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24 April 2019

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Amir

Maybe a difficult question to answer from your perspective but what are the Iranian options to deter an attack? With more chutzpah, I expand on this question by asking from a retired US colonel, what would be their best grand strategy, campaign and tactic to ensure minimal damage to itself, considering it’s weak defensive posture?

turcopolier

amir - I am not at liberty nor do I wish to advise Iran.

Eugene Owens

Agreed. Bolan is a smart cookie. We need more like him.

Turcopolier

He was my student at West Point and was a star man.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

Agree. Moreover, I don't think Russia will provide any, realistically. I think Russia is not against Iran getting its wings slightly clipped in Syria. As per Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz--it is a completely different game. If to believe news, I don't have 100% assurance on that, that Iran does have P-800 Onyx (apart from Iran's indigenous systems--how good they are I don't know), Iran can make both areas a shooting gallery which will make naval operations extremely dangerous.

O'Shawnessey

Hmm. Seems like Shoigu and Co. flat-out defeated the FUKUS hybrid war on Syria without downing a single "coalition" plane, and now the FUKUS folks and Li'l Jeff at UN are pulling every dirty trick in the psychopath playbook to prevent the rebuilding of Syria.

Amir

To follow up on your remark, Iran seems to have no answers:
"Iran left with few choices as Trump steps up pressure
US president’s decision to revoke oil sanctions waivers could push Tehran to war" https://www.ft.com/content/a40ec2e0-672a-11e9-9adc-98bf1d35a056

Artemesia

Gorka may be in the "immigrant neocon class," but as harmful to USA foreign policy as is Khalilzad, Gorka is not in his league: Gorka is a mediocre-talent, blowhard Wannabe.
--

re Mr. Bolan's critique of US "diplomacy" with Iran: a threshold question I ask is, By what right?
What right has USA to demand that Iran "change its behavior."

The response from the neocon community was voiced most recently in a discussion titled, Countering Violent Extremism https://www.c-span.org/video/?460029-1/us-institute-peace-hosts-forum-combating-violent-extremism moderated by David Ignatius and including such stellar 'diplomats' as Bushites Madeleine Albright, Michael Singh and Stephen Hadley: USA created the "international order" post-WWII and the institutions and values of that "international order" have maintained "peace, stability and prosperity" in the world ever since. The proof: "there have been no major wars between European powers since WWII." Democracy and stability are the keys to defeating "violent extremism" and maintaining the international order.
To maintain that Pax Americana, the US is entitled undermine the sovereignty of-; destabilize - , and impoverish any and all nations that resist its stabilizing efforts.

Fred

Norbert,

Destroy the waterworks of all the gulf states? with what? Saudi oil production declines? The US is the largest oil exporter right now. The World economy is destroyed? Really? Does that include Israel's? Somebody better tell Bibi and Jared. On a bright note I guess that means no more migration into the US.

tjfxh

In my view this is part of a larger picture that Bolan doesn't consider. There are reasons that the Trump team has not been more specific about desirable behavior: The desired behavior is for the regime to leave. The alternative to voluntary departure is overthrow. Actually, it can be argued that the US powers that be have been quite clear about this.

1. Regime change is the US major objective toward Iran, Russia, China, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba. The rest is subterfuge. (Europe, Japan and South Korea are already occupied and controlled, and most of the rest of Latin America is controlled, too.)

2. a. The ultimate goal is to break up China and Russia into smaller countries that can never threaten the us.

2. b. The US also has to control the development of India to maintain hegemony, but that is now is mostly on the table economically.

2. c. Longer terms the US also has to control Africa, which is going to be a significant player later in this century. The US is already committing significant special operations forces there. (Regime change in China and Russia would go a long way to securing Africa with minimal effort.)

3. Islamic militancy is here to stay. It will continue to be a thorn, but probably won't be able to become a spear. However, thorns can do significant damage, like putting out an eye. This is an issue not only in MENA but also in most of Africa.

4. The strategy is based on hybrid warfare, employing information warfare, economic warfare, cyber-warfare to the extent possible and to folllow with special operations, proxy war.

5. Kinetic warfare using the US military will only be applied if absolutely necessary unless the objective can be accomplished quickly, since the US public has little tolerance for protracted warfare that results in more than minimal US casualties.The specter of Vietnam still hovers, and 17 years in Afghanistan are still a reminder.

6. China and Russia know this, and so do smaller countries that are on the hit list. The smaller countries are stepping stonds toward China and Russia and no one is in the dark about this.

This is basically the Wolfowitz doctrine, the Bush doctrine, and the grand chessboard as set forth by Zbig, based on Halford Mackinder's analysis and modifications by Nicholas Sykper. All one has to do is look at the China plan for the BRI to see that what is happening. The US leadership is now convinced that US hegemony is under direct attack by China, and the other countries slated for remine change are all part of the bigger picture in this regard.

7. This is a red line for the US. What are the red lines for China, Russia, and Iran. The US is probing to determine that.

Procopius

The article is bases on a false premise. U.S. policy is not deterrence. U.S. policy is total capitulation. "This continued uncertainty and lack of clarity in terms of U.S. expectations for Iran’s behavior are the anti-thesis of what is required for a coherent and realistic deterrent policy." The only thing the Iranians could do would be to dissolve their current government, repeal their constitution, and, I suppose, reinstate the Shah This has been U.S. policy since October 2001. See the letter Project for a New American Century (which was actually published in 1998). There is no excuse for any knowledgeable person to pretend otherwise. Therefore the current activities are well understood on both sides. I think the next step for the Iranians is to announce that they are prepared at any time to close the Straits of Hormuz, which I would expect to raise insurance rates, reducing the flow of oil without actually initiating combat. The U.S. cannot counter this move without actually invading Iran, which will be a disaster for them, given the strained condition of the All Volunteer Army.

DC Steve

Procopius is absolutely right. The only thing the ayatollahs could do for the US is die. They nurse an salvable humiliation over the hostage crisis of 39 years ago. Iran must be punished and humiliated. Trump, Pompeo and Bolton are supreme narcissists who have to have an axe to grind. The only thing is that if they did ultimately beat Iran, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. They’d be like the dog that caught the car.

Norbert M Salamon

US Energy Information Administration for January 2019
Total oil products 20452K barrels per day
of which imports 9693K barrels per day
export 8104K barrels per day

from the above it follows that the USA has not reached self sufficiency in crude production; therefore can not be the greatest net exporter

All those missiles Iran has are for local [eg Gulf/Israel limit] quite capable of reaching most desalination places[check the map of the Gulf]

The USA can not balance lost Persian Gulf production if the Strait is closed, thus world economy greatly constrained....

Chris Bolan

President Obama expressly eschewed a policy objective of regime change and instead sought limited accommodation that would minimize the prospect of Iran developing a functional nuclear weapons program. Moreover, it's important to recognize that even if the Trump administration's ultimate goal is 'capitulation' or 'regime change', it would nonetheless benefit from an effective deterrence strategy aimed at preventing Iran from striking out in dangerous ways that would seriously damage US and allied interests. Sec State Baker's warnings to Saddam against employing WMD in advance of Desert Shield/Desert Storm are a classic case of employing deterrence even on the verge of war. Perhaps the Trump administration can muster such diplomatic competence and sophistication....but perhaps not.

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