The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been scrambling to look tough in the so-called tanker crisis. He initially promised a “robust” response to the Iranian detention of a British-flagged tanker, which had violated international laws of navigation.
Subsequent to his original statement, Hunt has steadily escalated his rhetoric by warning Iran of “serious consequences”, and later admonishing the country for following, what he called, a “dangerous path” of “illegal and destabilizing” behaviour.
But contrary to his expectations he has been ridiculed on social media. Twitter users were quick to point out that even if the Iranian action was prompted by the logic of tit for tat, it could still be considered legitimate.
Writing on Twitter in response to Hunt’s tweet, @Rude_Boi sets out the quick solution for hunt's self-made crisis: “Return their vessel and maybe they’ll return the ones they took”.
Similarly, @DiakoH counsels Hunt in the following manner: “If you want to have a robust reaction, immediately release the Grace1 and let all countries have safe shipping”.
@FarEasterner reminds hunt of British rogue diplomacy saying: “How do you regard (your) own actions: illegally seizing an Iranian tanker, stealing Venezuelan gold”?
Many British social media users have been quick to highlight the emptiness of Hunt’s threats on account of the depleted capability of the Royal Navy.
Pointing to ailing British naval forces, @Brimstones reminds Hunt that: “Gunboat diplomacy only works if you have gunboats”.
In the eyes of most British twitter users, whether they are in favor of confronting Iran with hard power or those advocating Hunt of understanding royal navy's limitations against Iran, Hunt has been reduced to helplessly watching as his future political prospects dissolve all around him.
The man who was trying to pretend to save the world himself is now waking up to a bitter reality as pointed out by @freejust1: “the sun seems to have finally set on the empire...”