“Liberal” New York Times Provides Cover for Washington’s War Plans for Iran

In a relatively short period this month, the New York Times attacked Iran on behalf of Washington and its allies. So-called liberal Thomas Friedman, a notorious liberal war-monger, wrote a short op-ed piece on March 17th calling for Washington to arm ISIS and send the terrorist organization to destabilize Iran. Former State Department official and neo-con war hawk John Bolton added to this with his own imperialist doctrine for the New York Times. Both articles provided cover for Washington’s long war with Iran from both sides of the imperial coin. While the New York Times is useless if one wants factual and reliable information on US foreign policy, articles such as these reveal how differing tactics among neo-liberals and neo-cons hold little significance when the system of imperialism ultimately has one prevailing strategy. That strategy is permanent imperial warfare on behalf of the interests of their capitalist paymasters.

Thomas Freidman’s piece represents Washington and Obama’s preferred method of imperialist war. Freidman calls on Washington to arm ISIS to destabilize Iran, an objective that has been decades in the works. His primary argument that US and Israeli interests are best served with direct support to ISIS is a lie. It’s a lie not because the argument is false but because the argument itself has been a long standing US policy. To solidify the unity between Democratic Party and Republican imperialists, Freidman distorts history by linking US proxy war in the region to the made up threat that Iran is “on the edge of a bomb.”

Freidman is a little late. Washington has been arming terrorists to achieve its geopolitical interests since at least 2012 . After the Libya nightmare of 2011, US-NATO’s covert support of jihadist rebels opened the door to a new proxy invasion of Syria. Saudi, Turkish, and Israeli-backed terrorist organizations received hundreds of millions in US support since the fall of Libya. McCain and Netanyahu were caught publicly meeting with these various factions, which included the much vaunted Islamic State (ISIS). The imperial proxy war in Syria is an effort to isolate Iran and pressure it to capitulate to Washington’s designs for an economically and militarily dependent Middle East.

Friedman’s argument is even more ridiculous in light of recent developments. From December last year to February of this year, numerous reports from Russia, Iraq, and Iran accused the US of providing direct support for ISIS in Iraq. According to FarsNews, the Iraqi military released intelligence cables which revealed that US jets were dropping weapons in ISIS held territories. So Freidman’s call to arm ISIS is less of a new imperial strategy in the region than it is a re-branding of the proxy war to fit the need to pressure and confuse the US public into Washington’s war plan for Iran. This has been Obama and the Democratic Party’s primary tactical approach to imperialist war since Obama decided to invade Libya four years ago.

Of course, the other side (“right-wing”) of the imperialist coin is no better, but at least it’s honest. In a recent article for the Times, John Bolton outwardly calls for the US or Israel to bomb Iran. Despite his admittance that there is a lack of “palpable proof” that Iran plans to develop nuclear weapons, Bolton stays true to neo-con form in highlighting the danger of allowing Iran to survive another day as a sovereign nation. This should come as no surprise. Bolton served for GW Bush’s administration and was a point person in the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that justified the bombing and invasion of Iraq.

It is important to place the media war on Iran in the context of US imperialism’s long history of war against the oil-rich nation. In 1953, the US took advantage of Europe’s post World War II collapse by sponsoring the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government in Iran. Washington re-installed the brutal Shah regime, which murdered and tortured thousands of Iranians at the behest of US and British oil interests. Iran overthrew the Shah in 1979 and declared an independent Islamic Republic. Since this period, the US, Israel, and its Gulf Monarch allies have sought to isolate the country with numerous attempts to overthrow the revolution through military and economic means. Today, Iran defends its nationalized oil wealth and political sovereignty despite crippling sanctions from the imperialist countries and the constant threat of US sponsored warfare at each of its borders.

Iran’s independence is in and of itself a threat to the US imperialist alliance’s strategic interests in the region. These interests have been clearly stated by the US military establishment, especially after the War on Terror was declared over a decade ago. The US plan to maintain hegemony requires the forced destabilization of sovereign states and the creation of vassal states too chaotic to interfere with US military and economic motivations. Similarly, the Yinon plan and Bibi Netanyahu’s Clean Break both spelled out Zionism’s need to destabilize the entire region to achieve regional expansion beyond Palestine. The millions that died in the destabilization of Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Afghanistan since 2003 were victims of imperialism’s grand plan to recolonize North Africa and the Middle East through military means.

Iran is the final piece to this plan, so the New York Times is compelled to point all of its ideological guns at the Shia nation. One might ask what interest does the New York Times have in fueling another war that could cost the planet millions more in casualties and mass misery. The war mongering positions of the liberal New York Times or any corporate media source for that matter are expressions of the crisis in the US imperialist system. In a landscape where six corporations own 90 percent of US media, much of the content that comes out of the television, radio, or newspaper reflects the interests of those that own them. And in this period of US imperial decline, where profits are falling and the capitalist class holds onto heavily subsidized system of super-exploitation, the terror and fear of war becomes all the more important.

The US is on the war march in every part of the world with the ultimate objective of eliminating any and all challenges to its rule. Washington’s policy of proxy war specifically is an attempt to strangle the world movement for self-determination. The corporate media has played a significant role in the promotion of permanent imperialist warfare. New York Times’ coverage of Iran is an irrefutable example of how both ideological wings of the Empire differ only in form, but not in substance. Freidman calls for proxy war, while Bolton calls for direct intervention. Neither option is any less murderous or devastating to the peoples of the world that have suffered from them.

It is important to debunk and expose the perpetual lies of the imperialist corporate media given the weak state of the anti-imperialist movement in the US and the West. Doing so is crucial to breaking down the inherent contradictions in the American and Western way of life. While the war makers and corporate liars tell us we live in the land of the free, life becomes more unbearable everyday under imperialism. Poverty, Black Mass Incarceration, state surveillance, and austerity ravage the US mainland. The defense of Iran’s self-determination and a repudiation of the lies of the corporate media are crucial toward building the international unity we need to truly present a challenge to imperialist exploitation in our respective social locations. So put down the Times, and pick up the struggle for humanity’s future.

Danny Haiphong is an organizer for Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at [email protected] and FIST can be reached at [email protected].

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Articles by: Danny Haiphong

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