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Is war with Iran inevitable?

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Is war with Iran inevitable

Following the downing of an American drone, the prospects of war with Iran seem to be increasing every hour. Politicians are scrambling to point fingers, as they’re wont to do. Journalists are busy turning hot takes into news articles. EU nations are trying to figure out how to slow things down. Middle Eastern nations are trying to speed things up.

Are we going to war with Iran? It would seem this latest escalation is the last straw, especially as evidence points to the drone being over international waters as part of a mission to defend our interests crossing through the Strait of Hormuz after last week’s attack on oil tankers. Is there a scenario in which we can avoid war? Should we?

The answer to the second question is yes. We should avoid war if possible. Taking down an unmanned drone is an act of war, but not necessarily a prompt to go to war. Iran is masterful at taking things right to the edge. They act in ways that are intended to provoke actions while still being able to claim they are not the aggressors. Even in the face of clear evidence they attacked the oil tankers last week, they have been able to muster a story of denial that somehow has many in the international community believing them. That’s their superpower. They can take actions to provoke a response while positioning themselves as the victims if a response comes.

This superpower is very dangerous for American interests in the region. It means they’ll keep poking at us until we respond. And unless that poke involves the death of American lives at the indisputable hands of Iran without an potential for it to be spun as our fault, they will be able to convince a good chunk of the world that we’re being the aggressors. In the past, this may not have been too important; following 9/11, we probably could have convinced allies to attack anyone with us. But today, we need the evidence to be irrefutable.

Even then, they’ll refute it and some will listen.

One may wonder why we need international support to take on Iran. Technically, we don’t. Between us, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, we could easily wipe Iran out militarily. But doing so would isolate us geopolitically. If we go in without clearly being the victims of Iran’s provocation, we’ll be the bad guys. This will hurt us on multiple fronts in a changing global landscape in which some are starting to imagine a world without the United States at the center. Ambiguity in the reasoning for a war will prompt our international critics to pounce even if they know we’re in the right.

It has to be Iran’s blatant attack that prompts anything or we should do nothing.

Unfortunately, that’s not how everyone in the White House thinks. President Trump seems to want to avoid war at all costs. It makes sense politically ahead of an election. But even if it were November 4, 2020, and President Trump was coming off a reelection victory, he still wouldn’t want war. He didn’t want the Iraq War back in the days when the vast majority of Americans, including Democrats, supported it. He’s been trying to stave off war with North Korea. He may be a political fighter, but when it comes to actual bloodshed, an argument can be made that he’s less inclined to use military force than his Nobel Peace Prize winning predecessor.

It’s possible the neoconservatives and war hawks in the administration can get their way, but I believe it’s more likely Iran will slip up. So far their actions and alleged actions haven’t taken an American life in recent weeks. But if their provocations do not yield an attack by the United States, they will step them up. When they do, it’s imperative that the United States is able to clearly demonstrate Iran’s direct involvement. Iran must be caught red-handed.

Keep in mind, they want a limited war waged against them. They aren’t looking to be wiped out, but any attacks by the United States would benefit the regime, strengthening their control over a people who are growing increasingly disenfranchised with leaders who squandered economy- and prosperity-building funds on their proxy wars and terrorism. They were handed a wad of money by the Obama administration. Where did it go? Why are the people suffering? Iran can blame sanctions all they want, but the sanctions wouldn’t be collapsing their economy so quickly if they’d invested Obama’s gift towards helping their people instead of funding terrorism.

They need war. A sympathy-driving war would get them international aid. It would help them pressure the United Nations into fighting American sanctions against them. It would galvanize the people against the “Great Satan” of the west. Most importantly, it would prompt other nations to want to buy their oil, hurting not only the United State but also Saudi Arabia and the OPEC nations.

Some say Iran has been backed into a corner. The reality is they went to the corner and now they’re prompting the United States to engage. They’re trying to manufacture a victim card to play on the international stage.

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