Iranian Fuel Deliveries to Venezuela Expose US Military of the Future
By Darko Lazar
Anybody who didn’t spend the last few months on a ventilator realizes that the US is in free fall.
In recent days, the country surpassed 100,000 deaths as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, its economy largely frozen, unemployment soaring, and racial tensions further exacerbated with armed protesters pouring into the streets.
Meanwhile, its latest misfortune on the international stage came via the Atlantic in the form of Iranian-flagged ships laden with millions of barrels of petrol.
The first tanker crossed into Venezuelan territorial waters on the first day of Eid al-Fitr under escort from Venezuela’s warships and fighter jets.
The episode, which saw the successful delivery of much-needed gasoline to Venezuela, marks the most severe blow to US sanctions and military blockades against both Caracas and Tehran.
It exposes the failures of the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure campaign” against Iran, and the latter nation’s ability to successfully circumvent US sanctions.
More importantly, perhaps, it exposes the limits of American military power in Washington’s own backyard at a time when Donald Trump has claimed to have Venezuela “surrounded”.
Aside from the far-reaching political and military consequences, the effective subversion of the American blockade on Venezuela is also an ideological jolt for Washington.
Coinciding with one of the most important dates in the Islamic calendar, the delivery of the fuel shipments is aiding a socialist Venezuela at a time when Trump deploys ‘socialism’ as a weapon against domestic political opponents.
The mainstream media has either ignored or downplayed both the significance of this mission, as well as initial US threats that have failed to materialize.
So, to all those that have the propensity to conveniently develop amnesia when defending American foreign policy fiascos, please be advised: if the US could afford to blow up Iranian oil tankers, the US would blow up Iranian oil tankers!
Crozier & Covid-19
The recent firing of Brett Crozier, who commanded US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, pulls the curtain back on a highly fragile military.
It reveals that the US armed forces have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, as morale sinks to rock bottom.
Crozier was removed from his post after criticizing the US Navy’s inaction amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship.
"The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating," he wrote in a letter that was leaked to the media. "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset."
As he departed the aircraft carrier a few days later, hundreds of his men yelled “Capitan Crozier!”, as seen in a video that has gone viral.
This is the US military of the future – disgruntled, angry and dangerously close to mutiny.
Throughout recent weeks, other vessels were forced to return to port due to outbreaks of the virus, including the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd.
The Kidd was part of the Trump administration’s deployment of warships and aircraft to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. One of the key objectives of this force was to combat “corrupt actors” like Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
But the largest US naval force in the region since the invasion of Panama wisely chose not to challenge the Iranian ships and their Venezuelan military escorts.
Demoralized and plagued by Covid-19, the American navy didn’t have feasible solutions to very difficult questions about the possible fallout, especially after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the US would be “in trouble” if it made “a mistake”.
It’s also important to note this is a single chapter in a broader geopolitical confrontation within the Venezuelan theater.
Iran is not the only power invested in this strategic struggle. Its allies China and Russia have provided the Bolivarian Republic with extensive political, military and economic support – raising the stakes for the increasingly isolated and outgunned Americans.