Trump maintains an intentional ambiguity over protecting Gulf’s oil supply

Donald Trump has once again played his transactional style leadership whim by not clearly stating that the United States will ensure the free supply of oil through the Gulf.

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News Analysis |

U.S President Donald Trump has once again stirred the U.S allies in the Middle East by not explicitly committing to the task of protecting oil supply in the Gulf after two attacks were carried out on the oil tankers in a span of 6 weeks. When asked if he is willing to opt for a military option to keep Iran from making a nuclear bomb or protecting the oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, Trump said, “I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark.” He also went on to downplay the attack of tankers near the Persian Gulf having a “minor impact” even though the attacks have caused enough panic for the Arab allies of the United States who have oil export as the backbone of their economy.

Tensions with Iran have increased yet again after the fresh attack on two oil tankers which the U.S immediately pinned the blame on Iran, supplemented by video evidence showing Iranian troops removing an unexploded mine from one of the perished tankers. After the Fujairah attack last month, the United States had sent additional 1500 troops in the Gulf which were reinforced with 1000 more troops.

The situation in the Persian Gulf is still tense and it is likely to continue until a clear solution of the problem which aroused after the withdrawal of United States from the Iran nuclear deal is not agreed upon.

Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has termed the deployment purely for defensive purposes however, Russia and China believe that apparently the efforts are designed on the line of pushing Iran to take a drastic step, which would later be used as an excuse for waging war against the country.

No Free Lunch

Being the center of hopes for the Gulf States in protecting their oil supplies in open seas near the Strait of Hormuz, the statement has taken aback some people, but it is not surprising at all. Donald Trump made his way into the oval office citing that many allies of the United States are relishing the benefits of security on the expense of U.S taxpayers.

For instance, he threatened to pull the troops out of South Korea, who have been stationed there for decades to push back any belligerence from the hostile North Korea, over trade issues. Back in May 2018, he even asked Pentagon to consider reducing the number of troops deployed in South Korea. Throughout his campaign, he pledged his support base that he is going to force Tokyo into paying more for the security it provides to the country.

Read more: Iran arrests CIA-run agents, urges ‘destabilizing’ US to leave Persian Gulf

As of NATO, in July last year, Trump sabotaged the entire summit in Brussels when he accused the allies of failing to provide adequate funds for the functioning of the organization. Hence, it is not astounding if President Donald Trump did not explicitly reassure the U.S allies about the safety of their valuable commodities in the Gulf.

Steering Away from War

Russia believes that the United States is trying to provoke Iran into a war. “What we see are unending and sustained U.S. attempts to crank up political, psychological, economic and yes military pressure on Iran in quite a provocative way,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was reported saying.

But unlike his aides, Donald Trump is not particularly a fan of going ablaze with Iran and it has been the only deterrent so far which has prevented an all-out conflict in the Persian Gulf. And it is the reason why he is in search of a suitable candidate for the post of National Security Advisor, replacing the hardliner John Bolton who is the orchestrator of U.S policy for Iran.

Read more: Iran ready to breach the Uranium enrichment limit

The situation in the Persian Gulf is still tense and it is likely to continue until a clear solution of the problem which aroused after the withdrawal of United States from the Iran nuclear deal is not agreed upon. But the war seems unlikely as both Iran and the United States haven’t got an appetite for an armed conflict.

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