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Iran has every right to fight back against any such aggression, and every anti-imperialist leftist should advocate its victory in any such fight. Whatever happens to Iran, can the Gulf countries, Israel, Western Europe, Japan, the entire US presence in the Middle East, the world economy, or, most trivially for everyone but him, the Trump presidency, survive that without catastrophic damage? Unfortunately, among the rulers and decision-makers in whose hands Donald Trump is putty and, more fatally, among the populace, there is a strongly embedded assumption of inevitable, relatively-costless victory and an infinite ability to control outcomes.

They think the US will be able to do to Iran what it has done to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria: impose catastrophic destruction at will, without suffering serious and deadly consequence in return. In Afghanistan, the US is hoping it can strike a deal with the Taliban it came to defeat sixteen years ago. Indeed, neither elites nor populace seem able to recognize that Iran is not Syria.

Iran does not have the weaknesses Syria has faced for the last decade, and it is precisely determined not to allow them to develop. Iran will not allow itself to be struck at will by the US or its ward state, Israel, without punching back. Iran is calling the US bluff on escalation dominance. It knows it can be hurt, but not defeated. It is a country of 83 million people, with , square miles of formidable, semi-mountainous territory—almost three times more populous and four times larger than Iraq. It will not hesitate to defend itself furiously against any American attack.

It could target U. It could cripple U. It could employ Hezbollah and other groups to stage terrorist attacks abroad.

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It could send local militias armed with missiles and car bombs to attack the 19, U. It could tell the Houthis in Yemen to unleash a missile barrage against Saudi Arabia and it could order Hezbollah to fire , rockets and missiles at Israel. All the US can do is blow a lot of stuff up. As Iran understands, they are already at war.

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That fire can easily become a conflagration—and Iran understands every jump of the flame. Unlike Libya or Syria, Iran has obtained or locally produced versions of all but fully hypersonic ASMs, and can launch them from the air, from mobile carriers, from submarines, and from a ring of concealed and hardened sites around the Persian Gulf and the narrow Strait of Hormuz—confined sea quarters where a Nimitz-class carrier is, indeed, a very big and close target.

But now it is a target and the threats have switched to opportunities. Iran is not hiding its tells. If Iran sinks, or even hits and seriously damages a US carrier, there will be enormous pressure on Trump to absolutely devastate Iran.

Iran knows that, and is ready to respond to it with as much devastating force as it can muster, hitting any target it can. It will think. Who within the United States, during that war on Iran, will protest? Because Israel, like Iran, and unlike the US public, from whom this knowledge is assiduously hidden in the weeds of deliberately dishonest blather, knows what this conflict is about.

As Bolton and Pompeo keep saying, the goalposts have been changed entirely.

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Or should we say, finally revealed? Iran must cease its support of Hezbollah, the most effective frontline fighting force, which prevented the Israeli seizure of South Lebanon. It must abandon the Palestinians, the Syrians, and the Lebanese, and neuter itself militarily, giving up any strategic weapons. Iran must agree to become a country that can be bombed at will by Israel and the US, as Syria is for the moment. The rest, including Iranian nuclear weapons, is diversionary bullshit.

The US political and media establishment would turn on a dime against Saudi Arabia if Israel deemed that to be in its essential national interest. There is no possibility that that establishment would turn against Israel because Saudi Arabia wanted it. The US political and media establishment is thoroughly committed to Zionism; they will never be committed to Wahhabism. The interest and demands of Israel and Zionism are determinative of US policy in a way that Saudi interests and demands will never be.

It is impossible to understand U. Middle East policy without realizing the overwhelming influence of Israel on it and on opinion makers. Though there are always other considerations, we would not have undertaken any of those wars but for the US commitment to Israel and Zionism.

Why the carriers may not leave the danger zone. Did I mention— Does anybody ever? Ace in the hole, that they will play if necessary to steal the pot. And given the actually-existing US polity, I think an enormously destructive conflict with Iran is virtually inevitable. That may be happening. Either Trump is an extraordinarily reasonable and compassionate commander-in-chief, or he blinked. Definitely not Barack or Hillary!

This time, someone—either a wise counsellor or his inner grasshopper—told Trump not to raise. Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist. Fearless Muckraking Since Join the debate on Facebook. More articles by: Jim Kavanagh.

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