[Marxism] Bolton: Israel 'will attack Iran' before new USpresident in office, especially if it's Obama

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Thu Jun 26 17:45:08 MDT 2008

S. Artesian writes:

>... in reality it does not matter what the bourgeoisie think or
> what they want.  What matters is what capital requires, what the
> bourgeoisie
> must do to outrun declining profits.

You can't always get what you want.
> So... Cheney is a major element of the ruling class, and certainly more
> powerful than Rice or Gates;  and he is that, more powerful, for a reason.

Not my impression, since his coterie Libby, Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle et al no
longer there. But I have no way of really guaging his influence except from
the media, which doesn't talk about him much these days.

> If your argument is that the ruling class is more divided about Iran than
> Iraq-- fine, I don't intend to argue that point, because I don't know, and
> I
> honestly don't care.  "Splits among the ruling class"  are not signifcant
> drivers of world history and/or the extent and duration of wars.

Uncertainty within the ruling class and the loss of popular confidence in it
is characteristic of revolutionary situations, as Lenin and the Bolsheviks
noted. Ruling classes have typically been divided between reformists and
reactionaries in the same way as the popular classes have been divided
between reformists and revolutionaries. These have not been unimportant
differences in determining all political outcomes, not only revolutionary

> The Ruthless One stated that many elements of the ruling class were
> against
> the such an attack.  And I responded that obviously many are not against
> such an attack.  Many, looking at elections and polls, hedge.  BFD.  Many
> want a UN sanction  before such an attack.  BerFD.  That's supposed to
> indicate what?  To me it indicates , hedging, wanting to  be able to deny
> all responsibility at the same time as funding such an attack, allowing
> plans and bellligerent acts to go forward that will lead to the attack.
> To
> me, it sounds like somebody authorizing a hit, but only when he or she is
> out of town and has an alibi. It sounds to me a lot like what happens
> after
> you've lost control of one battlefield but still see the need to go on to
> the next battlefield.

The ruling class doesn't make decisions one way or another on the basis of
elections or polls or public perceptions - or, at least, only to a very
limited extent.
> We ought to keep in mind that Congress doesn't exactly wield a big stick
> in
> curbing the belligerence of the executive branch. An  historical fact,
> about
> splits in the ruling class, and Congressional Resolutions, even laws:
> Remember Vietnam. [Period, not Question Mark].   Remember the US Congress
> forbidding direct combat roles for US ground troups.  Remember Peace
> Agreements.  Well more Vietnamese died after the Congress passed those
> laws.
> Bombing tonnage accelerated after those laws.  Weapons and munitions
> shipment accelerated.
> And lets not forget Israel, because in the middle of that long "national
> nightmare, when the Israeli Army was surrounded in the Sinai in 1973 and
> threatened with annihilation or surrender, the US not only mounted one of
> the most massive resupply operations in post WW2 military history, it also
> let it be known that it would not allow the destruction of the Israeli
> Army
> and would intervene militarily at whatever level was necessary to ensure
> its
> survival.
> And I should I mention the Congress cutting off funding to the Contras?
> That sure worked well.
> I would think, Israel remembers 1973 and knows it can count on the US to
> ensure its military survival by any means necessary if it, Israel, decides
> to attack Iran.

Thanks for this little survey. I'm well aware of the fact these things
aren't decided by paper. I was only correcting your mistaken reference to
the House resolution as "giving a carte blanche to Bush" which you rely on
for your analysis. I wouldn't have referred otherwise to the House
resolution precisely because I don't think it's very relevant to the
question of war and peace.

> When you list your "the relationship of forces," are you trying to argue
> that there are divisions among the ruling class, or that there is
> consensus
> or even unanimity among the ruling class AGAINST such an attack, because
> if,
> as you argue the ruling class is  rational enough to make such a
> determination  based on a rational assessment of forces..... if capital is
> so rational, and the bourgeoisie can  measure these things, why and how do
> they get things so f==ked up to begin with?

Because the incoming Bush administration thought Iraq, crippled by
sanctions, would be a "slam dunk". They thought the majority Shias would
throw garlands at them, they'd install their man, Chalabi, the oil fields
would pay the costs of a brief and relatively bloodless invasion, and they'd
leave with "mission accomplished". The Palestinians would lose their biggest
patron, and would sue for peace with the Israelis, and US domination of the
region would be more firmly secured. The rest of the world would learn not
to fuck with the shock and awe war machine, especially the Iranians and
North Koreans who would be given the same ultimatums as the Iraqis to
capitulate to the Americans or die. At home, the Republican right could
contrast its muscular unilateral success in the "war on terror" to the
timidity of the Democrats and their endless ineffectual dithering and
compromises with the US's allies and opponents.

So now let me ask you a question: Do you think the "irrational" Bush
administration would have launched the invasion if it could have foreseen
the loss of more than 4000 troops and tens of thousands of wounded, hundreds
of billions of dollars in expenditures, the decline of the Republican party,
the strengthening rather than weakening of Iranian influence, the weakening
rather than strengthening of US influence, the violent instability
precipitated by the occupation and its effect on Iraq's oil fields and the
oil price? I'm counting on an honest answer.

Taking into account the relationship of forces involves making these kinds
of assessments. The Bush administration wholly overestimated its own
strength and underestimated the strength of its opponents. In the same way
we describe leftists who plunge into disasters because they misestimate the
balance of power - both the resources they have and those possessed by the
enemy - as "left adventurists", the Bush administration can be seen as
"right adventurist" in relation to Iraq. In the same way the masses hold
their leaders accountable for such errors and insist on a course correction,
so too was the Bush administration sharply reined in by the US ruling
class - which had initially and somewhat anxiously given it the benefit of
the doubt - in it's second term. It's turn towards multilateral diplomacy
and away from its doctrine of preemptive military action against the two
remaining members of the axis of evil, North Korea and Iran, has to be seen
in that light.

> I am not absolutely certain that the US will attack.  Never said that.  I
> did say that many elements in the US ruling class want an attack.

You're playing with words. You've conducted a long polemic arguing this
point. But if you're no longer absolutely certain the US will attack, then
we're in agreement. If you say an attack is still conceivable despite
appearances to the contrary, we're also in agreement.

>I did say
> capital compels the bourgeoisie to seek not just devaluation, but
> destruction of assets; war being a major, significant, powerful way to
> destroy assets and mask overproduction.

The bourgeoisie prefers order and stability to disorder and destruction.
It's in the business of making money, and money can be made more reliably in
peace than in war, when the outcome is uncertain. Haliburton and some other
roach contractors may have benefited, but you think Wall Street and the
ruling class as a whole has benefited from the outlay on the Iraq war? Be
more specific.

>The US may not attack this time,
> may not want to risk the resignation of senior military officers...

Among other things, and this would be the most extreme scenario.

> may not want to
> risk nuclear escalation.  But that is hardly a lock; it is not dead cinch
> certain.

Again, it is not a dead cinch certain they won't be a war. In fact, I
don't see how the Israelis and the US could effectively destroy Iran's
nuclear facilities without using low-yield nuclear weapons.
> As for quoting significant sectors--- I would think that Cheney should be
> enough, I mean he is VP, and the President from the state of Halliburton
> and
> the Electoral College of the Oilfields; but if not, I consider the HOR
> resolution absolutely clear in its endorsement of an attack, as long as
> certain formalities are observed, on Iran.  Don't you think all those now
> hedging their language might simply be lying?  I mean the ruling class
> does
> have a tendency to lie.

Yes, but it is not dead cinch certain that they are lying about not wanting
to get embroiled in a wider war.

> Why would you believe for one second anything Rice, Gates, the HR, the
> Senate, the Clintons, the Democrats, the NYT, etc. any section of the
> ruling
> class says about their peaceful plans or peaceful intentions? I actually
> find that astounding.

That makes analysis easy for you. As they say, just need to put a minus sign
where there is a plus.
> Again, just so it's judiciously clear; I did not say the attack is
> inevitable.  I did say that there is signficant support for such an
> attack.
> I did say that the logic of capital drives inevitably towards such
> attacks.

> And I would think, that given the current hedge atmosphere, the language
> the
> bourgeoisie will use in endorsing such an attack is going to be opaque,
> coded, not explicit, although the HOR resolution is hardly opaque.

We're starting to repeat ourselves. Thanks for the extended reply, though.

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