TOC Ready Room 2 Nov 2021: Election 2021; geopolitics heat up in Middle East; sub said to collide with seamount

What’s wrong and right with the world.

Here comes Tuesday 2 November 2021, general election day this year, and there’s no stopping it.

As mentioned in the TOC football forum, we plan to be watching the Toledo game.

But we’ll check in with the election results.  New Jersey’s not looking good for turning, but Virginia is a live prospect with the latest poll showing Republican Glenn Youngkin up on Democrat Terry McAuliffe 53%-45%.

…and this is us, checking in with the election in Virginia. Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 2 Nov 2021: Election 2021; geopolitics heat up in Middle East; sub said to collide with seamount”

Complete unraveling: Top 5 reasons why the non-deal agreement with Iran is bad

Such a time as this.

Obama MunichThese are the top five other than the fact that it’s not a deal; it’s a surrender.  The West has agreed to lift the sanctions on Iran.  Iran has not agreed to give up anything she needs to acquire a bomb, or cease any of her aggressive behavior (e.g., arming and training Hezbollah and Hamas, fighting wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen).  Not one of these things – not one – is a measure of performance Iran will actually have to demonstrate to get the sanctions lifted.

1. The agreement paves Iran’s path to the bomb. The only question about Iran and the bomb now is when Iran will get it. If Iran adheres to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement (link to full text here), she will retain the means, and improve the expertise, to build nuclear weapons throughout the next 10 years.  She would wait for that 10 years to pass, however, before enriching enough uranium to test a warhead and stockpile weapons. Continue reading “Complete unraveling: Top 5 reasons why the non-deal agreement with Iran is bad”

Summits with the king: France in, Obama out

Interesting times.

Hollande and Salman yuk it up at the GCC consultative summit in Riyadh, May 2015. (Image via SUSRIS)
Hollande and Salman yuk it up at the GCC consultative summit in Riyadh, May 2015. (Image via SUSRIS)

Americans haven’t been getting a lot of news about the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) “consultative” summit that took place last week in Saudi Arabia.  But it presents a useful counterpoint to the news from this weekend that four of the six GCC heads of state will not be attending the upcoming summit hosted by Obama at Camp David.

The “consultative” summit is held at the deputy or cabinet level, and has not been opened to foreign dignitaries outside the GCC before.  But in a break with that tradition, the summit on 5 May was attended by France’s President Francois Hollande – not just a high-ranking dignitary, but the French Republic’s head of state.

Given that the Saudis were hosting the consultative summit, it’s no surprise that King Salman made an appearance and delivered a speech.  Nor is it surprising that Hollande, the other head of state present, was also invited to deliver a speech. Continue reading “Summits with the king: France in, Obama out”

The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz

Interesting times.

Superbad.  An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)
Superbad. An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)

The game of international power dynamics has just shifted in a major way.  It will take a little time for the consequences to be visible to the public eye.  But I don’t think it will take that much time.  We’re talking months, at most, if not weeks.  Iran is getting no pushback from the “international community,” and is moving quickly now.

Two points to take this forward on.  First, the Maersk Tigris, the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship detained by Iran on Tuesday, is still being held by Iran.  The situation remains unresolved.

Second, the U.S. Navy will begin accompanying U.S.-flagged commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz (SOH).  This is not the robust use of force it may seem to be, nor is it a repeat of the tanker-escort operation (Earnest Will)* in 1987-88, during the Iran-Iraq war.  It’s a tacit surrender, in fact. Continue reading “The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz”

A world without a hegemon

Interesting times.

flag tatters 2New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!