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‘What is Trump’s motivation to be provocative with Iran?’ Pelosi asks– and the answer is Adelson

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Yesterday Nancy Pelosi asked a very pointed question on CNN, Why is Trump threatening a war with Iran?

[W]hat is his motivation? What is their motivation to be provocative with the Iranians? Why did the president turn his back on the Iranian nuclear agreement? What’s the logic except some other issue — that it was negotiated by President Obama? We had so many national security experts, whether they were ambassadors, generals, admirals and all the rest supporting the agreement as well, so it had official, diplomatic, national security, technical, nuclear, et cetera support along the way. So why?

So, then he comes in and does — undoes that and inflames the U.S.-Iran issue. Why? What is the purpose?… I think he probably knows there’s no appetite for war among the American people.

There seems to me a very obvious answer to this question. Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Adelson called on the last president, Barack Obama, to nuke Iran in 2013 rather than negotiate with Iran, and Obama ignored the advice. But Trump can’t ignore Adelson. Adelson and his wife Miriam gave $177 million to Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican causes in 2016-2018, making them his biggest donors by far; and Trump surely regards Adelson as his best hope for securing a second term, and for keeping him out of jail, too…

The president is famously transactional; and I believe that $177 million explains Trump giving the Adelsons, who love Israel, one gift after another, from moving the Embassy, to defunding UNRWA, to recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, to destroying the Iran deal. If only Russia had such influence! No wonder Trump is said to be considering a “tactical” assault on Iran. A lot like the “tactical” nuke Adelson pushed in 2013.

I could be wrong, but that’s my best answer to Pelosi. And the real tragedy here is that Pelosi’s question hangs in the air like that and neither she nor Fareed Zakaria can state what to me seems obvious. Evidently that would be anti-Semitic. Like saying that George Soros directs Democrats. You can’t breathe a word about Zionist influence.

This silence perfectly echoes the silence 16 years ago when people asked, Why did we go into Iraq? How did that serve the American people? Back then many of us thought that the right wing of the Israel lobby, the neoconservatives, drove that decision and got a lot of liberal interventionists who also conflated Israeli and American interests to go along. Tom Friedman said that the neocons got us into the war, and he regurgitated their ideas, saying we needed to respond to a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv by smashing something in an Arab capital, and it was time for the Arabs to “suck on this.” (Another question popular at that time was: Why do they hate us?)

But you were not allowed to mention the Israel lobby’s interest; and that silence led to one of the most important interventions in the discourse when Walt and Mearsheimer published The Israel Lobby in 2006, a book that was redlined as anti-Semitic for its argument that we wouldn’t have had an Iraq war without the rightwing lobby, an argument a lot of people privately agreed with, including Joe Klein and David Corn and Philip Zelikow (the former Bush aide who said, “The threat that dare not speak its name” was Iraq’s threat to Israel). Jeffrey Goldberg made sure to run Walt and Mearsheimer out of town with a simple imprecation, They say that Jews start all wars, and that was that.

Today others surely have other answers to Pelosi’s question than Adelson. But the pity is that the Israel influence factor can’t be discussed and debated.

Adelson ought to be on the front pages now. Politicians should be calling out the Adelsons’ influence the same way Elizabeth Warren campaigns against the Koch Brothers. They ought to be mocking the fact that Trump gave Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom right alongside Babe Ruth and Elvis. They should point out that National Security Adviser John Bolton is yet another gift to the Trump administration from Adelson. They ought to note that Adelson wished he fought in an Israeli uniform not an American one. They ought to say that Sheldon Adelson tried to kill the peace process under George W. Bush and Bush said he couldn’t do what Netanyahu wanted, telling Adelson, “I can’t be more Catholic than the Pope.” Trump doesn’t feel that prohibition.

The media should point out the connections between Adelson and Netanyahu– whom Trump has all but campaigned for. They should point out that Netanyahu’s political coalition came apart in 2015 over favors he was trying to do to Adelson’s newspaper, leading to a new election. At least the Israelis can talk about it! But here Trump is bending over backwards the same way, and the Adelsons aren’t on the front page.

Years ago Trump lambasted an opponent for the Republican nomination — “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!” Those words were prophetic. Too bad the media don’t seem to care.

Thanks to James North.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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26 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on June 17, 2019, 5:07 pm

    RE: “Yesterday Nancy Pelosi asked a very pointed question on CNN, Why is Trump threatening a war with Iran? . . . Today others surely have other answers to Pelosi’s question than Adelson.” ~ Weiss

    FOR INSTANCE, SEE: “Pompeo, End Times, and False Flag War on Iran” | by Jon Basil Utley | antiwar.com | June 17, 2019

    [EXCERPT] . . . Trump now says he does not want war with Iran. But he is surrounded by advisors who do. Both Secretary of State Pompeo and Vice President Pence are profound end times Evangelicals. In 2017 I wrote, Iraq, Syria, Iran…Are We To Destroy Iran Next? about the original neo-conservative program to re-mold the Middle East. A main new concern is Trump’s Secretary of State’s strong evangelical beliefs in the end times. The NY Times describes his beliefs in The Rapture and the Real World: Pompeo Blends Belief and Policy. The belief is that a stronger and greater Israel will bring about Armageddon sooner and their rapture straight to heaven without a judgment day. Not all evangelicals are in this camp, e.g. see below about Jimmy Carter, but rather an important sector who moved from forecasting Armageddon to trying to bring it about. Destroying Iran’s being a threat to Israel is thus seen as helping God’s intentions…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – https://original.antiwar.com/utley/2019/06/16/pompeo-end-times-and-false-flag-war-on-iran/

    • JLewisDickerson on June 17, 2019, 7:29 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “The Belief That Trump Is a Messiah Is Rampant and Dangerous” | By Bobby Azarian Ph.D. | psychologytoday.com | May 28, 2019
      When a leader is seen as infallible, supporters become disciples.

      [EXCERPT] Psychologists have explained quite a lot about Donald Trump’s political invincibility and the unconditional allegiance of his followers. One well-supported explanation is that the president keeps his base loyal by keeping them fearful. Through persistent fear-mongering, with scary messages like, “Illegal immigrants are murderers and rapists,” and “Islam hates us,” Trump gets to play the role of the great protector.

      But there is another major reason why Trump loyalists do not waver no matter how he behaves or what scandals come to light. For most evangelicals, it is not only fear that keeps them in line, but it is also faith. As a cognitive psychology researcher who has been writing about the science underlying Trump’s unshakable support since he began his presidential campaign, I have learned—through comments, emails, and discussion forums—that a significant portion of his supporters literally believe the president was an answer to their prayers. He is regarded as something of a messiah, sent by God to protect a Christian nation…

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-in-the-machine/201905/the-belief-trump-is-messiah-is-rampant-and-dangerous

  2. brent on June 18, 2019, 12:53 am

    Phil’s analysis and opinion dovetail with mine to a point. Keeping powerful allies like the lobby and Adelson in his corner is strong calculus in politics where money and power are major calculations. My best GUESS is Trump is a master manipulator and is perfectly capable of turning on anyone. And he knows they can turn on him. As he said, “Jews always flip” and as we know, so can he. I’ll venture he knows well, and factored in,that Israelis have been master manipulators of American Presidents. https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/09/how-israel-out-foxed-us-presidents-4/

    I am aware most observers do not agree Trump’s motive is resolving the Question of Palestine. I reason his superego, and focus on America First, want’s to achieve what no other President has, even though all have tried. Note how they have ALL put pro-Israel people in key positions, ie. Dennis Ross. Kissing up has been the political approach forever now.

    I see him giving one present after another to Israel to ingratiate himself and to make it more difficult to rebuke him when the crunch time comes. Note the leaked document to Yisrael Hayom said he was prepared to cut all aid to Israel. Read that again!

    Knowing his decision to move the embassy, recognizing Jewish rights in Jerusalem, something most recognize as a given in any conceivable agreement, would stir the pot. He said, “In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

    Unfortunately, Palestinians are so overwhelmed with their victimhood and ignorant of American politics, they couldn’t fathom the bigger picture and went ballistic, possibly scuttling the entire agreement. Without their engagement, a deal cannot be made and Trump has to keep kissing up.

    I reason his take on Iran was ingratiating himself and positioning himself to not only achieve the “Deal of the Century” but peace in the ME, an objective he set for his second term, making him the greatest of all time. My prediction is after he holds talks with Iran, he comes away saying, “We can work together.” Thanks to Abbas, this is now less likely and now war more so.

    I maintain Trump is not a warmonger, but he keeps warmongers around him to purchase protection from Adelson, Netanyahu and the Deep State. North Korea is a model to watch. Consider we are not at war with Iran or Venezuela.

    • eljay on June 18, 2019, 9:54 am

      || brent: … My best GUESS is Trump is a master manipulator … ||

      That’s funny.  :-)  At most, I’d say he’s a master baiter.

      || … I see him giving one present after another to Israel to ingratiate himself and to make it more difficult to rebuke him when the crunch time comes. … ||

      Yes, he’s very shrewd: First, he’ll give everything to Israel. Then, when crunch time comes, he’ll shrug his shoulders and say that the Palestinians need to get over not having anything. Israel will realize it’s been had, but it won’t dare to rebuke him.

    • Mooser on June 18, 2019, 12:26 pm

      “I maintain Trump is not a warmonger, but he keeps warmongers around him to purchase protection from Adelson, Netanyahu and the Deep State”

      Of course. The man is a veritable Bismark.

    • echinococcus on June 19, 2019, 6:37 am

      Brent

      “scuttling the entire agreement”

      What “agreement”, exactly? Name, place, size and color please.

      Is this an exercise in disinformation or mythomania?

  3. DaBakr on June 18, 2019, 1:31 am

    Pelosi is a liar. The socalled ‘deal’ had no congressional support until Obama worked his way around congress. Then the democrats stood behind him. She is as phony as any other partisan politician on the hill.

    And ironic that she should wonder what possible motivation trump might have to “provoke” Iran when obama and his echo man rhodes never explained to the American people why shifting power to the mullahs was in the interests of the US.

    The left. In love with every two bit revolutionary liberation regime from Castro to Khamanei but always have hatred for zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. That is their original sin. Their portrait of Dorian Grey. Zionism has its own problems to deal with but it’s not simply going to commit suicide and then go away. So called liberal zionists are the biggest hypocrites of the whole left wing

    • Misterioso on June 18, 2019, 9:33 am

      @DaBakr

      “Zionism has its own problems to deal with…”

      No kidding?

      Here’s a couple:

      THE WAR MONGERS:
      Sheldon Adelson, largest private financial contributor to Trump and the Republicans, and Haim Saban, top private contributor to the Democrats, are Zionist zealots and both have called for Iran to be bombed. Adelson has actually called for an attack “with an atomic bomb.”

      Sheldon Adelson:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=6sCW4IasWXc
      Short video, Oct. 25, 2013, discussion between rabid Zionists, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Sheldon Adelson.
      Adelson declares – “Attack Iran with an atomic bomb”

      Haim Saban:
      https://www.jta.org/2014/11/09/united-states/saban-slams-obamas-iran-policy-advises-bombing-in-worst-case
      Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 9/14
      EXCERPT:
      WASHINGTON (JTA) — “Haim Saban, a top Democratic Party donor and backer of Hillary Rodham Clinton, slammed President Obama’s Iran strategy and advised Israel to bomb the ‘living daylights’ out of Iran if a nuclear deal with the major powers endangers Israel.

      “If Obama strikes a ‘bad deal’ with Iran in nuclear talks under way and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assesses it as a deal that would put Israel at risk, ‘I would bomb the living daylights out of these sons of bitches,’ Saban said Sunday at the first conference of the Israeli American Council, an advocacy group he is helping to fund.”

      “The entertainment mogul for years has been close to former President Bill Clinton and his wife, who is considering a 2016 presidential run.”

      • DaBakr on June 20, 2019, 11:25 pm

        @m

        Whatever you think a “rabid” zionist is the point is the time for bombing Irans nuclear facilities has passed. Some damage could be done but it would just delay the inevitable. Nobody is bombing iran like the US went into Iraq. It’s doubtful it would even happen but if there were some kind of a strike it would almost surely be precisely targeted at facilities and not civilians. But even that is highly unlikely and useless at this point. The socalled ‘best bad deal’ obama made was always non binding (the mullahs knew this) and limited to a few years. The point is almost moot. There should be regime change in Iran but it must come from the Iranian people who, in general, have no beef and many love the United States. But it’s their nation. Their struggle. Trump isn’t getting the US into any war. He loves playing the game of Brinkmanship. His ego. Bolton doesn’t have as much sway as the left leaning press makes out (and I like quite a lot of boltons policy issues. Not on Iran. But the UN for sure)

    • eljay on June 18, 2019, 10:05 am

      || @Daa: … The left. In love with every two bit revolutionary liberation regime from Castro to Khamanei but always have hatred for zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. … ||

      Zionism is a hateful and immoral ideology which posits that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to embrace it the “right”:
      – to be supremacists;
      – to have as large as possible a supremacist state; and
      – to do “necessary evil” unto others.

      It’s sad when a supremacist’s issue with a particular group – in this case, “the left” – is not that it fails to consistently advocate and uphold justice, accountability and equality but that it fails also to be “in love with” his preferred brand of evil.

    • oldgeezer on June 18, 2019, 9:17 pm

      @dohbaker
      “but always have hatred for zionism ”

      Even that isn’t true. It was something Israel’s actions earned all on it’s own. It took a couple of decades of continued crimes against humanity before the left turned on Israel.

    • RoHa on June 18, 2019, 11:19 pm

      “In love with every two bit revolutionary liberation regime from Castro to Khamanei but always have hatred for zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.”

      Castro wanted to liberate the people of Cuba from the US/Mafia puppet Batsista regime.
      Khomeini wanted to liberate the people of Iran from the regime of the US/UK appointed Shah.
      Ho Chi Minh wanted to liberate the people of Vietnam from the French, and later US, regime.
      And so forth.

      Zionism wanted to liberate the people of what country from what regime?
      No single country. No single regime.

      So Zionism was not the same sort of movement.

      Why should the left treat it in the same way as it treated the others?

      • Mooser on June 19, 2019, 11:56 am

        “Why should the left treat it…”

        Funny, “Dabakr” has never, ever specified who he means by “the left”. He must be talking about the Israeli left.

      • DaBakr on June 20, 2019, 10:51 pm

        @et al

        Ever since 67 the far left in the US and EU has freely turned its wraith on zionism while embracing decidedly anti zionist, anti Jewish nationalist movements like the Panthers, Castro, angola, sandinistas, PLO, qaddafi, and the list goes on. Blindness to the evil core nature of most of these regimes(or at least their dictators) was conveniently ignored. That is what I mean by “the far left”. While every other left leaning nationalist movement including the palestinian one was embraced by the US and EU left they completly discounted the Jewish national movement as something distasteful and unseemly. There could have been two states from 48 on but if you don’t know why there isn’t there is hardly any point arguing. True believers. Mediocre intellect. Denial.

        Now,of course the far left has suddenly embraced the poor little Mullah regime in Iran like a wounded puppy. Their love knows no bounds. There won’t be any war though one would think it’s days away from the hysterical press.
        And the crackpot roger waters is still trying to convince his diminishing followers (unshaven, in a seedy bathrobe, probably drunk and dirty) that there is absolutely no crisis in Venezuela. Maybe not every commenter here is far left but a lot fit the bill.

      • RoHa on June 21, 2019, 3:43 am

        “While every other left leaning nationalist movement including the palestinian one was embraced by the US and EU left they completly discounted the Jewish national movement as something distasteful and unseemly. ”

        The other nationalist movements were aimed at freeing the native people of the country. The “Jewish national movement” was aimed at taking the country away from the native people.

  4. LiberatePalestine on June 18, 2019, 4:06 am

    → The president is famously transactional; and I believe that $177 million explains Trump giving the Adelsons, who love Israel, one gift after another, from moving the Embassy, to defunding UNRWA, to recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory, to destroying the Iran deal.

    Public policy based on private advantage. Wonderful.

    → it was time for the Arabs to “suck on this.”

    Frank vulgarity in the service of imperialism.

    → They ought to be mocking the fact that Trump gave Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom right alongside Babe Ruth and Elvis.

    Really? Freedom? For knocking a baseball around, crooning tacky songs, and promoting Zionist oppression?

  5. Citizen on June 18, 2019, 6:40 am

    Concise, insightful article; I hope it gets passed around social media platforms.

  6. James Canning on June 18, 2019, 11:53 am

    Sheldon Adelson has pushed hard for yet another catastrophic war in the Middle East, to “protect” Israel, year in and year out. On Iran, Trump is a willing stooge.

    • DaBakr on June 20, 2019, 11:09 pm

      @jc

      Adelson is dying. Who are you going to pin everything on when he’s gone?

      • Mooser on June 21, 2019, 1:32 pm

        “Adelson is dying. Who are you going to pin everything on when he’s gone?”

        ROTFLMSJAO! Why, whomsoever replaces Adelson, of course!
        Who does Zionism have ready to slip into his chair and grab the reins and the checkbook?
        Or are there several competitors for the position?

  7. Jackdaw on June 18, 2019, 12:53 pm

    What Uncle Phil can’t see, is that Trump doesn’t want a war with Iran but rather, to bring Iran to heel with an economic boycott.

    You guys like boycotts, so what’s the problem ?

    • eljay on June 18, 2019, 1:25 pm

      || Jackdaw: What Uncle Phil can’t see, is that Trump doesn’t want a war with Iran but rather, to bring Iran to heel with an economic boycott. … ||

      You’re right: Instead of anti-Semitically “singling out” Israel with unconditional economic, military, political and financial support, it should be brought to heel with an economic boycott.

    • LiberatePalestine on June 18, 2019, 3:34 pm

      If you can’t see how private, discretionary participation in a boycott differs from an imperialist embargo extending to exclusion from the international banking system and organised oppression, even extraterritorially, of individuals and companies that would exercise their discretion to do business with the targeted state, there is really no point in our continuing this discussion.

    • RoHa on June 18, 2019, 10:54 pm

      And nothing says “I don’t want war” more than sending a carrier group and a thousand more troops to the area.

      I suppose now Iran will send a few thousand troops to their bases in the Gulf of Mexico.

      • DaBakr on June 20, 2019, 11:14 pm

        @rh

        What is wrong with sending a carrier group to the international water of the straits. Iran is the one sending little Limpit mine messages. I hadn’t read where the US group has taken any action other then their legal presence.

        And if iran did send a group to the gulf of Mexico it would be countered by an American force consisting of US, Canadian, Mexican and south American naval groups. It’s apples to oranges

      • RoHa on June 21, 2019, 3:50 am

        In this context, sending a carrier group and extra troops is an escalation of the tensions. It is a threat.

        It has not been proven that Iran is sending limpet mine messages. Those of us familiar with American claims have good reason to be suspicious. (Think, for example, of the Tonkin Gulf and Saddam’s WMDs. You might also remember the Maine, though I refuse to.)

        And my comment about Iran sending troops to the Gulf of Mexico was a reference to the fact that the US has surrounded Iran with military bases. Iran has not crossed the seas to threaten the US.

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