How Should We Deal With Iran?

On Friday, Bret Stephens posted a column in The New York Times about the recent aggressive actions taken by Iran against international shipping. Bret Stephens is not a supporter of President Trump, but in this instance, his views seem to be in line with the policies of the Trump administration.

The column notes:

On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.

Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.

Or so it seems, based on a detailed timeline of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including a surveillance video of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.

The column notes that the evidence points to Iran as behind the recent attacks:

In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.

So what do we do now?

The column concludes:

It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.

What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.

If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.

Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.

Sometimes you simply have to stand up to a bully in order to correct his behavior.

Today In Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be speaking before a joint session of Congress this morning. Today’s Wall Street Journal had two very good articles that provide context for his speech.

Bret Stephens posted an article entitled, “Israel and the Democrats,” and Chris Steward posted an article entitled, “In What Way Is Iran A Reliable Negotiating Partner?

Bret Stephens reminds us that the Democrat party has traditionally supported the nation of Israel. He points out that the Democrat Party is on the cusp of abandoning the state of Israel.

The article reports:

But that party is evaporating. A 2014 Pew survey found that just 39% of liberal Democrats are more sympathetic to Israel than they are to the Palestinians. That compares with 77% of conservative Republicans. During last summer’s war in Gaza, Pew found liberals about as likely to blame Israel as they were to blame Hamas for the violence.

That means the GOP is now the engine, the Democrats at best a wheel, in U.S. support for Israel. The Obama administration is the kill switch. Over the weekend, a defensive White House put out a statement noting the various ways it has supported Israel. It highlighted the 1985 U.S.-Israel free-trade agreement and a military assistance package concluded in 2007. When Barack Obama must cite the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as evidence of his pro-Israel bona fides, you know there is a problem.

…Yet the calendar chiefly dictating the timing of Mr. Netanyahu’s speech was set by John Kerry , not John Boehner , when the secretary of state decided that the U.S. and Iran would have to conclude a framework deal by the end of this month. Mr. Netanyahu is only guilty of wanting to speak to Congress before it is handed a diplomatic fait accompli that amounts to a serial betrayal of every promise Mr. Obama ever made to Israel.

Bret Stephens goes on to list the betrayals of Israel by the Obama Administration. Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

Chris Steward reminds us of the history of America’s relationship with Iran and Iran’s intentions and actions toward western civilization.

He points out:

Iran is a state sponsor of terror and has been officially listed as such for more than 30 years. It has developed an extensive military-industrial complex, the Defense Industries Organization, which is capable of supplying all of its own military equipment, weapons and ammunition. With this capability, Iran has become the primary supplier of weapons to two other state sponsors of terror, Sudan and Syria, as well as the primary sponsor of other foreign terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas and numerous Shiite militias in Iraq. With Iran’s help, Hezbollah has stockpiled about 60,000 surface-to-surface rockets in Lebanon while Hamas has stockpiled about 10,000 surface-to-surface rockets in Gaza, all for the stated purpose of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.

Tehran’s regime suppresses internal dissent and has executed tens of thousands of its own citizens for opposing the regime. It is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq through improvised explosive devices supplied to Shiite militias in the past decade. Iran counts as close allies Russia, China and North Korea, which team with the regime in developing ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities.

Iran is not just a problem for the Middle East. In South and Central America it has engaged in money laundering, drug and arms trafficking, counterfeiting, promoting jihad, and plotting terrorist attacks.

Why in the world are we negotiating with these people? And why in the world are we condemning Israel for telling the truth about the futility of these negotiations?

 

The Cost Of Bad Foreign Policy

Before I go into any of this, I want to make one thing clear. I am not in favor of going to war with Iran. Despite the fact that American troops have been fighting Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than ten years now, I have no desire at all to attack Iran. Any American attack on Iran would result in an Iranian attack on Israel (probably chemical or nuclear in nature) and totally end any semblance of stability in the Middle East. However, I am totally opposed to the recent agreement reached between America and Iran in regard to Iran becoming a nuclear power (Iran says that in the recent agreement, the world community gave Iran permission to become a nuclear power; the world community says it did not give that permission).

I am not the only one concerned about the agreement. Yesterday Bret Stephens posted an article at the Wall Street Journal regarding the recent agreement reached with Iran.

Mr. Stephens cites two recent peace agreements that were questionable at best–Munich and the Paris Peace Accords in January 1973. Both agreements seemingly brought peace and both lead the way to horrible atrocities–the attempted Nazi takeover of Europe and the killing fields of Cambodia.

Mr. Stephens points out that although the agreement signed in Geneva on Sunday brings temporary peace as did Munich and Paris, it has no redeeming qualities.

The article points out:

And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.

What will that look like? Iran will gradually shake free of sanctions and glide into a zone of nuclear ambiguity that will keep its adversaries guessing until it opts to make its capabilities known. Saudi Arabia will move swiftly to acquire a nuclear deterrent from its clients in Islamabad; Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal made that clear to the Journal last week when he indiscreetly discussed “the arrangement with Pakistan.” Egypt is beginning to ponder a nuclear option of its own while drawing closer to a security alliance with Russia.

The economic sanctions on Iran were working–the Iranian economy was rapidly shrinking. That is why Iran was willing to negotiate. Had the economy continued to shrink, we might have seen the end of the tyrannical rule of the Ayatollahs. Instead, we will see an end to the sanctions and a strengthening of the hold the Islamic fanatics have on the country of Iran.

Unfortunately, we have messed this up royally, and we will be the ones to pay the price.

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The Empty Chair In The Oval Office

Bret Stephens posted an article at the Wall Street Journal yesterday  about the leadership style of President Obama. The article is titled, “The Unbearable Lightness of Obama.” Mr. Stephens points out that the President says that he was briefed on NSA eavesdropping in general, but never told the specifics of listening in on foreign leaders. In terms of ObamaCare there was no person with the right technology experience involved in launching the website.

Some other observations in the article:

Besides the Syrian government‘s gains, there was mounting evidence that Mr. Assad’s troops had repeatedly used chemical weapons against civilians.

“Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient and disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.”

…”On Saturday, as the shutdown drama played out on Capitol Hill, President Obama played golf at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.”

…”In polo shirt, shorts and sandals, President Obama headed to the golf course Friday morning with a couple of old friends, then flew to Camp David for a long weekend. Secretary of State John Kerry was relaxing at his vacation home in Nantucket.

“Aides said both men were updated as increasingly bloody clashes left dozens dead in Egypt, but from outward appearances they gave little sense that the Obama administration viewed the broader crisis in Cairo with great alarm.”

Please follow the link above to the article to see further examples. The article concludes:

Call Mr. Obama’s style indifferent, aloof or irresponsible, but a president who governs like this reaps the whirlwind—if not for himself, then for his country.

I don’t think this is the kind of leadership America wants, but since the majority of Americans voted for this man, they got what they asked for.

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