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Trump Has Lost All Leverage With Iran

Trump has already played all his cards, Iran has all the freedom of action now

I’m not buying Moon of Alabama’s theory that Iran is attacking the tankers — I think it’s plausible and I stand ready to change my mind if we get some evidence, but so far I have not seen more than conjecture so for me Iran is not the first suspect.

That said I agree that by going all in on the “maximum pressure” campaign Trump has in fact backed himself into a very unenviable position where he now has no leverage against Iran left.

Since it is obvious he doesn’t want war, but has already played all his cards short of war, Iran has now actually gained considerable freedom of action. It can shoot down US drones whether above Iran, or just over the Strait of Hormuz and what is Trump going to do about it?* Apply “maximum pressure”??

At most Trump could organize some kind of Syria-style limited strike but such a strike carries much more potential downside for him than for Tehran.

Limited missile and air strikes aren’t going to threaten the ayatollah and the Revolutionary Guards any more than they threatened Assad’s rule in Syria. They may actually boost the Revolutionary Guards who would get to pose as standing up to and defending the country against a super power.

While for Trump they would carry the danger of being seen as weak and inconclusive if Iran managed to mount a partially successful defense or retaliation, and cause him harm for 2020 as he satisfied neither the Iran war crazies nor the America firsters.

Trump should have kept some sanctions gunpowder in the magazine. Instead by firing off all of it he has disarmed himself.


* Albeit the drone that was shot down today may have been in Iranian airspace the US also claimed days earlier than Iranian forces had targeted a drone merely near its airspace.

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The Globalist
The Globalist
8 months ago

Good point on that. And now Iran has lots of momentum to solidify its position with Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Russia, China, India .. did I leave anybody out?

The US moves have just put the Shanghai Cooperative Organization and the Belt and Road Initiative on even more secure ground. Even Moti in India is thinking that he should be best friends with Putin and Xi Jin Ping, with all this US nonsense going on. Asia is getting such momentum now.

cap960
cap960
8 months ago

A fat pompous Yank said. We lie, cheat and steal… and train for that. Now who are we to believe? Yanks or Iranians?

Greg Schofield
Greg Schofield
8 months ago

Marko, thanks for this and also for referencing Moon of Alabama’s theory, it is a clever theory and while I am with you in judgment, it did make me think.

The US has recklessly burnt-up its credibility, anything they say on practically anything is going to be initially disbelieved by the thinking public, but also everything they say even by those who believe is not enthusiastically believed, just affirmed by observed ritual (I am safe I say the right things).

Iran has that amazing weapon at hand.

The recognition of Israeli occupation as sovereign was declaration of war against the Arab peoples, Iranians are not Arabic, but Iran’s interests and position align them as the Middle-East’s bridge to the Far East and the backdoor of Europe. A serious strategic response is needed and Iran is already in the firing line.

Which brings up the vital point, that the war against Iran has already began, with the first round of false flag attacks. No is its time to entice a US response and make it a disaster before the world. This I say without any suggestion that this is Iran’s intention, in fact I think the probability is not high; but it is certainly the material situation.

The Moon of Alabama’s theory is a possibility, interesting because it is based on exploiting US weakness, enticing action which it is well placed to defend against and make a strike that demonstrates that US military power while formidable is also extremely vulnerable to decisive strikes against capital military assets and large death tolls due to the diplomacy of force should be expected.

Is Iran the victim who will strike back? Perhaps regardless of any theory, it is the victim who will defend themselves voraciously, which may have the same effect. US power needs to degraded in the only way the US deep state understands, deep and terrible wounds, that will ally even the worst elements of the Pentagon against this idiocy.

Margaret Swift
Margaret Swift
8 months ago
Reply to  Greg Schofield

Iran has never started a war with another country, how many wars has America started just in the last 20 years. Venezuelan has plenty of heavy oil but heavy oil needs light oil mixed with it to make it useable. Iran has an oil field of nice light oil. Does it strike you as strange that these are the two countries America has been aiming for destabilization and regime change.

Mary E
8 months ago

I think we are safe in assuming that the US is lying…it is their MO, in their DNA

CHUCKMAN
8 months ago

I agree with your analysis.

I agree in not embracing Moon of Alabama’s concept of responsibility for the tanker events as part of a covert pressure-on-the-US campaign, an intriguing idea, but in the end, one I think flawed for several reasons.

Although I must say this is one of the only times I have completely disagreed with that astute analyst/writer.

Readers may enjoy my first and later thoughts on the events:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/john-chuckman-comment-reposting-of-comment-on-ship-attack-in-gulf-of-oman-with-important-added-information-about-americas-release-of-a-poor-quality-video-supposedly-showing-iranians-removing-an-une/

And

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/john-chuckman-comment-there-are-many-reasons-to-not-believe-pompeos-blaming-iran-for-tanker-attacks-in-gulf-of-oman-heres-a-key-one-for-me-and-it-speaks-against-a-coming-campaign-of-covert-iran/

BillA
BillA
8 months ago

ok, but by what means is such an egomaniac as Trump going to back down ?

skinner15
skinner15
8 months ago
Reply to  BillA

The same way he did with North Korea. Promised fire and fury, then sailed home.

Obomber did the same, with his girly threats of “consequences” for Russia, unless they handed back Crimea.
Crimea today is as Russian as it was under Catherine the Great.

CHUCKMAN
8 months ago
Reply to  BillA

You’d have to ask him.

Please remember, this erratic and impulsive man is not “playing with a full deck of cards,” as they say.

Please also note what happened with North Korea. At one point, he had ships and bombers everywhere.

Then, when he didn’t get his impetuous demands met, he really did silently back down. He still speaks well of Kim.

There were great similarities in the Trump pattern, including demanding the other side to do something big while offering nothing in return.

John C Carleton
John C Carleton
8 months ago

Trump is a Rat’s minion.

Iran understands the Rat’s.

Iran has no respect for a Rat’s minion.

Margaret Swift
Margaret Swift
8 months ago

Trumps not the Rat, it is Bolton and Pompeo who are whispering war mongering sweet nothings in his ears. Trump needs to ditch these advisers and rely more on his business acumen.

John C Carleton
John C Carleton
8 months ago
Reply to  Margaret Swift

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