Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Strait of Hormuz

After the United States and European Union increased (as well as threatened even more) sanctions against Iran for it's continued work towards becoming a country with nuclear weapons, as well as other incidents (like the storming of the British embassy), Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. For those unaware the Strait is where a sixth or more of the world's oil travels through on it's way to western markets, fifteen million gallons every single day. Parviz Sarvari, a member of the Iranian parliament was quoted by Iranian media as saying “soon we will hold a military maneuver to the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure." Clearly no misunderstanding there, or friendliness for that matter.
In various times in the past the United States has made it clear that such an action would be "an act of war". Has the Iranian government been pushed to the point of 1941 Japan? Where no more shall be taken from the westerners. Is war the only response left?
Many would not be upset by such. Since Iran has refused to back off it's attempts towards nuclear armament, more and more have called for some sort of military action to ensure Iran does not join the ranks of nuclear powers. Various mishaps, deaths, and explosions have led some to believe that it has already unofficially started.
Troubling is the near silence from Washington this time. In fact the main response has been from the US 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, not far to the west. The 5th, clearly stated that any such action would not be tolerated and well within the means of the fleet to deal with.
This brings forth questioning of Washington's power and ability to control. Is the Obama administration afraid to back up our own policies and ensure that the world will not be held powerless by the terrorism of Iran's threats? And if that is so, are the leaders of the American military willing and prepared to strike out on their own to protect American and world interests?
Dangerous questions coming about in dangerous times.
Who will back down or stand up first? Iran, Obama, or the US military? Or will some one else take the center stage and ensure access to oil for the world? China has been wanting to show off it's new carrier and stealth fighter, maybe they'll be the ones to not only force Iran to back down, but also to one up Obama who has been maneuvering the United States into a cold war with them. Either all parties will back down or someone will emerge the winner. The answer to that could very likely decide the power balance of the world for the next few years if not longer.