The details are fuzzy, but news agencies are reporting that the Iranian Navy has just detained 15 British troops in Iraqi waters.
After some negotiation and diplomatic sizzle, these troops will no doubt be released.
But this is more evidence that America and Iran are poking each other through proxies. Iran is using these British military personnel to send signals to the U.S. — and the U.S. has taken similar actions against Iran inside Iraq and probably along the Iran-Iraq border.
These kinds of incidents become the stuff of escalation and miscalculation. One would hope that the President has purchased copies of The Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis for his team to get them to understand what reckless escalation might cause. The problem is that part of Bush’s foreign policy team views “reckless escalation” as its hobby.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage reportedly bought copies of this book and distributed to both sides in what could have been a hot nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan.
One hopes that Bush has the sense to drop the swagger and realizes that we are increasingly tilting towards accidental, if not purposeful, war — but perhaps that is the President’s intention.
— Steve Clemons