State Dept Looks to Create Anti-Iran Coalition

Trump wants other countries to protect their own ships

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he intends to build a global coalition against Iran, starting Sunday with his visit to Saudi Arabia. This appears to be the latest push since the collapse of an attempt to build an “Arab NATO,” though Pompeo intends to recruit nations from Europe and Asia as well.

While Pompeo emphasized the new coalition being anti-Iran, other State Department officials described it as primarily about maritime security. They said it would be intended to patrol and protect shipping lanes.

This reflects the conflicting interests of Pompeo and President Trump. Pompeo is very keen to get something started against Iran, and remains among the main advocates for that. Trump, on the other hand, says he wants other nations to protect their own ships instead of expecting the US to do it, this isn’t necessarily an Iran-centric issue.

Trump in particular directed these comments to Japan and China, both of whom get most of their oil from through the Strait of Hormuz. Trump said those nations should worry about protecting their ships, and that the US doesn’t need to be there, as such a large energy producer.

Trump has long been emphasizing the idea that other nations need to stop expecting the US to provide them free security across the world, and this is a continuation of that. It also underscores that Trump doesn’t see worries about shipping security as a justification for war with Iran.

It isn’t clear that shipping in the Strait of Hormuz is really all that dangerous, of course. A new recent incidents in the vicinity have done some damage to ships, but not damaged any cargo.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.