“The new Tanker War, then, is just the beginning. At the same time, unless Saudi Arabia and the Israelis are willing to take the point in this new campaign against Iran, the United States will have to fight the Tanker War 2.0 tit-for-tat, just as the Iranians are. We must never forget that the Iranians will not abandon their quest for nuclear arms and we in the West simply cannot allow for them to acquire these nuclear capabilities. Therefore, one can anticipate the global price of oil to continue to increase–despite what many of the so-called “experts” claim. This will mean that Russia will become more belligerent over time with the West. Ultimately, though, the United States must do what it can–along with its regional allies–to deny Iran the potential to use nuclear arms against U.S. allies, such as Iran and the Sunni Arab states.”
It’s likely that Iran has a rudimentary nuclear weapons capability. Why have they not used it? What’s their plan? I suspect that they would use such weapons if their arsenal were more developed, but as it stands Iran’s leadership knows they cannot win in a war against the United States. Perhaps Washington should focus on massive increases in its intelligence collection operations in Iran to answer some of these questions rather than mindlessly burbling about military escalation against Iran — especially since the mere threat of American military action is no longer sufficient to cow Mideast enemies into submission.
In my estimation, the costs of invading Iran presently outweigh any benefits. Trump should rein in Bolton and the others in his administration until a better strategy can be crafted.
“While it might harm Washington’s ego to treat Moscow as an equal partner in world affairs, the only way to mollify the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – without a major war against Iran (and absent another silver bullet to use on Iran, like the Stuxnet cyber-attack) – is to grant Russia the respect Putin believes he and his country deserve. Thanks to the restrictive sanctions regime that President Trump has imposed on Russia, the United States has leverage. By dangling the prospect of a grand bargain between Moscow and Washington over key disagreements, the United States would likely be able to get Russia to work with it on ending the threat posed by Iran.”
“Time is not on Trump’s side. Unfortunately, neither Israel nor the Sunni Arab states appear capable of hanging on for too long without international support.”
“”With the loss of Saudi Arabia as a viable partner in blocking the spread of Iranian power, the Trump Administration would be forced to revisit the oft-repeated notion that Iran is a rational actor. President Trump would have to renege on his campaign promise of ending the terrible Obama era Iran deal. He would have to reverse course and effectively reinstitute the Obama deal with Iran, in order to gain new leverage over Tehran. In other words, Trump would have to surrender the Middle East to Iran, selling out Israel in the process, just as Barack Obama did.”
“A balance of power paradigm that pits one group of foreign states mostly serving American interests against another, is the best way. Enough of over-committing U.S. forces to the field of battle at the outset of any potential conflict. Play all sides until the best deal can be reached.
The United States isn’t opposed to fighting. The country has been engaged in warfare of some kind for 222 out of its 239-year existence (that’s roughly 93 percent of American history). It’s not about being afraid to fight. The issue is when to fight and how (also, why, particularly in the case of the Middle East).
American policymakers cannot formulate a cogent answer to those questions. At least, not until the wonderfully disruptive Age of Trump.”
“If Trump does what Bolton and the others are warning, then America will look weak and it will become mired in another Iraq War. What’s more, threatening a world war with nuclear-armed Russia over humanitarian interests is a foolish endeavor of the sort usually reserved for navel-gazing academics, like former UN ambassador Samantha Powers, not a freewheeling businessman, like Donald Trump. “
“Fact is, under present conditions, without some form of peaceful mitigation of tensions, it is likely that some form of conflict with Iran is at hand–this is especially true if the Iranians blockade the Strait of Hormuz. The United States, at that point, would have no point but to respond immediately. There are simply no viable alternatives out of transporting Mideast oil through the Strait of Hormuz.”
“Further, I would anticipate spikes in the global price of oil for the foreseeable future (by the way, this undoubtedly would make Moscow happy, since Russia depends on higher-than-average oil prices to sustain its economy and military modernization program). Should these increases continue for the foreseeable future—and if Iran continued both with its illicit nuclear weapons program and regional expansion—the United States will be forced to intervene military.”