The U.S. has significantly increased its presence in the Persian Gulf, in response to Iran's threats to disrupt ship traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. The reportedly long-planned naval and air reinforcements are arriving as the U.S. and its allies are starting to enforce a tougher oil embargo designed to prod Iran into serious negotiations over its nuclear program. The ramp-up in America's military presence carries significant risks, particularly if Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards respond by mining the strait or attacking oil tankers or U.S. Navy vessels. "The message to Iran is, 'Don't even think about it,'" a senior Defense Department official tells The New York Times. Other U.S. officials say the U.S. is also wary of putting so many forces in the Gulf that Israel sees it as a green light to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. "There are a lot of expectations to manage," says Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: October 30, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- Sorry, we will not all be having sex with robots in the future
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- For Democrats, the right lesson from 2014 is to be more liberal
- How to live a long life, according to science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How the brides of ISIS are attracting Western women
Subscribe to the Week