The Kidnapped Brits: RIP to Deterrence and Containment?

The British government’s lack of forceful reaction to the kidnapping of 15 of their sailors is becoming increasingly disheartening. In the first few days, it was possible to believe there were some low-profile, backchannel negotiations being conducted that might have resolved the situation quickly and quietly, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
This is what passes these days as a forceful reaction to state-sponsored hostage taking, according to CNN

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett also announced Wednesday that Britain would freeze all bilateral business with Iran until the 15 personnel were released.
“We are now in a new phase of diplomatic activity,” Beckett told members of parliament.
If the current government of the UK doesn’t react in a more serious way very soon, they will seriously undermine the West’s ability to carry out deterrence and containment based strategies against the government of Iran. There’s no deterrent shield when an enemy thinks you won’t fight back, and you can’t contain an enemy who knows that all he has to do is push to make you retreat. Failing to respond to aggression only encourages further aggression.
(And a question for Congressman James Langevin or any progressives who would care to answer; will they describe the kidnapping of British sailors as Iranian “escalation” of the war in the Middle East, or is escalation something only the United States can be guilty of?)

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Chuck
14 years ago

I’m with you Andrew. It’s a kidnapping, and the Brits need to react more forcefully to it. I noticed that we’re building up Naval forces in the Gulf even as we write. Something may blow soon.

earl
earl
14 years ago

Andy
I guess the Brits should NUKE Iran. Great idea.
The Brit Sailors will be freed in a few days,this is not a good time to start a third war.

Andrew
14 years ago

Earl,
You’re making my point. You favor appeasement over containment.
And don’t you think, if a shooting-war erupts, that Iran kidnapping British sailors should really be considered the act that started it?
Chuck,
What do you think Britain would be doing about now, if Lady Thatcher were the PM?

mrh
mrh
14 years ago

Andrew,
The only options, as far as you’re concerned, are open war or “appeasement”? Or is there a better reading of your response to Earl?
Are you actually advocating for war with Iran?

Andrew
14 years ago

Well, you could always start with reading the actual words I wrote.
I’d choose containment over war or appeasement.

mrh
mrh
14 years ago

Andrew,
You’re not the kindest man on these internets, are you.
I did read your words. You said:
The British government’s lack of forceful reactionforceful reactionThere’s no deterrent shield when an enemy thinks you won’t fight backFailing to respond to aggression only encourages further aggression.
I don’t think it’s an unreasonable reading of your words to think that you favor a response by force. Do you believe that diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the soldiers constitute “appeasement”?

mrh
mrh
14 years ago

Also, if there were “low-profile, backchannel negotiations” going on, how would we know? 🙂

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