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US Democrat's 'Iran Policy' and the Tale of Two Superpowers

Saturday, October 20, 2007

K. Darbandi

“Make them…bleed for as much and as long as is possible”

“We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Council prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again—for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.” [1]  Full Text of Interview

Mr. Brzezinski, the chief geo-strategist for Carter of administration,- famous for having Human rights as its motto in foreign policy affairs,- currently is the foreign policy advisor to Democratic candidate Barack Obama. In precise and concise words, he provides the reader with a glimpse to the twofold process that US sets in motion in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Before the invasion of Iraq by US, this event is the last time a Superpower invades a country in that part of the world.

Understanding and analyzing his views on tactics used to pursue US interests in the region are of utmost importance. In this year of Electoral politics in US, following current discussions on ‘Iran policy’, one can not ignore Mr. Bzerzinski, who is the most prominent Democratic geo-strategist of the last 30 years. Understanding his policies in his own words, his vision and policy-making style might help one contemplate possibilities of US Iran policy in the aftermath of Democratic victory in next year’s presidential elections.

The Twofold Process

“We immediately launched a twofold process…The first involved direct reaction and sanctions…to increase the international costs…& the 2nd course of action… the purpose of which would be …to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible”

The course of action has two components to it: one direct, public and official, the other indirect, unlawful and covert. Direct action involves diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions, to “increase international costs” to an undesirable player in the region. The indirect set of actions are military in nature, and with the purpose of bleeding the enemy “for as much and as long as it is possible.”

For direct action, the UN is a useful tool, International Law is invoked and overt Sanctions and Boycotts are publicized as the official response. Simultaneously, a parallel process is set into motion: “We immediately launched a twofold process”, Zbig, as he likes to be called, says.  In the indirect aspect of the 2-fold but unified process, UN is absent & kept in the dark, international law is not a consideration, any thug or criminal can give a hand and nothing is apparent to the US and world public. Let’s read, as an outlined and listed text:

And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible;

1.      and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the
a.      Saudis,
b.      the Egyptians,
c.       the British,
d.      the Chinese,

2.      and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again—
a.      for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians
b.      and the Chinese.
c.       We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives;
d.      And at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.

The second course of action provides us with a rather wide corridor to the mindset of the man. The covert course of action, with all the junior partners in toe, is set in motion once  a primary target is clearly identified.

1)      US government and its State Department & National Security Council, is matter-of-factly engaged in covert military activities, working with forces and is arming political movements that are not fully aligned with it, have premodern Islamic tendencies, but can bleed the primary target.

2)      The brutally misogynist, most undemocratic regime in Middle East, the Wahhabi-inspired theocratic Sheikdom is called upon to help supply the ideological frameworks, the fanatical troopers and the oil money to fuel the fight against the expansion of another power in the region: “The Saudis”.  [2]

3)      The services of unpopular and ruthless military coup leaders and its butcher secret services are rendered to help arm, supply and draft the Talibans and Al-Queadas of the next decades: The Pakistanis.  

4)      Autocratic Arab states, once nationalist but now in US orbit, are there to chip in and help the cause of implementing US policy in the region: The Egyptians.

5)      Members of the European allies, while giving the global impression of being an independent civilized political pole in global affairs, are ready to be drafted to assist with the covert action: The British!

6)      Once the primary target is identified, in this case the Soviets, “the enemy of my enemy”, are considered an ally in the duration of course of action: The Chinese.

7)      The rank of the enemy is consistently explored as well, to help the cause: the Czechoslovak government and Soviet army to supply with the Mujjahedin with Soviet made arms to camouflage the active US hands!

History informs us that while this twofold process was quite successful in serving US primary objectives, it had many other consequences, not all unintended:

1)         In the absence of Shah’s regime in the region, it promoted the Saudi influence as a religious Islamic force in the region, to rival the emerging IR of Iran.  By this, it set the grounds for military occupation and base-building of Saudi Arabia, which was completed by the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1991,

2)         By promoting Saudi Arabia against IR influence, it planted the regional seed of Sunni-Shiite rivalry and divisions that became more pronounced after the start of Iran-Iraq war.

3)         It launched Pakistan military as a rival to politically influence the Mujjahedin in order to offset IR growing influence in some of the resistance factions.

4)         It channeled anti-American Islamic trends towards the Soviets aggression.

The Guiding Principle.

Now let’s briefly look at the general characteristics of US policy during this period:

1)        Once the primary target is identified, other political trends in the political force-field become potential allies and can enter into tactical partnerships either directly or through intermediate satellite regimes. The tactical strengthening of small forces that are otherwise hostile to US interests is well tolerated as long as they are kept in tight leash or perceived to be controlled by regional satellite regimes. Case in point: Taliban & Pakistan, Al-Qaeda & Saudi Arabia.

2)        The policy will go through great lengths not to engage direct US forces, and instead utilize regional forces against the primary target, even if it is at the cost of temporarily strengthening their position and influence in the region.

3)         Forces allied with the primary target are actively pursued and cultivated to further achieve the defined goal of weakening the primary target. Case in point: The Czech government & Soviet arms sellers.

4)         There are no democratic values or internationally recognized principles involved in directing US policy in confronting the primary target. The guiding principle is enshrined in the goal itself: “Make them bleed for as much and as long as it is possible”. [3]

Iran: The Primary Target

Fast-forwarding 28 odd years into the future, while the Soviets bled to death and vanished from the region and the world, and although the Persian Gulf is now fully occupied by US military, some of the basic traits of US tactics in the region has not changed.  One major change has been the direct military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is understandable in the framework of the post Soviet era.

While some of the former smaller allies turned against the US in the form of Al-Qaeda, or got removed from power by war and invasion, the regional satellites, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, who were responsible to keep these smaller forces in check and failed, are still present and provide valuable assets and military ground & bases for US. The artificially created Oil Sheikdoms of Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain have partially replaced Arabia as the launching ground of US forces in the region.

The British are of course still British! and slavishly provide US with a European look.

In spite of the presence of some old pawns in the scene such as Pakistan military & the Family n the peninsula, the new primary target is now set in a different political force-field. There are smaller groups, such as Mossad-controlled Kurdish groups based in Northern Iraq, and Arab terrorist groups in the south of Iraq, and then there is the Al-Qaeda inspired Baluchi terrorists, the Jundallah in Pakistan that are not necessarily controlled by regional satellite regimes. In this new situation, US Intelligence, and in some cases Israeli Intelligence, arm, direct and control these groups. The US-based Iranian former opposition, the CIA-controlled MKO, is no exception. They have publicly pledged to assist US in bleeding the primary target by military action inside Iran.  This and maybe another Azeri group based in the Republic of Azerbaijan, are not tied to regional regimes, but are directly assisted by US special forces and ultimately, under CentCom in Doha.

In the region as a whole, the picture is not much different. Saudi Arabia, encouraged by US military is arming selected Sunni groups to fight Shiite militias and government forces: mostly perceived as Iranian influences in Iraq. US has also started to publicly arm Sunni insurgents in Iraq, in effect accelerating the prospects of a wider civil war that will redirect Shiite assault against US forces if US attacks Iran; Al-Qaeda inspired Sunni groups in Lebanon have been armed (by Jordanian Intelligence?) to assault Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Pakistan has been tasked to tolerate the Taliban-AlQaeda option in the mountains of Waziristan, not just to keep the Bin-Videos coming and “The War on Terror” alive, but in case they are needed to offset the IR influence in the Herat [4]province or in the partitioning of Baluchistan.[5]

As Seymour Hirsh with great insight warned of a closer alliance between US and AlQaeda in the region to offset Iran’s projection of influence in the region,  the focus of US administration on its primary target will force it to “engage in more efforts in a collaborative sense” (Zbig) with AlQaeda and AlQaeda-inspired Sunni forces in the region.  Once the primary target has been identified, as when the Soviets were the primary target, the US will enter partnerships with forces that are actually or potentially hostile to it, to fight isolate and destroy them in another stage.

The fate of MKO, some Kurdish groups Al-Qaeda inspired or nationalist Sunni groups, in case the ‘Iran problem’ is resolved, will be no different than the fate of Noriega in Panama, Taliban in Afghanistan or Saddam in Iraq for that matter! The American allies in the confrontation with IR of Iran, should be well aware that once the primary target is eliminated or there is a significant shift in the balance of forces in the region, they are fair game.

So, the twofold process of direct sanctions diplomatic isolation of Iran, along with covert and indirect military action went into a higher gear during the Ahmadinejad’s visit to UN last week. The sanctions passed by the Congress against Iran during his visit, as well as the arms sales to Arabia and other Families in the Gulf region a month ago, putting to waste years of IR regional diplomacy during Khatami era, are part of the “international costs” the US would want Iran to pay. These are the direct aspects of Mr. Brzezinski’s twofold process, But to his amazement, there is no patience to see the indirect part of the dual process through.

Brzezinski’s Argument with Bush Administraiton

Brzezinski, who is now Barak Obama’s advisor on foreign policy, is being praised to be against war with Iran in some circles. In this year of electoral politics, criticizing Bush, he warns Bush of falling into a trap for the next 20 years:
“If we escalate the tensions, if we succumb to hysteria, if we start making threats, we are likely to stampede ourselves into a war, which most reasonable people agree would be a disaster for us,"  [6] he said.

The wise man invites US to patience, to learn on how to bleed the enemy without engaging it directly. Based on his history-making success in facing the Soviets in Afghanistan, he is deeply opposed to “stampede ourselves into a war” with Iran.  While not doubting that US objectives in the region will be pursued, he is clearly alarmed that the US will be actually and directly at war!:  

"And just think what it would do for the United States, because it would be the United States which would be at war. We will be at war simultaneously in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we would be stuck for the next 20 years."

What Mr. Brzezinski has profound knowledge of the last time a Superpower directly invaded a country in this region. He was the major architect of the course of events that led to the bloody fate of the last invading Superpower.  He is rightfully concerned that with the invasion of Iraq, the basic tenets of the twofold process has forever been violated, and it is indeed the United States which is at war! And through his actions, his books, interviews and lectures, have taught all how to deal with a situation when a Superpower invades a country in that region of the world!

Mr. Brzezinski is so alarmed by Bush policy towards Iran that he even tones down Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The current US Debate on ‘Iran policy’ can best be seen as to how different commentators predict a schedule for the production of Iranian Atomic Bomb!

Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Brzezinski’s republican Rival, on this issue believes that:
"…they [Iranians] are building a capability to build a nuclear bomb," Kissinger told CNN. "I don't think they're yet in a position to build a nuclear bomb, but they may be two or three years away from it."

Mr. Kissinger, compatible with some Israeli estimates, is implying that within the next 2 to 3 years Iran must be invaded or attacked in a serious and direct way. Mr. Brzezinski, on the other hand, foresees no exact timetable for solving the Iranian riddle, and shows prudence reserved for selected individuals.  As if he has been reading a different intelligence report than Kissinger, Brzezinski states that:

“I think it's quite possible that they are seeking weapons or positioning themselves to have them, but we have very scant evidence to support that," he said. "And the president of the United States, especially after Iraq, should be very careful about the veracity of his public assertions."

The Geo-strategist’s concern is clear. He calmly sees stages in solving the Iran ‘threat’ in the region, the primary target to be eliminated in path of achievement of US goals.  He contemplates Pakistani people to rise up against US & its regime in the aftermath of an Iran invasion, and IR allies in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting US forces as well. He would rather “stabilize” Iraq and Afghanistan first, consolidate the regime in Pakistan and let the current political crisis pass, and then attend to the Iran ‘threat’. Obama’s advisor is very concerned that US might stampede into war, and thoughtlessly “get stuck for the next 20 years.” He is such a caring man!

It will be restated that what Mr. Brzezinski has profound knowledge of is that the last time a Superpower directly invaded a country in this region, it bled to death.  

Epilogue

A simple question for all: if you were IR of Iran, if you were under freshly baked Sanctions by US Congress, and threatened by billions of dollars of arms sales to the satellite regimes in your region, and if you were under direct threat of military attack, and at the same time US intelligence & special forces were directing armed gangs to nibble at provinces in your territory, namely, if you were already experiencing a ‘Zbignian’ twofold process of bleeding to death, would you politely help to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, and calmly step into the US crosshairs, or would you “Make them…bleed for as much and as long as is possible”?

Bush policies must be driving Zbig to madness!
 
[1] June 13, 1997, in a CNN/National Security Archive interview, Mr. Brzezinski detailed the strategy taken by the Carter administration against the Soviets
[2]  This spot of shame on the face of the Gulf region, the only country in the world that is named after a Family, will have to one day be returned to the people of the Arabian Peninsula.
[3] This is when the Carter administration was feeding US public with the lie that its foreign policy is guided by Human Rights!
[4] Heart’s civil and economic life has effectively been integrated into the Khorasan province of Iran since the downfall of Taliban.  While a highway connects the 2 cities directly, Khorasan airport is now the regional airport for Herati workers that travel from Europe to Afghanistan for visit.  
[5]  
[6] Brzezinski: U.S. in danger of 'stampeding' to war with Iran, (source: CNN)  Monday, September 24, 2007

Source: http://www.payvand.com/news/07/oct/1015.html  

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