On Thursday I went to a public debate in Birmingham University, on whether or not Britain should renew the Trident nuclear weapons system. I already knew the motion, and had established that — given the opportunity which exists in debates of this type for audience members to make a three minute speech — I would speak in favour of Trident’s renewal; not because that is my unvarnished opinion, more that that would be a more fun and more useful view to vent.Continue reading General Secretary of the CND: Short Interview
“This train has no reverse-gear and no brakes,” — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Right now we’re witness to an interesting rivalry internationally. Iran and the European Union, both powers which want to assert themselves in a diplomatic world, in which they are aspiring, somewhat thwarted, though not altogether oppressed. Iran wants nukes, and the EU is prepared to stop buying something which they want — oil — to stop the theocrats from getting what they want.
Iran’s reaction to the EU oil embargo was an affirmation: that they would use their navy to blockade the Strait of Hormuz; which carried the same fervour as their negation that they were trying to procure nuclear materials. That is not a bluff which I would be particularly keen to call.
The last engagement which took place in these waters was the absurdly named ‘Operation Preying Mantis’ of April 18, 1988. During the Iran–Iraq war, The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy had laid mines in the Persian Gulf, targeting Kuwaiti takers which were supposedly financing the Saddam’s psychotic military effort. When an American frigate, the Samuel B. Roberts, was nearly sunk by a mine in this area, the Americans launched a preposterously disproportionate counter-attack — bearing in mind that within the absurdity of battle, anything subordinate to disproportionate is immoral. For example, the American force included an aircraft carrier, four destroyers and three frigates; the Iranian force’s largest ships were frigates, of which they had two.
As was to be expected, the Iranian navy was defeated, comprehensively. It makes one slightly queasy to consider the fate of the seamen who were ordered to sea on Boghammars to assault the apparently impenetrable American navy.
The current force of the Iranian Navy includes five frigates (its biggest class of ship), of which the USA has twenty seven, along with sixty destroyers et cetera.
So if the Iranian Navy were to realize their threat and close the strait, and if the Americans were to realize their threat and engage the Iranian force to keep it open, anything other than a strange series of diplomatic events in the Gulf would result in another very comprehensive defeat for the theocratic fascists.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that Iran will not close the straight, only that it would be unwise to do so. We’re talking about people who are very deranged.
We return to a Eurasia in which beleaguered powers, the EU through economic and financial problems, and Iran through sanctions and the disestablishment of despots around them, posture for diplomatic gain. Like for Thatcher in 1983, victorious battle is the great healer for fatigued regimes.
The paradox, one might say, is the difference in strength between the EU and Iran, yet the way in which it seems to be the latter who exerts the most pressure on the former. The reason for this is that in certain situations, the way to make an impression is to be utterly unreasonable. Franklin knew that by giving Americans democracy, he was also giving them responsibility for their actions. By way of a twisted corollary: Iran’s porno-fascist leadership act so irresponsibly that to offer just criticism would be like chastising a child for cutting the brie incorrectly, the standard is so low that it just doesn’t feel fair.
So, when the sun begins to glint on the waters of the Persian Gulf tomorrow, or the day after, will it shimmer with ripples sent by the ships of the Islamic republic? It’s hard to tell — this is loose-cannon diplomacy. Given this example, the Iranian possession of a Nuclear weapon has the ability to change all; the combination of oil, a political inferiority complex and a religious superiority complex is a heady enough cocktail as it stands, but we’ve already drunk ourselves past the contented stage and we’re not yet sure who is going to pay the tab.