Only a Global Alliance Will Deter Iran from Attacks at Sea

(Bloomberg) Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis - During a long Navy career, I have sat on the bridge of U.S. warships watching Iranian gunboats warily too many times to count. Sometimes the Iranians are very professional, and follow the standard rules of the nautical road. At other times, they can be the most dangerous of mariners, swerving close at high speed and turning on their fire control radars. The Iranians seem to think Washington will back down in the face of these tanker attacks. But it is far too soon to default to a purely military solution. The U.S. still has cards to play. Most importantly, Washington needs to move to a world-versus-Iran scenario. There is no global support for attacks on unarmed merchant ships, especially environmentally sensitive supertankers. Attacks on the supply chain for oil and petrochemicals will antagonize everyone. Confronting Iran must be a team sport. Finally, while the U.S. should work hard for a diplomatic solution, it needs to recognize that the Iranian mullahs are implacable and driven by religious beliefs. They are not inclined to compromise. That means being ready for unconventional attacks anywhere in the world that the extensive Iranian terror network (headlined by Hizbullah) can reach. The writer, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, is dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

2019-06-19 00:00:00

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