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Old 05-16-2019, 08:53 PM
Gray Ghost is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 4,580
Trump's a bunch of things. Rude on Twitter, opens mouth and inserts both feet, grabs 'em by the pussy, etc... But running for office, he was fairly alone among Republicans (other than Rand and Ron Paul) by asking what the point of OIF was, why do we still have troops there, why are we in NATO and where are they going to start paying us for the privilege, etc... Contra Mr "Bring em on!", I don't see Trump spinning up a conflict for shits and giggles. He has other things to occupy his time, like the ever skyrocketing federal debt, and whether we're headed to another recession.

I do see all of this as a reaction to increased sanctions against Iran, and those were inspired by the perception the Iranians were cheating their asses off on how much nuclear weaponizeable material they could generate. A deal isn't any good if only one side is following it. I guess your opinion about this depends on whether you think the Iranians were cheating, and if so, does it matter if the Iranian government gains possession of nuclear weapons. If you don't really care about either point, then it's not worth starting sanctions, and having to fade the temper tantrum of the Straits of Hormuz being interdicted.

If you do care, then what's the exit strategy? Iran isn't going to stop enrichment unless they're forced to. Sanctions don't look like they're enough force, as troubling as they threaten to the Iranian regime.. The Sunni nations won't be satisfied, or defer their own special weapons programs, unless the Iranians stop. And clearly these sanctions are enough of a PITA, that Iran is allegedly engaging in overt military action Understandably so: what else have they to sell besides oil/gas, really?

The tanker strikes were a warning. If caused by limpet mines, they were small ones, estimated to not be able to crack a double hulled VLCC. They could easily be larger ones. No one saw the little ones being placed; odds are people won't notice big ones being applied either. The Houthi drone strikes against the cross Arabia pipelines are another attempt to demonstrate that an attempt to bypass a Hormuz blockade will be costly.

Costs are the point. How much is it worth, to continue sanctions, suffer an Iranian oil interdiction campaign, and maybe have Shia sympathizers commit terrorist acts in one's country?