The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

UK Seizes Iranian Tanker, So Iran Seizes UK Tanker

That’s the news, basically.

Well, Iran also seized a Liberian-flagged tanker, not sure why (may be operating for a British company).

Also not sure why the UK seized an Iranian tanker in the first place. The UK has said it supports the Iranian nuclear deal, and the US sanctions on which it was operating are destroying that deal.

But I suppose lap-dog nations will be lap-dog nations and the UK wants a free trade deal with the US badly for Brexit, and all indications are that the US is demanding massive concessions in exchange for one.

So this may be a little something on the side from Britain.

But as far as I’m concerned, the US sanctions on Iran are completely illegitimate, and no other country should be helping enforce them. That includes Canada, especially after we arrested a Huawei executive for breaking Iran sanctions, and that also includes the UK.

I rather doubt Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the first place, though I don’t see why they shouldn’t have nukes when Israel does. But neither of those observations are the point, anyway.

Meanwhile this whole mess has just emphasized, again, that you can’t make a deal with the US and trust them to keep it. The second some new politician gets in who doesn’t like it, they won’t just break it, they’ll hurt you badly.

(Admin: Feel free to use the comments on this post as an open thread, as well.)

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Inequality Is Unnatural


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – July 20, 2019


  1. Dale

    Can’t agree with you more on this one. As an American I’m embarrassed by how frequently my government makes and breaks its promises. I was raised to believe that one’s handshake was one’s good reputation. We as a country no longer have a positive reputation in the world. This can’t end well.

  2. Stirling S Newberry

    The reason the is claimed is the Iranian tanker was headed for Syria. There is a small bit of evidence, but only just. You could get out off a speeding ticket.

    There is a good reason to impound ships, but this doesn’t qualify. One does not need to drag the US in though, because like many countries ( including ours) many people can act in the name of the state. In this case, the Ministry of Intelligence has enormous leeway. Deep state and all that.

  3. Dan Lynch

    America’s word is worthless but part of the problem is that Presidents no longer bother to get treaties ratified by the Senate. Article II, Section 2, Clause 2: [The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.

    If Obama had sent the JCPOA to the Senate, it would have died there.
    If Obama had sent the Paris Climate Agreement to the Senate, it would have died there.
    If Bill Clinton had sent NAFTA to the Senate, it would have died there.

    In the future, any foreign party to a “deal” with the U.S. should stipulate that the contract is not binding until it is ratified by the Senate.

  4. bruce wilder

    It does not even seem to occur to much of anyone to try to justify the seizure legally. Something is mumbled about EU sanctions on Syria and no one questions it.

    We are so used to US claims of extra territoriality that we can forget this is the UK making an EU claim of extra-territoriality. Attention should be paid. This precedent will be applied in future when the UK or US are no where in sight or maybe even on receiving end. Could happen.

  5. Tom

    Iran doesn’t have a WMD program off any type as its Supreme Leader banned them by Fatwa in 2003, in which Iran finished certifying all its chemical weapons stockpiles (bought by the Shah) were disposed of.

    If Iran wanted a nuclear weapon, it could have gotten one in 1995 as it had all the equipment to do so and still does if Khamenei gives the okay.

    As for why not get nukes? Simple, the US can throw far more at them and irradiate the entire nation and the expenses are prohibitive. Israel’s are easily countered by Missile Defense as Israel lacks the specialized plane variants to deliver nukes via planes.

    No Iran’s deterrence is strategic depth, hence why they cling to Assad despite knowing he is more a liability than an asset till they can install a less bloodthirsty idiot in charge that Putin will accept as well. The other part is simply targeting the oil wells if war breaks out, nothing else matters at that point.

    However, if Khamenei’s calculations changes, all bets are off.

  6. Ed

    Iran would be foolish to not get nukes.

    George W. declared three countries the “axis of evil” and then promptly faked evidence to justify invading one of them and overthrowing the government. The US pressured Khaddafi to give up his nuclear aspirations, but still forced regime overthrow and his death.

    So which country that the USA doesn’t like is getting kowtowed to, the red carpet rolled out for dialogue, and has had to make next to no concessions for that? North Korea.

    The one with the nukes.

    One can make a list of the countries that the USA doesn’t like and has hesitated to invade directly or by proxy. Russia, China, North Korea, sometimes Pakistan, and Iran. Four nuclear powers and one the USA is threatening right now (with a National Security Advisor who has stated that regime change in Iran is his goal).

    If I were the Iranians, I’d want nukes. It’s pretty clear that nukes are the only deterrent against the USA trying to overthrow your government if they don’t like you.

  7. Tom


    Well Khamenei sees the calculus differently. Convince him, not me.

    As it is, Iran’s deterrence is striking the Oil Fields. Take those out and the global economy crashes, starting with Japan and cascading outwards. This is rather cheap for them to do as they mass produce missiles and the US lacks sufficient Patriot Batteries to defend the oil wells.

    Hell the US was unable to shoot down an Iranian Drone, the Iranians released footage of said drone completing its mission and returning safely. Nor were US Cyber Attacks last month successful as Iran implemented heavy cyber security measures after Stuxnet.

  8. Rd

    “Also not sure why the UK seized an Iranian tanker in the first place.”

    This is what lap dog puddles do. they used the excuse of an EU sanction on Syria. However, the EU sanctions are specific to EU entities only and they are only mandated within the EU , not outside of EU. UK just using the typical MSM fake news. The french tried to mediate, however, the brits decide to extend the tanker detention by another month. The very next day a brit flagged ship violated some international shipping regulation while passing thru the persian gulf and it was apprehended.

  9. Rd

    “I rather doubt Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the first place, though I don’t see why they shouldn’t have nukes when Israel does.”

    Iran never had a nuclear bomb program PERIOD. that has always and continues to be an excuse.

    Iranian troops and in some cases small towns were gassed repeatedly by sadam during the iraq war. and not once the Iranian responded in kind. Whilst the US and EU provided and supported WMD to sadam. some 60k died as a result and many more suffered the slow deaf.

    You have to understand the strategic necessity beside the abhorrent nature of any wmds.

    If Iran were to have deployed the bomb, Turkey and saudi would have done so at a minimal. and Pakistan too would have to have some of their bombs pointed at Iran. The bomb would have only weakened the strategic stance of Iran. This is just basic common sense thinking, non existent in the western elite mind set.

    Last, the straight of Hormuz is the nuke option. Despite some western elites or military people who claim, Iran can close the straight, but US mil can open it in a few days!! The ignorance is amusing. Farsi language is a language of very many meanings and idioms. The notion of closing the straight does not mean a literal closure. If there are no port to deliver the oil, or no places to produce the oil to begin with, there will be no oil going thru the straight, just as good as closure.

    Further, it is very unlikely that Iran would “close” the straight of Hormuz. Any attack will be responded in kind. Attack on the country/mil targets would be responded in kind. Attack on Iranian oil facilities will be responded in kind. There is no reason for Iran to attack any other oil facilities in the region. The moment there is a hint of war, or hostilities, no insurance company would ever insure any ship within that region. That by itself is sufficient to cause the energy crises.

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