A constant criticism of a lot well meaning liberals I have is the myopia of their focus on Trump. Case in point, Iran. A common rhetorical point has been made from the #resistance crowd has been “Trump only wants to kill it because he hates Obama.” While it is true that Trump is an emotional, petty, and grievance filled id monster, there are massive problems with this rhetorical strategy, most notably by ignoring the interests of America’s most powerful allies in the region.
America’s two prime allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel, both have governments deeply antagonist towards Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party have been outwardly pining for military action against Iran for decades. Remember Netanyahu’s Looney-Tunes/PowerPoint presentation? Most of that was recycled material from the last few times Bibi attempted to confuse the public to coerce military action against Iran from the US. Yet America’s relationship with Israel has been one of unconditional support, even as Israel codifies its status as, using the phrasing of the center-left ex-prime minister Ehud Barak, an apartheid state.
However militaristic and authoritarian Netanyahu and mainstream Israeli politics is on the issue of Iran, it is when you examine America’s relationship to Saudi Arabia that the pieces come together. Saudi Arabia is a long time American client state, serving as a bulwark against the USSR in the Cold War, as well as offering a shit ton of oil to military and corporate interests. While they have a minuscule army, their financial and economic power have greased the wheels of American foreign policy in the region for generations.
Saudi Arabia is also religiously and politically dominated by an incredibly conservative sect of Sunni Islam that views all Shiite Muslims as infidels deserving of death above all else, even more than Christians and Jews. Which regional power is most identified with Shia Islam? Iran of course.
So instead of limiting yourself to Trump myopia, unwittingly mirroring the grievance culture on the right by reducing large and complex issues to little more than gossip, lets #resist more than Trump. Only by having a more contextual critique of the structures of power can liberals and leftists build a lasting coalition against empire and war. Simplistic and personalized politics do little more than degrade serious movements for peace.
At the very least, liberals, do it for Obama.