British Prime Minister Tony Blair responded to Iran’s capture of 15 British naval personnel by denying that they were in Iranian waters. Now the British Ministry of Defence, according to a BBC Breaking News Alert, claims that they “were 1.7 nautical miles within Iraqi waters.”
Assuming the veracity of this claim, we are to accept that Blair has reason to be outraged. One possibility is that the Iranians inadvertently strayed into Iraqi waters, just as the British have inadvertently strayed into Iranian waters in the past. But whoever made the mistake, assuming that it was a mistake, both sides now have propaganda points; with the Iranians blustering about a “blatant act of aggression” and the British blustering about the unwarranted seizure of their personnel.
It is a very dangerous game, and one in which Iran is more likely to prevail. Iran will be defending its territory against the very imperialists who have caused it so much trouble in the past, while an overextended empire, all but defeated in both Iraq and Afghanistan must take on yet another front against Iran.
The only way that the United States and the United Kingdom can prevail here is through the use of nuclear weapons. It is almost inconceivable that this will happen; conventional wisdom dictates that both domestic and international opinion strongly oppose use of nuclear weapons. To do so would be political suicide.
Both Bush and Blair are looking to their legacies now. And Bush allegedly follows an apocalyptic cosmology; for him now, these must be very evil days. Will it be Bush who provokes armageddon?