US and Iran: sanctions, war and fragile peace

Recently, the relationship between the United States and Iran has added new variables. First, the United States announced that it would queue the Iranian Revolutionary Guardian as a terrorist organization. This is the first time in a modern history that a country has listed the active forces of another sovereign state on the list of terrorist organizations as a whole, and it is hard to see at a glance. Subsequently, US President Trump ordered a total ban on Iranian oil exports to force the latter to stop uranium enrichment activities, and recently sent an aircraft carrier battle group to the Middle East to carry out Trump’s usual “extreme pressure” to force Iran. Stop nuclear activities. What puzzles the international community is that the US government under Trump has been threatening to end the endless war in the United States. It not only requires NATO alliances, South Korea and other countries to increase military spending, but also to reduce US spending and withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria. But why did you choose to take special care of Iran this time and put on a posture that is ready to start? Is the United States still playing the role of a global order guardian? As far as the US foreign policy is repeated, the international media is also at the same end.

Shadow of sanctions

As Financial Times columnist Edward Luce pointed out, Trump may not have his own opinions on the Iranian issue, but more influenced by national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. People belong to the hawks on the Iranian issue and advocate the overthrow of the current Iranian regime. When they took office, they abandoned the US-Iraq agreement: in 2018, Mike Pompeo’s 12-point request to Iran was like an Iranian surrender charter, requiring it to stop all missile experiments and open all military bases to international observers. The current focus of the US policy on Iran is no longer a matter of denuclearization, but the change of the Iranian regime. On many occasions, John Bolton emphasized that Iran needs a revolution, and that he is also a supporter of the Iranian People’s Mujahedin (MEK). This organization, founded by radical students, advocated armed struggle in the early years and was later listed as a European and American country. Terrorist organizations have gradually been excluded from the list of terrorist organizations until they abandoned their armed forces in recent years.

It is undeniable that US sanctions have already had a major impact on the Iranian economy. Last year, the Iranian economy fell by 6%. This year’s tougher sanctions, especially the total ban on oil exports, have devastatedly hit its economy; Absolutely, but whether it can force Iran to yield is still unknown. But the visible problem is that the United States’ allies in Europe – Britain, Germany and France – want to support the agreement reached between the United States and Iran. The split of the alliance may naturally have a different impact on the effectiveness of US sanctions. At the same time, Trump has promised to lower oil prices during his tenure, and sanctions will inevitably lead to an increase in global oil prices. International relations have always valued interest calculations, and Edward Luce wondered if Trump knew the consequences of his decision.

The series of sanctions in the United States also triggered a strong rebound in Iran. The latter also deployed some of the US troops deployed in the Middle East as terrorist organizations, and threatened to respond strongly to the United States. In this situation, as the New Yorker columnist Robin Wright pointed out in the analysis, there is little possibility of seizure of personnel exchanges, diplomatic relations and other aspects between the United States and Iran. The escalation of management conflicts is almost in failure, and the contradictions are further intensifying.

According to Jason Rezaian, a longtime correspondent in Tehran in The Washington Post, the US Iranian policy is largely based on its lack of understanding. US policymakers and the intellectual community generally verbally say that they want to liberate the Iranian people, and they don’t know much about the situation of the Iranian people themselves. Rezaian pointed out without a word that the United States has neglected the changes that are taking place inside Iran, and the process of secularization has already appeared in Iran. Sanctions have little effect on the existing power class, but they are devastating to the lives of ordinary people.

The edge of the war?

Is Iran really on the verge of war? When the United States and Iran were arrogant, Princeton University scholar Seyed Hossein Mousavian published an article in “National Interests” reminding us to look at Iran in a historical way. From the perspective of the United States, the United States has launched the Afghan war and the Iraq war in the Middle East and carried out military operations in Yemen, Libya and Syria. Although the effects of these military operations and wars are not satisfactory, they have failed to prevent the United States from continuing to do so. do. At the same time, the United States has a belligerent tradition. As a former US President recently concluded, “The United States has only been involved in war for only 16 years in its 242-year history, so the United States is the best war-torn country in the world.” . A large part of these wars are rooted in the United States forcing other countries to accept their institutional arrangements and values.

On the Iranian side, since the Iranian revolution in 1979, the state of “No war, no peace” has been maintained between the two countries. But in fact, Iran has helped the United States in four critical moments during these 40 years. (1) In the late 1980s, Iran accepted the proposal of former US President George W. Bush to improve bilateral relations, and with its own influence, the US and European hostages trapped in Lebanon were released, but the United States reported hostility and Increase diplomatic pressure. (2) After the September 11th incident in 2001, the United States sought Iran’s help to combat the Taliban forces in Afghanistan. In fact, Iran’s support is an important boost for the United States to defeat the Taliban. (3) When the United States launched the Iraq war in 2003, it asked Iran to arm the anti-Saddam groups stranded in its territory and send the people back to Iraq. These people joined the United States to overthrow the Saddam regime. . (4) In 2016, US ships illegally entered Iranian waters and 16 sailors were detained. At that time, the US Secretary of State sought help from the Iranian Foreign Minister, who immediately arranged to release the sailors. It is undeniable that these actions of Iran have their own interests and goodwill, but the United States basically turned a face and did not recognize people. It can be seen that the possibility of a war between the United States and Iraq depends mainly on the United States.

If there is a possibility of war, the political situation in the Middle East and North Africa will undoubtedly fall into shock again. However, if the United States and Iran can ease diplomatic relations, the greatest benefit to the United States is that Iran can help fight the Islamic State and eliminate one of the greatest scourges of terrorist attacks. And Iran can get opportunities for peace and development.

It is well known that Iran has grievances with the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia at the same time for religious and political reasons. This makes the Iranian issue always at the crater of Middle Eastern politics. American scholar Karim Sadjadour asserted in the Atlantic Monthly that in fact the leaders of the United States and Iran do not want to see war, but war is the core bargaining chip of diplomatic negotiations between the two countries. Although the United States can crush Iran in its military strength, once Iran falls into war, it will drag on Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the political situation in the region will be out of balance. This is something the United States and its Middle Eastern allies cannot afford. The 2020 election is near, this is also the time when Trump handed in the transcripts. As the dispute between the United States and Iran continues to escalate, if it is in a state of war, it will definitely affect the election; the Iranian issue is that the current government is in the war situation. It is difficult to continue to take power. This is the plight of the prisoners in the United States and Iran. Both sides can only rely on threats and conflict escalation to play the game. But no matter how Iran and the United States hurt each other, the most injured in this political game is definitely the ordinary people of the Iranian people and the countries in the Middle East. These are probably not within the calculation of the game between the two sides.

The 40-year-old grievances of Iran and the United States may be a turning point today. The hard-line positions of the two sides today are hard to help solve the substantive problem. For Iran, the continued nuclear activities are not allowed by the international community, but this is one of the options to maintain its own security under the extreme pressure of the United States. Walking on this wire rope, the development of things is difficult to predict. For the United States, winning wars is commonplace, but the endgame of war is not something that can be cleaned up. Both sides are between no war and no war. How can the authorities break the game? We can only look at it.