1. Toppling the Shah of Iran and elevating Shia Leadership (1979). Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of any dictator, but now looking back 30 years or so, it’s very easy to see how this was a colossal mistake for the U.S. Granted, it wasn’t such a big mistake for the Brits, because they basically got what they wanted which was the choking off of Iranian oil supply for a decade or so while they exploited North Sea Oil (which was very difficult to extract), then a ‘contained regime’ that enabled them to claim Iranian oil in the Caspian sea through another puppet dictator in Azerbaijan, and record profits sanction busting through their colonial outpost in Dubai – BUT for the U.S. this was a stupid mistake. A staunch ally was turned into a mortal anti-western enemy (which suited the Brits) but not the U.S. Arguably they assisted in the toppling of the Soviets with firebrand Islamic warriors (supported by Iran too); but everyone knows the Shah of Iran would have gladly obliged. But the real issue is that the rise of Shia Muslims in the long run – threatens major economies like Saudi Arabia (where its oil rich patches are all in Shia dominated areas) – and in fact this could completely undermine not only the U.S. but also the West. The toppling of the Shah also underscores a major principle which is that having the U.S. as your master is an unreliable career move! The Shah, Saddam Hussein and now, Mubarak are glaring examples of how the masters turned on the servants. With this sort of unreliability, would anyone want to serve the West?
2. Initiating the Iran-Iraq War (1980). Realizing that the U.S. had made a stupid error in toppling the Shah and elevating Khomeini, Jimmy Carter (and Zbig Brezinski) held secret meeting with Saddam’s gang and encouraged him to invade Iran in 1980. This turned out to be a complete miscalculation. Iraq with only 15 Million people at the time, and Iran with 45 Million could never ‘properly’ take on Iran and win….even if Iran’s military had been decimated by the new regime. The terrain was swampy and difficult, and Iran always had (and still has) enough talent and nationalistic fervor to take on its neighbors – how else could it have survived 3000 years. But the real miscalculation was that Iraq has 2/3rds of its population as Shia Muslims, and Iran’s new regime of Shia Leaders could always count on them to undermine Saddam Hussein internally. The war as it turned out had a physical front and an intellectual front – and Iran over time won the intellectual front – even if the physical war ended in a stalemate. But interestingly one net effect of the war was that Iran’s leaders developed two massive and important military wings – the IRGC (Pasdars) and the Basij (volunteer militias) in parallel to Iran’s military and police force. These two new forces ‘grew’ during the war and have now evolved into being very potent warriors under the total command of Iran’s Shia leadership. The point is, the war actually ended up reinforcing the regime in Tehran, rather than destabilize it. Now these new warriors are not only experienced in warfare, but also fully committed to any anti-western fight (having long memories of war atrocities committed on Iran by Saddam Hussein who was fully armed and supported by the West). The war ended up producing over 1 million casualties.
3. Multiple Invasions of Iraq (1991, 2001) The Iran-Iraq war resulted in huge debts being accrued by Saddam Hussein to its neighbors and the West. Its neighbors, particularly Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE …have all been frightened to death of a potential uprising by their Shia Muslim populations and did everything they could to support Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran’s (Shia) Mullahs. But, the Iran-Iraq war was futile, and the Iranians became emboldened not weakened. And after the truce, Saddam Hussein had no capacity to pay…and a huge military to support. In addition, Saddam’s neighbor (Kuwait) had turned to Russia for help when the U.S. had turned its back on Kuwait during an Iranian bombing campaign – and for the first time decades Russian Navy ships were allowed to port in the Persian Gulf (in Kuwait). Kuwait had to be ‘disciplined’ and Saddam was duly dispatched to not only invade Kuwait (to teach it a lesson) but also needed some ‘debt’ forgiveness by Kuwait …so he obliged. The Kuwaitis and the Saudi Arabians pulled every string and the U.S. came in to liberate Kuwait in 1991. And when Saddam Hussein got a bloody nose ‘doing what the master told him to do’ – he stopped obliging (serving). 10 years later, as we all know, the Master invaded Iraq again under false pretexts (but who cares)! It was a lesson to everyone in the region – you will do as you are told!! Right?!! But indigenous Iraqis paid a huge price throughout this whole experience, and Iran’s Mullahs (as it turned out) provided steady support to Saddam’s opposition for decades and when it came time to replace Saddam – Iran’s Mullahs had all the cards. The occupation of Iraq by the U.S. and its allies turned out to be a very expensive proposition and in the end, Iranian puppets have all been voted into key positions in Iraq. The U.S. has basically abandoned Iraq after spending over $3 Trillion dollars over a 10 year occupation timeframe. The U.S. was essentially bankrupted by the war, and the Iranians Shia leadership gained the upper hand. And now, a Shia dominated country was touching Saudi Arabia and Kuwait …bringing forward the day of Shia revolt in the Persian Gulf region.
4. Sanctioning Iran (from 1980 through today): I suppose it all sounded like a good idea. If the U.S. cuts off trade with Iran, they won’t be able to repair their U.S. made weapons, they won’t be able to run their industries …they will have to ‘come’ to us begging. This turned out to be another miscalculation. Iran simply turned to other suppliers – notably the rising economic power house of China. Just like China now manufactures everything for the U.S., it can (and has) basically supplied Iran with everything it needed. And with all this economic growth, China needed cheap energy imports and Iran duly obliged. Without the Chinese and Russians on board, sanctions have become meaningless. And anything else that Iran must absolutely buy from the West, has been duly supplied to Iranians through Dubai. The Brits (through their Dubai colonial outpost) have duly undermined U.S. sanctions for profit. In the end, Sanctions have probably hurt the U.S. more than the Iranians – because China developed replacements for U.S. made parts for Iran and is now selling those same parts in other parts of the world and for itself. For example, Iranian engineers took apart U.S. made fighter jets and had components reproduced, (the urgency of the war forced them to do that). While I have always been a fan of sanctions, the U.S. always stopped short of sanctioning Iran where it really mattered – oil exports – until very recently. So with Iran able to export oil and bring in cash, it was always able to ‘pay more’ but get whatever it needed from other sources. In the end, sanctions have turned into a joke. And put Iran much closer to its trading partners China and Russia that were willing to trade with Iran during sanctions. This is clearly another strategic mistake.
5. Supplying Iran with Nuclear Technology: I don’t understand why and how, the U.S. (Eisenhower) ever justified supplying a nuclear reactor to Iran with plutonium in it. And then, trained a large group of Iranian engineers in nuclear physics at MIT, and assisted Iran to build nuclear power plants. And then the West asked Iran to invest $1 Billion dollars into buying shares of Europe’s Eurodif enrichment plant in the 70’s! And with all that embedded investment in people and plant equipment – was Iran going to ever abandon nuclear technology? Seriously? I mean so Saddam Hussein bombs some sites, and that has to mean the end of Iranian nuclear programs? And then Iran’s new regime (the Shia Mullahs) are supposed to just give up all this after they’ve figured out that the U.S. has changed its mind on supporting them?! Obviously, they are not stupid, and they fully ‘get’ that their ultimate deterrence on being toppled is to have nuclear weapons of their own. Right? And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you revitalize the nuclear program and built power plants, it won’t be such a long distance to getting all the pieces to build a weapon. I mean anyone that is insecure will do that (especially someone that had Saddam Hussein kill a million of its people). So having supplied Iran with nuclear technology, the U.S. (and its allies) thought they could simply change the regime in Iran, put in a bunch of uneducated Mullahs who will be handed the keys to all these facilities – and everything will work out fine. Let’s topple the shah now!! How stupid Jimmy Carter, James Callaghan, Valerie Giscard D’estain, and Helmuth Schmidt must have been thinking – oh we can just topple the Shah and everything will be okay?!! What f**king idiots? Now, I am not a fan of any dictator, but it was really a dumb move considering all the nuclear technology they had given Iran. And an even dumber move, considering the plan involved breaking up Russia too…and within 10 years of toppling the Shah, the USSR was broken up. And guess what, in all the chaos of Russia breaking up, the Mullahs in Iran (who had suffered a blistering war with Saddam Hussein and had gotten to know every illicit arms dealer in the world) ended up being offered Russian nuclear warheads from arms dealers in Ukraine. And voila, Iran grabbed a basket of nuclear warheads – and has the ‘program’ to test them, and refill the warheads with highly enriched fuel. How stupid and irresponsible can leadership in the West be. Oh, we’ll just splinter Russia, oh we’ll just topple the Shah …and now we have nuclear demons with long-range missile capability that can basically threaten everyone. What a strategic mess?
6. Unifying Enemies via the Syrian Civil War: Yes, Assad is a butcher. Yes, he is very bad. But, the West has basically thrown him to the mercy of Russia and Iran. His very survival depends on them. In turn, Russia, China and Iran are becoming de facto allies. And who is Assad’s opposition – not freedom loving people of Syria (who deserve freedom and democracy) but the opposition are a bunch of crazy fighters from outside Syria who by all accounts would be 100 times more brutal than the Assad regime. It might have been too tempting, too simplistic to take a solution that worked in Libya and apply it in Syria too. But that was stupid (in retrospect). I believe Assad could have been wooed by the West. I believe that there was the potential for peace with Israel…which maybe the Israelis undermined. But in fact, now that his back is against the wall, and Russia, China and Iran have come to the rescue. In effect, the Syrian war is cementing an alliance between Russia, China and Iran – that will be devastating for the West. If nothing else, the West has unified its opponents and emboldened Putin, emboldened Khamenei and for that matter emboldened the wrong part of the Chinese mafia. And guess what, it has also unified a tacit alliance between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Iranian supplies are being transported via Iraq to Syria. Iran, Iraq and Syria recently signed an agreement to pipe Iranian hydrocarbons across Iraq to Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This will in effect make the Persian Gulf – unnecessary for Iran in terms of exporting its oil (and gas). If Iran gets access to the another export terminal, it could soon shut down the Persian Gulf and stop the supply of Oil to the West. This would not only choke off the west, but also bankrupt the West because the increase in oil prices would just destroy ALL Western economies.
7. Beating around the Bush: It’s all Iran – stupid!? So you screwed up with toppling the Shah, you screwed up trying to fix the mistake by backing Saddam Hussein, you screwed up when you tried to put your bulldog (Saddam) back in his cage, and then you screwed up with imposing unilateral sanctions (when not even the Europeans went along, let alone the Chinese, Russians, etc.), then you screwed up with dismantling the Soviet Union (only to make a bunch of rogue nukes available and then by putting Putin in charge), and then now you’ve unified your enemies!! You f**king idiots. How can the U.S. claim to be “the” leader of the world and make such huge strategic mistakes? How did it get here? Well, for one, it listens to its welfare allies Britain and Israel …not to its own soul, and for its own benefit. Basically, American policy makers are listening to the wrong people. U.S. is basically being leveraged by the Brits, who used ‘wrong” U.S. decisions to further their own ‘correct’ strategic objectives. The Brits choked off Iranian oil, and actually used the Shah to increase oil prices, to in effect set the stage for North Sea oil production. Then when the North Sea oil ran out, Russia was conveniently splintered and the Brits grabbed the Prize in Azerbaijan by tapping into what is actually Iranian deposits in the Caspian to supplant their North Sea oil revenue. Then with false intelligence they encouraged the U.S. to foot the bill for invading Iraq – and guess what – the Brits have the two largest oil fields in Iraq – not U.S. oil companies!! It’s all been dumb for the U.S. but absolutely brilliant for the Brits. And the real prize is right there – Iran. The Middle East’s most pro-American population. The U.S. has been beating around the Bush – when in fact if it aligned with Iran and Iranians it would be able to totally control the Middle East. Just as the Shias are a major liability – threatening Persian Gulf states – an aligned Iran could be a real asset. The biggest strategic mistake is the tacit, indirect ‘flirting’ with the regime in Tehran …trying to ‘normalize’ relations. It’s very simple, the regime in Tehran needs to be toppled, democracy needs to get restored…and the people of Iran need to realign with the U.S. – rather than Russia and China. Iran should be fostered as a major regional hub for U.S. interests and U.S. companies. Central Asia could be the new engine of growth for the global economy – with Iran as the Hub (not British colony Dubai). Screwing around with the regime in Tehran is a waste of time – a strategic mistake. They are now fully in bed with the Russians and Chinese (just look over your shoulder in Syria – please). They have been in bed with the Russians and Chinese for decades. Yes, the Bush family were personally indebted to the regime in Tehran because of their involvement in the 1980 October Surprise and the embassy hostages, but the Obama administration surely has no debt. The Bush’s carefully sidestepped Iran …but this administration does not have to. Sidestepping Iran is a strategic mistake. Don’t beat around the Bush.
All these errors started with a decision in Guadeloupe by a bunch of failed politicians. Jimmy Carter only served one term, James Callaghan was not re-elected and was forced into an early election when he lost a vote of confidence in Britain's parliament, Schmidt ended up resigning, and Giscard D'estain gave way soon afterwards to 10+ years of Mitterand. If they were brilliant strategists how come they couldn't get re-elected - any of them. There has never been a time in Western history when more failed politicians made consquential decisions then in 1978/1979. Don't get me wrong, the Shah made mistakes too...but the 'bigger' more consequential errors are all here glaring at us all.
These are all serious errors. And they could in the end mean the demise of the U.S. and its future this century. Surely, there are people with some sense that can read this and do something about it. As the U.S. gets ready to ‘hit’ Syria, it really needs to only take actions that can have a favorable strategic outcome. Think carefully. Act cautiously. Be wise for God’s sake. Surely, the U.S. can not make one more stupid strategic mistake - it could be fatal.