Is Iran the next stop of ‘America’s Pre-Ordained Destiny’?

By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal

Since the 1980s, American political leadership has generally seen aggression, occupation of other lands, installation of puppet regimes through invasions, and plunder of other people’s natural resources as “America’s pre-ordained destiny”.  Reagan was not the first to articulate it, but he was certainly one of the most influential American Presidents to leave behind a doctrine of aggression which continues to dominate American foreign policy. On August 18, 1980, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention at Chicago, he broadly outlined this doctrine and called it America’s pre-ordained destiny. It must have been a right-wing ideologue who wrote the speech—for the sophistication of language and ideas in this speech are far beyond Reagan. No matter, whoever was the brain behind the speech, there could not have been a more lucid articulation of what America was to do in the decades that followed.

Regan criticized the Carter administration for its perceived failure to “see any threatening pattern in the Soviet presence, by way of Cuban proxies, in so much of Africa, which is the source of minerals absolutely essential to the industrialized democracies of Japan, Western Europe, and the U.S.  We are self-sufficient in only 5 of the 27 minerals important to us industrially and strategically, and so the security of our resource life line is essential.” He saved his punch lines for the closing of the speech: “But let’s do a better job of exporting Americanism…I believe it is our pre-ordained destiny to show all mankind that they, too, can be free without having to leave their native shore.”

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Let us note that Reagan’s speech about America’s pre-ordained destiny was delivered approximately four months after “Operation Eagle Claw”, the military operation of April 24, 1980, to rescue 52 Americans being kept as hostages by students in the American Embassy in Tehran. The failed mission, resulting in the destruction of two aircrafts and the death of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, was to produce an Iran syndrome in American psyche, which continues to haunt it. The hostages were released on January 19, 1981, just minutes after the Ronald Reagan was sworn in, following the signing of the “Algiers Accords” in Algeria.

Yet, it was not just the 44 hostages, it was the sudden loss of the largest CIA operational base in Asia that was a blow to the America’s perceived pre-ordained destiny. The long-standing support of the Shah of Iran, who, let us recall, was restored to power in a 1953 coup organized by the CIA at the American Embassy against a democratically-elected nationalist Iranian government, had produced a wonderful base for the CIA’s operations for the entire Gulf region. With that base gone, America had to invest billions of dollars in smaller countries (Oman, other Gulf states, and finally Afghanistan). Yet, it never forgot Iran.

In time, America’s efforts to find excuses to somehow destabilize Iran have become more complex and bizarre. Yet, no one would have imagined that American sensationalism will hit such a low level that its Iran phobic good guys will produce a script on which one cannot even cry, let alone laugh. This time around, it is the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which, according to no less than an official than the Attorney General of the United States of America, Eric Holder, has uncovered “a deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign Ambassador on US soil with explosives.” Holder must have forgotten the meaning of his last name when he added that the bombing of the Saudi embassy in Washington was also part of the plan. Subsequent spinning amplified the plot to include the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Buenos Aires. Holder sold the shoddy plot to the eager media as “a $1.5m murder-for-hire” plan. A man named Arbabsiar was arrested at JFK airport in New York. He allegedly confessed, according to the Justice Department.

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Had it been left at that lower level, perhaps there would have been some hope that better sense has not altogether disappeared from the land of oppression and aggression, but Obama, suffering for his lowest approval rating, got on the bombast immediately and warned Iran that it will face the toughest possible sanctions for the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington on US soil. He threatened that the US would not take any options off the table in dealing with Iran, which is normally understood as a diplomatic code for the possibility of military action. “This is part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government,” Mr Obama said, yet, it is exactly the reckless behavior of the US administration: it concocts plots, supports them with flimsy evidence, goes all the way to the maid called the Security Council, gets some resolutions passed and gets its war machinery in action.

This time around, however, it is just a big joke, based on a poor script that no one has bought. “We do not need to do that,” Iranian President brushed aside the allegations, “there is no reason to.” Indeed, there is no reason to take out one individual from the huge Saudi clan which rules the oil rich country. Yet, there must be a reason for this sudden hype. I wonder if there a connection between this poorly staged drama and the 60 billion dollar arms sale agreement that the United States has signed with the Saudis. Could this drama be a way to remove some hurdle in that sale which flashed in news media and then immediately disappeared. The details of this biggest-ever arms sale have never been made public, but it was said that the Israelis have not objected to it and the possible target of the Saudi arms stockpile is Iran. So, is Iran the next stop in America’s pre-ordained destiny?