Sputnik: Has speculation about a potential war breaking out between the US and Iran been overblown in the media?
John Steppling: The worry about World War Three is that I don’t think that idea worries the likes of Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, these are uber hawks in the US administration now and Trump doesn’t know anything; he just does what he’s told, he couldn’t find Iraq or Iran on a map.
It’s worrisome that the upper echelons of the military, the pentagon and the CIA are making these kinds of decisions, because diplomacy seems to have been thrown out the window, and ever since the JCPOA was torn up, the Trump administration has seemed determined to provoke Iran and create a war.
The counter reading of that, is that the US must know that this will be a long, protracted war that it really cannot afford to fight. Invading Iran is not like invading Grenada, it’s a very capable country and of course, you have allies like Russia, and what role does Russia play at this point? It’s a staunch ally of Iran.
Targeting Suleimani was an insult to the honour of the country. He was revered, he was the Che Guevara of Iran, absolutely revered.
Sputnik: Would a potential war with Iran be beneficial for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?
John Steppling: The thing that has surprised me and depressed me and appalled me the most about this entire affair is to read western media and the responses from most Americans that I listen to, and certainly Democratic presidential candidates and media.
There is not a single voice that is genuinely anti-war and anti-imperialist, not one. Bernie Sanders’ biggest complaint was that a war might cost the US money; it’s cost-ineffective, that was the extent of his criticism. Everyone was demonising Suleimani, demonising Iran and praising US militarism.
The climate is so martial now and the jingoism is so extreme in the west and in the media, and you have a public that is so indoctrinated, it just bears no comparison to the climate during the Vietnam War, where there was a real opposition, there was an alternative press, there were people in the streets, the anti-war message was clear, strong and articulate, none of that exists today.
Will it beneficial for Trump? I don’t think that there’s any way Trump can lose that election anyway. Who’s going to beat him? Joe Biden? The Democrats are kind of punting on 2020 I think, in the hopes that they invent an Ocasio-Cortez campaign for the election after that.
It’s probably going to be beneficial. War always is beneficial in America, sadly, and this probably won’t be any different.
Sputnik: Will Europe continue to side with the US’ Middle Eastern foreign policy?
John Steppling: France and Germany both issued statements blaming Iran for the failure of the JCPOA, which were it not tragic, would be laughable; but it indicates that Europe is in lockstep with the US, they are going to do what they are told, they are going to get on board with all of this, they are not going to protest or make waves.
Trade and the economies of these countries are too pegged to the US for them to do otherwise, and we have the rise of certain parties in Europe that are deeply xenophobic and Islamophobic and they are going to make this an issue as well I suspect.
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