The real problem with Iran’s hardening attitude, in the months since the Obama sell-out called the “Iran nuclear deal,” is that it shows a loss of respect for the American people.
Not respecting Obama is one thing. Who does respect him? But in 2016, Iran no longer fears that Americans will do something other than watch helplessly as our president squanders the remaining core of our geopolitical capital. The Iranians have concluded – and I don’t think they’re wrong – that the American polity is profoundly disordered.
America no longer knows who she is. Whatever protects her now, it’s not the vigilance of free men. The free, vigilant men have enough to do defending themselves against a predatory state, which weaponizes government against them and attacks their most precious hopes with Stalinist propaganda forced on their children.
Iran has little if anything to fear from the courage or might of the American people today. We have no prospect of electing a Reagan this year. Our voters are running after Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Even if we did elect a credible president, the global status quo is being blown up irreparably, and there’s nothing America can do about it. The next president cannot simply pick up where George W. Bush left off at the end of 2008. That world is gone.
So the mullahs have no compunction anymore about violating the Geneva Convention or the Law of the Sea in their dealings with our uniformed military. This, it is to be noted, is what a world without our leadership will increasingly look like for everyone.
And the day is very near when it will mean more than mere theatrical humiliation for a few Americans here and there. It will mean major losses – in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan – and a pile-on from the ever-fertile plotters of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. America shouldn’t expect to avoid humiliation by China either, or more humiliation from Russia. Nor is there anything to prevent asymmetric attacks on our own homeland – attacks that we are now out of position, and out of resources, to counter with decision.
As to when we might expect Iran to do something even more drastic than the lawless seizure of our riverine boats last month, it will probably be when we are no longer useful to Iran’s own goals. At the moment, we are serving Iran’s ends by attacking ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We aren’t accomplishing much, but the effect has some utility for Iran. We’re Iran’s butt-boy in “Syr-Iraq,” assisting in driving ISIS out of territory Iran wants to establish her client forces in.
If the day comes when Iran doesn’t find that useful enough to outweigh other considerations – and it could be this year – the mullahs won’t need our carrier operating in the Persian Gulf anymore. There are multiple ways of driving us out; Iran could well drive Obama out of the Gulf’s waters with threats and intimidation. It’s quite possible the Iranians will dictate to him which forces may remain, for their convenience. (Why not, after all? The Russians have successfully limited where our aircraft can operate in Syria. See here as well.)
Some number of Americans would even call this “cooperation,” and refuse to recognize it for what it is. There may not have to be a kinetic catastrophe involving our naval forces in the Gulf; even worse would be keeping forces there on Iran’s terms, and at Iran’s sufferance. Everyone else in the neighborhood would know the difference. We would not escape the incendiary consequences of such humiliating demonstrations.
It’s thus an evil harbinger, that Iran’s leaders feel free to keep piling on the humiliation of the American sailors they seized in January. (H/t: Washington Free Beacon.)
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) February 10, 2016
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) February 10, 2016
It’s equally evil that the commander of their paramilitary Basij force – the “Mobilization Resistance Force,” which handles domestic security – is now mocking America as “subordinate” to Iran in the Middle East, having to sneak around the region to do our business while Iran’s prowess is acknowledged on billboards.
According to Mohammed Reza Naqdi:
“[I]t is impossible to compare Iran to Iran under the Shah’s rule, since back then, Iran was subordinate to the American administration, while today, the United States subordinates to Iran’s dominance in the Middle East and it cannot act in the region without getting the approval of the Supreme Leader of Iran.”
In addition, Naqdi argued that while senior “American officials visit the Middle East secretly, images of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, spread across the streets in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.”
With Obama at our helm, it may actually be better to cut and run now, rather than stick around for more “engagement” that will only produce greater harm. It wasn’t good for the region when Obama was effectively arming and encouraging radical Sunnis in Syria, including the group that became ISIS (see here as well). It isn’t good for the region, either, for Obama to abet Iran in gaining control of territory in Iraq and Syria.
It won’t be good for America, if Iran can dictate, through a disrupter’s veto, the disposition and use of our military forces in the Middle East. It won’t be good if the fall-out that eventually filters through is a successful attack – by the Taliban, say, or ISIS – on American forces that are overstretched and overexposed.
The certainty that Obama would mount no useful response is all we need to make this judgment. If we want open season on Americans everywhere, including in our own homeland, this is the way to get it: continue to court a high-profile attack on our assets overseas, while we are still under feckless, morally degenerate leadership.