Tankers, War & Black Flags

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I have a new piece over at Human Events regarding the new tanker war in the Gulf of Oman. The essay advises caution:

Currently, the evidence seems to point to Iranian culpability. The incident on Thursday was preceded by earlier attacks on shipping last month. Nonetheless, the president must be prudent. Caution and clearheaded thinking, not alarmism and adventurism, will best help the U.S. government achieve its strategic goals in the region.

Thankfully it seems the president is listening. The situation is becoming more difficult with recent Iranian kerfuffle over a drone.

As always with this sort of thing is the claim of a false flag attack. This is strange to me because it relies on two contradictory assumptions. The first is that the government is exceptionally competent. It’s not easy engineering a fake attack. Yet if this is so then why stop there? The false flag thesis assumes that there is some shadowy, hyperefficient faction in the US government pushing for war. Why not guarantee it? Why attack some Norweigan or Japanese tanker? Why not an American one at least or better yet a US Navy ship? Which leads me to the second thesis. Apparently, the shadowy overlords are competent to pull off a false flag but not enough to make it stick.

Rarely can these claims hold up to scrutiny. If this faction is powerful enough to engineer a war, why not over the four earlier attacks last month? Why not over the hundreds of dead Americans from Iranian involvement in Iraq? Why not over Iranians capturing US sailors? John Bolton’s Svengali-like powers can engineer a mine attack on an oil tanker but can’t convince the war-happy American establishment since 2005 to “liberate” Tehran. This thesis also relies on the assumption that it is only the American government (or its allies) that are capable of being bellicose, short-sighted or foolish.

Thankfully we missed our march on Qom this time but we will see. Hopefully the president’s laziness will continue to equal his militarism.

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