Tag Archives: U.S.Iran

Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran Crisis

Shutdown Showdown: How the Strait of Hormuz Factors into the U.S.-Iran CrisisThe recent mining of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, attributed to Iran by the United States, offers an important window into the strategic thinking of Iran and similarly situated regional powers. The incident is notable because the act of mining a limited number of vessels makes relatively little sense when viewed through the lens of traditional patterns of coercive behavior. Limited coercive acts typically have little value with regards to gaining concessions from a determined opponent. Generally, these acts may serve as a visible demonstration of a state’s willingness to enact some other, more substantial threat, such as shutting down the Strait of Hormuz outright. However, this requires the state making the threat to have the capacity to make good on its more substantial threats and for its opponents to believe that it is willing to incur the risks entailed. Iran, however, could not shut down the Strait of Hormuz for very long even if it wished to—something noted by President Donald Trump—and is unlikely to incur the substantial risks that an attempt would entail. Iran’s opponents, then, clearly don’t see its limited provocations as harbingers of something worse.



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Is Iran Close to Collapse? Three Things You Need To Know about the U.S.-Iran Showdown.

Is Iran Close to Collapse? Three Things You Need To Know about the U.S.-Iran Showdown.Iran and the United States are as close to direct conflict as they have been for three decades, since Operation Praying Mantis in 1988 which was, at the time, the largest surface naval engagement since World War II.A lot of ink has been spilled and oxygen expended discussing the matter, some of it good and some of it simplistic. Here a few thoughts, informed by being lucky enough to spend close to seven months studying in the Islamic Republic while finishing a doctorate in philosophy on Iranian history. I worked on the Iran desk at the Pentagon during the George W. Bush administration, frequently visit the Persian Gulf, and have followed Iran almost continuously for a quarter century.



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