A nation does not need to be a great one, to be a global one. That is a lesson playing out again this weekend.
New reports today that two Iranian Navy ships have rounded the Cape of Good Hope for the first time and are set to head off into the wild blue yonder of the Atlantic Ocean. An Iranian frigate and the Makran, a former oil tanker that was converted to a floating forward staging base are the ones being monitored hour-by-hour. The concern, is of course, that the sea voyage is to end in Venezuela.
The mission underway is perhaps the culmination of threats made by Iran for years that they would send warships to the West. The threats were always just bluster. While there is a chance the ships will disengage and return from whence they came there is also a strong possibility that an international incident is playing out.
At the center of the concern on this side of the globe is that Venezuela has expressed a desire to acquire ballistic missile technology from Iran.
It needs to be noted that it is unclear whether additional military hardware is onboard or what the final destination happens to be. But make no mistake about it, a successful crossing would be a significant demonstration of Iran’s naval capability, and would showcase their ability to have a foothold in this hemisphere.
That is why the words from the Biden administration need to be understood. They have issued a precise and stern warning to Tehran.
“The delivery of such weapons would be a provocative act and a threat to our partners in this hemisphere,” read a statement issued by the Pentagon. As such, we would reserve the right to take appropriate measures — in concert with our partners — to deter the delivery or transit of such weapons.”
The moves by Iran have consequences in Europe too. Any shipment of Iranian military hardware to Venezuela risks throwing the table upside down with the nuclear negotiations in Vienna. A move, this blogger need not remind readers, being necessary due to the dangerous and uneducated moves by Donald Trump in his single term in the Oval Office.
The next week will be telling about intentions, bluster, threats, and international policy.
And so it goes.