(Reuters) Trump ally Giuliani says end is near for Iran’s rulers. Quoting,
“I can’t speak for the president, but it sure sounds like he doesn’t think there is much of a chance of a change in behavior unless there is a change in people and philosophy,” Giuliani told Reuters in an interview.
Somewhere in Rudy’s address to the , (context missing) is the phrase “…suffocate Iran’s “dictatorial ayatollahs”. In duplication of the threat, The NY Times ran the headline “Trump Ally Giuliani Says End Is Near for Iran’s Rulers.”
The shared headline is too much of a leap, an unjustified inference. It’s surprising that major news outlets would leap to “regime change”. It’s also surprising that Rudy Giuliani would address the NCRI, which is almost synonymous with the MEK, which is almost synonymous with a cult of terror.
In 1981, the MEK tried to decapitate Iran’s government with a wave of assassinations; see A New Reign of Terror in Iran ? Thus began a 7 year reign of terror, as the Islamic Republic became even more extreme, culminating in the bloodbath of 1988. By accounts of some credibility, teenagers as young as 12 were executed in extirpation of the MEK. Yet the MEK remains unpopular in Iran today. It has no potential as an instrument of change, either via terror or as political opposition.
The press has not yet gotten used to the new hyperbolic style of the Trump Administration, which, using words as weapons, is not to be taken literally, at least by us. There is no reason to assume that Rudy Giuliani is so simple as to mean what he says.
But for the sake of argument, let’s imagine that Giuliani means what he says. Perhaps the possibility gains credibility when we consider Giuliani’s great achievement in life. Rudy is the most successful social engineer of recent American history. As mayor, he rescued NYC from what appeared to be terminal social decay, replacing it with the profoundly safer, comparatively boring, and much pricier city that everyone takes for granted today. He accomplished this by a novel approach, targeting “social crimes”, such as turnstile jumping, graffiti writing,and disorderly behavior. The homeless, and beggars, were deported to Rikers Island. Street musicians were silenced forever.
Whatever the costs, Rudy molded NYC into a locale where street crime was no longer the dominant topic of conversation. Nowhere else in America has such a profound transition been achieved. His latter career is somewhat of a comedown. But I still think of Rudy as formidable. So, to prepare myself for battle, just the other day, I jumped a turnstile. Rudy, I’ll wait for your summons in the mail.
In the meantime, before I am deported to Rikers, let’s consider whether renewed U.S. sanctions have a chance to cause regime change in Iran. The answer begins with an Italian general, Giulio Douhet, who, in the period following Word War I, invented the concept of strategic air power. A Wikipedia quote summarizes his theory:
Douhet believed in the morale effects of bombing. Air power could break a people’s will by destroying a country’s “vital centers”. Armies became superfluous because aircraft could overfly them and attack these centers of the government, military and industry with impunity, a principle later called “The bomber will always get through“.
In 1920, Douhet published his treatise, The Command of the Air (Il dominio dell’aria), which was the basis of all subsequent attempts to use strategic air power in replacement of ground forces. This seminal work served as the basis of a multitude of targeting strategies. By the end of World War II, every strategy of attack on entire nations by air power had been tried, either by intent, accident, or combinations of both.
In the countries most severely tried by strategic bombing, Britain, Germany, and Japan, no hint of political change, or loss of will arose that was attributable to strategic bombing with conventional explosives. Nuclear weapons are not part of this discussion. Quoting Wikipedia,
However, subsequent conflicts would largely discredit Douhet’s theory. Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris set out in 1942 to prove Douhet’s theories valid during World War II. Through four years under his command, RAF Bomber Command attempted to destroy the main German cities. By 1944–1945, in partial concert with the USAAF, they had largely achieved this aim; but no revolution toppled the Third Reich.
Both sanctions and strategic air power are attacks on a national identity.
From the history of strategic bombing comes the conclusion that attacks on national identity strengthen the identity. With sanctions, as with air attack, the vox populi has two choices:
- Blame the government.
- Blame the aggressors.
For the argument that the headlines have put in Rudy’s mouth to work, it requires the arbitrary selection of “government”, which, by control of the media, has many ways to deflect that choice onto the “aggressors.”
This is why Iran’s government has stood 40 years. National identity, the common element of most human history, has a primal basis. It spontaneously arises, and resists external pressure.
This awareness is the rationale for most of Russia’s external strategy. Recent Russian military threats against the Baltic states, a form of external pressure, backfired. Subversion continues to pay dividends.
Rudy, I’ll wait for your summons. You have one little problem. I jumped the turnstile at Newark.