Politics

Iran’s Isolation

Iran flagThe dirty little secret is out. The Iranian regime has no allies, is sputtering on fumes economically and has good reason to fear a bigger conflict with the United States.

The U.S. strike that killed Qasem Soleimani is not primarily a Donald Trump story, although he’s clearly the man who ordered it and made it happen. Soleimani had enemies around the world, and his legacy is not merely the 608 American troops killed by improvised explosive devices in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. Soleimani financed, trained, armed, and commanded various militias and factions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Every foe of those groups, as well as dissidents of the regime in Iran, all are rejoicing about his death, either publicly or secretly.

We keep hearing about how global power is shifting away from the United States and towards China and Russia, and in some arguments, Iran. There are still good reasons to worry about the long-term trend, but . . . do you notice that China and Russia are, so far, only offering rhetorical support to Iran? China has its own problems to deal with, particularly in Hong Kong. China needs Iran’s oil, and Iran needs China as a buyer of its oil. China does not want the situation to blow up even worse and disrupt Iranian oil shipments.

Meanwhile, in the past week, oil prices are up five percent. Russia doesn’t mind that; it’s the world’s second-biggest oil exporter. As far as Russia’s concerned, this is all good news.

“Russia doesn’t have the slightest intention of getting involved in this squabble, and is trying to distance itself from it as far as possible—even though it will keep expressing support for Iran with very loud declarations,” said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow think tank that advises Russia’s defense establishment.

“Short-term at least, this is all beneficial to Russia: oil prices are up, and the Iranians—a very difficult partner—are being forced to become much more cooperative,” he added.

Notice that you’re not seeing the usual complaints about a “war for oil.” Even the anti-war crowd has realized that the United States imports way less oil than it used to, and only 16 percent of our imports in 2018 came from Persian Gulf countries. (We have never really needed oil from Iran.) Those crowds in the streets of Iranian cities are full of nationalist fervor now. But the situation for the Iranian economy is dire — and will get even worse if this conflict escalates.

Iran’s GDP is believed to have shrunk by almost 10 percent in 2019, and the official unemployment rate is expected to hit 17 percent. For perspective, the Great Recession reduced U.S. gross domestic product by four percent, and unemployment peaked at 10 percent. Iranian oil production has almost halved. The Iranian currency, the rial, has lost half its value, and the cost of living was increased an estimated 35 percent in the past year. This is an economy in free fall.

This doesn’t automatically mean that the Iranian government will not choose the most bellicose or confrontational path forward. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was getting squeezed pretty hard by sanctions in the run-up to the Persian Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, and he refused to leave Kuwait. But when an economically struggling country takes on the most powerful and technologically advanced military in the world . . . well, we saw the results in the Persian Gulf War. Sure, the Iranians could use more non-conventional methods, all the way up to terror attacks on the American homeland or cyberattacks. (We already saw a hack of the Federal Depository Library Program’s website Saturday.) But the U.S. military would control the skies and probably the seas of the Persian Gulf and could hit any target it wanted. The Iranian military could get wiped out, its government buildings reduced to rubble, airport runways bombed, oil platforms sunk, refineries destroyed. It would be the end of Khomeni’s revolutionary regime as we know it.

The president’s recent talk of hitting Iranian “cultural sites” is nonsensical and asinine. There’s no military value in destroying those targets, and those strikes would probably just make the Iranian population rally around the government. (Hopefully the military minds who recognize this manage to persuade the president.)

Over on NR’s homepage, I note that since 1979, no one in the United States has figured out a good way to handle the regime in Tehran. From the very beginning, they have made themselves clear: “Death to America” is a slogan, a goal, a philosophy, and a policy. They made their disdain for traditional diplomacy clear the moment their angry mob overran our embassy and took our citizens hostages. For 40 years, we’ve been having the same arguments about how to deal with them, and no matter what we tried, the results were disappointing. Killing Soleimani may make things worse — it will almost certainly spur some violent Iranian response in the coming days, weeks, or months — but it may also force the Iranian regime’s leaders to move more cautiously, knowing they can personally be targeted for vengeance.

But because most American media institutions prefer to interpret every event through the lenses of, “is this good for Trump?” or “is this bad for Trump?” the consequences of this attack are being covered as if they must be disastrous.

Institutions like the New York Times inform us that “teeming crowds chant ‘death to America.’” Yes, that is what they have chanted pretty much every week since 1979. Of course the Iranian government managed to get millions of people into the streets to hail Soleimani as a martyr. Big public demonstrations of nationalist rage and grief are the regime’s bread and butter.

We are warned that the Iranian regime has pledged to restart uranium enrichment. Iran had always developed nuclear weapons in secret and always lied to the world. President Obama assured the American people that under the Iran deal, “inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location.” Iran never lived up to that promise, as military sites were always off-limits. Based upon their history, there is no reason to think the Iranian regime stopped pursuit of a nuclear weapon when the Iran deal was enacted. What changed is that now no one has any incentive to continue pretending that the Iranian government is keeping its promises.

European governments can “scramble” to preserve the nuclear deal, but preserving the deal will require Iran to not retaliate in some outrage-generating fashion — that is, if they blow up Saudi oil refineries or sink tankers in the Persian Gulf or if a truck blows up outside some American embassy, the U.S. government is not going to sign on to a new or revised deal.

Reprinted with permission from - National Review - by Jim Geraghty

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J. FARLEY

ONLY A SLIME-BALL ON THE LEFT WILL NOT STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP , BUT I WILL . HE WILL DO EVERYTHING HE CAN TO KEEP AMERICA SAFE . THE LOONY DEMONRATS HATE THIS PRESIDENT SO MUCH THAT THEY WILL DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
TO BRING HIM AND AMERICA DOWN AND DESTROY OUR FREEDOM. WAKE UP AMERICA TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO SAVE AMERICA FROM THE COMMIE LEFT. TRUMP / PENCE 2020
GOD BLESS PRESIDENT TRUMP
GOD BLESS AMERICA
GOD BLESS THE NRA
SAVE AMERICA VOTE REPUBLICAN

Ricky Smith

Everything you stated here is a fact ..so why then did obama make a deal and pay them millions knowing they werent going to honor it…did he think americans were that stupid …but I quess most americans were..that was a crap deal ….but if iran over takes another embassy ..it wont be like bengazi or the embassy when carter was president …we have a president who will defend america ..a d the world will know it ..

HAL HOFFMAN

YOU CAN BET YOUR BACKSIDE THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP DID NOT TAKE THIS ACTION WITHOUT HAVING ALL HIS DUCKS IN A ROW! I AM SURE EVERY CONTINGENCY HAS BEEN ANTICIPATED AS TO WHAT IRAN MIGHT TRY NEXT! DO NOT BE SURPRISED IF FURTHER PREEMPTIVE STRIKES ON TARGET THAT ARE GETTING READY FOR REVENGE! TEHARAN BETTER REALIZE THAT THEY ARE NOT DEALING WITH OBAMA! AND TEHERAN IS SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF A VERY LARGE BULLS EYE! AND WE CAN TAKE OUT THEIR OIL PRODUCTION FACILITIES IN A MATTER OF MINUTES!

Patriot Will

President Trump, Man with a Purpose:
Keeping America Safe from Evil,
Keeping America an Honorable Country.
Fighting those Miscreants
From Without and Within,
Who Delight in Tearing the US Down.
God Help Us All
Who Believe in the American Way.
Protect Us from the Likes of Pelosi and Schumer …
God Bless the USA!

Lynn Miller

Iran never kept its promises… Iran Islamist leaders have continuously been vicious, belligerent, and antagonistic to all free societies on this planet. Iran is behind the mass immigration of hostiles posing as refugees in Europe. President Trump is AWESOME. This president has backbone, trustworthiness, and indifference to the political, Hollywood, socialist power mongers.

Rick J.

This action was long over due. Iran has been the major cause of unrest and bloodshed in the middle east, as they pursue their quest to spread the Islamic revolution. The next step should be to eliminate the Mullahs so Iran can become a secular state and find their way to true self determination.

General Patton

Trump is doing everything that inept Marxist Obama was unable to accomplish

Mimi

Instead of President Bush going after Iraq, he should have gone after Iran. They’re the real terrorists of the Middle East!! Their government is a bunch of self serving, power hungry, idiots.
Gosh, sounds like the Democrats, and RINOS in Washington!! Go Trump 2020 !! Vote Trump 2020 America, let’s give him a chance to finish what he’s started!! Clean up the swamp, America first ALWAYS !!

PaulE

Iran has both China and Russia supplying them military and commercial goods. The people of Iran can starve, but the Iranian military and Mullahs are doing just fine. Don’t forget Obama shipped over $150 billion on skids and another $1.5 billion in hostage ransom money in the waning days of his second term. The EU leadership are feckless fools. They have been for decades now. So they are doing exactly what I expect them to do. Try to appease the countries that are out to ultimately destroy them.

John Karkalis

Please excuse me while I shed tears over Iran’s lack of friends.
Everyone needs a buddy, right?.
Might I suggest Attila the Hun, or the prince of darkness himself, Lucifer?
Curious, isn’t it? Iranians trampling one another to death while mourning their great hero. They are their own worst enemy.
It all reads like a crummy burlesque show.

Sergio Olivares

I doubt not that we shall have days of trial. . . . But I am certain that if we will emphasize the greater good and turn our time and talents from vituperative criticism, from constantly looking for evil, and lift our sights to what may be done to build strength and goodness in our nation, America will continue to go forward with the blessing of Almighty and stand as ensign of strength and peace and generosity to all the world. As an American I am grateful for the Constitution under which this nation lives and moves and has its being. . . . “We Make America First and Great Again” “VOTE REPUBLICAN 2020 AGAIN”

Brenda Blunt

The left can now leave the USA!

Stephen Russell

OK UK is sending 2 warships to Gulf, wheres the EU on this IE doesnt EU need OIL??
Iran & No Korea are isolated, NORK is self imposed.
Weve been in war with Iran since Nov 1979 to Jan 2020+

Wayne

Go Trump Go! 2020

Diana

Look these terrorist should have been wiped out in the 70s when they took hostages, but you had an ass kissing dem. In office carter, so they got away with it then another ass kissing dem. clinton we were attacked several times while he was in office and they even killed our sailors, again nothing done, then another ass kissing dem. obama, this guy needs hung he not only did nothing but gave an enemie money and even hid it from Taxpayers it was our money given to a killer of our people so obama Traitor needs hanged for that and many other UN Constitutional laws he broke or ignored to destroy America and get the one world order in America, Thank God he didn’t get it done, Hang him

Chuck

A sleeping bear always wakes up.

‘Nonymus

Iran has become even more mired in the dark ages since they deposed the Shah in favor of an ayatollah! Let the drown in their own ignorance and backward ways!

Steve

Don’t stop now. There are many other “officials” in Iran who need to be taken out. Forget “cultural sites”. Educate me. What
“cultural sites” exist in Iran ? Hezbollah, Hamas, Isis, Al Queda and all of the other dozen terrorist groups that operate in the middle
east are all surrogates of Iran. Iran dosen’t have clue as to how to influence the US population in a positive way. Their only concept is
to threaten. Actually, Iran has become boring and irrelevant. Advice to Iran: You are about 15th in line among nations who
threaten the US and you are playing with a poor poker hand.

Steve

Iran may cause us to be threatened by middle eastern petro supply ? Excuse me. I thought the US is now energy independent.
Why should we need any middle east petro ? In fact, why don’t we cut them off ?

Robert Hopkins

Yes to all when are people who signed up going to get their membership cards