AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Opinion

February 3, 2012

Freedom of seas critical to global commerce

A U.S. aircraft carrier passed through the Straits of Hormuz inbound to the Persian Gulf recently operating in international waters. It returned to the open oceans later, after a port visit in the United Arab Emirates.

Iran now tells the United States not to do so again, "or else." Additionally Iranian military authorities say, in essence, "We won't warn you again."

Sending U.S. ships, commercial or warships, anywhere we choose to send them during peacetime is very simply a statement by the United States that the seas of the world are in fact free to navigate for anyone, anywhere (in international waters), anytime.

It has long been a practice by any U.S. president to reinforce that view mandated by international law during times of tension anywhere.

President Obama and his administration did so by authorizing the aircraft carrier to enter the Persian Gulf.

"These are regularly scheduled movements in accordance with our long-standing commitments to the security and stability of the region and in supporting ongoing operations," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

White House spokesman Jay Carney sought to minimize the threat, portraying it as a bid by Iran to divert its people's attention from their worsening economic plight and growing international isolation.

Iran has laid down a gauntlet. What next becomes the important question for our national command authorities, including of course the president.

Freedom of the seas is an international edict, not just one from the United States. When a foreign power threatens or actually engages in force to restrict such freedom for any nation, it is a cause of war and has long been such.

The administration has now upped the ante in terms of pressure on Iran related to its nuclear program. How long and how much pressure continues to be applied by the United States and NATO is the looming question, in our view.

Now's not the time to back off the current level of pressure. The safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways is critical to global commerce.

The Joplin Globe

Published Jan. 14, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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