And Khamenei will do what?


A grown up man should be able to change his mind without suffering a paralyzing terror of accusations of "wetness."  Whatever his true reasons for aborting the strikes  as a kind of coitus unterruptus, I applaud the decision.

And now we will see what the Supreme Guide and/or Suleimani will do to the IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz.  We will see.

It is Khamenei's turn now.  pl

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90 Responses to And Khamenei will do what?

  1. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Trump. However, if he does not start a war, he will end (in my mind, at least) as a vast improvement over his immediate predecessors.

  2. Harper says:

    Yes, a grown up has the right to change a decision. Now, ball is in Khamenei court. Abe asked him to release some Iranian-American prisoners. If Khamenei wants to lower threshold of conflict, he can do this gesture without losing any face. Humanitarian action. Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally. See what kind of other pressure comes down on Iranians. Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they’ve moved out of Iranian purchases. US more able to go it alone with extensive domestic and other sources.

  3. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang,
    Khamenei should call Trump and setup a media spectacle of a summit in Switzerland. They can agree on the same deal as before but as long as the headline says “Iran agrees to not build nukes”, Trump will be happy and Khamenei will be his new best pal. The same playbook as KJU where nothing tangible is likely to happen except that KJU has stopped nuke & missile tests that create media hysteria among the Never Trumpers.
    IMO, the ball hasn’t left Trump’s court. How long is he going to tolerate the neocons in his inner circle who are likely to keep coming up with another casus belli? Can he find some distance from being Bibi’s lapdog? How long is he going to allow his conflicted son-in-law to meddle in the Middle East?
    Trump must calculate the potential of where escalation leads and what a full on war with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon means for his re-election campaign. Bernie is banging the table hard against any military action in Iran. The probability that 50,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin changes sides the next election would be rather high in the event of an unpredictable full-scale war.

  4. Christian J Chuba says:

    I hope Khamenei takes any offer Trump makes for direct talks. Trump is heavily influenced by the last person he meets.
    I get that Khamenei doesn’t want to meet on the premise that the JCPOA is flawed and must be changed but if he can get an audience on the basis of airing mutual grievances in an unfiltered environment, it would be an opportunity. Currently, the only people Trump talks to are Neocon loons. They are innumerable but the FDD seems to be the center of gravity.
    I must say that Clifford May does sport quite the impressive beard, who wouldn’t think that he’s an expert on anything he talks about

  5. robt willmann says:

    In an interview with NBC News and Chuck Todd, Trump reiterates his position about a response being proportionate–

  6. Widowson says:

    I was shocked– but not surprised– to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got “cold-feet.” Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.

  7. b says:

    The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion.
    The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice.
    Iran now implements a “strategy of tension” that is designed to put “maximum pressure” on Trump.
    The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy.
    High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: “If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil.” They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that.
    These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do.
    Trump has two choices.
    He can pull back on the sanctions and other U.S. violations of JCPOA, or he can start a full war against Iran that will drown his presidency, put the world economy into a depression ($300/bl oil) and kill many U.S. soldiers.
    It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war.

  8. Eric Newhill says:

    Publicly, much chest thumping over how Iran has the cowardly Great Satan on the run like a beaten dog.
    Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support and attempted offers of negotiations with Trump complete with wildly unrealistic demands.

  9. fredw says:

    Do you have a comment on this version: “Iran was informed in advance by a third party of a proposal by US intelligence that Iran selects one or two or three empty locations for the US to bomb. This was intended to make everyone happy by saving face for all concerned. Iran refused to play along with this charade, which was ultimately designed to save face for Trump. Nonetheless, Iran was reassured by this offer that the US has no intention of going to war and is trying to find a way out of its quandary; Trump is looking for a way out.”
    If true, this puts the entire situation in a different light. Still really dangerous, but more nuanced.

  10. Jack says:

    Trump’s tweet on why he rescinded his order to strike Iran doesn’t make him look good. Did he only ask the question about body count after he gave the order to strike? Or, was this just a PR ploy with the details leaked to Pravda on the Hudson?
    This article by Elijah Magnier gives a purported Iranian version, where Trump wanted to fire at some useless target determined by Iran and they rejected that proposal.
    It would make no sense for Trump to initiate armed hostilities with Iran which would surely escalate into a wider Middle East conflagration with unpredictable outcomes in the short term. Unless of course he wants to doom his re-election. In any case this manufactured crisis doesn’t look good for him as Iran comes across as having not blinked. He better reign in Pompeo and Bolton and get his son-in-law out of the ME game and keep a wary distance from Bibi and MbS. They are all malign influences for his MAGA sales pitch.
    The notion that the Shiite mullahs can’t be trusted with nukes but the Likudniks can is farcical. The previous deal that he walked away from would possibly be the best he could get anyway. Khamenei must have learned the Rocketman lesson. Only nukes can save his theocracy from the US beholden to Bibi and MbS.

  11. fredw says:

    The only actual information to be had from anything Trump says is the subject matter – what is on his mind. “In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd for “Meet the Press,” Trump was asked if planes were in the air and the president responded, “No, but they would have been pretty soon, and things would have happened to a point where you would not turn back, you could not turn back.”

  12. The Beaver says:

    EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn’t given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air,.

  13. eakens says:

    Iran seemed to have warned that it could have taken the P8 with “35 crew” out but spared it. Is 35 the max capacity, or were there really exactly 35 people aboard that plane? If the latter, that may be a message in and of itself.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Your usual deeply bigoted anti-Americanism.

  15. eakens says:

    This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them.

  16. frankie p says:

    Exactly! There’s one striking characteristic of the “resistance” leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah’s Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection. The Iranians will NOT contact Trump to arrange a meeting. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump because the JCPOA is flawed. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump after a brief suspension in sanctions to ask for permanent sanctions relief. The Iranians WILL meet with Trump when he lifts most or all of the sanctions in good faith and rejoins the JCPOA. Is it just a coincidence that the two ships attacked last week were carrying petrochemicals, just days after Trump and the US placed sanctions on the largest Iranian petrochemical producer? What is it about “If we cannot ship oil/petrochemicals, nobody can.” that people don’t understand?
    Additionally, any standoff missile attack or “March of the B52s” will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I’m with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders.
    Frankie P

  17. VietnamVet says:

    The NYT report that Donald Trump ordered the attack and then pulled back is in Jimmy Carter’s “been there done that” territory. Although a New Yorker and he never had to sit in a gasoline line, Donald Trump, personally and legally, cannot be a one term President. He is a political savant. He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck. My assumption is that someone in the chain of command after the surveillance drone was shot down triggered a preplanned strike package that was stopped once it got to the President for approval. Once again global media moguls strike back at the nationalist President with Fake News. But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy. John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President’s re-election and what is in the USA’s national interests. We are not out of the woods.

  18. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Do we know for sure Trump is the one who initially ordered the strike? Or did someone down the line interpret the rules of engagement (do I presume correctly that some such would be in place at the present time?) to allow him or her to order it?

  19. frankie p says:

    Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war. They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze’s Art of War.
    Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002.

  20. Artemesia says:

    At the risk of —
    I think b is on to something.
    The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election.
    The provocations will continue — Israel’s Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they’re just going through the motions.
    Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner.
    Did you listen to Foreign Affairs subcommittee questioning State Department undersecretary Brian Hook?
    Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that “finance is the basis of war,” and US / Trump strategy is to “not to bankrupt Iran,” but to “deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror’s proxies.”
    The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely.
    None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out.
    Nor was any congressman sage enough, or moral enough, or consistent enough, to question:
    — International policy pundits & think tankers opine that the greatest guarantee of peace is economic stability. US is deliberately seeking to destabilize Iran economically. To what end?
    –One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran’s commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition?
    — by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that “the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women.”
    When I visited Iran in 2008, “Iranian women” spoke with us and asked if we could please provide several days’ warning before bombing Iran so that they could shelter their children. Iranian women are some of the toughest you’ll meet.
    — what casus belli legitimizes aggression against Iran? Does the USA no longer subscribe to Just War theory? Several years ago I heard Notre Dame’s Mary Ellen O’Connell discuss Just War theory with respect to Iran — US claims to uphold “universal values” ring hollow if such basic steps in framing policy are ignored.

  21. The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. Since it was the Iranians who recovered the wreckage, it will be hard for the US to maintain the drone was well outside Iranian airspace. No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change.
    I applaud Trump’s decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton. Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his “war” of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei.

  22. Artemesia says:

    PS — C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump’s threat, then stand-down over Iran’s shoot-down of an un-manned drone.
    The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: “Trump was a coward,” vs. “Trump was wise.”
    Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that “no American was killed.”
    No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats.

  23. Barbara Ann says:

    How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result.
    Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America’s enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces.
    The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare.

  24. A thirty minute interlude that’s all this is in my opinion.

  25. Robert C says:

    Wait a minute.
    Obama blew it with Libya
    -he reached a good deal with Iran
    -he didn’t bomb Syria when the crossed his “red line” and managed to make it look like the R controlled Senate made the decision .
    -He didn’t kiss Bibi’s ring.

  26. NarcoRepublican says:

    I am thankful that our military acknowledges that our President is the Commander-in-Chief. He commanded, they obeyed. As for all the pundits on all sides, their lack of perspective or even understanding of history leaves me terrified. There seems to be no understanding of how Iran is capable of retaliation. An example:
    Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million.
    Few remember what happened next — some 8 months later, in March, 1989, Capt. Roger’s spouse Sharon, was in her van stopped at a traffic light in San Diego. A pipe bomb went off under the back of the van. It was small — she was unhurt, fortunately, but definitely shaken up, and the van did catch fire. Despite an intensive investigation, the FBI has never solved this case.
    Never let us become so blind and arrogant in our strength that we are unable to conceive retaliation by those weaker.

  27. Scuppers says:

    Do you have information that this is the case, or are you projecting how you would act?

  28. ted richard says:

    look at a decent map of this area. the us naval base in bahrain and air base qatar are an iranian missiles equivalent of firing from lower manhattan to hit something in hoboken.
    usa military assets within the persian gulf have if war breaks out checked into the hotel california.
    it is a logistical nightmare for the pentagon to protect and resupply in the event of serious hostilities. trump surely has been told by real us military professionals the giant hairball he takes on if he gets into a war with iran and what it means for us servicemen station there and throughout the larger middle east.
    it is unfortunate that the usa media uses fools like bolton and pompeo as clickbait to generate revenue fore their business at the expense of whats best for the nation but there it is… the msm has an agenda which is not at all in the service of the nation.

  29. b says:

    I deal in facts, not in ‘deeply bigoted anti-Americanism’.
    Interesting that you do not want to recognize those facts. They are right before your eyes.
    Just I give it a day or two until the next ‘incident’ happens. Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen.

  30. Charlie Wilson says:

    b be a hater, colonel.
    And his English sucks too!

  31. blue peacock says:

    Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM.

  32. Eugene Owens says:

    Agree regarding b’s anti America stance.
    Yet b’s prediction that the guy in charge at Hormuz will get a medal and promotion is correct IMO. Ditto for his prediction that Iranian attacks will continue with some measure of deniability.

  33. ancientarcher says:

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the drone was sent there to be shot down by the Iranians?
    It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace? The Americans do seem to really believe that the drone was in international airspace and no one can make a point that it is to Iran’s benefit to target an American asset in international airspace, especially now when tensions are so high. Iran has the most to lose in the event of a war with the Americans (no points for guessing which country has the most to win – Israel). And it is a coincidence that the guy heading the Iran mission Centre, Michael D’Andrea, was previously the head of drone operations. Or is it a coincidence?
    What would I do if I were a neocon who wants war between the US and Iran, a war that Trump doesn’t. For the start of hostilities, it is essential that both sides, US and Iran, feel that they are in the right – which of course this situation is. I would create a context, an excuse/rationale for the start of actual hostilities to the US administration (and of course for the consumption of the American public). Then I will make the case to Trump that we should have a ‘limited’ retaliation. I know that the Iranians will strike back after the ‘small scale’ bombing. And the Americans have to retaliate to that also. What chances are there that any retaliation by the Americans will not end up in total war with Iran??
    Trump doesn’t want war and probably saw through the machinations to get him to agree to a ‘small’ bombing campaign as retaliation that would surely lead to a larger conflagration and total war with Iran that the neocons want so much. This particular provocation was unsuccessful in its aim. However, I think that provocations by the neocons will continue and at an ever increasing pitch – enabled by the neocons within the administration and the Israelis. Trump doesn’t want war but his administration filled with neocons does and they will find a way maneuver Trump into it. Israel will fight Iran till the last standing American in the Middle East.

  34. blue peacock says:

    Sorry. Here’s the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink.

  35. LondonBob says:

    The Chinese should close Adelson’s Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump’s election campaign are driving this. Adelson’s boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him.

  36. Any information or thoughts on the Philadelphia fire? It seems possible there would be cells in the US and this would be the form of pressure applied? Obviously if the powers that be wanted to use it, there would be all manner of fingers pointed, but it is definitely under the radar.
    If we really did go to war, I can see truck bombs taking out various important bridges, etc.

  37. turcopolier says:

    In a situation of this degree of geo-political gravity, nobody in the chain of command below the CinC would have had the authority or temerity to attempt to order this strike package. Neither Pompeo nor Bolton is in the chain of command and attempts by them to order such attacks would have been rejected by the military. BTW if Trump aborted the strikes only 10 minutes out from the targets he was cutting it too close. Communications can always fail.

  38. turcopolier says:

    The question has been raised of my denigration of b. He has a long history on SST He is an excellent military analyst but the long and so far as I can remember unbroken record of interpreting EVERY situation as demonstrating the demonic nature of the US causes me to discount anything he writes on other than military subjects narrowly defined. IMO b’s hostility to the US is a permanent burden that he carries.

  39. Eric Newhill says:

    Also, B’s minions, who follow him around, have absorbed his anti-US attitude so completely it’s like a religion to them.

  40. Fred says:

    Only two choices? That doesn’t sound very realistic in the terms of actual options. How about leaving the sanctions in place? What prevents that?

  41. joanna says:

    He can pull back on the sanctions and other U.S. violations of JCPOA, or he can start a full war against Iran that will drown his presidency, put the world economy into a depression ($300/bl oil) and kill many U.S. soldiers.
    you aren’t serious. Remember how how much money (irony alert) Obama had paid for the wrong deal?
    Usually of course power is what power can, like Israel never needed to pay its debts post 1979.

  42. eakens says:

    This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice.
    I don’t foresee the Iranians talking to Trump unless and until the US walks back its sanctions, or Trump himself goes and sits down with the Ayatollah.
    And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save safe. All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs.

  43. Dave Good says:

    Pan Am Lockerbie was Irans response to the Vincennes shootdown.

  44. SAC Brat says:

    This seems like Professional Wrestling theater where you have the wrestlers hamming it up for the drama and you wonder what the script is. We only get to see what the camera frames.

  45. blue peacock says:

    Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn’t he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn’t repeat?
    As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don’t care if it sinks Trump’s presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension.
    Hopefully Trump learns from this near miss of a catastrophe for his presidency. But he has seemed weak and indecisive on these matters all along. He never fought back for example with all the tools at his disposal against the attempted coup by law enforcement & the intelligence agencies. All he did was constantly tweet witch hunt. He’s once again delegated it to Barr after Sessions sat on it. He allowed Pompeo & Bolton to bring on fellow neocon Elliott Abrams who previously screwed up in Nicaragua to attempt another regime change in Venezuela, which has been another botched example of how everything that the neocons touch turns to shit. Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are “bureaucratic tapeworms” that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye.

  46. SAC Brat says:

    I would think it would be slicker to leave a memento from a Iranian unit in a control box to be found.
    Our host was involved in the past with programs that drove North Vietnamese security forces nuts chasing phantasms around. I bet the Iranians could paralyze the US government without having to hurt a single US citizen.

  47. blue peacock says:

    I agree with your assessment that b’s hostility to the US is permanent. His blog and those he has gathered around it are pretty much exclusively focused on painting all US activities in a nefarious light. Of course we provide him plenty of fodder with our neocon-driven foreign policy.
    While he is German and lives in Europe he barely writes about any European issues. France played a significant role in the regime change operation in Libya and continues to meddle in North Africa. And the GiletsJaunes phenomenon doesn’t seem to interest him.

  48. SAC Brat says:

    That would be a skillful example of psyops if the number was correct for the mission.

  49. Barbara Ann says:

    I agree re the drone and re Trump being the only one who can defuse the situation. But in the Art of this ‘Deal’ it appears the golden bridge is replaced by a golden guillotine. Trump has now called for additional sanctions and unless this is cover for some hidden diplomacy which de-escalates, it will surely only be a matter of time before blood is drawn on either side. Then the neocons have won.
    Eh bien, continuons…

  50. joanna says:

    or, Eric, dear, we may have shifted towards Bernhard post Trump, post America first to some extend. Why shouldn’t we as foreigners?

  51. Jack says:

    While Rachel Maddow excoriates Trump for not attacking the “terrorist” Iran, Bernie is coming out strong against war with Iran. I’m sure Trump realizes that his margin of victory in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin was rather slim in 2016. These are all states that Bernie could have won in 2016 and likely in 2020 too.
    Trump must know since he tapped that vein in 2016, that there is sizeable sentiment in the US against more wars that bring no benefit to the working class who do most of the dying and also pay for the trillions in debt used to fund these useless wars. Trump is already adding a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. An Iran war will spike that even further. This in an environment where the Fed is trapped being forced to lower rates when the markets are at all time highs. While there’s $12 trillion of global bonds at negative yield. The global credit structure is signaling stress.

  52. Lesly says:

    There have been more silver linings offered in response to Trump’s actions in the ME than I can remember being offered during Bush Jr.’s and Obama’s during their adventures and rightly so. For both of Bush’s and most of Obama’s terms, they didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think the optimism would shine through if a Clinton presidency committed the same miscalculations.
    The buck stops with Trump. He continues to allow himself to be surrounded by warmongers whose advice does not benefit the U.S. He gave them an opening by ending Obama’s JCPOA in the service of his ego.
    He just announced more sanctions. Iran can’t wait to join Russua/China in opting out of the dollar in global transactions and we lack plausible deniability.
    I’m tired of wondering if it’s going to get better. Last week FAS posted a deleted Pentagon paper that claimed: “Using nuclear weapons could create conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability. Specifically, the use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict”. We are bat—- crazy.
    I wrote in Bernie. I hope he or Gillibrand or ANY anti-war candidate gets the nomination. If they don’t I might vote for a Democrat this time if for no other than reason than a hope that shuffling the deck will buy us a little more time.

  53. jon stanley says:

    Your unbounded belief in the Iranians is touching. They are not the ‘good guys’. There may be lots of bad guys about, with bad intents, but they are on all sides. And “plausible deniability” on exists where people don’t have agendas. When you have agendas, all sides, you can create, and vanish, deniability rather quickly. This isn’t a contest in a court of law. This geopolitics and power struggles. And finally, they may have the “plans and means” to conjure up that statement. They do not have the will, or capacity, to carry that to its logical end. The world will not take such actions lightly. But you go on betting against the Iranians. They could not beat the Iraqis in the end. Never mind other alliances.

  54. annamissed says:

    Always feel a little miffed when you come down on b for “anti Americanism”. I just don’t see it. I have followed b and the MoA as a participant from the early days – when he parted ways with the mercurial Whisky Bar and started MoA. Sure, he has been a consistent critic of US foreign policy, largely centered on the Iraq war, but never felt that b was intrinsically “anti American” outside of US foreign policy.
    Perhaps double troubling, is that I think b has used SST contributors and your own analysis in these matters – critical objective analysis – as a sort of silent model for the evolution of his own thinking and writing. Of which b’s own writing has benefited most amazingly, propelling him to a respected international foreign policy analyst.
    Just my opinion.

  55. optimax says:

    John Merryman
    I think it’s more likely an accident. Our industrial infrastructure is aging and, combined with relaxed regulations and/or poor worker training, we have seen more than the normal number of chemical plant explosions recently. The Philly plant dates back to the Civil War era. Don’t know when the last time it was updated. Hell, our rail system isn’t what it was 100 years ago, and high-tech improvements won’t change that.

  56. b says:

    More tankers will suddenly have holes in them, Saudi oil ports will become nonoperational, that UAE refinery has an ‘accident’ and burns down.
    One third of global oil production must pass through the Gulf. Iran can control it. Oil prices are determine by marginal sales. The last, most expensive barrel, sets the price.
    How are Trump’s reelection chances if oil goes to $300/bl for something he decided because he did not like Obama’s signature on the JCPOA?
    If that does not help a U.S. cruiser may sink far away from Iran. Just ‘by chance’.

  57. b says:

    The drone was an old airframe, sold by the airforce to the navy. It was used as prototype to carry test equipment for stuff that was to be implemented in the new navy Triton drones. Those are now in production. The prototype was expendable.

  58. turcopolier says:

    One of my correspondents with deep access in Israel suggests that the tanker attacks may have been done by Israeli combat swimmers for the purpose of provoking war between the US and Iran. I am seeking to find out why Bolton is going to Israel

  59. Thirdeye says:

    IMO you’re giving Obama too much credit. The nuclear deal with Iran was only the de-escalation of a confrontation Obama never should have escalated in the first place. The US was also constrained by the other nations on whom sanctions depended in order to work. After the deal the Obama administration only partially followed through, with the Treasury Department instituting financial sanctions under the pretext that Iran’s missile program was somehow a violation of the nuclear deal. The agenda then, as now, was to cripple and destabilize Iran under the pretext of countering Iran’s military threat. The situation with Syria, similarly to with Iran, was one of Obama being outmaneuvered internationally with the chemical weapons disposal deal engineered by Russia. Obama’s agenda with Syria was exactly the same as with Libya, but was frustrated by being blocked in the UN Security Council.

  60. turcopolier says:

    You mean an actual cruiser rather a warship of some type? Such a thing could happen during a port visit but an at sea attack “far from Iran” seems improbable. In such a case cui bono would be an unavoidable question.

  61. turcopolier says:

    So, you think the demonic US sent an old drone to provoke the Iranians into firing at it? Who would have ordered that? The Navy? CENTCOM? CIA? The Navy does not work for CIA. The fiend Trump acting on orders passed through Bolton from Adelson, Bibi, and/or the MIC? BTW, did your family ever submit a claim to London fpr the British Army having burned your grandparents. house down?

  62. turcopolier says:

    Feel free to be “miffed.”

  63. Jack says:

    This seems to be the most plausible scenario. Something I suspected all along. Bolton heading to Israel to discuss Plan B. How many provocations before Trump caves? Couldn’t naval intelligence or DIA discover these activities?
    I hope Khamenei can swallow some pride and call Trump. He’s signaling he’d like a Kim redux.
    My reading of the credit tea leaves show significant stress building in the offshore dollar liabilities since middle of last year and getting worse. I think Powell is beginning to see that too. A war with Iran to satisfy zionist dreams would be a huge disaster in the short term. I doubt Trump’s presidency will survive that with the media and political establishment continuing to gun for him. Will he have the strength of character to resist the neocons, Adelson, Jared, Bibi and MbS?

  64. ancientarcher says:

    Why do you think the order to sacrifice the drone has to come from Trump?
    Let’s see – the dod is in a bit of disarray in the top. Bolton does as he wants down the chain of command – there is no Mattis to stop him. Michael D’Andrea, the head of the Iran Mission Centre (put in there by Pompeo probably) was earlier picked by John Brennan to head the drone operations. All neocons and someone who knows the internal workings of drone ops heading the Iran mission centre.
    Now, how difficult will it for someone who knows how to work the nuts and bolts of the dod bureaucracy (I’m thinking bolton here) to carry out the mission. The mission – send an expendable drone into Iranian airspace, but with spoofed GPS which says it was in international airspace. You don’t need to meddle much, only by a few miles. And remember, only the people in the know, know it. The rest think it is in international airspace. And that is communicated to Trump (Iran hit our drone and it was in international airspace, he is told). The neocon media brays for Iran’s blood and so do the bought politicians in the House and senate. Trump sees the trap and doesn’t fall for it. But the same people remain in place, in their positions of power where they will do more mischief. The public has been warmed up for war. A lot of chest thumping, wounded pride – America #1 and all that. Everything is primed. Expect another provocation – this one even more difficult to avoid.
    The Israelis won’t let go of this golden opportunity to get Iran. Trump has put himself in a place where he will face increasingly escalating provocations until he orders retaliation, which will set off an all out war with Iran that is absolutely not in the interests of either Iran or the United States. And the only winner from this whole saga will be – no prizes for guessing!
    The United States (Trump) must do their utmost to de-escalate now. And quickly. Before another provocation comes. Maybe that explains Trump’s offer of talks with Iran without preconditions. The Iranian leadership must come to the table and must be seen to have given something in exchange to end sanctions or at least for a pause. They can’t be self righteous now. Or else, I can clearly see us heading towards total war in the middle east.
    In short, I am saying that someone sent the drone up there to be hit by the Iranians. It was not the ‘demonic’ US, it was the demonic neocons who hold the levers of power there. But you already know they are demonic and not exactly novices at false flags. The US has been and continues to be manipulated to serve the aims of the little country in the ME. And not for the first time!

  65. turcopolier says:

    Bolton DOES NOT do what he wants down the chain of command. Where did you get that idea? This drone was NOT under CIA control. It belonged to the Navy and was under their command. Bolton is a f—-ng civiiian who has no authority whatever over the armed forces. Have you ever been in the US armed forces?

  66. different clue says:

    I have read in different places, including higher up in this very discussion thread, that President Trump sometimes speaks with Tucker Carlson personally, and listens to what Tucker Carlson says and maybe even thinks about it.
    If that is so, then . . . what if somebody who reads SST also knows Tucker Carlson personally, at least a little bit? At least enough to be able to suggest to Tucker Carlson that he should start reading SST, or have some of his staffers read it and report back to him on things?
    That way, concerns and suggestions might get from here to Tucker Carlson for getting from Tucker Carlson to Mr. Trump.

  67. eakens says:

    And where is the Drone operator, sleeping?

  68. Eric Newhill says:

    Because you be wrong in too many instances. The assumption that no other actor in the world is contributing to chaos and war is naive in the extreme.

  69. Fred says:

    Then Japan and China better deploy their naval forces so they can keep the oil flowing. Maybe your Chancellor can deploy the German navy to

  70. Joanna – “saintlier than thou” won’t do for you and me. Europe, including my own country, is going full neocon. Mini-neocon, true, but they’re intending to do something about the “mini”.
    I will not give you chapter and verse here but the extent of European involvement in foreign adventures is limited only by our lack of military power. It is not limited by any superior morality. The sanctimonious assumption of moral superiority that we see so often from the Europeans with respect to American foreign policy is but one instance of the fog of moral ambiguity that stifles realistic discussion both in continental Europe and in the UK.
    I do criticise “b”, and have ventured such criticism on his own site, for omitting reference to such matters in his extensive analyses of American foreign policy. You must understand that this is not a “Brexit” related issue, or only tangentially. What is stirring in Berlin, in London, in Paris and increasingly in Brussels is a foreign adventurism unrestrained by democratic check and the more threatening for that. You listen to such as Timmermans or Macron, and have listened to such as Joschka Fischer, surely?
    “Unrestrained by democratic check” is key. In the States we see a ferment of discussion on such matters, and great blocks of voters shifting their allegiance according to that discussion. In Europe we see no such democratic discussion. Merely an inert blanket of conformity, and voters obediently singing Kumbaya while their masters cause their own minor and not so minor neocon disasters undetected and unreproached.
    If “b” does not take into account that dimension then his analyses will be less valuable. But it is irksome, Joanna, to see you adopting this allusive, even amused attitude of moral superiority when you are so deeply mired in complicity yourself. When what your own country is doing, and what your and my Europe is doing, is not less despicable. Merely more furtive and concealed.

  71. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Ancient Archer,
    re: “And the only winner from this whole saga will be – no prizes for guessing!”
    It might be Pyrrhic victory. You might consider the following words of Nasrallah from his speech last week: “Today, Israel fears the Resistance in Lebanon, and Israeli officials talk every day about the situation of deterrence, which gets reinforced (in favor of Hezbollah), the restructuring of a large part of the Israeli army to a defensive position north of occupied Palestine (whereas throughout its History, Israel has always been on the offensive), the ballistic capacity of the Resistance, etc., etc., etc. That is enough for Lebanon.” (
    Any action in the ME has a very high probability of rapidly expanding. I hope saner heads will prevail.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  72. b says:

    I do not know. All I know is that the drone, with the very maintenance intensive old body, was something that the navy no longer needs. The first new Triton will be delivered next month. That of course makes one curious.
    There is another mystery. The Iranians said that the U.S. plane that flew near to the drone had 35 people on board. Trump yesterday even spoke of 38 and thanked Iran for not killing them!
    CentCom says the plane was a P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance/anti-sub plane.
    But a regular P-8-Poseidon has nine crew members and no seats for passengers.
    On June 18 Pompeo and Bolton went to Tampa to talk with the CentCom commander. Shanahan resigns.
    On June 20 an old drone prototype, expendable, flies into Iranian airspace. A mysterious other plane accompanies it.
    When Iran shoots down the drone CentCom gives inconsistent and late information.
    Pompeo and Bolton press Trump to attack Iran.
    I have no better idea than you how that fits together. But something smells badly with this and we are certainly not told the whole story.

    It were Canadians and they blew up each house on the main street of the town as deterrence after one of them was allegedly shot at. There never was any restitution. I do not know if anyone went to court or filed a claim but find that unlikely.

  73. ancientarcher says:

    Colonel, no I haven’t been in the US armed services. I defer to your knowledge and expertise about how things work. However, I see neocons infesting the top layers of the US administration. How do you know that there are no neocons in the middle layers of the dod – especially given the length of time these people have been in power at the top? The way I have seen these people work, they will help others of their kind into positions where they can carry out the neocon agenda. And the neocons have always danced to their own tune. Doing their duty and/or doing the right thing for their supposed country, the United States of America, has never been a priority for them. With the right people in the middle layers and others looking away because of career risk, it might not be as difficult as you imagine.

  74. ancientarcher says:

    Sure. There is risk for them. And they have had time to prepare for it. They might be willing the take the chance – the best they will ever have given the current power dynamics. In the future, things are surely not going to get better for them in terms of the relative power balance between Israel and its allies and the ‘resistance’
    But intellectually brilliant as the zionists might be, they have overplayed their hands in the past. Look at how many countries they were thrown out over the last 1000 years. Maybe this time is different

  75. turcopolier says:

    A US military officer (as opposed to the civilians in DoD) would know that it is career suicide to usurp this decision.

  76. joanna says:

    you mean the world would look pretty much the same had the US not opted for the GWOT in all its diverse operations. Seems it has been recoined to the Long War now?
    But yes, I leave it to future historians to decide who was more successful in changing reality, the 19 hijackers and their sponsors or the neocons and their allies.

  77. joanna says:

    i deeply disliked Joschka Fischer from a certain point on.
    If “b” does not take into account that dimension then his analyses will be less valuable. But it is irksome, Joanna, to see you adopting this allusive, even amused attitude of moral superiority when you are so deeply mired in complicity yourself.
    I seem to disagree with b more often then I agree. But I do respect his perseverance. In other words his discipline in devoting for quite a long time his day labor to his blog. I never felt I was “saintlier than thou” or wiser for that matter then you, or lets say Tyler, who advertised Brevik here as true righteous warrior.
    I always was and will remain an observer, you can correct me of course, but I am not aware that has anything to do with saintliness or sanity. …

  78. turcopolier says:

    You don’t have any real sense of what war is. the objective of a campaign to take back Idlib just after the capture of Aleppo would have been to re-take the ground and kill as many jihadis as possible in the process. These people are in HC’s immortal phrase, “irredeemable deplorables.” So long as they live they will seek to destroy secular governments. They should have been made into used jihadis.

  79. prawnik says:

    Power attracts sociopaths.
    This comment is intended to be more relevant than it may at first seem.

  80. prawnik says:

    Stupit question, but an honest question – why would they plant the explosive above the waterline, thus making the damage look like something not caused by a mine?

  81. jd hawkins says:

    “With the right people in the middle layers and others looking away because of career risk, it might not be as difficult as you imagine”.
    Extremely insightful!!

  82. Igybundy says:

    Americanism.. We know what is right and the way to go about it. Venezuela.. Iraq.. Iran.. Vietnam.. Korea.. China.. Then Africa and Asia..
    Anyone who opposes or dont agree with this is anti-american.. Forget that everything done to these countries and more is not in keeping with american values. Or in basically keeping with maybe more socialistic values.
    Also disagreeing with the likes of the american banking systems for what they are doing to the average american.. is also anti american..
    When you come down to it.. Americanism is following what the USA oligarchs desire..
    Hence Americanism is also supporting and going along with the likes of pl.. Because they know what is right and just and after all only advancing the philanthropy of the oligarchs.
    Yet supporting many common people and former soldiers etc.. none of that matters.. Thats not Americanism..
    Yea guess thats why I dont bother reading pl or any of the others often enough.. Why bother because it always comes down to support the many or the few who gains. In a just world it is the many that should gain.

  83. Igybundy says:

    When the US was bombing ISIS attacking dier ezzor with over 300,000 civilians trapped there.. Who ordered the pilots to instead bomb the defending Syrian soldiers so ISIS could capture the besieged city killing around 100 Syrian soldiers in the trapped city?
    That was not the first time.. At least 2 other times the US bombed Syria positions to advance ISIS..
    See when others know of actions such as this.. perfidious behavior on the part of the military.. makes your comments on US military and its chain of command meaningless..

  84. turcopolier says:

    I don’t know who or if ordered the attacks on the SAA but someone did. IMO this was in execution of the US national policy of regime change. I condemned that policy and still do but what is it that you want? Would you have some general in the chain of command simply refuse the order from the CinC?

  85. turcopolier says:

    Kerala eh? Be advised that further direct ad hominem attacks on me will result in banning from SST.

  86. turcopolier says:

    Pls provide a list of the ruling oligarchs in the US.

  87. Yup, JF surely gives a new meaning to the term “eco-warrior”. Glad we agree there.
    Apologies if I’ve attributed to you the usual European dislike for Trump. I know a lot of Americans look at him sideways but a continent that produces such beauties as Verhofstadt and Johnson can scarcely follow suit.

  88. PRC90 says:

    If the vessel was making way at perhaps 15 kts then underwater limpeting would be difficult, leaving above-water placement by a smallcraft alongside the only real option.
    Many questions – the ‘rip it off and lets go’ Iranian approach to a possible antihandling device on the unexploded ‘mine, it’s unusual beehive shape, and the lack of US(etc) radar/TI imagery proof of the Iranian based attack in an extremely well surveilled area.

  89. PRC90 says:

    Obama’s most likely intent, or that of his sponsors, was to wreck Libya and he succeeded.

  90. PRC90 says:

    And Khamenei will do what?
    He will exclude anything that would create Casus Belli for war, however would also need to actively protect Iranian air and sea assets near or outside Iranian borders from deniable destruction by (eg.) Israel, who (hypothetically) may decide to assist all parties down a path to war, or at least promote internal division with the Iranian leadership group.
    The regular milkrun IranianAF B747-100 Tehran-Damascus air bridge flight would be a fine candidate provided that no Russians were known to be aboard.

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