Is Pentagon Saber-Rattling Against Nearly-Nuclear Iran Legit, Or Just Empty Bluster?

Written by Wes Walker on December 10, 2021

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We’re seeing a lot of movement by world leaders with sketchy motives since Biden took office, and more still since the Afghanistan debacle.

The massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border is one example, and China’s strongarming of Taiwan is another. But even the Democrats’ old BFF — Iran — is going off the rails.

Reuters cited a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterpart Benny Gantz.

The United States and Israel increased pressure on Iran on Thursday as nuclear talks stalled, with Israel’s visiting defense chief raising the issue of joint military readiness to be able to halt Iran’s nuclear aspirations, if necessary.

Reuters exclusively reported that Thursday’s U.S.-Israeli agenda was expected to include discussions about possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations’ leaders request it. read more

…”We are completely aligned in our commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This is a national security interest of the United States and Israel and the world,” Austin said.

Gantz described Iran, Israel’s arch foe, as “the biggest threat to the global and regional peace and stability.” After meeting Austin, he held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. –Reuters

That sounds like tough talk. But tough talk is massively out of character for what we’ve seen from the timid and sometimes even self-flagellating positions this administration has thus far taken in foreign policy meetings.

Even Obama would keep the possibility of US military responses ‘on the table’ when dealing with foreign leaders, but Biden has publicly set aside a military response by the US.

How is Israel reading this announcement? As empty bluster, or a threat with real teeth?

According to Israeli news sources, more of the former. The six-month time window was a non-starter, for instance, but not the only one.

Moreover, even if the threat was being delivered with more specifics, if the drill was happening sooner and if all Biden administration officials were acting tough in unison, Washington right now is massively lacking in “street credibility.”
From Afghanistan to Ukraine to other conflicts, the Biden administration’s message has not been to replace Trump’s militant attitude with a balance of military and diplomatic power, but to almost completely drop military power in favor of diplomacy.

…Rather, the real purpose or most likely outcome of the US military threat will be to set a sort of fake deadline for nuclear negotiations without setting a formal one.
This could be important to set timing for covert action or so that Washington will not need to break a formal deadline later, when it might become clear that Biden has no intention of attacking Iran overtly.
One thing is sure: If Iran moderates its positions to return to the JCPOA in the near future, it will be because of the Israeli threat (which officials say is ready on some level even now), not the American one. —JPost

As it happens, success or failure in the execution of one promise on the world stage primes people’s expectations on whether you can be trusted to keep the next one.

Trump shocked the world by making and keeping promises, including the one to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. Biden, on the other hand, blew his reputation in just a few months. Afghanistan was the big, bold example, but just one of many.

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