by Yoram Ettinger, The Ettinger Report
Just like the role of “Red Lights” in intersections, so would “Red Lines” reduce the probability of a military collision with a nuclear Iran. Clear “Red Lines” would upgrade the US posture of deterrence and enhance preparedness against — and minimizes the cost of — aggression. On the other hand, the absence of “Red Lines” constitutes a “Green Light” to aggression.
For example, a “Green Light” to Iraq’s August 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait was provided by the US upon failing to set any “Red Light” during the July 25, 1990 meeting between Saddam Hussein and the US Ambassador to Kuwait. At the meeting, which took place during the height of the Iraq-Kuwait border dispute, Ambassador April Gillespie echoed Secretary Jim Baker’s self-destruct policy of engagement and diplomacy with rogue Iraq. She stated that “we have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait… We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via the Arab League or via President Mubarak… All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly.” Prior to that meeting, the State Department clarified to Saddam that the US had no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait. Setting and implementing “Red Lines” would have deterred Saddam Hussein, and would have spared the US the first, and possibly the second, Gulf Wars and their devastating cost in term of lives, economy and military.