The Saudis are learning a lesson about the decentralization of violence and the ability of lesser powers and insurgencies to fight major military powers to a standoff. It’s a lesson the US government should have learned many times over. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
The Saudis just learned that some moments in history show their significance as they unfold. Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk stealth drone and President Trump refusing his war-hawk cabinet in retaliating militarily is one of them.
I said then and still maintain that this was a turning point in the history of the world.
Any retaliation by the U.S. would be catastrophic for the world economy. It would unleash a regional conflict on multiple fronts which would not be any kind of controlled theater…
… That for all the might of the U.S. military and financial empire, its weaknesses are deep enough that even a relatively weak military and economy like Iran’s can stop it all dead cold because of basic things like geography, logistics and simple human resolve.
Many people misinterpreted these statements, and, indeed the entire article, to mean that Iran could stand up to the U.S. in a direct military conflict and prevail. Nonsense.
War today isn’t just fought with soldiers, bombs, guns and drones. It’s fought in all theatres including the commodities futures and forex markets.
And Trump backing down had everything to do with the fragility of the world economy and his own worries over getting re-elected if his military invasion of Iran sent oil to $250 per barrel.
As we move farther downstream from that event things become clearer just how important it was. Sure, Trump et. al. will fulminate and commit provocations, like impounding the Grace 1 oil tanker, but as far as anything substantive it’s all rearguard actions as the U.S.’s opposition in the Middle East counter-attack.
And the Saudis are the natural weak link in the U.S./Saudi/Israeli alliance pushing for the balkanization of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran; the ultimate goal of all U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region.