Skip to comments.No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence (Neo-con commentary)
Posted on 09/19/2019 4:40:47 PM PDT by robowombat
September 19, 2019MEMRI Daily Brief No.198 No Principles, No Dignity, No Power, No Deterrence
By: Yigal Carmon*
People without principles and dignity do not understand that these are sources of tangible power that create deterrence. People who evade projecting those elements of power are doomed to be deterred by those with dignity and principles however odious and deplorable such as Iran, Russia, and China down to the level of Turkey. They treat the US with constant verbal contempt and actual provocations, in the knowledge that they can bait the US with impunity. 
The attacks of 9/14 on Saudi Arabia's oil plants demonstrate this American tragedy. The immediate, tactical targets were Saudi, but they could well have been American CENTCOM targets with a similar level of damage sustained.
Out of the best intentions of sparing America wars, America will inevitably face both "war and shame". President Trump asked Senator Lindsey Graham "How did going into Iraq work out?" One would have expected the man who restored the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office to consider how did the appeasement policy of Chamberlain work out and what was the cost to the US in lives a few years later. But even the understanding that in a world where America is no longer the guarantor of world order, the American economy will also tank is beyond the qualifications of a great hotelier and real estate mogul.
The 9/14 attacks, correctly referred to by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as "an act of war", is a harsh humiliating blow dealt to the U.S., signaling an American multilevel failure:
First, there was a failure of deterrence. The Iranians took a calculated risk and were proven correct. They view themselves the military regional equals of the US and via their proxies even beyond the region. American military officials openly betray their fear of Iranian power and retaliatory capability on CENTCOM targets and they thus make Trump's boast that the US is the world's strongest military power, empty posturing In fact it is Iran that is actually deterring the U.S. from any retaliation. Iran relies on its proven ability to act in the local theater while its results have a global ripple effect.
Secondly, it was a failure of U.S. intelligence (military, NSA, CIA and others). Apparently, there was no early warning about an operation that must have had dozens of parties engaged in the decision process, the secret planning and the preparations. Since May 2019, MEMRI has issued several strategic warnings about the Iranian threats to carry out such attacks, based on open Iranian sources.
Thirdly, the successful Iranian attack represented an American technological failure, as not a single cruise missile or drone was intercepted. Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif ridiculed the U.S., tweeting "Perhaps [the US is] embarrassed that $100s of blns of its arms didn't intercept Yemeni fire".
Fourthly, and most disturbingly, it is a case of political failure - no one in the U.S. administration expected such a bold direct Iranian attack. True, Iran has resorted to proxies to afford it deniability, but now the Iranian leadership has realistically gauged American hesitancy and conflict aversion and believed that Iran could risk making a direct attack, discounting the possibility of strong American retaliation. Considering the global effect of this bold attack, so far, the calculated risk has proven to be a sound bet.
hy The Attacks?
The attacks of 9/14 have nothing to do with the war in Yemen; it is about the U.S. sanctions. Iran is painfully squeezed and tries to ease the sanctions by applying force for now only against American allies and U.S. interests. Iran will continue to do so until the sanctions are significantly eased, as long as it assesses that the penalty for these attacks is nil or bearable. This is not rocket science and only requires a basic comprehension and not secret intelligence.
What Can Now Be Expected?
1. No deterrent American response against Iran should be expected. Knowing that the U.S. administration will not stand by the Saudis militarily, KSA spokesmen and leaders have refrained from explicitly accusing Iran, and have emulated the UAE leaders, who refrained from pointing a finger at Iran after the attacks on their tankers on June 2019, even when Iranian complicity had been proven.
2. Further Iranian attacks, based on the same Iranian logic, will take place in the future as a result of continued U.S. sanctions, and not due to any reaction by KSA, the U.S. etc. to Iranian attacks.
No American can gain from Iran's humbling of America. Any future president will have to address the Iranian threat and restore America's power, deterrence, principles and dignity, albeit at a much higher price. The powers of evil cannot be tamed by American self-abnegation. This lesson should have been assimilated in the previous century. With all the justified aversion to Saudi Arabia due to the murder of Khashoggi, Saudi crimes pale in comparison to the mega murders committed by the Ayatollah regime in their ongoing unbridled drive for an Islamic dictatorship. The real threat is Iran's quest for regional domination and nuclear weapons. Ideally, presidential contenders should prioritize these long range considerations; realistically this is not going to happen. * Yigal Carmon is the President and founder of MEMRI
 The American loss of dignity was on display in spades when Trump thanked the Iranians for not downing a manned US plane that flew alongside the downed American UAV. No wonder that the Iranians were further convinced of their moral superiority and the justice of their Islamic Revolution ideology.
Many Israelis read the tea leaves to say that an Iranian campaign of a similar sort DJT would politely point out the very excellent air and missile capabilities of the IDF. The Israelis are perpetually sensitive of any indication of less than robust US support as the first step towards the US ending its special military and intelligence relationship with the State of Israel.
They are misunderstanding the unstated but pretty clear 'Trump doctrine' in which the US will only become militarily involved if a conflict escalates to where vital US interests are at risk. Example would be a full fledged Iranian air campaign against the KSA featuring really large air strikes on the Royal capitals and the entire oil and gas extraction, refining and distribution system, In the case of Israel, attacks of the same magnitude mounted by Iran involving firing a lot of ballistic missiles at Israel and conducting heavy airstrikes.
In other words, other nations, even allies are expected to address their security problems first and the US will act as final guarantor of allies existence
Seven wars is enough.
Got my popcorn riiiiight here.
Americans have no taste for war. Our enemies know this, and they invariably use it as justification for attacking us. We respond with force, they learn their lesson, and all is quiet for some time. Then the lesson is forgotten and the cycle begins again.
One of two things are apparent. The first is that Iran believes that war with the US is preferable to continued sanctions. That means the sanctions must really bite. Trump doesnt really have to do anything but stay the course and not take the bait.
The other is, Iran evidently believes that war will lead to Trumps exit from power. This may indicate some collusion with the DNC on a course of action to be taken here if Trump acts militarily.
So, again, Trump is better off to not take the bait. They may continue to up the ante until he has no choice, but for now his best choice is to keep the sanctions on and not chase the little laser dot.
The people pushing for U.S. military intervention all over the globe do NOT think of the American people as their constituents.
John Bolton knew what was coming from Iran but nobody listened. Gorka knew too. They studied not only military and diplomatic strategy but those policies of our enemies.
Know you enemy and you will be prepared for almost anything. Think like your enemy and you will defeat them.
Yes, it is a sure bet that some rat congressional staffers contacted Iran as soon as Chuck U and the other vermin returned from a Presidential briefing to Congressional Leaders prior to the retaliation for the drone shootdown. Trump knows who did it and who approved. He wanted to out the rats that would be the first to act treasonously. He found out. The number of times that piece of dog feces Kerry has been to Iran ‘working on preserving President Obama’s legacy agreement’ with Iran. So it has gone from dems being determined that the Republicans were not going to be permitted to end Viet Nam in any positive way to open direct conniving with a country that has made it loud an clear that they want to do serious harm to the US.
Even Trump plays by the Leftist playbook Obama played by - the bad actors in the world are only acting badly because the U.S. as the only super power throws its weight around too much. If only the U.S. would back away, the bad actors would behave themselves and threaten no one.
That line of thinking is fiction.
It is not a question of “global intervention” versus isolationism.
In a world filled with would be empire builders and caliphate seeking Muslim theocrats, it is not “global intervention” versus isolationism, but global defense versus isolationism. It is bringing our offense to them when necessary, defensively, before they eventually bring theirs directly to us.
Yes, Iran is testing Trump.
Americans have no taste for long, dragged out wars.
"Do not do your enemies a small injury" -- Machiavelli.
Any US response should produce a level of devastation such that it reminds the world that pissing us off is a very bad idea. We need to go back to WW2 "rules of engagement", regardless of bleating from the UN and the Left.
We need to go back to WW2 “rules of engagement”, regardless of bleating from the UN and the Left.
Off all the major combatants of WWII we and the British were the most circumspect when it came to casualties both civilian and military. The Russians, Germans, and Japanese laid waste to anything and everything in their way.
The only notable exception to this was the air campaign against Japan. Had the atomic bombs not been used General Lemay in 1945 was capable of running 3-4 napalm raids against Japanese cities every day. In 2 months we could have reduced every major city in Japan to cinders killing millions of civilians.
He had the aircraft, crews, and bombs to do it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.