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  #51  
Old 03-25-2018, 07:48 PM
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The US and Iranian navies have been playing "I'm not touching you! Neener neener!" recently. That's the kind of taunting we just can't tolerate.
Which is a shame because when properly applied the tactic has proved quite effective.

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Sailors from the Royal Australian Navy missile frigate HMAS Adelaide used "colourful language" and aggressive tactics to repel five Iranian gunboats in an incident prior to the capture of 15 British sailors in March, Australian defence officials said on June 22, 2007. The five Iranian Revolutionary Guard gunboats surrounded an Australian boarding party from the HMAS Adelaide, on patrol with U.S.-led coalition forces after the Iraq war, in the Gulf during a routine stop-and-search of the cargo boat MV Sham in December 2004. REUTERS/Australian Department of Defence
Not a shot was fired, the blockade maintained, no diplomatic fallout and a couple of gongs were awarded to participants.
Brings nationalistic tears of pride to my eyes.
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  #52  
Old 03-25-2018, 08:01 PM
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Then you need to read up on your border history. Long after the US invaded and stole half of Mexico the US southern border remained undefined.
No, you need to provide a cite for you claim instead of simply repeating it. Especially when you add a logical impossibility into the mix: one cannot patrol 50 miles outside of an undefined border.

At any rate, hows about we place a little bet on your original claim, which you say is very likely:

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...extending our border fifty miles into Mexico is very likely.
Loser of the bet pays $50 to the charity of the winner's choice.
  #53  
Old 03-25-2018, 09:25 PM
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Agreed that it would not result in a war, but extending our border fifty miles into Mexico is very likely.

Crane
Oh really? I thought Americans wanted a wall to keep us out of your country? Why would you want to move the border 50 miles into Mexico when that means you would then have all of our border cities within your country? Cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros plus dozens of other smaller cities and towns. All of your racist compatriots would rise up in revolt. What would be done with all of these new residents? Would they be allowed to stay? Or would they be forcebly removed? Would their property rights be respected? Or would the US steal their property like they did after the theft in the 19th century? (Check out the "Greaser Laws")

Remember when the US illegally stole nearly one half of our territory the thinking of your leaders was "the most territory, with the least Mexicans*". That is why they didn't keep México City and other populated areas.

*Actually we we referred to as heathens, dogs and other terms of endearment.
  #54  
Old 03-25-2018, 09:52 PM
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No, it's just that the 50 mile band has been jointly policed by the US and Mexico. So there is a precedent.

Crane
Let's put it this way, your whole scenario is exactly as likely as me renouncing my citizenship and seeking asylum in Mexico. And I have absolutely no ties of any type to Mexico or even currently have any Mexican friends, so it's that much less likely.
  #55  
Old 03-26-2018, 08:45 AM
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Line in the Sand


I don't find a reference on the web but the topic is well covered in Rachel C. St. Johns' book Line in the Sand.

Of course the idea of a modern invasion of Mexico is somewhat delusional, but so is the idea of an impregnable physical wall.

The next time an administration needs a war it may choose Mexico as the least expensive option.
  #56  
Old 03-26-2018, 10:24 AM
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Crane, with all respect due a fellow nuevomexicano, you're talking nonsense.
.
  #57  
Old 03-26-2018, 11:08 AM
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Despite the dire threat of Kim and his North Korean military might, I'll pick the Middle East. Virtually every war we've fought over the last 45 years has been there, so the odds seem to be in my favor.
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  #58  
Old 03-26-2018, 11:15 AM
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The next time an administration needs a war it may choose Mexico as the least expensive option.
1) You have nothing we want.

2) There are millions of Latinos in this country that still have ties and a love for Mexico. Invading Mexico would create a horde of domestic terrorists and basically tear this society apart.

3) It would virtually destroy the Organization of American States and open a door for Putin to get a foothold in the western hemisphere.
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  #59  
Old 03-26-2018, 01:50 PM
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Of course the idea of a modern invasion of Mexico is somewhat delusional, but so is the idea of an impregnable physical wall.

The next time an administration needs a war it may choose Mexico as the least expensive option.
I like the word "delusional." The US has greatly benefited over the last century from not having a war on our borders. Also, unlike countries with wars on the homefront, civilians aren't as much affected by wars as in places where wars are close. Sure, we lose soldiers (loved ones), but we don't have bombs on our cities, evacuations, etc. And Mexicans in our city to attack from within, as otherwise mentioned. That sort of war would hurt a lot more. And be more likely to turn the population against the contemporaneous government (if US started it, which we'd have to, because Mexico isn't going to). For many, other people suffering for your country is one thing, you and yours suffering from it is quite another.
  #60  
Old 03-26-2018, 05:02 PM
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1) You have nothing we want.
Crane is American.
.
  #61  
Old 05-07-2019, 01:23 PM
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Bumping my own zombie thread to point out that we're rattling sabers at Iran, and Secretary of State Pompeo just abruptly canceled a trip to Germany to attend to "pressing issues". The press corps traveling with Pompeo has not been told where they are going and have been warned that they may not be able to report on the trip until after their departure.

The administration has been saying that they fear Iran will strike US troops or interests, likely through proxies.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/07/p...rip/index.html

Well, that's just dandy. Setting the expectation that the attack will come from proxies lowers the threshold for retaliation. Some group of ten whackos no one has ever heard of before could suddenly become a proxy for Iran. And "interests" is a bit broad for my liking. What are our interests? Other than Bolton being interested in war, that is?

I think I've predicted 9 of the last zero attacks on Iran, so what the hell do I know? But having our foreign policy in the hands of a belligerent madman and a senile fool has me permanently on edge.

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 05-07-2019 at 01:24 PM.
  #62  
Old 05-07-2019, 08:43 PM
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Setting the expectation that the attack will come from proxies lowers the threshold for retaliation.
It's hard to set an expectation that was built into security policy and thinking long before Trump announced he was running for President. The IRGC uses proxies to advance it's interests across the middle east. That's not exactly a controversial position. Iran doesn't always even deny this.

Iran's IRGC commander on value of using proxy Hezbollah against Israel in 2018 and a quote from translation subtitles in the video (my bold):
[quote] We do not have direct military force in Lebanon but we do have a military power called Hezbollah, which undermines the policies of the Zionist regime and the United States.[/quote)

When an adversary partly gives up plausible deniability it's probably worth believing them. That does present some risks that an adminstration can either intentionally or accidentally overstate ties. It's in Iran's interests to generally keep things vague so they can make the world, and the American electorate, doubt any given claims and prevent the US responding. (Publicly admitting the Hezbollah connection doesn't really undermine that. Nobody was really buying that there wasn't one anymore.) Simply doubting any connection is also subject to the same kind of intentional or accidental errors.


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And "interests" is a bit broad for my liking. What are our interests? Other than Bolton being interested in war, that is?
It seems odd that a pretty typical term like "national interests" seems to cause you discomfort. You might want to check out the archive of congressionally mandated National Security Strategy reports. Presidents tend to ignore the updating it every year requirement in the law. Congress gives them a pass for ignoring the law. Still they do get published and are out there. Trump's NSS from 2017 is there to read. It's probably not going to give you the clear black and white I'd guess you want. Check against other older ones from administrations you trusted more. That level of clarity isn't in the broad guidance of the NSS. Reading through can give you a good idea of what the current administration sees as the nation's interests that the strategy supports.
  #63  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for bumping this, I was going to start a similar thread titled "Wag the Dog". Although Trump denies it, his legal jeopardy multiplies on a daily basis and nothing will push that off the front pages like an actual war.
  #64  
Old 05-11-2019, 03:02 PM
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Thanks for bumping this, I was going to start a similar thread titled "Wag the Dog". Although Trump denies it, his legal jeopardy multiplies on a daily basis and nothing will push that off the front pages like an actual war.
Yes. Note that the fact that Iran is allied with Putin's ally Syria does NOT argue against Trump starting a war with Putin's default ally.
Instead Putin will be delighted by any U.S.-Iran War.
  • Unlike al-Assad's Syria, which might be fragile without Russian military support, Iran is not in jeopardy of falling to anyone; in fact a U.S. attack will strengthen the Iranian regime.
  • Putin will be happy to see Iran become increasingly dependent on Russia.
  • Any War by, or weakening of, the U.S.A. presence in the Middle East serves Russian interests.
  • Increased conflict involving Israel serves Russian interests.
  • Reduction in Iranian petroleum output will serve Russian oil interests.

It's all win-win for Putin; Trump gets wins while serving his Russian master. An intense war might reduce U.S. domestic consumption and investment but spending on munitions etc. will keep the stock market and employment up, for at least the appearance of continued economic growth.

Trump's hooligans aren't very smart, but have probably figured this much out; and Putin may be egging Trump on via covert channels. The only question is when, not whether, Bolton-Trump will start the War.
  #65  
Old 05-11-2019, 05:27 PM
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A relevant article from the Economist - Why Shia clerics are turning on Iran’s theocracy

US sanctions are hurting and people are upset with the theocracy. That's not a first. The Shia clergy increasingly turning to Najaf (in Iraq) and the more secular approach of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani makes the dynamic different than it's been before, though. Unhappy people combined with the Shia clergy starting to turn against the notion of clerical rule is a significant problem for the theocracy.

That difference does comes with obvious possible upsides for the region and US interests. It also has pretty serious dangers IMO. Iran's current leadership has an incentive to wag the dog themselves. They wouldn't want a full scale and direct war with the US but when you dance on the brink sometimes you fall over it. There's also other dangers that might involve the US to lesser degrees. Arab Spring mostly didn't result in lasting democratic reforms. Egypt ended up more repressive. Then there's the extreme ugliness of Libya and Syria. There's a real potential for a transition from theocratic government in Iran that plays out in a really ugly and brutal fashion.
  #66  
Old 05-11-2019, 08:35 PM
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People in Iran have been questioning their hard line against the US for at least a generation. In my own anecdotal experience, I can tell you that Iran produces an educated population. If you encounter an Iranian abroad and, say, someone from the Gulf States, the Iranian is far more likely to be educated. They're not dumb. They know their theocracy does dumb shit. They just don't want to be dominated by outside interests, which is what was happening before 1979. That's why I think attacking Iran militarily would be a horrible mistake, not just because they could fuck up the region economically and otherwise, but because there's a population in Iran that wants better relations with the West, and has wanted that for at least since the 1990s.

My prediction is that if the US pressures Iran into re-starting their nuke program, Israel will have something to say about that, and maybe that's the idea. I think the US is goading Israel into attacking Iran so we don't have to. I hope that Israelis understand that they are being used here.

Last edited by asahi; 05-11-2019 at 08:39 PM.
  #67  
Old 05-11-2019, 08:44 PM
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Moderating


This thread could claim a place in Elections when it was driven by speculation related to the 2016 presidential election, but while it is still a legitimate thread, it is currently more of a Great Debate and I am moving it there.

[ /Moderating ]
  #68  
Old 05-11-2019, 10:20 PM
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I don't think there's going to be a conflict with Iran. I base this on the fact that people have been saying there will be a conflict with Iran seemingly since forever, and it hasn't happened, and my intuition about this stuff is usually correct.

What would Iran have to gain by initiating a conflict with anyone? Nothing, as far as I can tell. Nor do I think that Trump's administration is going to start anything in Iran, or anywhere, really. I think Trump is too preoccupied with getting re-elected to risk getting entangled in another war.
  #69  
Old 05-11-2019, 10:46 PM
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I don't think there's going to be a conflict with Iran. I base this on the fact that people have been saying there will be a conflict with Iran seemingly since forever, and it hasn't happened, and my intuition about this stuff is usually correct.

What would Iran have to gain by initiating a conflict with anyone? Nothing, as far as I can tell. Nor do I think that Trump's administration is going to start anything in Iran, or anywhere, really. I think Trump is too preoccupied with getting re-elected to risk getting entangled in another war.
I agree that Iran is unlikely to start anything. They know an all out war with the US ends for them the way it ended for Iraq (who didn't initiate it, either). But I think there are some in the Trump administration, namely Bolton, who just want to attack someone and Iran suits them fine. Trump himself doesn't have the brains to have a fixed opinion on it. He'll do whatever the people on Fox tell him.
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:18 PM
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I'd be surprised if Bolton is even IN the Trump administration in five months.
  #71  
Old 05-12-2019, 12:28 AM
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... Nor do I think that Trump's administration is going to start anything in Iran, or anywhere, really. I think Trump is too preoccupied with getting re-elected to risk getting entangled in another war.
But it's precisely his domestic troubles and re-election concerns that might cause him to "Wag the Dog." He may not start a quagmire, but content himself with isolated strikes like the 59 Tomahawks he was so proud of that he ordered a special dessert at Mar-a-Lago.

There's many months until the election, and the fights with Congress will ebb and flow, so I won't try to predict exactly when saber-rattling will turn to bombing. But Trump will continue promoting Iran as a bugaboo for the duration, for reasons that have nothing to do with Iran itself.
  #72  
Old 05-12-2019, 07:01 AM
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I agree that Iran is unlikely to start anything. They know an all out war with the US ends for them the way it ended for Iraq (who didn't initiate it, either). But I think there are some in the Trump administration, namely Bolton, who just want to attack someone and Iran suits them fine. Trump himself doesn't have the brains to have a fixed opinion on it. He'll do whatever the people on Fox tell him.
The US might not necessarily set out to attack Iran. If Iran begins its nuclear program, Israel might have something to do with stopping it, but then the US might feel compelled to defend its ally and its regional interests. Putting pressure on the Iranian regime could force Iran to capitulate to the Great Satan (unlikely), or it could compel Iran to act out and do something as a way of acting out in retaliation. I think a lot depends on how Iran calculates its defensive position and its ability to withstand an assault from different angles. If it believes that sanctions are going to squeeze the regime into a position whereby there might be a popular uprising, then it will feel compelled to act sooner rather than later.
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Old 05-12-2019, 07:38 AM
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I think Israel is far more likely to attempt to disrupt Iran's nuclear program through sabotage and cyberwarfare than any kind of direct military action.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:52 AM
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I think Israel is far more likely to attempt to disrupt Iran's nuclear program through sabotage and cyberwarfare than any kind of direct military action.
Assassinations, too -- there's always that.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:34 PM
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I don't think there's going to be a conflict with Iran. I base this on the fact that people have been saying there will be a conflict with Iran seemingly since forever, and it hasn't happened, and my intuition about this stuff is usually correct.

What would Iran have to gain by initiating a conflict with anyone? Nothing, as far as I can tell. Nor do I think that Trump's administration is going to start anything in Iran, or anywhere, really. I think Trump is too preoccupied with getting re-elected to risk getting entangled in another war.
There shouldn't be a conflict with Iran - there's no need for one. But it's clear that this administration views applying pressure as the preferred way to deal with Iran, and Iran is going to feel increasingly cornered.

I go back to the influence of Bolton. He is both ideological and delusional. Keep in mind that he had a lot to do with the Iraq debacle, which by the way he doesn't view as a debacle. Bolton believes that we would have had a different outcome in Iraq if liberals hadn't criticized Bush/Cheney and if we had fought a no-holds-barred fight against Iranian militias and Iran itself. For all we know, he might view this as a chance to give Iran some payback. And I'll tell you now: it doesn't necessarily matter if Trump doesn't want a war. If Bolton wants a war, he'll lie his ass off to get one.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:13 AM
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Saudi Arabia reports that two of its oil tankers were sabotaged by unknown actors. No one was hurt and no oil was spilled, but the tankers were badly damaged, according to the reports.

Iran says it wasn't them. The US reissued a warning about Iran and those pesky proxies attacking commercial shipping.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.55f9c42b74b2

This won't end well.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:29 PM
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I agree that Iran is unlikely to start anything. They know an all out war with the US ends for them the way it ended for Iraq (who didn't initiate it, either). But I think there are some in the Trump administration, namely Bolton, who just want to attack someone and Iran suits them fine. Trump himself doesn't have the brains to have a fixed opinion on it. He'll do whatever the people on Fox tell him.
I would normally agree with you, but there appears to be a different tone to the saber-rattling lately. Four tankers were damaged the other day, on the eastern side of the Straits of Hormuz, near Fujayrah. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/w...-sabotage.html

Today, the Saudis are claiming that Houthi drones have attempted to, or have successfully damaged pumping stations on their cross Arabian Peninsula pipelines. https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-a...es-11557835844

Those pipelines move oil and gas from the Persian Gulf side to the Red Sea side of Saudi (and vice versa, of course). They help relieve supply shortages should there be any blockage of the Straits of Hormuz, as Iran has allegedly threatened to cause, if sanctions against Iran aren't alleviated. The Houthis are backed by Iran.

Then there was the whole, 'We're moving the Abe Lincoln and a few B-52s into the area' brouhaha of a few days ago. (Never mind the B-52s can kill just as many Iranians if they stage from Barksdale, vs flying out of Al Udeid.)

Still hope it'll be nothing, but actually bombing tankers and pipelines isn't something that I remember happening recently. Assuming the Iranians or their allies actually were responsible.
  #78  
Old 05-14-2019, 06:33 PM
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...Assuming the Iranians or their allies actually were responsible.
I believe that is a very good point.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:30 PM
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I believe that is a very good point.
Thanks. It's that I understand Iran feeling threatened, if the new sanctions advocated by the US will have real teeth, and prevent them from selling their oil. Sort of a related situation to how Imperial Japan felt, summer 1941. It's just that I don't see the point of Iran inflicting a small injury on other oil trading nations. Neither set of assaults meaningfully threatens to close either oil supply corridor, though it can certainly annoy both. So why heighten tensions?

OTOH, the Gulf states would love for either the US or, LOL Israel, to remove the specter of a Shi'ite Bomb for the near future. I don't think the attacks were false; I'm not sure what to think other than the US can ill afford an overt shooting and terror war with Iran. Bad enough, all of the US servicemen that Iranian ordnance killed during OIF.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:43 PM
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An anonymous US official told the AP that military investigators believe Iran was behind the attacks on the oil tankers.

https://www.apnews.com/d5884f62de8c4f9d955684ea71c90c01

Remember the Maine! And the Gulf of Tonkin!

Surely this time we'll be greeted as liberators.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:52 PM
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It's odd that the U.S. chose to move the old-fashioned stuff like B-52s into the area rather than more modern warplanes.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:30 PM
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An anonymous US official told the AP that military investigators believe Iran was behind the attacks on the oil tankers.

https://www.apnews.com/d5884f62de8c4f9d955684ea71c90c01

Remember the Maine! And the Gulf of Tonkin!

Surely this time we'll be greeted as liberators.
The problem is that this was an attack on Saudi tankers. Remember that the US-Saudi relationship has historically been connected by way of being economic clients and military protection/cooperation. The US has the same dilemma with Saudi/Iran that it has with North Korea/ South Korea and Japan. If one of its clients gets attacked, it essentially has an obligation to show that its client that its military umbrella is worth something.

This is why we're hearing rumors (unconfirmed but still having face value) that the US has considered a massive troop deployment. Beyond that there must be the sense that if Iran has the balls to attack US interests in the region, it would certianly not hesitate to fire up the crazies within the Iraqi border, which could lead to an entirely new set of problems.

I won't predict a hot war just yet, but let's be clear: if there was, in fact, an Iranian attack on Saudi vessels, that's an escalation. Iran doesn't want a war with the US -- I believe that. But it's definitely conceivable how they view the pressure on their regime as a clear and present danger and I could see how they might act out first.

Last edited by asahi; 05-14-2019 at 09:31 PM.
  #83  
Old 05-14-2019, 09:56 PM
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It's odd that the U.S. chose to move the old-fashioned stuff like B-52s into the area rather than more modern warplanes.
I'm not a military expert by any means. But I imagine we'd establish air superiority pretty quickly, so lumbering B-52s dropping 70,000 pounds of bombs at a time would be pretty effective.
  #84  
Old 05-15-2019, 12:27 AM
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It's odd that the U.S. chose to move the old-fashioned stuff like B-52s into the area rather than more modern warplanes.
They're easy to see. Which is the point if you're rattling a saber. They're going to be standoff platforms in all likelihood in the event of a conflict, at least until Iran's SAMs got degraded

Moreover, more expensive platforms like the B-2, require greater site control, maintenance, and physical security than do non-special weapon capable B-52s. -52s also cost a great deal less than the 2 billion plus B-2s. While B-2s have been based other places besides Whiteman---as the wreck of one outside Anderson AFB on Guam should prove---they're so rare and so expensive, as the strategic national assets they are, it's probably easier to just keep them in CONUS (or Diego Garcia or Guam) until they need to fly. Why stick them within the enemy's short range ballistic missile threat radius? The airplane might be low observable and hard to target, but its hanger sure isn't.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:04 AM
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I'm not a military expert by any means. But I imagine we'd establish air superiority pretty quickly, so lumbering B-52s dropping 70,000 pounds of bombs at a time would be pretty effective.
I have a feeling that if it gets to B-52 time, Iran, like North Korea may decide to make this a crotch-kicking, eye-gouging death match. They would ultimately lose of course, but they could inflict a lot of pain. That is why a war with Iran would probably be very, very nasty, unless we are somehow picking up on intelligence that shows some serious divisions within the upper echelons of the regime and military - that could be, but my default position is that when a country that has the means to put up a prickly defense, it will do so if it believes it's being invaded.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Gray Ghost View Post
Thanks. It's that I understand Iran feeling threatened, if the new sanctions advocated by the US will have real teeth, and prevent them from selling their oil. Sort of a related situation to how Imperial Japan felt, summer 1941. It's just that I don't see the point of Iran inflicting a small injury on other oil trading nations. Neither set of assaults meaningfully threatens to close either oil supply corridor, though it can certainly annoy both. So why heighten tensions?

OTOH, the Gulf states would love for either the US or, LOL Israel, to remove the specter of a Shi'ite Bomb for the near future. I don't think the attacks were false; I'm not sure what to think other than the US can ill afford an overt shooting and terror war with Iran. Bad enough, all of the US servicemen that Iranian ordnance killed during OIF.
It's a middle finger to Saudi Arabia and its security guard, the United States. I think the card that Iran has that it can potentially cause economic and political chaos in the region. The Southeastern part of Saudi Arabia has a large Shi'ite population, so they might try and stir that shit up if they can. But the bigger concern is how they might try to disrupt the flow of energy and commerce in the region, and what they could do internally in Iraq, where they have a lot of influence.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:34 AM
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What would Iran have to gain by initiating a conflict with anyone? Nothing, as far as I can tell.
Iran has long maintained hostilities against the US to get them to drop sanctions. Trump has reinstated sanctions, so a return to status quo would be no surprise.

However, I think at this particular moment in time Iran isn't actually doing anything and Trump/Bolton are engineering the entire crisis.

Quote:
Nor do I think that Trump's administration is going to start anything in Iran, or anywhere, really. I think Trump is too preoccupied with getting re-elected to risk getting entangled in another war.
No. Trump understands an Iranian war as a boon to electoral prospects.
As evidence, in 2011 Trump tweeted:
tweeted "In order to get elected, Barack Obama will start a war with Iran".

You can argue his tweets are just a "tee-hee let's own the libs" piece of fluff. But he's taken numerous actions hostile to Iran, none to de-escalate the tension, and it keeps ramping up the closer we get to the 2020 election (and/or the unredacted Mueller report or testimony starts escaping into the wild).

My predictions on Trump have been a mix of right and wrong, but I don't think Trump will tolerate Mueller testifying in front of the house without introducing a distracting crisis.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:02 AM
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I tend to believe that if Trump can "own" his opponents without actually going to war with them, he would. I don't think Trump really likes the idea of having to deal with hundreds or even thousands of deaths and dead servicemen/women on his watch.

It's Bolton we should worry about. Remember, George W Bush himself wasn't even the biggest proponent of going to war with Saddam Hussein; he had to be pushed into it by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and others. I believe he was leaning in that direction, but actually viewing Iraq as a post 9/11 opportunity remake the Middle East in America's image was something that had been conceived even before Bush took office. Bolton was absolutely cut from that same cloth, and like Dick Cheney, he has absolutely no problem lying his ass off and manipulating what the president perceives in order to create a crisis.

My sense is that Bolton views Iran as an opportunity not only to eliminate Iran, but also as an opportunity to re-do Iraq, particularly since it would remove the foreign influence there. What's disturbing, however, is that the American media simply isn't doing its job. It's like the media has become completely impotent and irrelevant in terms of acting as a check on governmental abuses of power. We could stumble into wars with Iran and North Korea, and I don't think anyone has seriously forced the administration to explain why that would even be necessary. We just accept that they're dangerous 'furrin countries n stuff'
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:26 AM
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I tend to believe that if Trump can "own" his opponents without actually going to war with them, he would. I don't think Trump really likes the idea of having to deal with hundreds or even thousands of deaths and dead servicemen/women on his watch.
This is probably his preferred strategy in normal circumstances. We would be looking at abnormal circumstances if he thinks he's facing an insuperable threat to his own prospects.

Another abnormal circumstance would be an unhinged warmonger whispering in his ear that an Iran war would be an undisputed cakewalk that would make Trump look like an untouchable hero, which leads to...

Quote:
It's Bolton we should worry about.
Yep. Unconstrained Bolton combined with a threatened Trump is a very worrying combination.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:42 AM
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"In order to get reelected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran."
-Trump on Twitter, 29 Nov 2011
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:42 AM
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Missed the edit window, but reflecting on the upthread observations about B52s, Trump would probably find great appeal in just bombing the shit out of Iran and wiping out their navy. Forget regime change, forget nation building, forget human collateral damage, forget the consequences, forget what America will have to deal with in the future, just fuck those guys and see what happens.

Added bonus... the chaos gives Israel a green light to go into the WMD sites, seize evidence, and thoroughly demolish them. Retroactive justification for everyone!

It fits Trump's recklessness, it more or less fits the appetite of an American public that has enjoyed kicking the shit out of Iraq, but not so much the post-ass-kicking stabilization tasks.

Yeah, I think that's my final answer. Gulf of Tonkin fake naval conflict followed by North-Korea style carpet-bombing followed by Osirak-style raids on nuclear sites.

(stipulating that the fake naval conflict could be kind of a "no duh" thing given the suspicious tanker bombing events that already happened in the past few days).
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:55 AM
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War with Iran would go much, much worse than against Iraq. Iran is a mostly functioning and coherent society and culture, not an amalgamation of dozens of tribes and such. Iran's military is also probably a lot more advanced than Iraq's was.

In a serious fight the US would win, of course, but I think it's likely there would be hundreds if not thousands of US casualties, and they might even be able to do significant damage to a warship or two. That's just for an air/sea war. An invasion would be catastrophic, and much worse than the Iraq occupation.

What a colossally stupid war this would be. I really, really hope this doesn't happen.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:37 AM
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It's odd that the U.S. chose to move the old-fashioned stuff like B-52s into the area rather than more modern warplanes.
B-52s are used all the time in the Middle East. They fly daily over Afghanistan and drop bombs all the time. They're not flying around with the same technology and avionics they rolled off the plant with in the 1950s. Hell, they were updated as recently as 4-5 years ago. They are modern.

Last edited by Bear_Nenno; 05-15-2019 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:40 AM
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State Department orders non-emergency employees to leave Iraq. Lovely.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/05/15/p...vel/index.html
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:50 AM
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...My predictions on Trump have been a mix of right and wrong, but I don't think Trump will tolerate Mueller testifying in front of the house without introducing a distracting crisis.
Take it to the bank.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:57 AM
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I assume you were also concerned with Hillary setting up a NFZ in Syria and instigating a war with Russia, yes?
I admit I must have missed the war with Russia. Was it on the news?
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:20 AM
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Something to remember is that wars are often a pretext for authoritarianism. American presidents almost always get stronger in war, and they will inevitably attempt to assert power. Iran could quickly turn into a legitimate national security crisis. It's not that I think Trump is playing multi-dimensional chess, but that once the opportunities for a power grab are there, he will take it. It's bad enough that he has politicized the DoJ - that's his first major authoritarian move. But at the end of the day, it's his control of the military that makes the defines the presidency and is easily the most awesome power he possesses.

In his handling of the Russia and Mueller probe aftermath, we have already seen an extremely disturbing trend and we've seen how this president is different from his predecessors. Trump doesn't listen to congress. He doesn't respect subpoenas. He politicizes the highest levels of government and uses these officers to attack officials who try to restrain him. Let there be no question: Trump will use the military in the same way. He will make his moves, including some that are patently unconstitutional and illegal. And he will dare his enemies to stop him. It's not a hypothesis; it's what we've already seen him do.
  #98  
Old 05-15-2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
Missed the edit window, but reflecting on the upthread observations about B52s, Trump would probably find great appeal in just bombing the shit out of Iran and wiping out their navy. Forget regime change, forget nation building, forget human collateral damage, forget the consequences, forget what America will have to deal with in the future, just fuck those guys and see what happens.
This is pretty close to the nub, IMHO. Folks talking here about 'war' as in 'moving in and invading a country a la Iraq' really need to study logistics. When we conducted Gulf Wars I and II, we had bases adjacent to Iraq (Saudi and Kuwait respectively) where we could build up our troops, material, and logistics in relative safety. Who's going to offer us that space this time? Saudi/UAE don't share borders with Iran, Kuwait is close--maybe to close, and Iraq, as others noted, could be a hornet's nest if we tried it there.

So stage it from the USA? An invasion might be possible, but the logistical supply line would be a nightmare.

If you're going to commit troops, you need a secure base close by for a massive commitment--where is it?

More next, I inadvertently posted this.

Last edited by The Stainless Steel Rat; 05-15-2019 at 11:41 AM.
  #99  
Old 05-15-2019, 11:46 AM
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To continue, Iran has a population of 80 Million; how many troops do you need to pacify that big a country, one that will (despite the economy and unpopularity of the clergy) unite to throw out the 'oppressor' (that'll be us). It would take a sizable percentage of the entire US Army to take and hold Iran, and it would make the bleeding in Iraq look like a kiddie party.

So no, I don't thing we (or the Israelies) are likely to put 'boots on the ground' in Iran. But bombings and sinkings of Iranian warships...oh yeah, I can see that happening anytime now. The bet in Washington is that Iran would fold rather than raise the stakes...but that's a bet I think we would be foolish to make.

IMHO as always...YMMV.
  #100  
Old 05-15-2019, 11:51 AM
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There are several stages to a War:
  • Foreplay - This can be dragged out for months with false starts. Perhaps the best part of the whole experience.
  • Penetration - Fox & Friends will be interviewing the soldiers deployed, all the while emphasizing how firm Trump is.
  • Climax - The period of sudden explosive force will only last a week or two. A refractory period will then be needed to get munitions in position for any repeat.
  • Afterglow - If the climax is on-target, there will be widespread delight about the President's manliness and virility.
  • Letdown - This is where we wake up and say "What have we done?!" The aftermath of a major bombing campaign could be dire.

The Afterglow period might last for quite a while, but may be spoiled if the "manly" man opens his mouth and spoils the mood. Or if enemies start staging reprisals against U.S. forces.

Trump knows that if his first date fails, he won't be invited for a second. Expect him to prolong the Foreplay phase repeatedly since he won't want the Afterglow phase to finish before November 2020.
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