I don’t like the Iranian regime. Bunch of thugs. But the warmongering about Iran is just frightening. From the increasingly NeoCon Washington Post:
Increasingly accurate short-range missiles — combined with Iran’s use of “swarm” tactics involving hundreds of heavily armed patrol boats — could strain the defensive capabilities of even the most modern U.S. ships, current and former military analysts say.
In recent weeks, as nuclear talks with world powers have faltered and tensions have risen, Iran has repeated threats to shut down shipping in the oil-rich gulf region. Its leaders also have warned of massive retaliation for any attacks on its nuclear facilities, which the United States believes are civilian covers for an Iranian drive to acquire a nuclear-weapons capability.
Last week, Iran’s Foreign Ministry declared that the presence of U.S. warships in the gulf constituted a “real threat” to the region’s security.
Pentagon officials have responded by sending more ships, urged on by Congress as well as U.S. allies in the region. This month, the Navy announced that it would deploy the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to the Middle East four months ahead of schedule. The shift will keep two carriers in the gulf region.
The United States also has announced new military exercises in the region, including a mine-sweeping drill in the gulf, and has moved to add new radar stations and land-based missile-defense batteries in Qatar.
Okay, sooo… We’ve ringed Iran’s borders with military bases. We make no secret about our desire for regime change. We are by all indications waging a covert war against them through industrial sabotage at the very least. We want to deny them their rights to pursue nuclear technology, even though developing a domestic fuel cycle is allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. And we participate in a lot of loose talk about striking at their nuclear programs either alone or in conjunction with Israel.
In what world does this not result in Iran seeking to bolster deterrence by developing capabilities to strike either at shipping in the Gulf or at American warships operating close to Iranian shores? But then when they respond exactly as we’d respond, exactly as anyone would respond, we act all surprised and then double down on the initiatives that escalated tensions in the first place.
The Iranians want nukes — I suspect — because they see that as the only deterrence they can develop to head off regime change. They’ve learned from the example of Saddam. They’ve learned from the example of Gaddafy. The reality is that once you end up on our shit list, getting off it is very difficult. Gaddafy tried, but the minute he showed weakness, we were in there supporting an armed revolt against him. And with every threat, every new deployment, every new fixed installation we reinforce Iran’s fears. And what is amazing is that we seem to have zero awareness of this dynamic.
Yes, we want them to halt their nuclear activities, or at least be much more transparent about them. But it is hard to see how additional military pressure, which fundamentally serves to justify the arguments of those within Iran pushing for nukes, can help.