The strategy of appeasement, such as the one recently enacted by the US toward Iran, has its pros and cons: the pros are that the thawing in traditionally icy relations may lead to better trade relations and the spread of the debt-funded Pax Americana to one more country. There are also cons, like for example the “appeased” country no longer terrified of the “appeaser”, whose resolve it will then commence testing until the credibility of its presumed superpower is tested by increasingly more. This is precisely what America’s enemy number 1 (if mostly for public consumption) until recently, Iran, has just done.
Iranian warships dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean will travel close to U.S. maritime borders for the first time, a senior Iranian naval commander said Saturday. The fleet, consisting of a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship, began its voyage last month from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas. The ships, carrying some 30 navy academy cadets for training along with their regular crews, are on a three-month mission.
The commander of Iran’s Northern Navy Fleet, Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad, said the vessels have already entered the Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Reuters reports, citing Admiral Haddad, that “Iran’s military fleet is approaching the United States’ maritime borders, and this move has a message.”
The message is simple: you give an inch, and they take a mile. For now Iran is just testing how much it can get away with as the US seeks to appease the nation as part of its latest diplomatic directive. And as long as the US does not respond vigorously, Iran will continue testing.Then again considering that the US 5th naval fleet is positioned in Iran’s backyard just across the Persian Gulf, can anyone blame them?
More from Reuters:
Haddad, described as commander of the Iranian navy’s northern fleet, said the vessels had started their voyage towards the Atlantic Ocean via “waters near South Africa”, Fars reported.
Fars said the plan was part of “Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf.
In Washington, a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, cast doubt on any claims that the Iranian ships were approaching U.S. maritime borders. But the official added that “ships are free to operate in international waters.”
The United States and its allies regularly stage naval exercises in the Gulf, saying they want to ensure freedom of navigation in the waterway through which 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil exports passes.
U.S. military facilities in the region include a base for its Fifth Fleet in the Gulf Arab kingdom of Bahrain. Iran sees the Gulf as its own backyard and believes it has a legitimate interest in expanding its influence there.
Fars said the Iranian navy had been developing its presence in international waters since 2010, regularly launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates operating in the area.
And while we await to see what the US response to this unprovoked Iranian aggression (as it will be penned by the media) will be, here is the most recent breakdown of US Naval forces around the world protecting all of America’s national interests.
Finally here is the just tweeted take by the Pentagon:
Iran ships to US waters? Aspirations not new. Freedom of seas applies to all, so long as they understand responsibilities of that freedom.
— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) February 9, 2014