Will Trump yet achieve the military action that every GOP predecessor has sought as an historical measure of their presidency..
There aren’t many Friedman Units left in the Trump reign, but Commander-in-Combover must want his “wartime leadership” footnote in history
Individual-1 has just about run out of time to pull off a re-election invasion of Iran, especially since he has some difficult allies for that “coalition of the willing” (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, and Israel).
This time it probably won’t be any land battles — Trump’s dog-wagging will be a bombing campaign and perhaps some kind of naval action, even if it has started with suspicious “sabotage” of empty oil tankers. Expect the prepositioning of 120,000 or more troops for logistical support, even for the many more hundreds of thousands of troops necessary for an actual invasion of Iran.
More likely Trump’s plan will be goading the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) into something like a speedboat attack, and since they’ve now been redesignated as a “terrorist” group, retaliation will be called another piece of the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
Expect the usual Congressional dithering about the AUMF, as well as revisiting the Trumpian fiasco of having Iranian policy diametrically opposed to a North Korean policy on nuclear negotiations.
There’ll be some form of US bombing, starting with cruise missiles at “training camps” and nuclear-related targets. The Tom “Lando” Cotton position seems to represent the idea that Iran would capitulate simply from sustained missile strikes.
Senior American officials told the Times the preliminary options show how threatening Iran has become. A Pentagon source told Newsweek if anything is likely to happen involving the preliminary Iran options, it would involve a heavy guided missile strike campaign in an attempt to lead Tehran to the negotiation table with Washington.
“It depends on the escalation of force. But no matter the bravado from Iran’s side, when you get hit it with 500 missiles every day, it degrades you, which is the objective. When your opponent is weak, you get more out of any negotiation,” said one official with knowledge of the Iran plans.
Iranian officials have capitalized on the lingering unpopularity of the Iraq War to warn of a repeat against a much more powerful, multifaceted foe. Modern Iran’s at least half-million troops outnumbered that of Iraq’s war-weary military in 2003, and potentially hundreds of thousands of largely Shiite Muslim militias across the region could gather in support of the Islamic Republic.
If the U.S. plan was simply to pummel Iran into restarting nuclear negotiations, it also remained to be seen whether Iran’s elite, hard-line Revolutionary Guards would ever concede, or if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would simply order them to escalate in hopes of dragging the Pentagon into another one of the “endless wars” that Trump campaigned against both before and after taking office.
Though a significant chunk of Congress has turned on Trump’s continued support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, lawmakers have so far proven unable to limit the president’s powers to wage war abroad. In the case of Iran, legislators would similarly be incapable, and perhaps even unwilling, to stop his orders.
Senator @TomCottonAR tells Firing Line if it comes to war with Iran, he is confident the United States would win, and would win swiftly. “Two strikes, the first strike and the last strike,” says the Senator. pic.twitter.com/twTdrFTwHu
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) May 14, 2019
The administration is not heeding these warnings. Sitting in Tehran, it would be easy for Iranian leaders to conclude that the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran has nothing to do with changing its regional behavior or renegotiating the Iran nuclear accord — and everything to do with strangling Iran economically to fracture the regime or provoke a massive public uprising that would ultimately lead to the its collapse. And they’d be right. But this is fabulist thinking, and trying to topple the regime would only lead to catastrophic failure or catastrophic success. Here are eight reasons why:
► The Iranian regime still enjoys enormous support among its population. There is no legitimate and organized political opposition to the ruling class as there is in Venezuela.
► Russia and China are far more vested in propping up the mullahs than Maduro, and they will therefore provide greater assistance to Tehran for bucking U.S. sanctions.
► The Iranian military, especially the Revolutionary Guard, is a far more formidable force than Maduro’s military.
► Iran is far less vulnerable to economic pressures than Venezuela — where the U.S. essentially has an economic stranglehold on the country — and does not have to contend with the humanitarian crisis and economic privations that afflict Venezuela.
► Iran’s leaders can rely on internal security forces to crack down on violent unrest with much more confidence than Maduro can depend on his forces in Venezuela.
► Maduro is diplomatically isolated and an impressive coalition of countries in the Western Hemisphere and Europe want him out. By contrast, other than Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. would have no international support for toppling the Iranian regime. Trump alienated many countries by withdrawing unilaterally from the Iran nuclear deal and denying waivers to those that depend on Iranian oil; it’s hard to imagine them rallying behind U.S.-led regime change in Iran.
► Iran has far more options than Venezuela to retaliate against American-led efforts to overthrow the regime.
► And finally, even in the highly unlikely event the Trump administration were able to instigate a popular revolution in Iran, the only winners would be the Revolutionary Guard and the most militant, anti-American forces in the country. Simply put, trying to remove the regime in Iran is madness.
Trump pulled out of the Iran Deal even though Iran was complying, and has been trying to provoke Iran into giving him a pretext for war ever since. He lied to the American people about getting us out of wars, lied about the Iran Deal, and is lying about Iran now
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) May 14, 2019