USA - Iran: the right to answer

American experts believe that President Trump still has the opportunity to choose the time and form of response to Tehran’s provocative actions

“They shot down an American drone to try and force the United States to retreat. But I do not think this will change the overall US policy towards Iran, which will remain tough as before. Matthew Kronig, (Matthew Kroenig, Atlantic Council), Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council, in a commentary to the Russian Service of the Voice of America, and continues: “The big question is whether President Trump will respond militarily now? It is difficult to say, I think, and the president himself did not make a final decision. But he can still use military force. “.
According to the expert, the latest actions of Iran are the result of the “maximum pressure” policy pursued by the Trump administration in order to force Iran to sit down at the negotiating table on a new agreement on their nuclear program, but this provocation will not be able to force the United States to change its political course.
As the expert notes, if President Trump decides in favor of a military response, he can resort, for example, to such steps as using US naval ships to support and escort tankers in the region, delivering a covert strike that would not attract public attention. or, nevertheless, to the air strikes that the president canceled yesterday.
“If Trump resorts to missile strikes, then, of course, there is a risk of serious escalation. On the other hand, I don’t think Iran wants a serious conflict with the United States. They know that they will lose this conflict and that this could lead to the end of their regime. So I think Iran is trying to be careful, using force to force the United States to retreat without going too far and provoking a massive retaliation attack, ”notes Matthew Kronig. In his opinion, further US actions will affect the political calculations of both the allies and rivals of the United States..
“How the United States decides to resolve this conflict with Iran may have implications for what other countries, such as Russia, China, North Korea, draw from this. And will they come to the conclusion that the United States can be attacked and they will not respond to it. The allies of the United States are also watching what is happening, assessing the authority of America, whether we will and how we will protect our interests, or whether we will use force in such a way that can harm the allies, ”the expert says..
Red lines and threat escalation
Jonathan Chanzer, Senior Vice President for Research at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (Jonathan Schanzer) notes that the current escalation can be viewed from different angles.
“We can say that President Trump has lost the ability to contain Iran, which, in turn, may lead to the further development of the conflict and the growth of Iranian aggression. But the situation can also be viewed from the position that the United States can use this moment to persuade the Europeans to join Washington’s policy of economic and political pressure on Iran, pointing out Iran’s aggression in the Persian Gulf, ”says Jonathan Schanzer, adding that at the moment both of these options are possible.
According to the expert, the attempt of the US administration to persuade other countries of our side towards Iran “is not a wrong step”, however, President Trump can resort to a military response if he sees fit, moreover, he has no time limit when this can be done.
“I think the US should reserve the right to respond to Iran at any time, and there is no deadline for a response. We may see the answer today, tomorrow, next week, or next month. So the United States has the option of a military response if it so desires, “the expert notes, according to which if President Trump resorts to military action, then the possibility of further escalation depends more on Iran’s further actions..
Hudson Institute Research Fellow and Former Director of Research in the Office of President George W. Bush Peter Rough (Peter Rough, Hudson Institute) also believes that some kind of military response to Iran from the United States may well follow, but President Trump will try to avoid a serious escalation of the conflict.
“Iran has stepped over the“ red line ”, so some military response to Iran is quite possible, but I think that the White House and the administration will try to carefully calibrate the situation so as not to lose American prestige and authority in the region, but at the same time not to get into an escalating cycle that could lead to a major conflict, ”notes Peter Rough.
The expert characterizes the overall strategy of the Trump administration towards Iran as a kind of manageable crisis..
“I think the Trump administration is skeptical about both George W. Bush-style regime change and the Obama administration’s policy, which it perceives as weakness, including the Iranian deal. Therefore, the Trump administration’s strategy is a “constantly managed crisis” aimed at redefining the boundaries of what is acceptable in the region, while not going too far and not getting involved in a major conflict with Iran, “the expert says..
Peter Rough expresses the hope that European countries will side with the United States in this situation. “It’s hard for me to imagine that our European allies will choose Iran when it is behaving aggressively,” adds Peter Rough..
Russian factor
In recent years, Russia has turned into a military ally of Iran (the forces of both countries jointly protect the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria) and the main sponsor of his defense power – he supplied Tehran with S-300 air defense systems, which the Iranian military command transferred to the Persian Gulf a month ago. On May 22, the official Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported about this transfer: “The appearance of the three hundred was a kind of response to the intensified US naval activity in the region.”.
Does Moscow realize what its involvement in the armed confrontation between the United States and Iran on the side of the Islamic state may mean? Expert at the Wilson Center in Washington William Hill (William Hill) expresses the hope that this is so: “I hope that Russia will influence Iran so that it is extremely careful and restrained. I assume that the Russian authorities would hate a US-Iranian war. They are, of course, happy that the United States does not have normal relations with Iran, and therefore Russia has great influence in the region, but I am sure that there will be no benefit from such a war for Russia. And in principle, a serious war in the Persian Gulf region in the long term is unprofitable for everyone, including Russia “.

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“It is known in the United States that Russia has officially and unofficially supplied Iran with arms and helped it over the past 20-30 years. I do not think that the unofficial presence of Russian advisers, who are probably helping the Iranians with air defense systems, will be viewed by Washington as Russia’s participation in a direct Iranian war against the United States. But all the same, the Russian side must understand that it is dangerous “- the expert is convinced.
“It’s one thing to just sell weapons, and somewhat different to help them use them in an aggressive and provocative manner. We never liked Russia’s ties with Iran, and even during the Clinton and Yeltsin administrations we had serious discussions with Moscow about this, ”recalls William Hill.

USA - Iran: the right to answer
  • Valeria Jegisman

    Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington DC and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Interior Ministry. Interests – international relations, politics, economics

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  • Danila Galperovich

    Reporter for the Russian Service «Voices of America» in Moscow. Collaborates with «Voice of America» since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and presenter of programs in the Russian service of the BBC and «Radio Liberty». Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.

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