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Alliance to defend shipping dangerous move: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-01 20:16
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Britain is the most enthusiastic participant in the US mission to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz since it was proposed by the United States after six commercial ships were attacked there. It is not clear so far which country was the perpetrator.

The UK sent another warship, HMS Defender, to the Persian Gulf to defend freedom of navigation there on Aug 24. The warship was to said to be tasked with protecting ships flying the British flag.

Some other countries such as Australia, the Republic of Korea and Israel have also expressed support for the idea, but they have not made any real moves to participate in the alliance to escort commercial ships of their own countries.

With other European allies of the US such as France and Germany declining to join, there is no sign that an alliance for this purpose will take shape any time soon.

Despite US president saying at the G7 summit on Aug 26 that he was prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart, there is little hope that a stunning change of direction will take place in the smoldering standoff between the two counties.

Even if the US leader means what he said, the meeting he is trying to realize with his Iranian counterpart is, to a large extent, to send a message about his efforts to make peace with Iran. So even if the leaders of two countries meet in the near future, it is very unlikely their meeting will make any breakthroughs.

When Iran shot down a US surveillance drone in June, The US leader was said to have put a last-minute stop to a military strike against Iran. No one can tell what would have been the consequences of that — but they would not be good.

It might be the unforeseeable outcome of such military action that prevented the US leader from giving the order given he is seeking reelection.

The bid to form an alliance to defend the shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, particularly if it includes the participation of Israel, would be another flashpoint for possible military conflict with Iran.

If the US leader is to be reelected for another term, he should not try to rock the boat in the Persian Gulf. In which case, it would be better for his proposed alliance not to be established or at least become a real presence in the waters.

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