Iran has had enough. I think it’s fair to say that after 60+ years of U.S. aggression towards Iran that the decision to shoot down a U.S. drone represents an inflection point in world politics.
In the first few hours after the incident the fog of war was thick. But a day later much of it has cleared thanks to Iran’s purposeful poke at U.S. leadership by coming clean with their intentions.
Iran chose to shoot down this drone versus hitting the manned P-8 aircraft and then chose not to lie about it in public, but rather come forward removing any deniability they could have had.
#Iran’s purpose by shooting down the drone was to warn the "#US terrorist forces" as it could also target an #American P-8 military aircraft that was flying next to MQ-4C drone, but it didn’t: Brigadier General Hajizadeh pic.twitter.com/V6xT8YwB31
They did this after President Trump’s comments yesterday during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where Trump described the attack as “a big mistake” and “not intentional.”
What we are looking at here is the ultimate game of brinkmanship. Trump is saying his maximum pressure campaign will break Iran in the end and if they go one step further (which they won’t directly) he will eliminate them.
Iran, on the other hand, is stating categorically that if Trump doesn’t allow Iran to trade than no one will. And that threat is a real one, given their regional influence. Incalculable financial and political damage can be done by Iran and its proxies around the region through attacks on oil and gas infrastructure.
Governments will fall, markets will collapse. And no one gets out without scars.
It’s the kind of stand-off that needs to end with everyone walking away and regrouping but is unlikely to do so because of entrenched interests on both sides and the historical grudges of the men involved.
What’s important is to know that the rules of the game have changed. Iran has taken all the punches to the nose it will take from Trump without retaliating. When you corner someone and give them no way out you invite the worst kind of counter-attack.
Today everyone wants to think Iran overplayed its hand by attacking this drone. But given the amount mendacity and the motivations of the people involved, I’d say that it was yet another attempt by the enemies of peace to push us to the brink of a world war in which nothing good comes of it.
I give Trump a lot of credit here for not falling into the trap set for him. He now has to begin removing those responsible for this quagmire and I’m sure that will be on the docket when he meets with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping next week at the G-20.
It starts with John Bolton and it ends with Mike Pompeo.
And if he doesn’t replace them in the next six to eight weeks then we know Trump isn’t serious about keeping us out of war. He’s just interested in doing so until he gets re-elected.