Tag Archives: Iraq

Jeux sans frontières: Five Reasons Why War with Iran Won’t Work #wwlll #TerceiraGuerraMundial

2020 was never going to be the quietest of years, but the sudden and rapid descent into a possible war between the United States and Iran – a fall signalled by the extra-judicial killing of the senior Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani via a Donald Trump-authorised drone strike near Baghdad International Airport – could yet provide a diabolically loud soundtrack to the next twelve months (and far beyond).

Trump – who is facing serious domestic pressures – may have any number of motivations for pursuing the kind of military adventurism that his administration has thus far avoided. But whether he is trying to appease his more hawkish donors, or merely channelling the classic 1997 movie Wag the Dog – a political satire in which a sitting US president fabricates a war in Albania in order to distract voters from a sex scandal – a conflict with Iran is unlikely to yield the results he is seeking for at least the following five reasons:

  1. Blunt instruments. The United States enjoys near-full-spectrum military dominance, particularly when it comes to aerial supremacy. However, the act of relentless bombing does not translate into the ability to win wars. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam between 1964 and 1973 than in the entirety of the Second World War, but this did not stop the US suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of a Third World peasant collective.
  2. No worse enemy. Iran is a fiercely nationalistic and more-or-less industrialised country with genuine regional power aspirations. Practically everything about Iran – its long and rich history, terrain, military capabilities, cross-border alliances – strongly underlines that any American invasion would be met with the kind of resistance that US forces are simply not used to; the political cost of this would be enormous.
  3. Soft power slide. The United States has still not recovered from its last foray into the Axis of Evil, which has seen its national brand transmogrify from hyperpower to decaying empire in a matter of just a few short years. Moreover, Operation Iraqi Freedom was waged in a pre-social media era where CNN still enjoyed a near-monopoly on English-language agenda setting; the reputational damage that it could incur in an era of dissenting blue ticks and non-compliant news networks does not bear thinking about.
  4. Quadruple alliance. In the event of military escalation, Trump will not just be confronted with Iran: key members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, such as China and Russia, are Iranian allies, while an increasingly independent Turkey – which currently enjoys excellent relations with both Russia and Iran – is unlikely to prove cooperative.
  5. Fiscal insanity. Back in 2008, Joseph Stiglitz – former Chief Economist at the World Bank – conservatively estimated that the Iraq War had cost the United States a cool three trillion dollars. It must be noted that this figure will seem like small change if a war with Iran goes ahead – and Trump’s blue-collar base, still awaiting the materialisation of their icon’s infrastructure programme, is unlikely to be inspired by this allocation of resources.

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Asian Century Latest: World’s Most Populous Continent Dominates New Passport Index!

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Desperately Missing ‘Marissa’: Was Mischa Barton the Last Great American Icon?

Moments of transcendence in the context of the act of purchasing a consumer fashion magazine are usually rare to the point of non-existence, but back at the start of 2005, the person who was to become Mediolana’s Creative Director & CSO experienced precisely one such episode on seeing Mischa Barton grace the cover of the short-lived Elle Girl. Barton – at the time, the ace face of a certain California-based teen soap opera – was an it-girl with a difference: namely, an unusual depth of being which was almost totally incongruous to the rapidly-decaying US media environment she found herself inhabiting.

With the best part of a decade-and-a-half has passed having elapsed since this point, we at Mediolana have recently been troubled by a question to which we have no satisfactory answer: with no female (and almost certainly no male) remotely of Ms Barton’s stature having emerged from Hollywood and its domestic satellite media markets in the intervening period, was this remarkable actress the last great American icon?

This question is not merely an academic one. Particularly in the post-1945 era, the projection of US dominance has been inextricably linked to its national brand; in turn, the ability to create personas worthy of emulation and adoration is a key element of this vital ‘soft power’ element. For decades, Brand America enjoyed peerless reach, and globalisation was presumed by many to be synonymous with Americanisation.

However, since the increasingly catastrophic moral and geopolitical failure that constituted Operation Iraqi Freedom – in 2018, Chinese and Russian oil companies are operational in what was until at least the late 1980s a US client state – the United States has apparently been unable to engage in cultural reproduction with anything like the same degree of success (with seemingly even post-Season One installments of The O.C. suffering). Indeed, it has been losing market share in the domain of scripted content to nations such as South Korea and Turkey for some time now.

Of course, explaining this phenomenon requires a broad and sophisticated examination which is beyond the scope of a mere blog post. But it surely isn’t unrealistic to posit that one core reason behind this decline is the total, jarring absence of anyone who can enthuse viewers – particularly young consumers – from São Paulo to Istanbul in the way that Mischa Barton so evidently could. This is something for US policymakers – and not merely television and film executives – to contemplate in an atmosphere of profound sobriety.

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Middle East Latest: #Iraq ‘Builds a Wall’!

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La La Land: Trump’s ‘Anti-Terror’ Executive Order ‘Risks Global Order Meltdown’!

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Murder By Numbers, 2016: 6,000 Page Report Finds Tony Blair ‘Racing Up High-Score Table’!

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Au Revoir, Démocratie? French Government ‘Seeks Indefinite State of Emergency’!

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