A report published on the Wall Street Journal website on Monday said American troops in the Persian Gulf were lesser in force than what US President Donald Trump’s tough anti-Iran rhetoric would require.
Trump and his administration have been steadily ramping up their rhetoric on the threat posed by Iran; however, the US military has scaled back its presence in the Persian Gulf, according to officials and military experts cited by the Journal.
According to officials familiar with carrier deployments, there has been no US aircraft carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf since March — the longest period of time in two decades that a carrier hasn’t traveled those waters, the Journal reported.
Since US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt left for the Pacific, its empty space has not been filled with the same level of air power, officials acknowledged.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced pulling four Patriot missile-defense systems out of the region from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain to ramp up military capabilities against Russia and China.
The report said the ships, planes and missiles in the ships pulled out from the region would be needed if there were to really be a military confrontation with Iran.
The under par US military presence could be attributed to either of two factors: a shortage of ships and equipment, Iran not posing a threat, said the Journal.
Experts say Trump’s tough talk regarding Iran appears to be very powerful; however, in reality it is empty talk and mere rhetoric.
“If the rhetoric is not backed by a credible threat and a credible presence of American military power, then there is a danger that Iran will assess there is American mush, not American steel, behind the president’s tough rhetoric,” according to Mark Dubowitz, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Experts cited by the Journal believe that either the US military apparatus is too spread out — addressing other threats — that it lacks the capabilities to properly cover the alleged threat posed by Iran, or what is being hyped up as Iran being a regional threat is not real and does not exist.
According to the 2018 US national security strategy, Russia and China pose the greatest threats to the US and its interests across the globe.
In recent years, according to reports, military forces from the two countries have become up to par with the US, passing it in some fields.