By Simon Rodriguez, a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL) of Venezuela, IWU-FI section.
Surrounded by the failures in domestic politics and the internal crises of his government, reflected in a very high rotation of high officials, with constant public contradictions between Trump and his cabinet, the American president has been using a spectacular foreign policy to hide his weaknesses. The most recent case has been his war threats against Iran, with the sending of bombers which he cancelled at the last moment, on 20 June.
In 2018, adapting to the line of Israel and the most aggressive sectors of the American right, the Trump government broke the nuclear agreement that Obama had signed with Iran. In that pact, signed in 2015, the US lifted economic sanctions for the theocratic regime’s commitment not to exceed agreed uranium enrichment quotas for its nuclear programme. The re-establishment of sanctions by Trump has impacted the Iranian economy, which had already been suffering the wear and tear implied by the military occupation of Syria in the service of Assad’s fascist dictatorship. In response to the sanctions, Iran restarted the uranium enrichment process and announced that in July it would exceed the quota agreed in 2015.
The tension increased with the carrying out of six attacks on oil tankers in the last six weeks in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the strategic points of greatest interest for imperialism. With only 33 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, it handles around a fifth of world oil exports, some 19 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, and liquefied gas from Qatar, its main world exporter. Iran denies being responsible for the attacks.
In this context, on 19 June, Iran shot down an unmanned US spy drone. Everything would show that the apparatus was flying over Iranian territorial waters. The imperialist spokesmen claim that the action took place over international waters. Trump ordered a retaliatory bombardment and soon after, with the bombers already flying, cancelled the attack. He limited the retaliation to a cyber-attack against the Iranian government.
Trump showed in a very short time all his faces: first he said to believe that the drone’s demolition had not been deliberate, then he ordered and cancelled the attack, then he declared that he interrupted the attack because it seemed disproportionate to him as they informed him it would cost 150 deaths. More recently, he has offered Iran prosperity and friendship for twitter if it desists from its nuclear programme. An obvious offer to renegotiate an agreement. The imperialist governments of the European Union have openly criticised the unilateral nature of US policy towards Iran, calling for negotiation.
Trump’s bluff has revealed great differences with his security advisor, Bolton, and Secretary of State, Pompeo, as shown in leaks to the press. According to government sources, Trump says he is not in favour of a war with Iran and complains to his closest circle that his officials want to manipulate him into a war adventure. The magnate, of racist and imperialist convictions, is guided by the motto «America first,» arguing that the role of the world police is very costly. Near the pre-election period, an invasion is not among his plans. The memory of Iraq, America’s second Vietnam, continues to deter imperialism from waging new wars of aggression. But he does not abandon his permanent threats of aggression against the peoples.
The Iranian regime makes the most of the just repudiation that Trump’s threats generate in its country and worldwide. For four decades this capitalist, anti-worker and anti-people theocracy has been using the supposed imminence of a US military aggression to justify the non-existence of democratic freedoms and the repression against the resistance to its austerity policies. We revolutionaries repudiate Trump’s military threats and economic sanctions against Iran, at the same time we stand in solidarity with the workers and people of Iran who are suffering under the boots of the dictatorship.
A pattern is being drawn that shows the crisis of political, economic and military domination of US imperialism. Friendly talks followed threats of a nuclear attack on North Korea between Trump and Kim Jong Un. The failure of the 30 April coup attempt diluted the option of military aggression in which Trump and Guaido counted on the rupture of the Chavista military high command. As with Iran, in these cases the Trump government has used the military threat to achieve results. Any attempt by imperialism to gain an advantage through military blackmail must be repudiated, yet so far Trump is barking but not biting.