SecDef: US Focus Is to Build Global Consensus Against Iran After Tanker Attacks

US wants to convince everyone Iran is to blame

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says that the US focus right now, which he, John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all share, is to build a global consensus against Iran in the wake of the tanker bombings.

US officials are uniformly convinced that Iran did it, and they want everyone else to be convinced to. Shanahan said in particular he wants more “international support for this international situation.”

That’s not going to be so easy, as all the US has offered is a claim of Iranian guilt and a very grainy black and white video in which nothing much happens. Britain is on board, as would be expected of anything the US says, but beyond that there aren’t a lot of nations buying in.

Other nations are mostly not looking to endorse or disavow the allegations, seeing little value in getting dragged into it. China, and the European Union both took what seems to be the common reaction, urging calm, and warning against escalating into a war over the matter.

Since Bolton and Pompeo have long tried to make Iran in general something worth escalating into a war over, the push for “global consensus” implies a global call to action that the US would be able to use as an imprimatur for military intervention. That’s clearly been a top priority for some officials, although President Trump has insisted he doesn’t want that.

If that is the goal of the post-attack efforts, however, it seems like the administration still faces an uphill battle, as a US-Iran War would not benefit much of anyone, and the rest of the world is very weary, after the last two decades, of rubber stamping any major American wars in the Middle East.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of