International events literally blew up on the world stage while many of us were having late Saturday night dinner. Our annual broadcasting weekend gathering was eating pizza outside at Paisan’s, watching the Harvest Moon lift up over the horizon on Lake Monona, as oil installations were going up in flames.
This morning some are awaking to learn that Iran forcefully rejected charges by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that it was responsible for drone attacks that caused serious damage to two crucial Saudi Arabian oil installations. Last night we learned that the Houthis claimed responsibility for the 10 drones which struck and severely damaged Saudi oil interests, perhaps cutting 50% of their output for at least several days–perhaps much longer. World oil markets will shudder.
What concerns this blogger is the war-like statements that the Trump administration has made for weeks that any attack on American interests from Iran would bring a military response. In that reckless verbal environment comes obvious questions of whether an attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure would meet the line that Trump has in mind. That Trump would welcome the use of force to show he too can be a world strongman as the election year nears should simply send the nation into a cold sweat.
But that is what we are needing to contemplate as the nation heads off to church or local festivals on this mid-September morning.
Looking backward is not easy for many Americans. But this is the time to ponder how we got to the place in which we now awake as a nation. Pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal was the wrong tactic to play by Trump. It was of similar absurdity as pulling away from the TPP, which was a perfect tool to combat China’s trade violations. The results of one glaring mistake is a trade war that has cost the world economic growth, and the other colossal mistake might lead to military madness in the tinderbox of the world.
The other issue that demands redress is the far too cozy and unequal relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
I view the attacks in Saudi Arabia less of a case of Iranian offensive aggression than of blowback against Saudi Arabia for its unnecessary, destructive, failed intervention in Yemen. The Saudis have acted without mercy in Yemen and the international community has used too few levers to demand an end to the bloodshed. While this is a full-scale proxy war with Iran it has devastated Yemen.
Know that Saudi Arabia is causing famine in Yemen, meddling in multiple countries across the region, and brutally murdered a Washington Post journalist in Turkey. They’re not exactly interested in peace either if one is to point fingers at Iran. The Saudis have many sordid tales to tell.
Many twists and turns are to take place as this story jells, but the reckless moves that have been made by the White House, without long-term planning and cohesive policy goals has produced, in large part, the place in which we find ourselves this morning.
And so it goes.