A drone attack on Saudi Arabia has destroyed 50% of their oil-production capacity. The consensus is that Iran was involved. President Trump has stated that America is “locked and loaded” and ready to respond. This would be a mistake. Thanks to the President’s policies, we are now energy independent. We do not need the Middle East’s oil and there is no reason to become involved in a conflict we cannot win.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in neighboring Yemen. The history of this region is more complex than a Rubik’s Cube, but basically, it has consisted of nomadic tribes that have been at each other’s throats for millennia. England colonized southern Yemen after World War I, calling its port city Aden. As the British Empire unraveled after World War II, Yemen gradually united, becoming a country in 1990. Unfortunately, it remained one of the planet’s most impoverished areas and self-government has been problematic.
In 2015, a group called the Houthi, with the backing of Iran, overthrew Yemen’s President Hadi. Saudi Arabia, fearing Iranian hegemony, launched a counter attack. President Obama decided to side with Saudi Arabia, providing them with air support and armaments. Senators on both sides of the isle decried this decision including Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Connecticut’s Chris Murphy. On the Senate floor Murphy stated “Let’s ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the United States getting slowly, predictably, and all too quietly dragged into yet another war in the Middle East.”
Yet there are drumbeats for more American involvement. When the Iranians shot down an American drone several months ago, President Trump was ready to strike back. But at the last minute, he reportedly asked the generals how many Iranians would be killed. The estimate was 150. Trump responded by cancelling the strike saying this response would be “disproportionate.” This was the finest moment of his presidency.
Yet the war hawks of our foreign policy establishment called the President a coward and blame Iran’s more aggressive action on his refusal to respond to the destruction of our drone. But does this make any sense? Will Iran capitulate if we bomb them? Or will they up the ante with more strikes?
Americans foreign policy establishment believes that President Trump is squandering American leadership. In their view, President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama has resulted in greater Iranian aggressiveness. Perhaps they have a point, although there is no indication that Iran decreased its belligerence after the deal was struck, nor that they were developing into a democracy, as had been hoped.
Yet they want more war. But their children will not be killed, maimed and psychologically damaged. It will be African Americans, Hispanics and poor rural whites.
And if President Trump takes the bait, who will be blamed when the media blankets the airwaves with the dead babies that are the result? It will not be the foreign policy establishment that goaded President Trump into war; it will be Trump himself.
Wars are rarely won on the battlefield. They are won by breaking the will of the enemy, and this usually requires massacring women and children. Japan did not surrender after the Battle of Midway, when we recaptured the Philippines or conquered their islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They surrendered after we killed 70,000 civilians in Hiroshima and 40,000 civilians in Nagasaki with two nuclear bombs.
Do the American people want to bomb Tehran into oblivion, especially when they are no threat to us? And if we are not willing to do this, can we possibly win? Highly unlikely.
If the Democrats win the presidency, they have promised a Green Deal to their base. Front runner Elizabeth Warren states she will issue executive orders to end fracking and stop all off shore oil exploration. This will return us to dependency on Mideast oil and increase the chance of our involvement. But for now, let us Americans have a modicum of peace for a change. We are not willing to do what has to be done to impose our will on others.
Saudi Arabia has numerous F-15 jets. They have an Air Force that is perfectly capable of bombing Iran. Let them fight their battles. Not us.
As a candidate, Trump tweeted “Saudi Arabia should fight their own wars, which they won’t, or pay us an absolute fortune to protect them and their great wealth – $ trillion.” Exactly.
Joe Bentivegna is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill