Stephen Lendman is a contributor for The Sleuth Journal.
NNC’s Iman Soleimani conducted the interview. He did another last October.
US foreign policy, its phony war on terror, its human rights record, imperial wars, belligerent diplomacy, and anti-Iranian agenda were discussed.
NNC (Namavaran Network Corporation) initially operated as a cultural and publishing institute. It trained bilingual journalists working with foreign media.
More recently it began “giving press service(es) to foreign media by recruiting its trained journalists.”
It’s now one of Iran’s largest media operations. It works collaboratively with major TV and News services.
Questions and answers are below. Editing was done as needed. Final comments follow.
NNC: Can we call the dominant pattern of US foreign policy realistic?
Lendman: Longstanding US foreign policy seeks unchallenged global dominance. Perhaps US leaders call that realistic.
It’s barbaric, hugely destructive, and lawless. Ultimately it won’t work. America’s decline and fall accelerates. One day, humanity may go down with it.
US strategy includes toppling independent governments. It want’s subservient pro-Western puppet ones replacing them. Post-9/11, every country America attacked was independent.
So are Syria, Iran, and others on Washington’s target list. Lots remain to feed America’s rage to fight.
When other methods fail, war is the bottom line option of choice. Throughout world history, nations that adopted this strategy failed. Overreach and overspending toppled them. America is no different. Nor is Israel. Living by the sword assures one day perishing by it.
NNC: In your opinion, are concepts like fighting terrorism and promoting democracy merely cover for the pursuit of us interests?
Lendman: America’s so-called war on terrorism is phony. Ronald Reagan waged his own version on “international terrorism.” The dirty game repeats. It involves creating enemies when none exist, stoking fear, and waging imperial wars.
Permanent war is official US policy. Washington spends more on militarism and warmaking than all other nations combined. At the same time, vital homeland needs go begging.
America maintains the world’s largest military capability by far. With all categories included, over $1.5 trillion annually is spent on so-called defense. The Department of Homeland Security is included. So are 16 intelligence agencies.
Black budgets spend more. America’s addicted is war at home and abroad. Public opposition doesn’t deter its rage to fight. Warprofiteers demand it. War is big business. Bottom line priorities assure permanent warmaking. Domestic needs lose out.
America spurns everything it claims to stand for. It deplores freedom, human rights, and other democratic values at home and abroad. Its founders didn’t establish democracy.
They created a nation serving privileged white men. At most, they comprised 15% of the population. Nothing changed through the present.
Rights for ordinary people are spurned. Forced austerity is policy. Social America is being systematically destroyed. At the same time, open-checkbook spending goes for war, military related activities, bankers, other corporate favorites, and tax breaks for rich elites.
That’s US-style egalitarianism. Wealth, power, and privileged interests are served at the expense of all others.
NNC: If America seeks to combat terrorism and respect human rights in its foreign policy approach, what is the reason for its discriminatory behavior with different countries?
Lendman: America by far has the world’s worst human rights record. No other country approaches its depravity. Israel ranks second. Both nations deplore democracy, human rights, equity and justice.
They’re rogue terror states. They threaten humanity. They bear full responsibility for perhaps the most perilous time in world history. Global war threatens. Insanely destructive weapons can wage it.
Peace, nonviolence, stability, equity, and social justice are four-letter words. America and Israel deplore them. War on humanity policies they prioritize prove it. Expect worse ahead. Things are that bad and scary.
Washington and Israel planned eight Gaza terror-bombing days. Joint military operations were ongoing in preparation. When either country goes to war, the other marches in lockstep.
US weapons kill Palestinians. In 2006, they killed Lebanese. They’re used against others both countries target.
America cracks down viciously at home against dissenters. The nation is a hair’s breath from full-blown tyranny. It’s that bad.
Independent writers and media hosts are threatened. So is a free and open Internet. Police states operate that way. America is worst of all. Violence and repression are official policies. So is scorn for fundamental rights it claims to support.
Unless ordinary people act on their own behalf, we’re doomed.
NNC: How successful have America’s foreign wars been (such as Afghanistan & Iraq)?
Lendman: America hasn’t won a war since WW II. Top Pentagon commanders knew Afghanistan was lost years ago. Iraq was lost. So was Libya. Full-scale war Syria will fail.
Waging war on Iran may prove catastrophic. Top Pentagon commanders know it. Hopefully they’ll prevent it. Perhaps one day America will wage peace, not war. It’s an unfulfilled dream.
NNC: What is the role of public diplomacy in America’s foreign policy?
Lendman: Longstanding US policy toward Iran is regime change. It’s well known in Washington and Israel that Tehran’s nuclear program is peaceful.
False accusations claim otherwise. The idea is stoke fear the way nonexistent WMDs were used against Saddam Hussain.
When America wants regime change, by war or other means, pretexts are invented to convince people and world leaders to go along.
It’s unclear what’s ahead. Opinion in Washington is divided on how aggressive to be with Iran. Hawks want war. Cooler heads know it’s madness.
At least some Pentagon commanders and political figures shun it. It’s uncertain if they’re in the majority or have enough clout to matter.
Since 1979, Washington wanted regime change in Iran. Nothing today suggests otherwise. It’s hard imagining anything positive near term. If war is avoided, perhaps one day policy will change. So far it’s nowhere in sight.
Waging war on Iran and Syria is madness. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The risk is great. Hopefully policymakers will decide they won’t chance it. Maybe enough moderates will convince others. Their job won’t be easy.
NCC: Will hardline policy against Iran serve America’s interests?
America’s long-term interests would best be served by peace, not war. No one should forego hope that one day US leaders will believe it and act accordingly.
Jack Kennedy came closest. He was killed mainly for wanting US forces out of Vietnam. He knew waging Southeast Asian war was foolish. Indeed it was.
In 1965 (10 years before America pulled out), Defense Secretary Robert McNamara told Lyndon Johnson it was unwinnable.
He wrote about it in a later book. The same is true today. US leaders aren’t courageous enough to say so and act on their convictions.
NCC: Is there any difference between the Democratic and Republican approaches on foreign policy?
Lendman: Republicans and Democrats are in lockstep on all issues mattering most. Not a dime’s worth of difference separates them. Rhetoric alone differs. Decision-making on both sides of the isle largely concurs.
Obama exceeded the worst of George Bush. Clinton exceeded Reagan.
Whoever succeeds Obama will be worse than him. It doesn’t matter whether Republican or Democrat. It’s why today perhaps is the most perilous time in world history. America bears full responsibility jointly with Israel.
A Final Comment
America’s permanent war policy includes no-holds-barred tactics waging it. America’s kill list strategy elevated Murder, Inc. to a higher level.
Last spring, Obama appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. Extrajudicial authority is official administration policy. Presidential diktats decide who lives or dies.
Anyone can be targeted anywhere in the world for any reason or none at all. Obama usurped life and death powers. He’s got final kill list authority.
Eliminating America’s enemies matters most. It’s done one by one, targeting groups, and against nations. Washington turned death and destruction into a nefarious art form. Rogue states operate this way.
They also prioritize spying. It’s done globally abroad and at home. America has 16 spy agencies. Their eyes watch everyone and everywhere.
On December 1, the Washington Post headlined “DIA sending hundreds more spies overseas,” saying:
The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency hopes to match CIA operations globally. It’ll focus on emerging threats. It’ll operate like “elite military commando units.”
What’s ongoing is part of a “far-reaching trend: a convergence of the military and intelligence agencies that has blurred their once distinct missions, capabilities, and even their leadership ranks.”
Pentagon officials plan a Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). They hope to have around 1,600 spies worldwide. Military attaches, clandestine operatives, and others will be involved.
Planning reflects Obama’s “affinity for espionage and cover action over conventional force.” Military operations aren’t subject to the same congressional restraints as civilian ones.
Intelligence priorities include African “Islamic militant groups,” China’s military modernization program, North Korean and Iranian weapons transfers, and the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
DCS plans were announced last April. Details were kept secret. Hurdles remain to be overcome. Pentagon officials say more DIA operatives abroad will bolster intelligence in areas CIA can’t or won’t pursue.
Langley is “increasingly overstretched.” It backs the DIA plan. Military expertise is better able to assess advanced weapons systems than CIA.
Both agencies will share overseas “technical gear, logistics support, space in facilities and vehicles,” as well as other resources.
On December 2, the Wall Street Journal headlined “US Raises Monitoring of Iranian Reactor,” saying:
For weeks or perhaps longer, Washington stepped up surveillance. It’s done multiple ways from satellites, drones, audio communications, spies on the ground, and rogue internal agents.
Iran perhaps is the most heavily surveilled country anywhere. IAEA inspectors visit nuclear facilities regularly. Cameras monitor them round-the clock.
In contrast, America and Israel are known nuclear powers. They maintain first strike nuclear attack options against any nation based on spurious threat allegations.
They categorically refuse inspections. IAEA won’t even ask. For no reasons whatever, baseless charges against Tehran are made.
US spying is longstanding. Nothing suggests Tehran operates lawlessly. You’d never know it based on hostile rhetoric.
Baseless charges persist. America lawlessly violates Tehran’s airspace. Similar Iranian overflights would be called acts of war. Washington also considers the Persian Gulf its private lake.
Imagine if Russia, China, Iran, or other countries stationed warships off its coasts or established military bases in neighboring countries. America would accuse them of belligerence and respond.
In contrast, the Pentagon thinks maintaining threatening forces globally is its divine right. Media scoundrels raise no rule of law issues. They ignore double standard hypocrisy.
They cheerlead lawless Iranian sanctions. New ones were just imposed. Senators voted 94 – 0. They’ll penalize foreign oil and gas buyers paying for them with gold or other precious metals.
Iran is falsely accused of plans to obtain nuclear weapons. No evidence suggests it. Tehran’s independence is targeted. It threatens no one. World leaders know it. So do media scoundrels. They act and say otherwise.
Washington and Tehran have had no bilateral relations in over three decades. Reports suggest Clinton is receptive to opening them.
America manipulated several P5+1 rounds to fail. Iranians are justifiably suspicious of what she has in mind. Since its 1979 revolution, Washington’s been hostile to Tehran.
Obama’s administration is America’s most hardline. Some observers call Clinton a war goddess. She’s been uncompromisingly hostile for nearly four years. Her persona reflects imperial arrogance.
Her alleged outreach gave no details. Compromise isn’t in America’s vocabulary. She’s leaving early next year. Expect no change in policy now.
Regime change remains official US policy by whatever means it takes. Don’t expect Clinton to turn soft.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War” http://www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.