Thinking Citizen Blog — Was September 14, 2019 the “Pearl Harbor” of the Middle East?
Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day
Today’ s Topic — Was September 14, 2019 the “Pearl Harbor” of the Middle East?
If so, I slept through it. Did you? In case you did, let me explain. By far the most eye-popping article I read this week was by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times in which the author argued that the biggest event since 9/11 was what happened on 9/14 last year. What was that? Iran’s attack on one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil fields and processing facilities using 20 drones and precision-guided missiles. Experts — please chime in.Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
“DEAR JOE, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE NUKES ANY MORE”
1. “Biden wants to reinstate the nuclear deal, but first he must confront the new Middle East.”
2. “The Middle East was reshaped by this Iranian precision missile strike, by President Trump’s response and by the response of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to Trump’s response.”
3, “First, how did Trump react? He did nothing. He did not launch a retaliatory strike on behalf of Saudi Arabia — even though Iran, unprovoked, had attacked the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.”
THE LACK OF A US RETALIATORY STRIKE RESHAPES THE MIDDLE EAST
1. “Trump forced Israel and the key Sunni Arab states to become less reliant on the United States and to think about how they must cooperate among themselves over new threats — like Iran — rather than fighting over old causes — like Palestine.”
2. “This may enable America to secure its interests in the region with much less blood and treasure of its own.”
3. “It could be Trump’s most significant foreign policy achievement.”
SUICIDAL VERSUS HOMICIDAL, THE 2006 ANALOGY, “PRECISION” IS THE KEY WORD
1. “Yes, Israel and the Sunni Arab states want to make sure that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon. But some Israeli military experts will tell you today that the prospect of Iran having a nuke is not what keeps them up at night — because they don’t see Tehran using it. That would be suicide, and Iran’s clerical leaders are not suicidal….They are, though, homicidal.”
2. “And Iran’s new preferred weapons for homicide are the precision-guided missiles that it used on Saudi Arabia and that it keeps trying to export to its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, which pose an immediate homicidal threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and U.S. forces in the region. (Iran has a network of factories manufacturing its own precision-guided missiles.)
3. “In the 2006 war in Lebanon, Iran’s proxy militia, Hezbollah, had to fire some 20 dumb, unguided, surface-to-surface rockets of limited range in the hope of damaging a single Israeli target. With precision-guided missiles manufactured in Iran, Hezbollah — in theory — needs to fire just one rocket each at 20 different targets in Israel with a high probability of damaging them all. We’re talking about Israel’s nuclear plant, airport, ports, power plants, high-tech factories and military bases.”
CONCLUSION: “So, if you were planning a party to celebrate the restoration of the Iran-U.S. nuclear deal soon after Biden’s inauguration, keep the champagne in the fridge. It’s complicated.”
Opinion | Dear Joe, It’s Not About Iran’s Nukes Anymore
How a ‘quantum change’ in missiles has made Iran a far more dangerous foe
Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:
PDF with headlines — Google Drive
Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought. The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.