The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Trump Sends His Gunboats

May 27, 2019

The following article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the French revolutionary workers group of that name.

Since the beginning of May, the U.S. government has made a series of threats directed against Iran. President Trump began by reinforcing the banning of trade with this country. Beginning on May 1, the U.S. banned the purchase of Iranian oil by the last few countries that it had allowed to do so.

As a result, Iran is running short of foreign currency and has an increasingly difficult time buying the products it needs on the world market. For the Iranian population, this has meant growing unemployment, an increasingly rapid inflation in prices, and severe shortages.

Iran has demanded that the European Union honor the commitments it made as part of the Iran nuclear deal, which has so far been revoked only by the U.S. They are asking for help in loosening the noose that Trump is tightening. The choir of imperialist democracies, represented by a meeting of European foreign ministers on May 13, narrowly advises Iran to bend its knee to the U.S. They are troubled by the possibility that war could arrive “by accident.” But it would be no accident – it has been well prepared by U.S. imperialism and its gunboat politics.

Invoking Iranian threats to U.S. interests without naming any specifics, Trump sent the aircraft carrier Lincoln and its accompanying fleet to the Persian Gulf, along with B-52 bombers.

On Sunday, May 12, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced that four tankers had come under attack in the Gulf. The affair seemed minor, but it was immediately exploited politically as these U.S. allies let it be understood that Iran was implicated. The U.S. government increased its forces again, sending another warship, this time with Marines ready to land. The U.S. also sent a battery of anti-missile defenses and let it be known that it had 120,000 troops on a war footing, ready to be sent at a moment’s notice.

On Trump’s part, this cannot be dismissed as just bluster. Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has repeatedly used Iran as a bogeyman. For the U.S. right, attacking this country supports the Israeli right-wing and the fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. And in attacking this Islamist regime, the U.S. strengthens its alliance with Saudi Arabia, a dictatorship even more reactionary than that of the Iranian mullahs. It also serves the short term interests of the U.S. and Saudi oil companies, which can take over the oil sales that Iran used to make. But it also affirms, with arms if necessary, that the U.S. remains the policeman of the world, and that no country can resist it, not North Korea, nor Venezuela, nor tomorrow China. Finally, to mobilize against Iran justifies the business of arms sales and all the profits that flow from it.