“Iran Is Completely Different! This US-Led Regime Change Will Work Out Fine!”

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There’s a running gag in the comic strip Peanuts in which a balding depressive child named Charlie Brown is talked into trying to kick a football by his sadistic neighbor, Lucy. Charlie Brown always initially declines Lucy’s offer, because he remembers that whenever Lucy talks him into trying to kick the football she yanks it out of the way at the last minute, sending him flying into a heap of pain and humiliation. But, ever the sucker, he always eventually succumbs to Lucy’s convincing assurances that this time will be completely different.

That gag always pops into my mind when Trump supporters assure me that US-led regime change in Iran will be completely different from Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya.

The Washington Free Beacon has published a report on a three-page paper “being circulated among National Security Council officials” which explicitly outlines a strategy for effecting regime change in Iran. The plan was authored by a DC think tank called Security Studies Group, whose leadership has advanced some unbelievably stupid conspiratorial narratives about Muslim Americans, and which has ties to National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has openly promised Iranian regime change before 2019.

The plan reportedly “seeks to reshape longstanding American foreign policy toward Iran by emphasizing an explicit policy of regime change” by stirring up unrest and working to “assist an already aggravated Iranian public” to “topple the hardline ruling regime through a democratization strategy that focuses on driving a deeper wedge between the Iranian people and the ruling regime.”

And from what I can tell Trump’s base seems to be mostly fine with this. The fact that the plan doesn’t put American soldiers in harm’s way combined with the fact that Iran does not have a secular government seems to prevent any objection in the greater MAGA crowd from pursuing a strategy which looks essentially identical to that which was pursued in Libya and Syria.

The Iranian Mullahs have got to go, they tell me. The people of Iran want freedom and democracy. This time it will be completely different. Lucy’s gonna let us kick the football for sure.

How many times do Americans need to be duped by this same song and dance before they finally learn their lesson? US-led regime change interventionism in the modern world is literally never helpful, literally always disastrous, literally never accomplishes what its proponents claim it will, and is literally always extremely lucrative for war profiteering plutocrats.

If I could give everyone a single piece of advice on how best to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to US foreign policy, it would be to remember that neoconservatives are always wrong about everything. Trump supporters know this, and yet they’re supporting an Iran agenda that has been long promoted by Never-Trumpers they despise like Bill Kristol and John McCain just because this particular intervention happens to be backed by the Trump administration.

The people who were wrong about Iraq, wrong about Libya, and wrong about Syria are not going to suddenly get their radar straightened out on Iran. They were wrong then. They are wrong now. They are always wrong. Lucy’s never gonna let you kick that goddamn football, Charlie Brown.

John Bolton has been a huge cheerleader for interventionism in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and he’s so crazy and stupid that he still insists Iraq was a great idea today. This man who has just been proven completely wrong about his recent case for attacking North Korea, this same man is connected to a plan circulated within the administration’s National Security Council to provoke an uprising against the Iranian government, after publicly advocating arming protesters and after nominating a violent terrorist cult to lead the opposition against Tehran.

Are you guys nuts?? You Trump supporters being lied to. Plainly. Again. The fact that Iran isn’t secular and the current US president has an (R) next to his name doesn’t change that. If there’s an uprising in Iran, the CIA will be involved, it will get violent, it will turn into a humanitarian disaster, and it will result in a massive explosion of death, destabilization, suffering and terrorism, just like all the other times. Stop consenting to this.

The uprising in Syria was planned by the US and its allies years before violence erupted in 2011, the CIA flooded the area with US-armed terrorists, half a million people have been slaughtered as a result, and the bloodshed is still far from over. Trump supporters who can see how wrong and evil that was should be able to see how wrong and evil it would be to inflict the same exact thing on Iran in order to advance a longstanding neoconservative agenda. Which is precisely what they are planning on doing.

Wise up, Charlie Brown. Don’t be suckered again.


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I write about the end of illusions.

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