitehot

          Well, today you couldn’t switch a channel on the TV without seeing the picture, at least in Europe.

          The medias have lost all shame, and clearly show how low they will get to manipulate the public, in this case, making it feel guilty about migrants. Where the pic comes or what is about has no importance – it’s the usage they are making of it.

          Also, one way or another, it got its way to SF as well (although only because of an user)

      • Tommy Jensen

        The problem is the human traffickers are US Mercenary companies getting paid by CIA and Co and in cooperation with Authorities.

        • John Whitehot

          the CIA normally isn’t the one that pays.

          it’s the one that gets paid.

          • Tommy Jensen

            middleman………Saudi, Qatar, UE, Wall street, probably pays the bill.

          • John Whitehot

            they have always had their direct connections with all the world players big in money and in need of some dirty work.

            Remember Kiki Camarena?

            He was a DEA agent, working undercover inside the mexican cartel of Tijuana. He was discovered, tortured and killed by the narcos. The reason: the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and basically made sure that the Tijuana cartel was free to reach into the US.

            Kiki Camarena was about to break this racket, but the CIA agents (basically the only ones having access to his personal file as a fed) sold him to the cartel, well knowing that he would be killed in the worse way possible.

  • chris chuba

    Next Trump will sanction the woman who does Khamenei’s laundry and a bus driver in Tehran.

  • RichardD

    There’s a simpler way to describe the situation. The US and Israeli Zionists led by Trump and Netanyahu are spewing gargantuan Orwellian 1984 lies that any rational person can see are complete idiocy.

  • Sinbad2

    The diplomacy might be childish, but he is playing to American voters, and it works.

    • Vitex

      You’ve seen that movie Idiocracy, right? There is no way of describing the idiocy of the average US voter

      • Ishyrion Av

        I think average voter in any country is not really smart. Even educated people fall for MSM manipulation, so let’s not judge.

        • Sinbad2

          I tried politics once, and I know how stupid the average Australian voter can be, but no way can Australian politicians get away with the kind of BS American politicians get away with.

  • RichardD

    I don’t think that the Jews and their Zionist sycophants who attacked America

  • Veritas Vincit

    – “imposing a total embargo of Iranian oil exports is no less than an act of war….. For all practical purposes, the U.S. and Iran are at war.” (War on Iran & Calling America’s Bluff, by Pepe Escobar, April 24, 2019)

    As correctly assessed and stated by various analysts (summarised in the example above), forms of warfare against Iran are active and intensifying. Israel has also progressed the conflict to a more advanced stage:

    – “Last week, two important events took place, after which the situation remains tense.
    The first event is the Israeli blatant and manifest aggression against the T-4 base or airport on the outskirts of Homs, that targeted Iranian forces from the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution of Iran who were present there, hitting them with a large number of missiles, causing 7 martyrs among its officers and soldiers and wounding others. This was a new, significant and important event. Maybe some people do not pay attention to its importance and magnitude…..

    ……[the Israelis] must know that they have committed a historic mistake. This is not a simple blunder. They committed an act of great stupidity, and by this aggression, they entered in a direct confrontation with Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran…… As a comment on this incident, I stress that it constitutes a turning point in the situation of the region. What follows will be very different from what preceded it. This is an incident that cannot be considered lightly, contrary to what happens with many incidents here. It is a turning point, a historic turning point. And when the Israelis committed this stupid act, they had some assessment (of the situation), but I tell them that their evaluation is false.” [Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah]

    The Israelis have misinterpreted the current restraint of the Iranians. The Iranians are steadily building up their capabilities in preparation for the almost inevitable situation of eventual direct kinetic conflict with Israel. As Israel continues actions of military aggression against Syria (and Iranian and Hezbollah targets within Syria), these allies are preparing to eventually liberate Syrian, Lebanese Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel (at the very least). Unfortunately as diplomacy is and will remain largely ineffective (the posture of the U.S.-Israel-allied bloc remains confrontational, policies and actions remain based on efforts to impose unacceptable terms while the perpetuation of an unresolved process that facilitates illegal territorial acquisition/expansion), logically other mechanisms will in time be employed when capabilities are more favourable.

    • Veritas Vincit

      But developing conflicts are not isolated to the Middle East. Similar forms of warfare (hybrid/unconventional/irregular warfare involving economic warfare, proxy warfare, cyber warfare, etc.) are also active against the Russian Federation:

      – “I think everybody understands that an undeclared war against us is underway…..” [Russian State Duma’s Budget and Tax Committee Andrey Makarov] said. (“Undeclared war” forces Russia to boost defense spending — minister, Tass, October 27, 2018)

      – “if data on Russia-NATO power balance at the Western direction is analyzed, as well as military activity build-up rate at our borders, scale of combat equipment deployment, if the grade of Russia’s demonization is estimated, one can say that preparation to a real war is taking place. [Such] acts are usually undertaken at the forefront of a war [and it is evident] the US is preparing for a [potential] nuclear conflict……” [Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, President of the International Centre of Geopolitical Analysis]

      “Apparently they [US and EU officials] have dedicated themselves, and continue to do so, to deeply and thoroughly studying the doctrine of Dr. Goebbels. . . They present everything backwards from reality. It is one of the formulas which Nazi propaganda employed most successfully: . . . They accuse the party that is defending itself, of aggression. What is happening in Ukraine and Syria is a project of the West, a new type of war: … wars today begin with psychological and information warfare operations. . . under the cover of information commotion, U.S. ships are entering the Black Sea, that is, near Ukraine. They are sending marines, and they have also begun to deploy more tanks in Europe. . . We see that on the heels of the disinformation operation a land-sea, and possibly air operation is being prepared.” (Russian General [Leonid Ivashov]: ‘We Are At War’, February 22, 2014)

      – “We know what will happen year after year, and they know that we know… Russia will no longer play games with the USA and get involved in deals in the dark. Russia is ready for serious negotiations, only if they contribute to collective security. All aspects of global security now lie in ruins. There are no more international guarantees for security and the country responsible for the destruction of the global security is the USA. Russia does not intend to reform the world according to its own views, and will not allow itself to be reformed according to foreign views. Russia will not close itself for the world, but anyone who tries to close it to the world will harvest storms. Russia will not act as the savior of the world either, as in the past. Russia does not want war and does not intend to start a war. But today, Russia can see that the explosion of a global war is almost unavoidable and is prepared and will continue preparing. Russia does not want a war but is not afraid of a war. Those who get Russia involved in this process will learn the real meaning of pain”. [Vladimir Putin] (At the Threshold of a Third World War, Southfront, 12/09/2016), etc…..

      Economic warfare operations (to foment internal unrest/uprisings through engineering economic hardship/collapse) and the degradation of retaliatory capabilities is structured to precede kinetic operations (that are implemented upon the failure of other mechanisms to achieve ‘regime change’). This is the modus operandi of the USA and its involved allies. Recognising intensifying USA economic warfare actions in fact conform to acts of war, the limits of Iranian restraint will likely in time be exceeded. Counteractions will almost certainly follow. As the USA is uncompromising in its economic strangulation and ‘regime change’ objectives and is currently intensifying actions (at the direction of Israel and its network of USA based assets), the eventual outcome should be self-evident (the same concept applies to USA-NATO-allied bloc actions against the DPRK, the Russian Federation and China, with pre-war mobilisations being evident).

  • Xoli Xoli

    Foolish mentally rape minded Boltons spokesman Trump.Very arrogant one man rule mentality.

  • Xoli Xoli

    Never talk to this foolish time waiting Trump.