United States, President Trump, Iran discussed on The Dave Gram Show on WDEV
Live radio people becoming crazy but I just I say it's it's a little bit like going out four wheel and on the old logging roads in the woods. It's probably less environmentally damaging or whatever and So we we just bump belong here and get to where we need to be. Which is talking with Peter Galbraith? I have been introducing you for a little bit here here. Peter thanks for joining Filibuster your gentleman and a scholar for joining us this morning from. You're you're in Switzerland right. I am and what are you. What are you doing Switzerland skiing good for you? I actually took that guess. I said I said he could just be skiing. He's in the middle of some international diplomatic intrigue over there but he could just be skiing so I'm glad to hear you're enjoying a little Vacation time over there. That's great so Tell me I'm sure you've also been following the news when you're doing your apres ski moments over there And and this attack by the United States. It's on the On the Iranian General Qassem Sulamani. The it's causing a lot of international upset and I know you've spent significant time in the Middle East refresh us on your Your your sort of give us a brief brief recap of the resume in connection with the Middle East. Well I've I've followed the this part of the world and specifically Iraq Iran Syria Since nineteen seventy nine since The Iran hostage crisis At that time I was working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where I was for fourteen years then. I had a a little diversion as ambassador to Croatia. But after that as a professor in the National Defense University and then has Somebody who is helping the Iraqi Kurds negotiate defacto independence and the Iraqi constitution as somebody who wrote extensively about Iraq Somebody who went to Iran in two thousand fifteen leading the first trip from Harvard University to the country as somebody who's made fifteen trips to Syria since since the war began Area I know fairly well. That's what we buy and does some some of the actors in many of the actors involved in office What do you think of the of the assertion by the president and his people that Qasim Sulamani was planning actively planning Some mm-hmm attack on the United States or its people or its interests that was Unusual enough to warrant this action. Action is the sexual assassination. Well I I. I don't know the evidence that trump may have had Tools made the decision if in fact they had had any evidence at all. Some of the press reporting suggests that the evidence was pretty thin The United States and Iran have been in hostile relations for a very long time. Although at times they've also cooperated operated They cooperated in in Afghanistan against the Taliban they cooperated most recently in the fight against the Islamic state and Costume Silva meaning so a major part of it now So many in the after the. US invasion of Iraq which brought to power Iran's allies allies US military then went after some of these rainy in allies including the cleric mcdonagh. All solder and Filippini came to their support and guess Wisconsin Wisconsin between Iranian forces or forces that were trained by the Iranians and and US forces all that It's a very big step from there. to the actual assassination the one of the most important figures in Iran. I mean it's a imagine that would be the equivalent of of Iranians assassinating the Secretary of defense the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Yeah Yeah I mean. It was a very provocative action And we have a a impulsive president Who is extremely dishonest? So we we can't really rely on his word now. It might be true but when you keep wanting People just can't rely on well. The president himself self has been very very skeptical. In many instances of the information that has been produced in recent years by the United States Intelligence Apparatus and obviously I would think that if he has any the evidence. That Sulamani was Involved in In planning some imminent attack on the United States where it's interest That that that would come from some of the same intelligence sources. The president has spent most of his Ten in terms of our pooh-poohing right. Well of course he. He steeply skeptical of the intelligence. That suggested that the Russians Played a significant role in his election. although that's the unanimous this conclusion of intelligence agencies he's Skeptical intelligences conclusions. He doesn't like he's also one who's never been reluctant to blurt out national secrets so it does make it a question as to why he isn't sharing the supposed to tell in this case And whether it exists or not It's a separate question for whether it's a wise thing to do to assassinate what one of the most important people in Iran. Obviously it's inviting retaliation I it's just could easily escalate into a full-scale war And then the Trump has gone ahead and made some absolutely extraordinary threats. He has threatened into destroy Iranian cultural site. These are protected by the nineteen fifty four. Hey Convention which makes it a war. Crime go to destroy cultural sites this convention that the United States has ratified. It goes against the Security Council resolution that ah the trump administration voted for on March twenty fourth nineteen two thousand seventeen which again condemned the destruction of cultural monuments and called for the prosecution of people? Who did he has also said after the expenditure of of several trillion dollars and the sacrifice of more than five thousand lives of American service? Men and women That if the Iraqis Ask us to leave. Which of course is their right? As a sovereign country that he will impose more severe sanctions on Iraq Than those that apply to Iran. For what for having a democratically asserted their rights as a sovereign nation a democratic system. Incidentally today's that the US has paid an enormous amount of five thousand flights two trillion dollars to bring it out. You know that that really strikes strikes me as as as something to think about here now when the when if the Iraqi parliament and by the way I guess there are some questions about about the vote in the Iraqi parliament in terms of I guess they had a quorum but they but they did not have the entire body there by any means from what from what we hear now but that's correct correct. They beat the Kurdish members of parliament. boycotted because they actually want the United States forces to remain You they in spite of trump's portrayal of the Kurds that we discussed last time They would like the Iraqi Kurds would like the. US troops troops to remain. They they they while they can't really trust Trump is reliable. They they see that that the US is their only real partner to enable them to survive better than nothing right. But it's quite possible that this will lead to American troops redeployed to Kurdistan and and then possibly the the break up of Iraq. Also the sunny members of parliament largely didn't show up so this was a decision taken by the Shiite members who are about sixty percent of the the population about sixty percent of the members parliament. Okay so it assuming that that we have a legitimate vote in the Iraqi Iraqi parliament saying Hey United States You know we've been entertaining you as guests for a long time now and we would like you to leave. The party is over in the United States. Chooses not to leave it. Are we in affected. That point an occupying force. Well we certainly would be Acting contrary to international law I think the one complication is would be a part of the country notably the autonomous Kurdish region where to ask the US to say in the US where to go there and and that probably is a an action that would then lead to the implementation. Tation the decision of the Kurdish people in a referendum on September twenty fifth twenty seventeen to vote for independence. Yeah that would clearly partition Kurdistan. It would that would now be the I guess effectively if not a danger if they factor of not jury a separate a separate state that would be then hosting a large. US military presence. Is that Right is already defacto. A separate separate state and it does host a significant US military presence If it were to declare independence and and of course if the US were directing now. I said then as a legal matter the US forces could continue to stay there since it would be a decision by sovereign independent. Kurdish staff guided. Niger okay all. This underscores the really very unpredictable ways. In which the story obey develop now. Yeah I mean that's what is One of the striking aspects here is that there's you know people talk about an insufficient planning for say how to end the war after you start one. That's why that may be why we're in Iraq and Afghanistan going on two decades here but Leaving that aside even It seems as though this particular situation with the Sulejmani killing Got Less planning than certainly most. US military actions is that fair. That seems to be fair that that that that nobody has anticipated what the consequences are It it it seems. Is that what what happened. Here was that The the Pentagon behave the way bureaucrats to Henry Kissenger once described the way you get the choice you want is a present the president with three options Unconditional surrender This option a option. NBA The one you want an option. C. Is a total nuclear war. So obviously the president's GONNA choose the option want in this case the killing of Sola Mamie any was the option C. and Trump went ahead and chose that at and then it doesn't appear that there were people in the national national security apparatus who've been largely purged by trump who had purged up to him and to explain to insist on explaining what the consequences consequences would be. an extrordinary. Ignorance here Again I come back to the threat to to destroy cultural monuments which incidentally are not just Iranian but these are the monuments of human civilization on the there are many of them are long pre Islamic. I mean there is a place of Alexander the Great And so you make a threat to destroy them. Nobody seems just to brief the president to say this as a war crime And of course now it's been pointed out and instead of backing down he's doubled out doubled down on saying yeah. That's what he's GonNa do the Secretary of State Who really is not doing his job? He needs to be speaking strongly about this instead. He stuck in the question. Incidentally what people need to understand is that trump is putting American servicemen and women in great danger danger because if if I if trump orders the destruction of monuments which is a war crime MHM that is being illegal order and those who carry out and illegal water order are themselves responsible for the crime. And so you've got put American servicemen and women then in the position of having to choose between an order from their commander in chief and they'll bang the law. Yeah that that is a the Obviously sort of the classic difficult position into which to put anybody in a military situation you know and a- and what is your expectation dare. Do you think that there would be some kind of a a rebellion at that point among the troops. Well this of course would presumably in order to to to The Air Force to carry out bombing raids on these monuments young cultural monuments sprayed very Whether there would be resumed. I hope there would be resistance or refusal so from the top leaders of the military and out the air force and from the pilots. You have to imagine you know supposed to You had a presidential order to to gun down a hundred children would would a soldier actually carry that out. I I don't think so I I mean I. I think the training that we have indicates while the the president's the commander in chief that he is he does not have the power to make an illegal order and this is clearly clearly something that's illegal. Yeah boy that would that. and to hear the the president's rhetoric about this as well Sulamani killed some people and therefore you know I mean it sounds like these are just you know religious icons or whatever the is housed in various cultural locations. Shins that he's talking about here as in they're they're they're less important but But but that that that really does raise some very the very Tricky issues and and I just wonder I mean again. Nobody knows how this is GonNa go play Apple. Let me ask you about one possible. We'll scenario I'm not saying it's a strong possiblity but Brighton. Quite frankly one that I think a lot of us would prefer which is that. Iran looks at the situation. Now and says You know they've poked sticking our I we are going to Stand down because we don't want to mess with this immense military power that the united any state possesses and they don't really retaliate Any chance of that. There's a chance of it. The the smart strategy for the Iranians would be to to to appear to be be reasonable party against the unreasonable unreasonable..