web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Art of “Gray-Hull Diplomacy”


USS Independence

USS Independence
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy/Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Nicholas Kontodiakos

Ideally, the threat and build-up, executed by a credible president, would themselves induce the mullahs to offer major concessions.  Even the most committed radicals do so when the odds are against them, as we saw with North Vietnam after Nixon began systematically destroying their strategic capabilities, eliminated their logistic path through Cambodia, and mined Haiphong harbor to prevent their resupply by the Soviet Union.  Although the US did not ultimately follow up the Paris Peace Accord with vigilance and support to South Vietnam, the agreement itself was favorable for Saigon and Washington, and it was obtained only because Nixon put Hanoi on the defensive both militarily and politically.  Even the China gambit was not as important as making it militarily impossible for the North Vietnamese to hold their position.

Iran, for her part, closed down, renamed, and took underground certain elements of her nuclear weapons program in mid-2003 – when the US had routed Saddam and taken over Iraq.  This process in Iran is the one that was interpreted by the US intelligence community’s leadership, in 2007, as a termination of Iran’s weaponization effort.  Ironically, if that’s what it was, it was clearly undertaken because of the shift created by US military action in Iran’s security situation.  (There is strong evidence that Iran didn’t cease her weaponization effort, but instead labored to hide it better – and in either case, the action was in response to the rapid, decisive US military victory over Saddam.  The decisive use of force does send a signal that changes minds and hearts.)

I don’t assess that Obama could get Iran to capitulate without firing a shot.  But it’s possible that another president could.  If Iran did not lay open her whole nuclear program to inspection and allow it to be carted off in pieces by the UN – and she probably would not – continued vigilance would be necessary.  The defanging of Iran’s nuclear aspirations would be an extended “negotiation,” rather than a done deal, signed and delivered on a date certain.

But in outlining a scenario like this, I regard that as a lower cost to pay than actually attacking Iran.  The option of threat and build-up would remain viable for reuse as long as the US had our current capabilities and military superiority.  The overall US policy should be encouraging liberalization in Iran (and a liberalizing stability for the region), so that a regime of threats and intimidation was merely a stopgap until there was an Iran with a better character to deal with.  Although there might be a role for special, non-kinetic military capabilities in such a policy, the role of force, per se, would be minor to nil.

This is one possible outline of a threat-intimidation scenario.  I haven’t discussed lining up allied support – or at least tacit acceptance – which is obviously an important consideration.  How much that process might limit America’s options would depend mainly on how we approached the matter, since there is still no one who could literally thwart us in undertaking this kind of policy.  That said, I believe we would get more support than many imagine if we had a decisive objective and a robust approach.  What causes the support from our allies to fall off is acting tentatively and without a clear purpose.  The Gulf Cooperation Council nations would give us very different levels of support, for example, if we clearly intended to quickly force concessions out of Iran and protect our regional partners, versus using a drawn-out plan of incrementalism that would allow Iran to keep adjusting and ramping up her own insidious threats to the region.

Probably the key point to take away is that merely moving military force around isn’t usefully intimidating.  A gray hull (naval ship) itself – or any other form of military might – isn’t a clear indicator of intention.  It doesn’t give your opponent anything specific to understand or respond to.  If it’s a new form of force in the situation, it ratchets up the tension without creating the potential for a satisfactory resolution. If it sits there long enough to become old, it’s just part of the landscape, and has no power to intimidate unless you escalate its mission.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Art of “Gray-Hull Diplomacy””

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. Capitol
It Is Bipartisan, These House Democrats Will be at Bibi’s Speech
Latest Indepth Stories
Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881

Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.

Hur and Aharon holding up Moshe's hands as Joshua battled Amalek.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”

Illustration is by Israeli artist Hanalisa Omer

Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them

Bibi and Obama: Head to Head

Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.

The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Iran’s aggressively expanding posture across the region. (Google map; author annotation.)

Making this deal with Iran would, in fact, guarantee an explosion of countermoves in the region.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Remnants of Assad’s nuclear program are alive and well, under the control of Hezbollah and Iran

Under Obama, US foreign policy is losing sanity & common sense in diplomatic representation abroad

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

We would be fools to take seriously assurances from Joe Biden.

The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/j-e-dyer-the-art-of-gray-hull-diplomacy/2012/07/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: