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  • Iran’s RQ-4N Shoot Down, Pres. Trump and the Expiration of the Carter Doctrine

    Posted by Trent Telenko on June 24th, 2019 (All posts by )

    It’s become something of a regular occurrence for the American mainstream media to blow a foreign policy story because of their Trump Derangement Syndrome. Yet they seem to have greatly sunk to new lows in missing the real importance of events leading to the 19 June 2019 Iranian shoot down of an American drone.

    RQ-4N BAMS-D (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator)

    President Trump has ended the 1980 Carter Doctrine!

    The free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf is no longer a “Vital Interest,” thanks to frac’ing, for a near energy independent USA.

    BACKGROUND

    CENTCOM confirmed Last Wednesday night of 19 June 2019, in international air space over the Strait of Hormuz, an Iranian surface to air missile (SAM) battery shot down a US Navy RQ-4N BAMS-D (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator) Global Hawk. The ~$120 million drone in question was a navalised version of the USAF Global Hawk, used as proof of concept for the production MQ-4C Triton. It was essentially an unarmed, jet powered, sail plane with the wing span of a 737 jet liner and several tons of sensors. The drone fills the mission of the U-2, at similar altitudes, without the risks of a human pilot in the event of a shoot down.

    RQ-4N Shoot Down Map

    Pentagon RQ-4N Shoot Down Map with Drone and SAM launch battery location.

    Iran has claimed it used it’s ‘Third of Khordad’ domestically built SAM system, operated by the IRGC, to shoot down the drone. This SAM system is described as a copy or derivative of the Russian Buk M3 / SA-17 GRIZZLY that incorporates the Bavar 373 missile that, in turn, appears to be a derivative/copy of the Soviet 5V55/SA-10B with additional controls. If you think of it as a late model Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile battery firing an early version of the MIM-104 Patriot PAC 1 missile, you would not be far wrong.

    Press TV Tweet of Iranian SAM

    Press TV Tweet of Iranian SAM

    It was this lack of a human pilot, either as a death or a prisoner of war, that saw President Trump jump off Iran’s scripted “escalation ladder.” Instead of destroying a SAM battery and converting 150 odd IRGC missile operators into another “Martyr blood sacrifice” for the Mullah regime to celebrate. Pres. Trump responded with cyber-attacks on Iranian missile control systems to remind the Mullah’s of the West’s technological “Black Magic” and additional economic sanctions that will cause further payroll cuts to both the IRGC and it’s over seas terror networks. (Truth be told, the new economic sanctions threaten the Mullah’s power far more than any set of tit for tat military strikes.)

    And in a move treated as an afterthought, if the MSM mentioned it at all, President Trump ended an era in American Middle Eastern Foreign Policy.

    END OF AN ERA
    It has been almost 39 & 1/2 years — 10 years before the Cold War ended — that President Carter pronounced access to Mid-East oil a “Vital Interest” that the United States would go to war to protect.

    Our two wars in Iraq both have that date, and that policy, as their starting point.

    Now that era is over.

    Last week Pres. Trump forged a completely new Middle East Foreign policy for America. Specifically, Pres. Trump took the opportunity Iran’s military escalations leading to the shooting down of the RQ-4N to end the January 23, 1980 “Carter Doctrine” expressed as follows —

    “…An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

    This is how Vandana Hari at the Nikkei Asian Review put it:

    Asia has most to lose if Middle East turmoil hits oil supplies
    As US-Iran tensions, can crude importers defend their interests?
    JUNE 21, 2019 14:21 JST
    https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Asia-has-most-to-lose-if-Middle-East-turmoil-hits-oil-supplies

    “U.S. President Donald Trump says he might take military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But he has indicated he won’t necessarily jump in to protect international oil supplies from the Middle East if they are under threat from the Islamic Republic.

    .

    The position, articulated by Trump in an interview with Time magazine on June 17, should not come as a surprise, even if it appears to be at odds with the Pentagon beefing up aircraft carriers and troops in the Middle East in recent weeks, citing a threat from Iran.

    .

    As Trump spelt out in the interview, the U.S. is no longer as dependent on oil from the Middle East as it was, thanks to burgeoning domestic production.

    .

    Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized the message a day later, pointing out that China, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea were heavily dependent on supplies moving through the Strait of Hormuz, and needed to protect their interests. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made similar comments.”

    The pronouncement above was the full “Bell, Book and Candle” exorcism of American foreign policy — President, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State.  And please carefully note that it happened two days before the RQ-4N was destroyed.

    .

    While “freedom of navigation” on the high seas over all and the Persian Gulf in particular remains a “major interest” of the United State of America.  It is no longer one which America will automatically go to war over.

    .

    In ending the Carter Doctrine, President Trump has fulfilled his 2016 campaign promise of “No More Iraq’s.”

    .

    By changing the cost benefit calculations of Middle-Eastern oil — no more free riding on American protection of Persian Gulf Sea lanes — the only way a nation can “win” internationally now is by “getting close” to the American hyperpower.

    .

    If you are functionally anti-American.  You get nothing but higher insurance rates included in your price of oil to cover the political risk premium of lacking American protection.  China is now paying  -defacto- and additional American oil tariff via much higher insurance rate on the VLCC tankers moving Mid-East crude oil to the Far East.
    .
    Japan and South Korea could get lower insurance rates if they send naval forces to the Gulf to work with the US Navy.  Or they can replace Mid-Eastern oil with exported US oil.
    .
    China, not so much.
    .
    As a correspondent put it in an e-mail to me when I mentioned the above to the list he and I are in —

    HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

    .

    That’s a good one!

    .

    “You all need to defend YOUR oil shipments through those NASTY Straits of Hormuz.  The U.S. don’t need that filthy Middle East blood-oil no more.  In fact, if you don’t want to spend the money and lives pounding sand in Iraq, Kuwait and Iran, we have some FINE Texas frackin’ goodness to sell at a SPECIAL price, just for YOU, our friends and allies for SO many years!”

    .

    Snicker, choke, GASP….”

    The American Left has finally gotten what it always wanted…no more “Blood for Oil in the Middle East.

    Somehow, I don’t think President Trump delivering that reality to them will make them very happy.

    -End-

     

    26 Responses to “Iran’s RQ-4N Shoot Down, Pres. Trump and the Expiration of the Carter Doctrine”

    1. Lex Says:

      Good post, Trent.

    2. miguel cervantes Says:

      I thought they had used the Sayyad 2-c which is derivative of the American SM-1 shipborn missile, I got that initial description from the national interest, did the track of the drone, bring it close to jask, for surveillance purposes,
      is it likely the targets were either that location, or the larger naval facility at bandar abbas,

    3. Trent Telenko Says:

      Miguel Cervantes,

      That was classic “fog of war” reporting. These were the best sources I found on the actual shoot down:

      1. Everything We Know About Iran’s Claim That It Shot Down A U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk Drone (Updated)
      The Pentagon won’t comment in detail about the incident and there is already confusion as to what type was actually lost.
      BY TYLER ROGOWAY
      JUNE 20, 2019
      https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/28613/everything-we-know-about-irans-claim-that-it-shot-down-a-u-s-rq-4-global-hawk-drone

      2. VIDEO: Iran Shoots Down Navy Surveillance Drone in ‘Unprovoked Attack’
      By: Sam LaGrone
      June 20, 2019 10:22 AM •
      Updated: June 20, 2019 5:59 PM
      https://news.usni.org/2019/06/20/iran-shoots-down-120m-navy-surveillance-drone-in-unprovoked-attack-u-s-disputes-claims-it-was-over-iranian-airspace

      3. How the Pentagon Nickel-and-Dimed Its Way Into Losing a Drone
      BY PATRICK TUCKER
      https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2019/06/how-pentagon-nickel-and-dimed-its-way-losing-drone/157901/?oref=defense_one_breaking_nl

      Remember these three reporters names the next time there is a military engagement in the Middle-East.

    4. Mike K Says:

      There is also discussion about the Navy’s growing incompetence in routine missions.

      There is also speculation that managing the mission allowed the drone to wander into Iranian airspace before heading back out into the Gulf.

      For example.

      At least as far back as 2010, the Navy’s high command had been put on notice about its troubled state of readiness. Retired three-star Adm. Phillip Balisle had issued a scathing assessment: ships were coming apart; the Navy was short thousands of sailors; poorly trained officers were being promoted, making for a generation of unprepared leaders.

      Now, Donegan noted similar problems regarding the Navy’s riverine fleet.

      “Ineffective pre-deployment training set the stage for the 12 January 2016 incident off Farsi Island,” Donegan wrote in a review that accompanied the report.

      After Donegan’s review, the report traveled up the chain of command for several months, receiving commentary at each step.

      When it reached Adm. Philip Davidson, responsible for manning and training across the entire Navy, he rejected the findings on manning and pre-deployment training. He instead blamed 5th Fleet commanders for not keeping up standards and training while deployed overseas. Culpability for the Farsi Island episode, Davidson wrote, fell squarely on poor decisions by low-level commanders and the sailors on the captured boats.

      Serious leadership problems and still not solved or even addressed.

    5. Christopher B Says:

      Peter Zeihan called this a couple years ago.

    6. Grurray Says:

      This is great news. It doesn’t make any sense for us protect our competitors who buy from our other competitors. We need to now keep the momentum going and move all our forces out of the Persian Gulf and into the Mediterranean Sea or Indan Ocean. Let’s defend our real allies.

    7. Miguel cervantes Says:

      Thanks, for the heads up,

      If you are going to surveil a hostile region, you need to have something fast and maneuverable like the Aurora, in previous era there was the cobra ball, the one that was mistaken for kal 007 in 1983

    8. Miguel cervantes Says:

      So you think trump planned to strike those target or was this a variation on fortitude?

    9. Mike-SMO Says:

      1) The Straits are so narrow that the territorial claims of the Persians and Arabs overlap except for the internationally “negotiated” shipping channels. The ownership pf any particular bit of airspace depends on whose claims you prefer.

      2) The IRGC/Quds/Hezbollah are probably doing more to harm the economy of Iran than sanctions. The “bully boys” in Iran are loosing blood and treasure in Yemen, Gaza, Iraq, and Syria with nothing to show for their expenditures. “Death to Israel” only gets you so far. Also the Iraqi Arabs seem to be getting suspicious of the Persian militia activities. An Iran/USA conflict would take a lot of the pressure off the IRGC/Quds/Hezbollah and would probably prevent the “Bearded Ladies” from abandoning the expensive wars being conducted by the “bully boys”. Outside enemies are always useful to the “Military-Religious Complex”.

      The limpet mine attacks were so inept that they had to have been planned to fail spectacularly thus implicating “Iran”, although the IRGC/Quds/Hezbollah “gang” were most likely the actors in that bit of theater. “Iran” seems tyo be two or three separate teams playing very different games with very different goals.

    10. Miguel cervantes Says:

      The bigger picture:

      https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/politics-current-affairs/2019/06/what-iran-is-really-up-to

    11. Mike K Says:

      Miguel, I think I linked that article over at Althouse yesterday, Iran is run by a corrupt bureaucracy, just like us, but they have no private sector to bail out the drones (mullahs, not UAVs).

      Obama should have helped the Iranian people, who we have no quarrel with. In Mark Bowden’s book, “Guests of the Ayatollah, ” he notes that, as he was leaving the former Embassy, now a museum, the guards gave him a thumbs up and said “Bush.” The people have known better since the Iraq War, Their Iraq War.

    12. Miguel cervantes Says:

      You may have, getting through 500 post thread I may have missed it.

    13. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K,

      Regards this:

      >>There is also discussion about the Navy’s growing incompetence in routine missions.

      I was down slope from a lot of the USN nitwittery via being quality representative responsible for an F-18 fuel tank supplier in the late 2000’s to 2015.

      It was there that I learned about the systematic replacement of real training in the US Navy with computer based training for darned near everything from fuel tank installation to ship handling.

      But It wasn’t until I completed the last of three additive manufacturing presentations for my agency in 2018 that I figured out exactly what went down in US Navy High Command with the mid-1990’s retirement of the Destroyer tenders.

      The disposal of the USN Destroyer tenders was a very inside the USN surface fleet power game.

      The tenders allowed logistical officers a ship command. You need a ship command to become an Admiral.

      Officers good at logistics tend to be much better in the flag ranks because that is the primary job of flag officers. Thus promoted Destroyer Tender captains punched above their weight at the two star and higher level.

      By getting rid of the Destroyer tenders, it allowed the carrier and DDG captains to have surface fleet flag ranks all to themselves.

      All the hair brained USN screw ups happened after the surface fleet loggie guys got cut off from flag ranks in the mid-1990’s.

      Please carefully note that the Submarine fleet kept its tenders, thank you very much.

      The parallels between the Army Air Corps Bomber Faction purge of Claire Chennault in the 1930’s. USAF’s defenestration of Strategic Air Command and later of their electronic warfare community from 1989-2000 and what the Navy has done to it’s sea and shore logistical establishment from 1994-to 2015 fairly popped out.

    14. Trent Telenko Says:

      Regards this —

      >>“Iran” seems to be two or three separate teams playing very different games with very different goals.

      This is typical for a “…an irrational regime under pressure.”

      The issue with Iran is the irrational factions had the US government behaviors to their provocations templated so well as to make it an automatic ‘gimme’ in terms of responses.

      That is, the USA always acted in predictable ways so the irrational factions could get appropriate responses for their internal power games.

      Pres. Trump’s taking the Iran problem “down to the foundation and the studs” and killing the Carter Doctrine is so far outside Iran’s “American Behavior Template” as to be revolutionary. Iran’s factions cannot predict Pres. Trump’s next move.

      They have a great deal of company in that regard.

    15. Brian Says:

      What I find the most amazing about this is, from the link by Miguel Cervantes above, the very extensive amount of work being done by John Kerry and cronies to actively undermine the Trump administration. Is there precedent for anything like this? This isn’t current and former officials giving speeches or interviews about their opposition, it’s current and former officials meeting with foreign governments to advise and assist them in opposing current American policy! And you can still easily find liberals who think that Michael Flynn should have been arrested for having a phone conversation with the Russian ambassador during the transition period a few years ago. Truly insanity covers the land.

    16. Mike K Says:

      Officers good at logistics tend to be much better in the flag ranks because that is the primary job of flag officers. Thus promoted Destroyer Tender captains punched above their weight at the two star and higher level.

      By getting rid of the Destroyer tenders, it allowed the carrier and DDG captains to have surface fleet flag ranks all to themselves.

      1. Note that Eisenhower was a logistics guy. That was his strength back in the maneuvers of 1941 which brought him to the attention of Marshall.

      2.The Navy seems to be suffering from high deployment and low training,

    17. Miguel cervantes Says:

      Yes hes been a traitor in south east Asia in central America, during the Iraq war and now for the iranians

    18. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Great article! One of the intriguing things obvious from the map — there is a lot (I mean, a LOT) of air traffic in that area. Dubai is one of the busiest airports in the world, with Emirates sending off flights in all directions, including over Iran. Reasonable amount of air traffic in & out of Muscat too.

      Seems like there might have been opportunities for the US military to create reasonable uncertainty among the Iranians on whether or not the drone was a civilian aircraft. One of the lessons of conflict is that the guy who shoots first gets one free shot. What happens after that depends on who learns & adapts fastest (see Pearl Harbor).

      President Trump has to act with the disloyal bureaucracy and the degraded military that he has. But I am left wondering — if the President has no intent of taking military action to keep Middle East oil flowing to international markets, then why put expensive drones in harms way by flying around there anyway?

    19. Mike K Says:

      President Trump has to act with the disloyal bureaucracy and the degraded military that he has. But I am left wondering — if the President has no intent of taking military action to keep Middle East oil flowing to international markets, then why put expensive drones in harms way by flying around there anyway?

      Good questions. I assume the Navy wanted to see what was going on. I doubt the UAV decision rose to his level. They used it to take those videos of the Iranians recovering that limpet, I assume. Maybe looking for more mischief.

    20. Anonymous Says:

      Keep your enemies close.

      Death6

    21. Grurray Says:

      This:

      >>“Iran” seems to be two or three separate teams playing very different games with very different goals.

      This is typical for a “…an irrational regime under pressure.”

      and this:

      What I find the most amazing about this is, from the link by Miguel Cervantes above, the very extensive amount of work being done by John Kerry and cronies to actively undermine the Trump administration.

      seem to have a lot in common. Iran isn’t the only one with different teams.

      We saw a little bit of this in Syria when the CIA tried to arm anti-Assad rebels, but many of the guns ended up being used by ISIS against Kurdish troops also supported by us. In that case, our intelligence community was on a different team than the Pentagon. That was relatively out in the open (but mostly ignored). I wonder what the different teams that we aren’t aware of are doing?

    22. miguel cervantes Says:

      Yes, timber sycamore, I wrote a little about in my own blog, relied on Saudi and Qatari elements, to pick the recipients of the weapons, the same mistake we made with Saudi and Pakistani factions in Afghanistan and later Saudi and Qatari elements in Libya:

    23. Trent Telenko Says:

      Grurray Said:

      >>We saw a little bit of this in Syria when the CIA tried to arm anti-Assad rebels, but many of the guns ended up being used by ISIS against Kurdish troops also supported by us. In that case, our intelligence community was on a different team than the Pentagon. That was relatively out in the open (but mostly ignored). I wonder what the different teams that we aren’t aware of are doing?

      This — CIA with it’s own agenda versus other American government agencies/services — is nothing new and has been part of American popular culture for decades.

      It was a major plot element in the first Season of Miami Vice when Sonny and Crockett find out their Supervisor Castillo was a DEA operative in Thailand whose team got ambushed by a CIA allied drug lord who is now settling in Miami in what appears to be the CIA’s version of a witness protection program for drug lords.

      See:

      http://bzedan.com/blog/miami-vice-season-1-episode-13-golden-triangle-part-ii/

    24. MCS Says:

      I have no doubt that the shock of the change of doctrine is reverberating through the nations that are quickest to criticize us in Europe and Asia, The ground is still shaking in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Emirates. They went from countries which were officially important to our security to pure liabilities. I don’t imagine that many more people will regret the passing of the House of Saud than the mad mullahs.

      The Saudi’s seem to have caught on to this already, hence making nice with Israel.

      If there’s anything in Iran that needs bombing, it will be there tomorrow or next week. The missile crews will considerably more frayed by then as well.

    25. Grurray Says:

      It was a major plot element in the first Season of Miami Vice when Sonny and Crockett find out their Supervisor Castillo was a DEA operative

      I have to say that Miami Vice was one great show. The Casablanca-ish storyline was a nice touch. They don’t make them like that anymore, to use the old cliche.

      Slightly off-topic observation. From your link explaining the episode, John Santucci was connected to disgraced former Chicago police captain William Hanhardt, who used his free time to commit jewelry heists to the tune of at least $5 million. Santucci also appeared with former Chicago police officer Dennis Farina in another excellent Michael Mann-produced show from the 80s, Crime Story. That show coincidentally also employed Hanhardt as a technical advisor.

      This line from the linked Chicago Tribune article really jumps out at you, “It was a very sophisticated kind of conduct, the kind you usually just see in the movies and on TV shows,” Eric Sussman, a former prosecutor on the case said in 2011.

      Mann was a real stickler for authenticity.

    26. miguel cervantes Says:

      I didn’t know that about Santucci, now lao li, is based on any number of figures, like vang pao, who was the hmong chief, Minton, is in that way based on Tony Poe who was his company contact in Laos, The former I believe relocated himself to Montana, now real life versions of such scoundrels, was Richard morales, aka the monkey, he was ex Cuban military intelligence, who defected and ended up in the congo working with some people, like the father of one of the people I went to high school with, morales was later a bureau asset and later worked for the dea, when he wasn’t working for Venezuelan state security, in that capacity, he met a fellow who was a higher profile figure you may have heard of posada carriles, he was fired by the incoming administration, and later framed for the cubana airlines bombing, even though subsequent trials acquitted him,