Opinion: Do We Have the Will?“Soon we will hold a military maneuver on how to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure”
The government of Iran has announced intentions to “practice its ability to close the Persian Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz” and, in doing so, vowing to “make the world insecure.”
That’s tough talk from a punk nation, but talk the United States must hear and heed. The Persian Gulf is a critical transit medium for oil between Kuwait and other Middle East Oil producing countries and the rest of the world. Unhindered passage to and from the gulf is essential to the operation of scores of countries with the Straits of Hormuz a critical bottleneck from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.
Any encumbrance to ship traffic has the very real potential of damaging the world economy and Iran is just the sort of rogue presence to hamper free passage and “make the world insecure.”
Iran has tried this before. In 1986, Iran spread mines throughout the Persian Gulf to damage oil tankers transiting from Kuwait en route to ports of call around the world. The Kuwaiti government asked for U.S. help, but our laws do not allow for U.S. armed forces to assist ships of foreign flags. So, tankers were temporarily re-flagged as U.S. vessels. Thus began Operation Earnest Will.
In addition to being wanna-be bullies, Iranians are notoriously stupid. They continued to challenge the U.S.-led convoys and kept up mining operations. They even fired missiles at – and struck – American warships. Iran, ever the bone-headed thug, confronted the United States Navy at a time when Ronald Reagan was Commander-in-Chief.
Is “stupid” an accurate enough word?
American retaliation included the destruction of abandoned oil platforms used as staging sites for mining operations and the unfortunate downing of a passenger plane mistaken as an Iranian combat aircraft. Realizing the United States meant business and had the wherewithal to back up that business, Iran backed down and suspended their actions against tankers and other ship traffic through the Gulf.
I have little faith that Barack Obama has the will to confront Iran on this latest blackmail attempt. The administration’s George McFly foreign policy (“I’m afraid I’m just not very good at… confrontations”), particularly as it relates to contradictory regimes in the Middle East, lacks the fortitude to tell Iran that it will NOT obstruct international shipping in the region.
Ronald Reagan proved that where there’s a “will,” there’s a way.
Obama continues to prove that failure is his density.