Oh, dear. Iran is upset with us. So upset, they’re threatening to send some of their warships to cruise off our coast, like we do to them.
Stop laughing, dammit! They’re serious!
Oh, go ahead and laugh. Because it really is that funny.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a Navy buff. And looking at two highly-esoteric, very obscure, very challenging resources (this Wikipedia page and a map of the world I have on my wall), and there’s no frigging way Iran could really mean this threat.
But suppose they did. How the hell would they pull it off?
With a lot of prep work, a lot of help, and a lot of luck. Basically, they’d have to send them out of the Persian Gulf, around the Saudi peninsula, up the Red Sea, through the Suez Canal, and across the Mediterranean into the Atlantic — and that’s only about half the trip. And their ships simply don’t have the range to pull off that kind of trip without refueling and reprovisioning frequently. They’d have to arrange “port calls” all along the way to make sure they can get there — and then find a friendly port where they can base out of while they “threaten” us.
And even then, the US Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard would be all over them every moment, just waiting for the slightest excuse to blow them out of the water.
If I were in charge of the Navy, this is exactly what I’d do: I’d reach out to my Iranian counterpart and offer him some friendly assistance.
“Hey, Habibollah — I hear you’re gonna send some ships to cruise up and down our coast.”
“What business is it of yours, infidel?”
“Well, Habib — mind if I call you Habib? — I’ve been looking over your Navy’s roster, and I got some real doubts that you can pull that off. Your ships simply don’t have the legs for it, and your sailors have very little blue-water experience. I think you’re just asking for trouble with this.”
“How dare you insult us this way! And it is none of your business how we will do this!”
“Calm down, Habib. If you wanna risk it, that’s fine with us. But we’d hate to see anything happen to your boys out there — Law of the Sea, and all that. So we’d like to offer you an escort — a ship or two of ours, just tagging along in case anything… untoward were to happen. After all, the Atlantic’s a big lake, and bad things happen out there where no one is watching. Hell, we lost a sub out there about 40-odd years ago, and we’re still not 100% certain what sank her. I assure you, we won’t be out there to interfere, just nearby in case we’re needed.”
“We will not tolerate that interference! You will keep your ships away from us, and not meddle in our affairs!”
“Fine, Habib. Send ’em, and we’ll keep our ships away. But gosh, I hope nothing untoward happens to them in the middle of the Atlantic, a couple of thousand miles from land, where no one will see or hear what might happen…”
And then a covert leak or two about some attack submarine exercises in the Atlantic that might put them fairly near the Iranian’s course ought to get the word across.
I tend not to like bluffing. and bluster and empty threats. And that’s exactly what this move by Iran is —
simply not something that can be taken seriously. But if we do take it seriously, just enough, they might get the hint that they are way, way, way out of their league — and should their ships suffer some kind of “accident” in the middle of the Atlantic, out of sight or earshot of anyone, that would be a terrible, terrible tragedy.
But one that would be all too predictable, and all too deniable.