Donald Trump appears to be on the verge of doing what the "Never Trumpers" could not–destroy his Presidency and make re-election impossible. It all boils down to whether or not he decides to launch military strikes on Iran. The bottomline is this–if Trump launches military strikes against Iranian military targets it is very likely he will ignite a series of events that will escalate beyond his control, expose him as a paper tiger full of empty bellicose threats and risk a war with other countries, including Russia and China.
The "War" class in Washington and the media are exhorting tough action and doing all within their power to portray Iran as an imminent threat to the West. The mantra, "the must be stopped," is being repeated ad nauseam in all of the media echo changers. President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force. He reminds me of Lyndon Johnson during the early stages of the Vietnam War–i.e., being exhorted to take action, increase forces and not back down rather than lose face on the international front.
The media is busy pushing the lie that Iran launched an unprovoked "attack" on a British flagged ship. They ignore the British action two weeks ago, when the British Navy seized an Iranian flagged tanker heading to Syria. Britain justifies its action as just keeping the sanction regime in place. But it is more likely the Brits intended this as a provocation, in coordination with some members of Trump's team, that would bait the Iranians to respond in similar fashion. Iran has taken the bait and given the Brits what Iran sees as a dose of its own medicine.
There is a dangerous delusion within the Trump National Security team. They believe we are so dominant that Iran will not dare fight us. I prefer to rely on the sage counsel of Colonel Patrick Lang–the Iranians are not afraid to fight us and, if backed into a corner, will do so.
I see at least four possible scenarios for this current situation. If you can think of others please add in the comments section.
A diplomatic resolution. The UK and Iran agree to resolve the situation without shooting and release the respective ships. I think it highly unlikely that Iran will curl up in the fetal position and back down in the face of threats from the UK, the US or any other collection of countries (other than Russia and China). It is possible that Russia and/or China could intervene and offer Iran assurances on the sanctions front in order to defuse the situation.
The UK/US launch a limited military action. The Iranian held ship is recovered and some key Iranian infrastructure is destroyed. I rank this as the most unlikely outcome. Iran will not sit passively and let us attack critical targets.
A UK/US strike on Iranian targets is met by Iranian counter strikes on US/UK targets in the Middle East. US aircraft are downed inside Iran and Donald Trump comes under intense pressure to escalate. U.S. pilots, that survive being shot down, will give Tehran a new bargaining chip. Iran, while damaged, will survive. The Mullah's hold on Iran will be strengthened. Trump's political fortunes will be dire. He will be fatally wounded politically and will lose the portion of his based that did not want the U.S. to become entangle in .
This is OPTION 3, i.e. military confrontation with Iran, but it escalates to include other countries, possibly Russia and China. This will bring us to the brink of nuclear conflict to a degree not seen since the Cuban missile crisis.
If you listen to the neo-con crowd that are certain we can bomb Iran into submission. That is a fantasy and is based on a lie. From what I am hearing from knowledgeable sources no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at DOD are advising caution. We are in an old fashioned dick measuring contest. Pride is supplanting reason. This is a dangerous time and the future of Trump's Presidency and possibly that of America hang in the balance in my view.