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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/8/17

Lots of shouting, tiny stick

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From Asia Times

Donald Trump won't be winning any wars against Islamist terror if he imagines dismantling the Russia-China-Iran alliance is possible. His saber-rattling against Iran is pointless

US President Donald Trump receives a figurine of a sheriff during a meeting with county sheriffs at the White House on February 7.
US President Donald Trump receives a figurine of a sheriff during a meeting with county sheriffs at the White House on February 7.
(Image by Uni India)
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Here we go again. General "Mad Dog" Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense, declares Iran "is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world." National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn puts Iran "on notice." President Trump says "they are not behaving," and, on his Superbowl interview, doubles down: "They are the No 1 terrorist state. They're sending money all over the place -- and weapons. And... [they] can't do that." Iran is slapped with new sanctions. It's as if Dick "Dark Side" Cheney and Donald "known unknowns" Rumsfeld never left.

Never allow facts to get in the way of a bombastic quote. "State sponsor of terrorism" is a neocon meme for any nation/political system that resists US Exceptionalism. The industrial-military-intelligence-security complex feeds on massive budgets to engage these manufactured "threats" while real, on the ground terrorism -- yielding from the Salafi-jihadi matrix -- has absolutely nothing to do with Iran.

The birth of al-Qaeda was inbuilt in the official Dr Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski doctrine of fighting the former USSR in Afghanistan in the 1980s via a Wahhabi-controlled Jihad Inc. Nothing to do with Iran. Even Trump's own national security adviser admitted on the record there was a "willful decision" by the Obama administration to let ISIS/ISIL/Daesh fester. Nothing to do with Iran.

As for the Iranian missile test, the UN resolution concerning the nuclear deal "called upon" Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. This was a conventional missile test, as even the White House admitted.

So what is it all about? We must once again resort to the shadowplay/wayang of a Henry Kissinger-devised new balance-of-power US foreign policy bent on preventing Eurasian integration by prying away Russia from China while antagonizing Iran.

Putting the New Silk Roads "on notice"

Beijing was not amused by the new "unilateral" (Foreign Ministry description) anti-Iran sanctions barring access to the US financial system or dealings with US companies. After all, the sanctions include two Chinese companies and two Chinese nationals. Xinhua worries that overall this may become "a ticking time bomb for peace and stability in the Middle East."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov for his part stressed that Russia and Iran "cooperate on a wide range of issues, [we] value our trade ties, and hope to develop them further."

Whatever the administration, and whoever the privileged dalang adviser in the shade, the US strategic imperative in Eurasia always remains the same -- to prevent the ascent of a peer competitor, or worse, an alliance, as in the case of a Sino-Russian strategic partnership.

For China, Iran is an absolutely critical node of the New Silk Roads, or One Belt, One Road (OBOR). Along with Russia, it is a key player in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), is set to increase its cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and will become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). All this spells out Eurasian integration. By 2030 Eurasia may exceed the US and Europe in global GDP terms. Eurasia, not the Atlantic alliance, is the future.

Most of the geostrategic game ahead hinges on whether there can be a "win-win" grand bargain between the Trump administration and the Kremlin. Assuming Washington would back off in eastern Ukraine and accept Russia's legitimate sphere of influence in Eurasia -- hardly a given -- the price to pay for Moscow would be to let go of its very close partnership with Tehran. Kissinger should know better; this is not going to happen.

In between, there are pressing facts on the ground. The avowed, much ballyhooed Trump smashing of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh across "Syraq" simply cannot happen without Tehran-supported Shi'ite militias/boots on the ground, the Quds force led by Gen. Soleimani, as well as Hezbollah fighters in Syria. Trump is waiting for his ordered 30-day Pentagon plan of "victory" against the jihadis. Bets can be made that the Pentagon won't integrate both Iran and Russia -- both doctrinally regarded as "threats."

In a nutshell; Trump cannot win his war against Islamist terror if he fully subscribes to the neocon wet dream of crippling the Russia-China-Iran alliance.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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