US and the dumbed-down naval transgressions in the Persian Gulf

TEHRAN (FNA)- What do the US government and US Navy officials have in common? They have all played the victim before. For instance, the US Navy has in the past pointed the finger at Iran for having its sailors lost and detained in the Iranian territorial waters!

But, playing the victim is like eating bad food- it will only make you feel and look worse in the long run. The signs are there for all to see that the US Navy officials are still playing the victim card:

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Joseph Votel claims an uptick in confrontations by Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf. He claims that US Navy forces operating off the coast of Iran are prepared to “defend themselves” and “improve stability and security in the region.”

Here, it is obvious that Gen. Votel doesn’t want to take responsibility (a classic sign of victim behaviour) for the latest saga – US warships getting dangerously close to Iranian territorial waters, even inching for military confrontation. He also has trouble accepting that the US Navy has contributed to the insecurity of the Persian Gulf and the greater region, much less accept responsibility for the circumstance that they are in.

Instead, he holds onto his grudges, points the finger at Iran, or simply ignores the US Navy’s undeniable role in perpetuating the problem – occasional confrontations between Iranian speedboats and American gunships.

What’s the remedy here? Well, every circumstance, security situation and military confrontation in the Persian Gulf offers the US Navy officials an opportunity for growth. They need to check and see if they have caused the problem or not. Asking this question invites them to be responsible, mature, cooperative, and cautious. Plus, it will help them avoid similar situations in the future – instead of playing victim and trying to be manipulative, coercive, and underhanded in the hope to get what they need: International recognition and support to be where they are – illegally and provocatively.

Unfortunately, we are now dealing with Gen. Votel experiencing this kind of political charade and powerlessness. He claims the US Navy is the good guy and suspicious of Iran’s naval maneuvers! The problem is, Iran is not playing the game with him. The country’s naval officials don’t listen to his stories of manipulation, or his stories of insecurity. Instead, they say the Iranian naval forces are going to be where they are, and they are not going to contribute to the American acts of transgression that only stoke further instability.

This issue is not at all a problem of Iranian officials not trusting their American counterparts. Rather, this is a problem of the American officials always displaying that they are not trustworthy at all. And then they make the claim that the Iranians are exactly like them – untrustworthy and unreliable in ensuring the security of the Persian Gulf – which is rubbish. The US Navy officials have apparently forgotten that they are thousands of miles off their coasts and are sailing through the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf whose security is an internationally recognized responsibility of Iran’s naval forces as it has always been the case for more than half a century in modern era in addition to many centuries in documented history as long and as ancient as anyone can remember. Someone apparently needs to remind Gen. Votel and the White House that it is the PERSIAN, and NOT American, GULF.

Meantime, now after the nuclear deal, there is no need to further proof that when it comes to Iran and the US, this is the United States of America that is untrustworthy. Washington has displayed its untrusworthiness and untruthfulness after refusing to make good on its international commitments to lift all sanctions as per the nuclear deal with Iran. The Americans have also proved they don’t want the best for Iran by attacking its ally Syria. There are also the US client states that don’t want to work with Iran to ensure the security of Iraq and Syria, much less the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. On the contrary, Iran says it is America’s job to begin revising its old colonial illusions and designs about the security of the region.

The United States and its client states should know when to say enough is enough. The problem is they don’t know when to say enough is enough as regards their provocative military cooperation. They also have trouble choosing their battles. To them, every Iranian naval manoeuvre or patrolling is an act of “provocation, even a war. To them, they are under attack all the time. They need to realise that this is just an illusion.

The American officials should also learn to avoid thinking that they are the only country in the world that has to deal with regional peace and security, and/or insecurity circumstances. They must recognise they have a choice over whether they allow themselves to critically enter into petty arguments and allegations, trap themselves in the victim role, prepare for military “confrontation”, or simply communicate with the internationally recognized protectors of the Persian Gulf security and sail away.

Additionally, they should avoid thinking that they are perfect. Ironically, when there is a chance that they could be caught in an error, say getting lost in the Iranian territorial waters after some GPS failure – of course allegedly – the American officials suddenly become militarily perfect and legally right. This arrogance and narcissism closes them off from having truly trustworthy and cooperative relationship with regional allies, much less enemies like Iran.

Long story short, the American government and navy officials need to remove the word ‘perfect’ from their vocabulary and accept that they are not perfect and they will always make mistakes – just as they made the strategic mistake of backing terrorist groups and turning Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen into failed states – with painful consequences. They need to realise that the more they own their strategic mistakes and security-military failings, the more others will gravitate towards them.

History tells us that cutting Iran’s naval forces off the security apparatus in the Persian Gulf (not that they can) usually doesn’t lead to the resolution of security problems and conflicts in a broader region. The US and its client states could always take a different, more positive approach, such as not interfering in the activities and missions of Iran’s naval forces that are only designed to ensure regional security and peace.

Lest they forget, Iran’s powerful naval forces have proven that they have what it takes to single-handedly take care of themselves and that of the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz for international trade and transit. Despite the allegations, this goodwill gesture and international commitment has nothing to do with existential concerns, internal political wrangling, and/or the desire to project a defiant image and financial considerations, such as the price of oil.

The US Navy warships’ repeated approach to Iran’s territorial waters and pursuing media propaganda and ballyhoo to portray them as victim of unprofessional moves by Iran seems to be Washington’s plan in pursuit of other military and political objectives. The US would be really naive to imagine that it could damage the Iranian naval forces’ reputation in a move to strip the Islamic Republic of its internationally recognized right of protecting security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. The neocons in the Pentagon would also be fledgling strategy practitioners if they ever assume that they can send the nuclear deal with Iran deep down into history books to shrug off their unfulfilled undertakings by provoking Iranian armed forces into confrontation.

The US seems to be helpless to switch strategy if there is anyone in Washington listening.

By Fars News Agency