“IT COULD have been somebody who was loose and stupid,” Donald Trump declared when questioned this week over who could have been behind the downing of the US Global Hawk drone off the coast of Iran. “It was a very foolish move.”
But critics say the foolish move was Trump’s decision, months ago, to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal, a move which set the stage for the unfolding conflict that today brings the world closer to nuclear annihilation.
We cannot support Iran’s actions, which are afoul of protocols that remain in place among the remaining signatories to the deal. The US strongly rejects Iran’s claim of invasion of its airspace. At the same time, Trump’s intemperate behaviour, his propensity for knee-jerk reaction, and his bluster all prove why diplomacy is the way forward.
In retaliation for the downing of the million-dollar Hawk, said to be the largest drone of its kind, the US president showed the same damaging inconsistency demonstrated by the tearing up of the Iran deal.
“We were cocked and loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” Trump tweeted yesterday. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not…proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
That the US president could so cavalierly flip-flop on such a momentous decision is worrying. That he would order a strike in the first place without ascertaining the potential fatalities first is shocking.
The situation is unravelling. Before this week’s downing of the drone, six oil tankers were damaged in two separate attacks. The US Federal Aviation Administration has now banned all US airlines and aircraft from flying in Iranian airspace close to where the drone was shot down, due to “heightened military activities” in the region.
Approximately one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and one-fifth of total global oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz. The consequences of warfare in the region will be dire. While TT may benefit in the short-run from price-escalating conflict in this zone, in the long run the world suffers as we take a step closer to the abyss.
Iran, Syria, Venezuela, the Philippines – the planet is being overwhelmed with conflict. The system of diplomacy is a basic buffer against having the fate of millions being determined by the temper of one person. Trump must desist from playing fast and loose.
There’s a hymn that begins with the line, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Perhaps that aspiration should be rephrased as, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with Trump.”