The promotion of fear as the basis of aggressive US foreign policy.
As the USA continues to be pushed by its best friend, Israel, towards a military conflict with Iran perhaps the Trump Administration will find time to look at the lessons from recent history. With the snow-white moustachioed Bolton, arch-warmonger for the Iraq debacle now in place as Trump's National Security Advisor, that shouldn't be too difficult.
The case for invading Iraq was the core message of the January 2003 State of the Union Address given by President "W" Bush and the use of fear as a key means of persuasion was made explicit. This built on the 2002 National Security Strategy and outlined a dangerous international world of “states that display no regard for international law, threaten their neighbours are determined to acquire WMD. They sponsor terrorism around the globe and we must therefore be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use WMD against the United States, and our allies and friends.”
The junior Bush increased the fear factor in the State of the Union Address when he announced a proposal to spend $6bn for vaccines against Anthrax, Ebola and Plague. He then said .." we assume our enemies would use diseases as weapons and that regimes that sought or possessed WMD could use them for mass murder and they could also give or sell them to terrorist allies who would use them." Theories which suited US policies were transformed into fact for the American public.
The evidence presented was based as “intelligence”; in a short section of the State of the Union. the junior Bush said the following; “Our intelligence officials estimate; US intelligence indicates; From Iraq defectors we know; our intelligence sources tell us; from intelligence sources we know; evidence from intelligence sources reveals that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including Al Qaeda.” All of this was false - actually lies. However, the climax of the justification for invading Iraq was the junior Bush’s statement that “WMD and terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those nineteen hijackers with other weapons supplied by Saddam. We will do everything in our power to make sure that day never comes”.
The presentation of the danger is dramatic and based on assumptions, rhetoric and unconstrained by an absence of real facts. While the majority of the international community had grave doubts about any links between 9/11, Saddam and WMD, with huge consequences for US international support, the majority of the American public and media backed their president. When the United States invaded Iraq without a second UN resolution it caused a major split between much of Europe and the US. The absence of WMD only served to exacerbate an already damaging episode for American relations with the rest of the world. The lesson to be leant here that it is wise to proceed with caution in the Middle East, but perhaps President Trump, egged on by his chief cheer-leader, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (currently in Europe to drum up support for war against Iran) just doesn’t care!
Bolton - one of the architects of the fake news and fear that drove the Iraq war - is now Trump's national security advisor