In the latest reversal to his campaign promise to bring American troops home, the Trump administration is considering "significantly expanding" the US military footprint in the middle east, by sending as many as 14,000 additional troops, along with military hardware and a dozen ships to the Middle East, the WSJ reported.
If confirmed, the deployment would double the number of US military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop buildup in May. The decision whether to send thousands more American soldiers into harms way is expected to be made as soon as this month.
So how will Trump face the electorate with elections in less than a year, and justify his decision to keeps deploying more US troops abroad instead of bringing them back home? Simple: he will blame everything on Iran. As the WSJ notes, on Iran—and partly at the behest of Israel—Trump is convinced of the need to counter the threat his aides say Tehran poses. Apparently that means deploying thousands more troops to places like Saudi Arabia, which already is the biggest US purchaser of weapons yet somehow is incapable of defending itself from those constant "Iranian attacks."
And this is where the US military industrial complex - which is only paid when more troops are deployed, not when they return - comes into play:
There is growing fear among U.S. military and other administration officials that an attack on U.S. interests and forces could leave the U.S. with few options in the region, officials said. By sending additional military resources to the region, the administration would be presenting a more credible deterrent to Tehran, blamed for a series of attacks, including one in September against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Iran has denied involvement.
Ironically, while the new deployment is designed to be a deterrent against possible Iranian retaliation - for mounting sanctions brought about by Trump no less designed to leave the Iranian regime with no way out but military escalation - apparently nobody has considered that a build up of even more American military resources in the region will only further provoke Tehran. Then again, this is the same "thinking" that led to the 2014 Ukraine (and Crimea) fiasco when NATO was "shocked" that its threat to expand into Ukraine would prompt Russia to become take appropriate retaliatory steps.
John Rood, the Pentagon’s senior policy official, on Wednesday hinted at an expanded deployment to counter Iran. Mr. Rood said no decision has been made on additional capabilities but that the situation is expected to remain fluid.
“Deterrence is dynamic, our response is going to be dynamic,” he said at a breakfast with reporters.
Should Trump approve the plan, the additional US troops would join the roughly 14,000 service members already in the region since May, when American intelligence analysts "identified a threat" from Iran and the U.S. Central Command commander, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, requested additional ships, missile-defense platforms and troops.
So far that threat has failed to materialize in anything more than an occasional staged false flag attack on some tanker sailing through the gulf.