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How to Avoid War with Iran

The United States is going to war with Iran. It's probable that the entry strategy will be through Israel whose gangster government is now being accused of, among other things, having killed an Iranian scientist because the guy was involved in the nuclear research that is central to the country's development program.

Those who chuckle at the ironic and Kafkaesque scenario this war exemplifies should remember that, while Irag was a crumbling dynasty and Afghanistan was never a dynasty at all, Iran is a powerhouse. It has among the largest and most sophisticate military machines in that region and it has a people who are very very committed to resisting foreign intervention.

In fact, Iran doesn't invade other countries; its military is purely defensive and that means its resources are very concentrated and well trained in particular defensive strategies.

It is also among the most developed countries in what used to be called the "Third World" (when there was a Second World) and it has been obsessive in continuing that development. And that is the real reason for the war.

Nobody, including the guys in Washington, believes that Iran is a nuclear threat. It could become one in a few years. But that's not where it's going in all probability. No, Iran is looking to electrify most of its country to increase manufacturing production and more efficient movement of goods. And its goal is to supplant Egypt and Israel as the region's economic and productive leader.

If that happens, the most important goods producer in the Middle East and one of the most important petroleum producers in the world will be a country whose people are very pissed at the United States government and very untrusting of it.

Publicly acknowledged or not, the Iranian people aren't forgetting that our government protected the homicidal Shah of Iran, an arrogant little twerp whose idea of political discussion was to pull people's fingernails out.

And the left-wing movement of Iran won't likely forget the bumbling stupidity of our government toward the Ayatollah Khomeini, a nasty, vicious reactionary who got away with murder because he could cut off the oil supply.

In fact, the only U.S. action during the Khomeini period was when the Iranians took US embassy personnel hostage. The complete and vicious crushing of the Iranian left -- one of the largest, most active and most militant left-wing movements in that region -- went on unprotested and, in our media at least, unreported. This was supplemented, some time later, by the financing of Iraq to actually attack Iran: an unmitigated disaster that left Hussein's Iraq crippled by a lost war and armed to the teeth with, among other things, chemical weapons.

So our government has few friends in Iran. Right now, those non-friends are themselves divided politically. But if it, or its nut-case proxy in the Netanyahu regime in Tel Aviv, goes to war with Iran it will unite those forces and we will be in a war that nobody will win and that will wreak absolute havoc on Iranian society and further devastate the United States economy.

This insanity is nurtured by many things including a racist religious fervor for killing people that is prominent within our extreme right. But its seed is a desperation within this country's capitalist class about the most powerful economic power in Northern Africa being a country our government can't order around.

So what do we do to avoid this act of suicide?

Let me say, for starters, that this fantasy flirtation some progressives have with Republican candidate Ron Paul is a huge error waiting to happen. While Paul (a horrible racist and a proponent of a bizarre, mean-spirited caricature of social Darwinism) claims to be against wars, he won't stop any of them. He'll do horrible things domestically but won't cure anything internationally. The President of the United States isn't a king; wars are made by a complex combination of politically and socially important forces and a guy in a White House office, while critically important, doesn't impose his will on those forces. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Otherwise Obama would have ended the current wars immediately upon entering office. Our military adventures aren't products of the brother's character flaws; they are a product of our movement's demobilization in the all-too-prominent belief that a guy who would have qualified as a Rockefeller Republican 20 years ago was going to spearhead the American revolution.

Now the movement's starting to mobilize again. That, and not this tiresome electoral crap, is where we need to concentrate. In less than a year, the Occupy movement (an ersatz unity of all kinds of forces), has dramatically changed the political discourse and altered the thinking of the American people towards finance capital. In less than a year with messaging that's in its first stages, it has shifted the discourse dramatically!

The changes occur in the streets -- the politicians follow. Here's what I think we should do:

1 -- Aggressively combat the idea that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. It's not. It might, of course, at some future point. So might any other country. But they don't have one and there is no evidence saying they are building one. It's a fiction. Period. And anybody who says anything else is lying and should be denounced as a liar.

And if someone in the Iranian government is pushing to build one -- after all, the U.S. doesn't have a corner on jellybeans -- the best way to undercut his or her arguments is to stop rattling sabres.

Think about it. Say you're an Iranian 20 year old kid who is going into the Army. Israel is killing your scientists, the U.S. is trying to wreck your economy and both governments are trying to isolate yours. What? You won't find having a "push the button and blow them away" option attractive?

2 -- Push for a binding statement by the U.S. government of complete non-aggression towards Iran. In other words, we ain't going to war with you guys. While some demented Americans believe they can kick everybody's butt so hard that the can remold reality, it is not happening. We can't win a war with Iran and we would kill hundreds of thousands of people in the process of waging one. And we won't stop a nuclear weapon from happening and actually might encourage its development.

Make a pledge of "absolutely no attack unless we are attacked" and the impact on Iran would be unfathomable since the dictatorship there survives convincing people that the West is about to crawl into their bedrooms and only this government can stop that.

It's a lame argument but people believe that crap. I mean, more than half the people in our country want to attack and kill Iranians for absolutely no reason. Why should Iranians be any different?

Of course, Washington isn't going to accept that immediately but millions of American signing such a statement would be an eloquent and powerful message.

3 -- Give intense and priority support to the mass opposition movement in Iran. We supported Egypt in a way. And, sure, Egypt's important. But in Iran the opposition movement is led by political progressives (including front-line leftists) and the outcome of those struggles in the Iranian streets will determine how Iran will use its developing resources.

And that democracy movement would *never* support a nuclear arms industry. True enough, it wouldn't support the U.S. coming in and plundering the country's resources either. But that's not our problem; it's the problem facing the enemies we have in common with the people of Iran: their government...and ours.

And that's a good strategy for 2012: know your enemy and your friends. Oppose the former and support the latter.