We are back at it with Iran our cultural nemesis that seems to be prodding and poking us at every turn. When they have an opportunity they seem to work within the shadows and seek not to be held accountable for actions that are against international peace. We should understand that Iran is a different ideology that often sees itself as a victim to world aggression. Their cultural and ideological beliefs makes them look like an in-out group to the outside world. Their fear of the outside world drives much of their actions but they have crossed the line if they used military tactics to communicate their needs. No action is not really an option at this point without Iranian adjusting its ways. Before responding with a "heavy hand" lets try and consider an approach that allows Iran to acknowledge its wrong doing and move more towards peace.
First, I do not believe Iranian people are evil or crazed lunatics. They are a self interested people like everyone else on the planet. They want to achieve their objectives while minimizing their costs. This makes them open to possible reason and self-monitoring. Self-interest may be an opening to drive their reform.
There are no perfect solutions and the situation will remain fluid. It is important to understand we are dealing with differences in ideology and tactics and we should consider the most proven approaches that ensures the U.S. acts in the most integrity to improve our international standing.
1.) Give Iran a Chance to Explain: If the evidence points to Iran it is important to give them a chance to explain themselves. We should never make assumptions or fit round pegs in square holes because our integrity of a nation relies on our ability show leadership through maturity.
2.) Ask for Financial Compensation for the Damage: If they are guilty we should ask them to provide compensation for the damage plus an penalties for the inconvenience.
3.) Ask for Pledges of Security for Ships: Ensure that we have a pledge of security for ships coming through the area to better secure global commerce.
4.) Collation of Ships that Protect the Channel: Utilize an international coalition of ships to patrol the area and clear of mines. Clearing missions are not seen as threats. International interests will put pressure on Iran to reverse course. Charge Iran for the costs of the effort.
5.) Push Russia to Influence Iran: Russia has a lot of influence over Iran. Discuss with them potential solutions to the problem while making sure the situation is not being exploited.
6.) International Courts: Clearing global shipping channels is a world issue and impacts everyone. Thus we should not rule out international courts. Try and create pressure through the international courts to create pressure on protecting shipping.
7.) Ban Iranian Military Ships from Entering the Area: If Iran does not accept the positive terms to peace then its military ships should be barred from the area. That may mean limited military intervention which raises the stakes and risks. We could insist on a temporary ban until the problem has been resolved.
8.) Retaliation and Direct Military Action: I'm not an advocate of direct military action unless we have explored other options and opportunities. We are not dealing with Iraq but a much more independent and rugged country with their own ideology. These problems make their way for decades, sometimes centuries, in the long-memory of the Islamic world.