Anti-Iran cranks over at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
The pernicious role of neocon think tanks in influencing US foreign policy is no laughing matter.
In fact, the growing influence of these think tanks bespeaks the pushing back of the frontiers of democracy in the land of the free. With their sources of funding often concealed, they exist as the epitome of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his chilling 1961 'military industrial complex' speech:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex… We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."
One such think tank in particular – the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) – constitutes an extreme example of the monster hatched when you throw a group of fanatical neocons into a room and let them loose on computers. It is the adult equivalent of leaving a group of five-year-old children unsupervised in a room with matches and gasoline.
On the FDD website, you are regaled with the customary hot air about 'promoting pluralism,' 'defending democratic values,' and 'fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.' Reading this verbiage, it is incumbent upon us to ponder when the FDD will declare war on America, given Washington's own sordid legacy and record as the world's primary violator of all of the above.
But, then, the world of your average neocon is of the decidedly upside-down variety. It is a world in which nothing but spooky castles, evil wizards and monsters lie on the other side of the imaginary Hadrian's Wall behind which the West exists under constant threat and fear of extinction. For the neocons of the FDD, the monster of the greatest moment in 2018 is Iran.
Rather than a country of 80 million people who go to work, look after and love their children, laugh and cry and bleed like everybody else, Iran in their eyes is home to a dispensable mass of abstract inferior life, ruled not by an elected government in accordance with the country's cultural and historical specificities, but by men of inordinate wickedness who feast on human flesh.
The Twitter feed of FDD Chief Executive Mark Dubowitz is the work of an anti-Iran obsessive. In fact, so splenetic is his invective against the Islamic Republic, arch neocon John Bolton seems like Dr Martin Luther King by comparison.
That Mr Dubowitz has been described as the "the architect of many of the [US] sanctions against Iran" is no surprise. Neither is his advocacy of the sanctioning of European companies that dare continue to abide by the multilaterally agreed terms of the JCPOA and continue to do business in and with Iran. The announcement by French energy corporation Total that they are pulling out of a $5-billion deal with Iran to develop one of its gas fields, doing so in response to the threat of incurring US penalties, confirms that Washington is our Rome – as in Roman Empire, as in Pax Americana, as in, per Tacitus, 'They make a desert and call it peace.'
Overall, the upsurge in anti-Iran propaganda emanating from Washington since Trump entered the White House in January 2017, culminating with his administration's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) in May 2018, is consistent with the decision to align his administration with the regional agendas of Israel and Saudi Arabia to an even greater extent than his predecessors.
The crucial point to bear in mind is that those regional agendas – amounting to the uncontested dispossession and immiseration of the Palestinians in the case of Israel, and Wahhabi sectarian hegemony across the Muslim world in the case of Saudi Arabia – have been unable to proceed beyond a certain point due to Iran's determination to resist them.
It is why, in the eyes of Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman, that Donald Trump is tantamount to a dream come true. In him, they have an eager convert to their anti-Iran crusade, a US president ready and willing to go over the cliff into the cataclysm of war. Because war, make no mistake, is precisely where this is headed if the current direction of travel continues unabated.
The FDD neocon think tank has been the most aggressive champion in Washington of the anti-Iran animus that dominates the thoughts of Netanyahu and Bin Salman, urging the Trump administration to turn the Iran sanctions screw ever tighter, no matter the suffering incurred by millions of ordinary Iranians in the process.
In recent comments, UN Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy condemned the role of the sanctions in driving "millions of people into poverty."
For the well-to-do and wealthy denizens who inhabit the offices of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies neocon think tank in Washington, the plight of the poor and vulnerable in Iran is of course of scant concern. On the contrary, their objective is to reduce the entire population to poverty, thus creating the terrain upon which domestic unrest may take root according to a by now well-worn regime change script.
No one who has been paying attention over recent years will be surprised at this. Indeed, how could anyone be surprised – given that, just like scorpions whose natures dictate they must sting whatever they come into contact with, this is what fanatical neocons do?
That they claim to do so for the cause of something they like to describe as 'Western civilization' merely seasons the moral desert they reside in with ineffable irony.
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