• Echarmion
    390
    Another sabotage attack on tankers that, unsurprisingly, the US blames on Iran. The timing is interesting, to say the least. The EU is struggling to safe the so-called "Iran-deal" and the US has recently been very vocal about the threat posed by Iran.

    Assuming these attacks were indeed ordered by Iran, what could be the strategic considerations behind them? The governments of both the US and Saudi Arabia might feel that now would be a good time to distract everyone from their internal problems.
  • Shamshir
    425
    Assuming these attacks were indeed ordered by Iran, what could be the strategic considerations behind them?Echarmion
    Iran has other things in mind than to instigate conflicts.
  • fishfry
    629
    If John Bolton gets his way, yes. It's sad that Trump spoke so insightfully in 2016 against the endless, mindless semi-covert wars, and has now put neocon maniacs Bolton and Pompeo in charge of foreign policy. We'd lose a war with Iran, you know. They're not pushovers like Iraq, Libya, and the other countries we've invaded and destroyed

    ps -- Watching PBS news. "Mike Pompeo offered no evidence but blamed Iran" for the attacks on the oil ships. That's how it works. If Trump doesn't fire these guys soon we'll be a full-fledged shooting war.
  • tim wood
    2.6k
    If Trump doesn't fire these guys soon we'll be a full-fledged shooting war.fishfry

    And the possibility that Putin is a force behind this cannot be discounted. That is, maybe Trump wants some shooting - as a distraction - and Putin is signalling Trump that's what he wants.
  • fishfry
    629
    Putin is signalling Trump that's what he wants.tim wood

    LOL You guys will never give up. That Putin nonsense was invented on the night of the election by Robby Mook and John Podesta to deflect attention from how they managed to lose the most winnable election in history. How did the left sign on to this farcical red-baiting from the 1950's? I'm old enough to remember when the left instinctively distrusted the duplicitous bullshit coming out of the intelligence agencies.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.8k
    Is a major conflict imminent in the Middle East?

    Significant and major conflicts have been going on in the Middle East for quite some time. No need to wait--it's here.

    The French Ambassador to the UN (formerly to the US) said in an editorial today that the world is becoming a more dangerous place. There are many ongoing conflicts with the potential to become much hotter and larger, and there is currently no cop on the beat, and no clarity internationally about what to accept, tolerate, forbid, or actively suppress.

    So, expect trouble.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Is it possible that it is the action of some kind of Hezbollah-like militia or terrorist group loosely in the Iranian orbit, but not acting under orders from Tehran? Reports this afternoon indicate the possibility of the vessels being struck by missiles rather than by maritime attack, and there must be thousands of armaments of those kinds in circulation over there. (And hey, an oil tanker couldn't be that hard a target.)

    Anyone remember Syriana, 2006, which won George Clooney Best Supporting Actor Oscar? It provided some insights into the byzantine politics over there.

    But having Bolton and Pompeo fanning the flames can't help. Don't forget Bolton's role in the Iraq war, which he helped instigate and still defends. He's champing at the bit to bring down the mullahs. I don't think a false-flag effort by some Middle Eastern player covertly egged on by elements in the US is entirely beyond the realm of possibility (and I'm not a conspiracy-theory-monger, either. But in the chaos that is the Trump White House, these kinds of out-of-control things could surely fester.)

    But I'm sure Trump genuinely doesn't want a shooting war. He got into office on the pledge to withdraw American forces and disengage from the region, and that's one thing he's said that I believe is true (at a ratio of about 1:10,000). He doesn't want war, but his grasp of facts, policy and strategy is so feeble that he might end up embroiled in one due to his own incompetence (illustrated by his hiring of a known war-monger as 'security adviser' in the place of the prudent and strategically canny H.R. McMaster who was fired for committing the cardinal sin of not licking Trumps boots.)
  • Fooloso4
    622
    But I'm sure Trump genuinely doesn't want a shooting war.Wayfarer

    But I am not sure Trump genuinely knows what he wants. He is an opportunist. He will play any angle that he thinks is to his own advantage, and what is to his own advantage may not coincide with what is to the advantage of the United States. He believes that any action he takes will quickly and decisively put an end to the problem, and when it doesn't he will have plenty of others to blame.

    One thing I am sure of is that whatever happens for Trump it will be personal. He has repeatedly demonstrated his inability to see any issue in any light other than how it reflects on him. Perhaps he is already making plans to build a TRUMP Tower on the rubble.
  • Shamshir
    425
    One thing I am sure of is that whatever happens for Trump it will be personal. He has repeatedly demonstrated his inability to see any issue in any light other than how it reflects on him. Perhaps he is already making plans to build a TRUMP Tower on the rubble.Fooloso4
    His plans don't matter, he's a poster boy.
  • Fooloso4
    622


    Don't underestimate Trump. The Republican Party did and now he owns them. They went from dismissing him as a joke, to accepting him because he had to votes but thinking they would still call the shots, to kowtowing. A major part of his danger is his unpredictability coupled with the predictability of the GOP not to oppose him as long as they think riding his coattails will get them re-elected.
  • Shamshir
    425
    I'm not underestimating anybody. The president is strictly a poster boy, and this one happens to be doing his job quite well - barking up a storm, but having little to no teeth.
  • ssu
    1.4k
    If John Bolton gets his way, yes. It's sad that Trump spoke so insightfully in 2016 against the endless, mindless semi-covert wars, and has now put neocon maniacs Bolton and Pompeo in charge of foreign policy.fishfry
    What's so sad about?

    Trump doesn't care a shit about anything else but himself.

    For Trump to talk about endless wars was as hollow as his talk about fighting corruption, draining the swamp, was exactly just 'campaign talk', just something you say to get votes. Or do you really think someone wanting to build an even better military would really think about the endless wars? Heck, the guy was for attacking Libya. You had to be a idiot to believe this guy. So that makes a lot of people umm... well, you know.
  • ssu
    1.4k
    Anyway, if a second aircraft carrier sailed to the region, then I would worry a bit.
  • Wayfarer
    7.6k
    Worth remembering about the Straits of Hormuz:

    A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 20% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade.

    Iran on one side, UAE on the other. A blockage there would be the rough equivalent of a cerebral aneurysm for the global economy.
  • Baden
    8k
    Looks like Iran's cunning plan to make themselves look like every bad thing John Bolton said they were in order to help give him the excuse he needs to kill them in massive numbers is working out just fine.

    Or they didn't do it.
  • Mephist
    107
    I have a simple question: why do Bolton and Pompeo want a war with Iran ? (because it seems that they are trying to provoke a war with Iran, right? Or are they only trying to protect the world from the growing danger that comes from Iran?).

    I mean: assuming that they want to go to war with Iran, what's the reason? Does anybody has a convincing explanation, different from the silly one that "that they are bad people"? A lot of people says that there is an economic convenience for them if America goes to war with Iran. If this is true, how do they earn money from this exactly? Only by selling arms? They are not the owners of arms industries, right? So how do they get the money exactly? And if it's not about money, then what's their motivation? Personal ambition? Making the world a better place? or what?

    I heard a lot of different opinions about these issues, but nobody never gives a convincing explanation of how the whole system works, and what are people's motivations to act as they do.
  • Fooloso4
    622


    I think Bolton believes that peace, stability, freedom, and democracy can only be established if we dominate the region by military force, but the motivation is not to do what may be in the interest of the region but the self-interest of the United States.
  • Mephist
    107
    OK, so you say that the self-interest of the United States is to dominate the region by military force, so that there will be peace, stability, freedom, and democracy.
    This sounds as an altruistic motivation: the United States have to spend their money and their soldiers to ensure peace, stability and freedom for people on the other side of the world.
    I would say that the self-interest of US (or at least the self-interest of the citizens of US) is exactly the opposite: they should care only about their own peace, stability, freedom, and democracy.
    What you are describing sounds more like an altruistic interest, and not self-interest.
  • Fooloso4
    622
    OK, so you say that the self-interest of the United States is to dominate the region by military force, so that there will be peace, stability, freedom, and democracy.Mephist

    No, I am saying that this seems to be Bolton's position. You asked why do Bolton and Pompeo want a war with Iran.

    This sounds as an altruistic motivation: the United States have to spend their money and their soldiers to ensure peace, stability and freedom for people on the other side of the world.Mephist

    The primary motivation is self-interest. This is why Bolton is opposed to negotiation and the United Nations. He does not want to given anything up. He sees it as a threat to our autonomy to agree to anything where we have to make concessions or compromise.

    I would say that the self-interest of US (or at least the self-interest of the citizens of US) is exactly the opposite: they should care only about their own peace, stability, freedom, and democracy.Mephist

    What goes on in the Middle East is a matter of our self-interest. Instability in the region has global economic impact.
  • Mephist
    107
    No, I am saying that this seems to be Bolton's position. You asked why do Bolton and Pompeo want a war with Iran.Fooloso4

    OK, I was speaking about Bolton's position too. So, let me reformulate it:

    Bolton's position is that the self-interest of the United States is to dominate the region by military force, so that there will be peace, stability, freedom, and democracy, and not to give up anything in negotiations, to be able to impose their will without any concessions.

    What goes on in the Middle East is a matter of our self-interest. Instability in the region has global economic impact.Fooloso4

    That's the thing that in my opinion doesn't make sense: you are saying that US trying to dominate the region by military force to ensure them freedom and democracy.
    How can Iranians be free and have democracy if they will be dominated by a foreign by military force? Isn't this an obvious contradiction?
    Let's suppose that, after loosing a war against US, Iran will become a democratic state. Well, the first thing that they would vote for (if they really were a democracy and were able do decide for themselves) would be to get rid of the domination of US!
    You can't allow them to have freedom and democracy, if you want to dominate the region. Isn't it obvious?
  • Fooloso4
    622
    That's the thing that in my opinion doesn't make sense: you are saying that US trying to dominate the region by military force to ensure them freedom and democracy.Mephist

    The goal is to control those in power, those who would attempt to seize power, and the people. The people are most easily controlled, that is, less likely to revolt, by providing for a measure of freedom, stability, and resources. But in order to accomplish this those in power must cede power, and that typically requires force. Democratic elections are supported, unless the U.S. fears that those elected will oppose its interests. This is born out by history.

    How can Iranians be free and have democracy if they will be dominated by a foreign by military force?Mephist

    There are different forms and various degrees of domination and freedom. But freedom and democracy take a backseat to stability and peace, the latter includes friendly relations with the U.S.

    Let's suppose that, after loosing a war against US, Iran will become a democratic state. Well, the first thing that they would vote for (if they really were a democracy and were able do decide for themselves) would be to get rid of the domination of US!Mephist

    Yes, this has happened in the past. On the one hand, I think the expectation is that the people will see how much better things are with the help of the U.S.. On the other hand, the Russians are not the only ones who interfere with elections.

    You can't allow them to have freedom and democracy, if you want to dominate the region. Isn't it obvious?Mephist

    I think the expectation is that freedom and democracy will help secure stability. The more stable the less necessary it will be to actively dominate. The presence of the U.S. would serve as passive dominance. I don't know how much of an ideologue he is though. Freedom and democracy may be noble goals, and for this reason are always a selling point for military action, but the interests of the U.S. come first.
  • ernestm
    629
    have a simple question: why do Bolton and Pompeo want a war with Iran ?Mephist

    Because they want to kill people for their personal advantage. War has two steps: justification and invocation. The justification rarely has anything to do with individuals' real reasons for declaring war. Invocation is the point where the war mongers declare 'all other options are exhausted, we have no choice but to attack the evil empire.'
  • Mephist
    107
    But do you think they really believe that to achieve peace and resources for Iranian people you have to make war that will destroy the country?
  • Mephist
    107
    OK, I am more inclined to believe this. But what is their personal advantage concretely?
  • ernestm
    629
    They are vested in the profit yielded from selling the means to kill people.
  • Fooloso4
    622


    Perhaps only if Iran does not do what they want. Like Bush's "Mission Accomplished" they may believe that all that is needed is a show of power.
  • ernestm
    629
    Perhaps only if Iran does not do what they want.Fooloso4

    It doesn't matter what Iran does any more. Whatever Iran does they will say its not enough. That's been Iran's complaint.
  • Mephist
    107
    They are vested in the profit yielded from selling the means to kill people.ernestm

    Do you mean they earn from selling arms? What is "the profit yielded from selling the means to kill people" ?
  • ernestm
    629
    yes. They are arms dealers. They just sold 32 F35s to Poland.
  • Mephist
    107
    OK, but they can't be paid directly from arms producers, right? I mean: this would be illegal ( or not? ).
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