Why there will be no war in Iran
Many journalists are wringing their hands over the possibility of America waging war with Iran just as many did over the possibility of a US invasion in Venezuela. A decade ago, both might have been real possibilities, two decades ago they would have been absolute certainties, but not today. Why? Because there are forces in the world acting to keep America in check and thus prevent violent regime changes and military aggression. These forces are twofold.
First, an attack on Iran would bring every terrorist out of the holes they live in and onto planes, buses and trains to get to Iran and make Jihad. But as I have said, these people although dangerous and destructive, are no real threat to anyone, let alone a nation with the military might of America. Jihadis of every ilk are engaged in fighting wars that they are ever in the process of losing.
More certainly, America's aggressive and war like instincts are held in check because the combined military forces of The Russian Federation and The People's Republic of China, are so formidable as to make them think twice about starting another war, particularly with nations that have ties to Moscow and Peking, as Iran does. Symbolically, speaking directly from Russia--that is from Russia and not to it -Mike Pompeo, United States Secretary of State, was quick to tell the world that America does not want to go to war with Iran, despite the rapidly growing tensions between the two countries. Likewise, Iran's Supreme Leader also has stated that Iran does not want war.
The logic behind America's disinclination to go to war Iran or invade Venezuela is elucidated in a revealing article in the April 24, 2018 edition of The National Interest titled "Russia and China Could Stop America From Controlling the Seas in a War" written by Dave Majumdar who is the publication's editor. He begins his article by saying "The United States Navy and Marine Corps have come to terms with the fact that America no longer has uncontested mastery of the seas for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991."
His opinion is echoed by other prominent military figures. Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer said in his written testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that "The strategic environment is rapidly changing and the Navy and Marine Corps is engaged in a competition that they have not faced in over twenty years,"
Gen Robert B Keller, commandant of the Marine Corps, speaking of "The ascendant threats posed by revisionist powers and rogue states" he said, "Modern sensors and precision weapons with expanding ranges and lethality are redefining how we assess our posture and relative combat power. Advanced defensive networks are forcing us to re-consider the methods of power projection required to compete against rising peers." In a word, new weapons based on advanced technologies have levelled the field on which war is being waged. More than levelling the field, they are giving the advantage to China and Russia, who work together to develop these weapons.
"The development and acquisition of long-range precision weapons by our Nation's chief competitors and threats--China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO)--have placed many of our forward deployed forces within the effective range of their weapons systems, or 'threat rings,'" Neller said. "Forward deployed and stationed Marines are now vulnerable to attacks in ways we have not considered for decades.
Russia is often considered second to the US in terms of military power. However, if this is still true it will not be for long. Under Putin Russian military capabilities have expanded the power and reach of its armed forces. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine General Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee in September that Russia was the most powerful rival to U.S. forces "in terms of overall military strength," but predicted China "poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025" due to its "potential to degrade core U.S. military technological advantages," as well as "demographics and the economic situation."
It is the formidable combined military power of China and Russia which has prevented America from "going to war" as quickly and readily as it did in the past, as it did in Iraq and Libya for example. This is quite obvious. Whereas Russia's annexation of Crimea caused the United States and NATO to express their outrage and impose sanctions, it did not provoke a direct military response. Beyond this, Russia's military victories in Syria, which prevented the United States from "having its way" with President Assad, spoke to the power of the Russian military alone.
Trump might have vowed to stop supreme leader Kim Jong Un from continuing his program of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, but when negotiations failed Trump's response was not what it might have been a even a few years before, which would have been to invade the country and overthrow the regime. This was because as Lieutenant General Jan-Marc Jouas, former deputy commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, stated in a letter, any conflict with North Korea would leave the US forces "outnumbered and undersupplied."
Certainly, this would not be as a result of the underwhelming N.K. military alone., Russia and China have both criticized Trump for his hard-line stance against North Korea. Thus, although they both opposed Kim's growing nuclear arsenal, they have stood together against U.S. threats to disarm North Korea by force. Meanwhile, Kim went directly to Moscow to visit Putin. In doing so he made a clear statement of whom he was aligning with.
In an August article for The National Interest, military expert Robert Farley concluded that "the United States can still fight and win two major wars at the same time, or at least come near enough to winning that neither Russia nor China would see much hope in the gamble," but added that "it bears emphasis that this situation will not last forever. The United States cannot maintain this level of dominance indefinitely, and in the long-term will have to choose its commitments carefully."
The German newspaper "Der Spiegel" showed that NATO's power had "been atrophied" since the Cold War and current command structures "would quickly fail if confronted". NATO's latest Strategic Foresight Analysis report concluded that, "As power is shifting away from the West toward Asia, the West's ability to influence the agenda on a global scale is expected to be reduced."
So worry not, just as America did not invade Venezuela or North Korea, it is not going to go to war with Iran, because it will not be Iran with which it will be fighting.
Mary Metzger is a 74 year old semi retired teacher. She did her undergraduate work at S U N Y Old Westbury and her graduate work In Dialectics under Bertell Ollman at New York University.