The news is led, today, by an alleged plot by Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil. The U.S. has directly accused Iran of orchestrating the plot. Everyone is dithering, but what strikes me in the midst of it all is, "How convenient."
Iran has characterized the matter as "fabricated," "vulgar," and a "childish, amateur game."
One former CIA case officer reacted to the suggestion that a faction within Iran planned the assassination without the knowledge of those in power this way:
“Maybe things have really fallen apart in Tehran, or maybe there’s a radical group that wants to stir up the pot,” Baer said. “But the Quds are better than this. If they wanted to come after you, you’d be dead already.”
What follows is solely my conspiracy-minded and probably ill-educated observations.
1. With the economy tanking, how convenient to find an enemy worth going to war with. World War II saved the U.S. from the Depression and FDR came out smelling like a rose. The trouble is that the FDR model was based on a credible, empirical threat. The current threat is based on a house of cards whose cornerstone is 'terrorism,' a word whose policies imply that something might happen, not on something that has. Iran's U-boats are not sinking American ships, for example.
2. Finding a bad-ass enemy and instilling a politically-useful uncertainty in the American electorate dovetails nicely with the Bush-administration (Cheney spear-headed) notion that the U.S. needs to plant the flag in strategically-useful (military bases; oil production) countries ... all under the cover of patriotism and a wish to spread 'democracy.'
Even the wisest Iran-watchers seem to be baffled by the uncharacteristic nature of the alleged plot.
The motive for the alleged plot was not clear. Iran has in the past assassinated its own dissidents abroad, but an attempt to kill an ambassador would be a highly unusual departure.
3. With the election of 2012 gearing up, how useful might it be for the American president to beat the Republicans as their own plant-the-flag game, outflanking them by putting America back to work by putting our boys in uniform and producing war toys. No Republican these days could resist that bait ... damn the spending a full speed ahead.
The assassination plot was so inept. True, there's a fool born every minute and even the most elaborate plans can be concocted by fools, but this was off-the-charts inept. It's just hard to believe it is what the U.S. is saying it is.
End of inept theorizing.