Frankfurter Allgemeine’s Lorenz Hemicker has expressed doubt as to whether the US will go through with its threats against Iran to deploy “a symbol of American military strength” — the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier, pointing to earlier warnings of the kind. In his article, titled “A 100K-Tonne Bluff?”, the German journalist points out that “these 100,000-tonne and multi-billion-euro floating cities” embody Washington’s military strength, going on to say that facing an aircraft carrier and its associated battle group “would be suicide for most forces”.
“Enemy governments, whose shores these ships circle around, could be powerfully impressed and make many political concessions”, he concludes, noting that it seems like US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s announcement was made for this purpose.
Bolton described the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and bomber task force heading towards Iran’s borders as an "unrelenting force" that would respond to any attack on US interests, also claiming that there are indications that Iranian forces and their allies would attack American forces in the region.
However, Hemicker expressed doubts whether the US would stick to this scenario.
“Although there is no doubt about the military capability of the aircraft carrier combat group and US bombers, it is still a question of whether Bolton's words can actually impress Tehran”, he wrote.
According to the German journalist, there are two reasons for this. He pointed out that the Trump administration had in the past shown that US aircraft carriers do not always follow the announcements made by Washington. He recalled the North Korean tensions in April 2017, when President Trump promised that the US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson would be sent to the Sea of Japan, while the floating fortress and three other warships were in fact sailing in the opposite direction to take part in an exercise in the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the Korean Peninsula.
Hemicker also states that the presence of an American aircraft carrier on Iran’s doorstep is the rule for Tehran, rather than an exception. According to him, there are many indications that the USS Abraham Lincoln is on its way to the region anyway.
“Bolton's words should accelerate the Lincoln's path to the front door of Iran, if anything. Not more… Rotations of the units stationed there are the rule”, he noted.
The journalist points out that it would probably take more to make Tehran nervous – perhaps by deploying another aircraft carrier to the region. But there are no signs that this will be the case, according to Hemicker.
Iran has already voiced scepticism towards the statements by US officials. Keyvan Khosravi, a spokesman for Iran's National Security Council, recently slammed the announced deployment of the group to the Middle East as "an unskilful use of a worn-out event to wage a psychological war against Iran".