What Kind of War Advice is Trump Getting?
Update: Wednesday. The foreign minister of Iran has pointed out that the UN Charter (I looked up Article 2, Item 4)
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” This is after Trump threatened Iran with “obliteration” if any American gets harmed.
Trump had a difficult week, since tweeting sanctions against Ayatollah Khomeini, who died 30 years ago. Ayatollah Khamenei is now the Supreme Leader, and has been so since 1989. Trump also misquoted the NRA motto of “locked and loaded” as “cocked and loaded”. That is just cockamamie.
Update: Saturday evening. Trump has ordered cyber attacks against the Revolutionary Guard. The Washington Post article said it was against military communications, but also that it was against missile launches. So its extent is unclear. They also asked US industries to be aware, since Iran had been probing them and the energy sector. While we don’t know the details of how long Iran will take to patch this cyber attack, it perhaps should have been saved for when a real US military operation took place. Also, opening a new area of confrontation, essentially allows Iran to escalate to a very serious cyber attack on the US homeland, something it would not otherwise be capable of. Many years ago, we cyber attacked Iranian uranium centrifuge enhancement, but they overcame that. Another reason you don’t want to interfere with military computers when not needed is that they can tell if you are about to shoot down an attacking jet, or a civilian airliner, as the US did over the Gulf. The military computers can also tell if a drone is over their territory or not.
In several days of planning and discussions, did nobody tell Trump how many Iranian casualties there would be for the various options he was given? Especially after he warned Iran that if America suffered a single casualty it would be very costly? With Global Hawks (also the name of the drone) National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, figuring out the consequences of the planned action, how come they did not tell Trump this basic and crucial data, and what it would cause? Why, when Trump asked the generals, did they not know this immediately, but had to ask somebody else for this info? Why did Trump only think of the casualties as a 10 minute to go afterthought?
Trump sought out and appointed these old hawks. Trump is responsible for how the National Security apparatus, the State Department, and the Military (now without a real and experienced Secretary of Defense) function together in the War Room (White House Situation Room) where they meet to direct such operations in real time. What kind of trust does this imply if a nuclear threat initiation has only 10 minutes to respond to, and hundreds of million lives would be at stake, and not just 150?
CNN speakers don’t really believe Trump’s story, where he is the hero in the end. Where nobody else thought about the casualties.
The whole war scenario lies just on Trump’s shoulders from the git-go. Trump’s ego quirk of having to tear down everything that Obama accomplished had him claiming from the start of his campaign that the Iran Treaty was a “disaster”. Yet it dismantled what Iran had done to making nuclear weapons, under international inspections, and would stand for fifteen years. Iran had been following the agreement, until just now when Trump not only applied our trade sanctions, but threatened to impose them on any countries that traded with Iran. Where did Trump get the authority to do this? The signers to the Iran treaty were the United Nations P5+1, where the P5 are the permanent member states of the Security Council. They consist of the US, China, France, Russia, and the UK, and Germany is the +1. The P5 are also the largest nuclear powers.
Trump has decided that he must now regain his macho, and has threatened that if there is a war, it will be obliteration like you’ve never seen before. And he still wants to talk, with no preconditions. What has Iran done, other than live up to the denuclearization treaty? Yes, it has looked out for the interests of Shia Muslim groups in the Middle East. It has also developed its missiles, and suffered sanctions for this. But the Trump reaction is due to the nuclear issue, not the others.
Did anybody advise Trump that about 20% of the world’s oil comes through the Strait of Hormuz, where the drone was shot down? This includes his friends, the Saudi’s, and their oil and their income source. The 2018 data is that about 17 million barrels per day pass through the Strait, and World oil usage is about 100 million barrels per day.
There are three East-West pipelines from the Persian Gulf states, with the capacity of 6.8 million barrels per day. Currently, 2.8 million barrels per day are unused. This is only a fraction of the normal flow with tankers.
The following graphs include 2018 data on the Persian Gulf sources of oil and the destinations of the oil that pass through the Strait of Hormuz. In an October 11, 2018 article I used available data that Persian Gulf oil was 17% of US imports, which is now 18%. I also used that Persian Gulf oil was 8.5% of US oil consumption, which is now 7%. But I also pointed out that California dependence on Persian Gulf oil was 25%.