US Policy in Iran: ‘Calculated and Gradual Coercion’

During his confirmation process to become Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel delivered a slip of the tongue when describing his support for the Obama administration’s policy of “containment” of Iran. With cameras rolling and Senators ready to pounce, somebody passed Hagel a note, at which point Hagel corrected himself: “I misspoke and said I supported the president’s position on containment. If I said that, I meant to say we don’t have a position on containment,” an embarrassed Hagel said.

The episode was an illustration of how low the bar for war has moved. Nowadays, advocating containment is akin to supporting Iran’s right to obtain and and then drop an atom bomb right on top of Washington. The US “contained” the Soviet Union and Mao-led China with thousands of nukes, but Iran cannot be contained. Not these days: now containment is appeasement. Never mind the fact that many of today’s hawks advocated containment of Iraq in the 1990s before it became fashionable to advocate prevention.

But it’s worth taking a closer look at what “containment” actually means. In the famous Truman-era top secret policy paper NSC-68, which pronounced an expansive and aggressive foreign policy for the Cold War, “containment” is described as “a policy of calculated and gradual coercion.”

“Simply put,” writes Christopher Layne in The Peace of Illusions, NSC 68 stipulated that the ultimate aim of U.S. grand strategy was, by means short of hot war, to eliminate the Soviet Union as a peer competitor by using a preponderant U.S. power to force the retraction of Soviet influence and control from regions beyond the borders of the Soviet Union, and, ultimately, to bring about regime change inside the Soviet Union itself.”

This fits with recent history, too. Prior to the Bush administration’s war of aggression in 2003, Washington viewed Iraq as the greatest threat to US dominance in the Middle East. In Iraq in the 1990s, the policy of “containment” manifested in a progressively draconian economic blockade that destroyed the country, occasional bombing campaigns through a US-led no-fly zone, and an open policy of supporting domestic groups aiming to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Ultimately, this set the stage for regime change in 2003.

“Calculated and gradual coercion.”

If that’s how “containment” played out in Iraq, how is it going to turn out for Iran when even “containment” is considered too dovish? The US has already imposed a cruel set of sweeping economic sanctions aimed at “crippling” the Iranian economy, waged cyber-warfare, aided and abetted terrorist groups advocating the overthrow of the regime, and supported Israel as it carried out illegal assassinations of Iranian scientists. The international negotiations are so far going nowhere, primarily because the US clearly isn’t interested in a deal.

“Just as they did with Saddam Hussein,” wrote two former diplomats in Foreign Affairs last year, “concerned governments have implemented economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and low-level violence to weaken the Iranian regime and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, with the long-term objective of regime change.”

9 thoughts on “US Policy in Iran: ‘Calculated and Gradual Coercion’”

  1. If that was not the case.., they would have prosecute those who ordered the start the epidemic in tortures and illegal wars, thereby war crime, act against humanity and murdering children's and baby's that have other colors then white and live in other country. Look we said that from day one.., every president signed an agreement with its militarism regime to start a war for last 60 years.., at the present time and present governments governing USA and EU non is difference then one who become president in 2000.

    1. This is a real conspiracy FACT, not a conspiracy theory!

      The ***king disguised Global Empire, the corporate/financial/militarist/media/legal and political Global Empire that has 'captured' and now fully "Occupies" our former country (and the U.K. Germany, France, Israel, EU, NATO, IMF, etc. etc.) is just aching to demonstrate the use of its B61-11s in a nice little 'safe mini-nuke' war or two in Iran and N. K.

      ANYONE who purports to write about the expanding Middle East and Asian wars without mentioning Thomas Barnett's 2004 Naval War College strategy and book, "The Pentagon's New Map", or without mentioning TIRANNT (Theater nuclear war IRAN Near Term) is either woefully under-informed or a troll for the DGE (Disguised Global Empire), the corporate/financial/militarist/media/legal and political Global Empire, which has 'captured' and now fully "Occupies" our former country!

      Maybe Glaser is a nice guy but just not fully informed, yet?

      Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing RedCoats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets —- quite yet!

      Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality
      Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0

      Alan MacDonald

      We don't merely have a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or …. ad nauseam —we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'.

      "If your country is treating you like shit, and bombing abroad, look carefully — because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country."

    2. What's this because they are not White? It's rich and poor not Black and White. Do you really think Whites the people that have allowed multiculturalism in all White country's are near as raceist as the people that say such stupid raceist things. Whites were over 90% of the population when they made slavery illegal and still above 85% when segregation became illegal. This would nevewr have happened if the White people were not against it. It seems to me almost all other races are much more raceist than White people. At the time of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade Whites were inslaved also more than Africans. Africans and Irish being inslaved togeather had many children of mixed race. If people want to belive the lies that White people are anymore raceist than others they really should learn the TRUTH. THEIR WILL BE A RACE WAR WERE BILLIONS ARE MURDERD BECAUSE OF LIES LIKE THIS IF PEOPLE DON'T EDUCATE THEMSELFS WITH THE TRUTH NOT THE LIES WE ARE RAISED TO BELIVE.

  2. they would have prosecute those who ordered the start the epidemic in tortures and illegal wars, thereby war crime, act against humanity and murdering children's and baby's that have other colors then white and live in other country.

  3. The US and Israel cannot tolerate the 'absence of war' for very long, psychologically and economically. They are at the breaking pt.

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