Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Three Strikes And You're Out

Misplaced Fears and Faulty Analysis

The NZ media and news outlets appear to be poorly served by "experts" pontificating about the US excision of General Qassam Soleimani. 

First, it was alleged by an academic that the US and Iran were now in a de facto state of war.  That has turned out to be a bit premature.
Iran and the United States are now at a "de facto state of war" after missiles rained down on American military bases in Iraq, says an international relations expert.  The unambiguous strike by Tehran today, in response to the assassination of general Qassam Soleimani in a targeted US drone strike, may now lead to a "bloody" regional conflict, Alexander Gillespie told the Herald.  The international law professor at the University of Waikato said: "Iran is calling President [Donald] Trump's bluff."
It seems that Iran did not make an "unambiguous strike" upon US military bases.  In fact the very opposite was the case.
  It was wrapped in swaddling clothes of obfuscation and confusion--designed, it would now appear, to inform the US that its missile strikes were for show only, and not to be taken seriously.

It seems, further, that Iran was not calling Trump's bluff.  It was treating his warnings about leaving US military personnel and kit alone with careful sobriety.  It took the time and effort to whisper that the few rockets it did unleash were "off target", resulting apparently in no loss of life, nor destruction of serious kit.  Strike two on the "Mistakes and Errors" board.

The third problem in Gillespie's account is this: he, not Trump, seems to be the one who has misread the situation. 
Gillespie said: "Trump has obviously misread the situation."  "He assumes that he could do an outrageous provocation on Iran and they would not strike back ... He's obviously wrong about that. "The response by Iran is interesting because most people expected that they were going to use indirect proxies or surrogates to cause trouble in the region.  There's no ambiguity, this is Iran now calling Trump's bluff, 'if you want a war, we'll give you a war'." 
Well, in fact Iran is the one who has acted with ambiguity, with "forked tongue" communications and announcements.   By our count, the expert professor has now made his third strike.  All have missed the target.  Time for him to hang his head and shuffle off to the dugout. 

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