Donald Trump made an obscene public threat yesterday that showed he is still looking to provoke conflict with Iran to boost his collapsing campaign — but the two most influential U.S. newspapers did not report it.
Here’s what Trump said about Iran, on the Rush Limbaugh radio program:
If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before.
The New York Times and the Washington Post did report other elements of Trump’s unhinged diatribes at length, but totally ignored this threat. Nor did either paper explain that Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are continuing their campaign to instigate conflict — a dangerously provocative effort that Israel has been advocating for more than a decade.
The papers did report on Thursday that Trump and Pompeo had imposed crushing new economic sanctions on Iran. The Post said the measures were
in defiance of European allies who warned that the move could have devastating humanitarian consequences on a country reeling from the novel coronavirus and a currency crisis [and were] likely to diminish channels Iran uses to import humanitarian goods, such as food and medicine…
Both papers quoted the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which applauded the harsh sanctions. Both papers hid the FDD’s true nature: the Post said it was “a hawkish U.S. nonprofit organization,” while the Times called it simply a “Washington think tank.”
The FDD is in fact a creation of the pro-Israel lobby, and is essentially a front for the Israeli government. Ignoring its true nature is the equivalent of quoting the American Petroleum Institute on climate change without noting that the oil giants established and fund the API.
Iran’s theocratic leaders are ruthless but not stupid. They recognize that Trump’s days in office are probably numbered, provided they continue to ignore his provocations. At this stage, Trump and Pompeo could even order a bombing raid over Teheran and Iran would have the discipline not to respond.
Meanwhile, ordinary Iranians continue to suffer. Tyler Cullis, in Responsible Statecraft, says the Trump administration’s latest sanctions should
be called “siege and starve,” as the feigned interest in establishing leverage for comprehensive negotiations with Iran has been replaced by a full-throttle push to pulverize Iran’s economy and collapse its social and economic life.
None of this matters to AIPAC, the flagship organization of the pro-Israel lobby here in the U.S. An AIPAC “Update” can hardly hide the organization’s glee. “We welcome the administration’s actions to increase the economic pressure on the regime.”
But the campaign to crush Iran is not only immoral, it is also stupid. Iran’s leaders are restrained for now, but do Trump, Pompeo, Israel and AIPAC think 82 million Iranians will simply stand by indefinitely, watch their nation collapse — and never retaliate?