Could Biden Trigger a Middle East War?

 

Joe Biden’s obstinate decision to continue to re-negotiate the Iran deal reminds me of the famous quotation often attributed to Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” These efforts are not only true for Biden and his administration, but for the entire Progressive Movement. They never learn anything from their failures and when they fail, they blame others or insist they just need more money or more time.

This time the danger that’s developing is not just about Iran in isolation, but the entire Middle East, and therefore, the security and safety of the world:

In a message directed at the Biden administration and the other Western powers involved in the Vienna negotiations, the Arab countries said that Iran and its terrorist militias are continuing to create chaos and instability, especially in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

The Arabs, including the Arab League, are telling the Biden administration that, in their view, it is not only Iran that threatens their security, but also its terrorist proxies, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Houthis.

The Arab countries that protested the potential of enabling Iran to develop their own nuclear weapons were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt.

Not only is there a danger of Iran providing nuclear weapons to its proxies, but the Saudis have threatened to acquire nuclear weapons once Iran develops its own. It is well known that Iran is a major supplier to terrorist organizations in the region:

The Arab countries accused Iran of supporting, training and arming terrorist groups in Bahrain and condemned Hezbollah’s repeated threats and assaults against Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen.

They condemned Iran’s interference in the Syrian civil war and affirmed their solidarity with Morocco in confronting the interference of the Iranian regime and Hezbollah in the kingdom’s internal affairs, especially in regard to arming and training the separatist elements that threaten territorial integrity, security and stability.

Let’s not forget Iran’s supplying Hamas as well.

Most recently the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are not taking calls from the President. And of course, the Abraham Accords, which were building new relationships with Israel and the Arab countries, are now at risk without U.S. support.

So let me see if I have this right. The U.S. is negotiating with the most powerful terrorist organization in the Middle East, so that that country will have the advantage in taking over the control of the region, discouraging other Arab countries from working together, and threatening the internal securities of those countries.

And then, of course, Israel is caught in the middle of this situation.

The Biden administration thinks this is the path to removing the need for our involvement in the Middle East; Iran can simply take the reins and the world will go on.

The lack of insight and understanding of the current administration is mind-boggling. They must think that once they make friends with Iran, the country will drop its plan to expand its international caliphate.

And all of us, the entire world, will pay the price.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    BDB (View Comment):

    I wonder if the baffling public statement by John Kerry was a signal. Something about hoping that Putin will play ball with enviro-whack something or other.

    The media is the “hidden” comms channel these people use. I’m not supposing a bunch of dog-whistle code book stuff. Just that John Kerry is Mister Iran Nuke Deal. It was really odd of him to pop up, and I think the oddness was him staying *off* the topic. If I had to guess, I’d say that was to re-assure the Mullahs that Team Obama is on the job.

    That’s how they roll.

    That reasoning makes sense to me, BDB. Of course, the whole thing makes no sense at all in the greater scheme of things.  Kerry has ties to Iran and I wouldn’t be surprised for him to make a showing–or a fool–of himself. Thanks.

    • #31
  2. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):

    I wonder if the baffling public statement by John Kerry was a signal. Something about hoping that Putin will play ball with enviro-whack something or other.

    The media is the “hidden” comms channel these people use. I’m not supposing a bunch of dog-whistle code book stuff. Just that John Kerry is Mister Iran Nuke Deal. It was really odd of him to pop up, and I think the oddness was him staying *off* the topic. If I had to guess, I’d say that was to re-assure the Mullahs that Team Obama is on the job.

    That’s how they roll.

    That reasoning makes sense to me, BDB. Of course, the whole thing makes no sense at all in the greater scheme of things. Kerry has ties to Iran and I wouldn’t be surprised for him to make a showing–or a fool–of himself. Thanks.

    Or perhaps Kerry is just a clueless dumbo, so inept that his bumbling comments cause pundits to scratch their heads and postulate “Nobody could be this stupid.  There must be a method to his mindlessness!”

    • #32
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I’m not convinced that it will work, but there may be some chance that it will at least slow them down

    I can’t understand the real benefit of slowing them down. How is that helpful?

    In answering this, I want to start with the point on which I think that we are in agreement.  There is no alternative plan to either stop the Iranians from getting nukes, or to slow them down.  I’m not happy about it, but this seems to be the reality of the situation.

    The next point is that there is a possibility that the JCPOA might slow them down.  This does seem to be the purpose of the JCPOA.  It might work, or it might not.  For purposes of answering your question, let’s assume that the JCPOA would slow them down, understanding that it’s possible that it wouldn’t.

    This brings me to your question about what the benefit of slowing down the Iranians might be.  First, it sure won’t hurt.  Given a choice between, say, the Iranians having a nuke in 2024, and the Iranians having a nuke in 2030, I’d prefer the former.  Second, in the event of such a delay, there is some possibility of political change in Iran during the period of delay.  I’m not optimistic about this, but there is some chance.

    So it seems to me that we have little or nothing to lose, from a security standpoint, in going forward with the JCPOA.

    There is an economic benefit, potentially, in the form of greater Iranian oil production, which will tend to lower oil prices for us.  That would be a good thing.

    I’d expect an economic benefit to the Iranian people, also.  My impression is that sanctions don’t hurt a regime much, but hurt the poor and hurt the middle class.  There is some possibility that greater economic prosperity could lead to a favorable political shift in Iran.  Again, I’m not optimistic about this, but it is possible.

    So it seems to me that we have two paths forward.  Oppose the JCPOA, and Iran will get nukes somewhat sooner.  Agree to the JCPOA, which gives the possibility of delaying Iranian acquisition of nukes, and the possibility of other favorable developments.  Given these options, the JCPOA seems like a reasonable idea, to me.  Something like the best of a set of pretty bad options.

    If there is some good alternative, I’d really like to hear it. 

    • #33
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    Or perhaps Kerry is just a clueless dumbo, so inept that his bumbling comments cause pundits to scratch their heads and postulate “Nobody could be this stupid.  There must be a method to his mindlessness!”

    or both!

    • #34
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So it seems to me that we have two paths forward.  Oppose the JCPOA, and Iran will get nukes somewhat sooner.  Agree to the JCPOA, which gives the possibility of delaying Iranian acquisition of nukes, and the possibility of other favorable developments.  Given these options, the JCPOA seems like a reasonable idea, to me.  Something like the best of a set of pretty bad options.

    If there is some good alternative, I’d really like to hear it. 

    All very good points, Jerry. Perhaps not likely, but certainly possible. I’d love to imagine regime change.

    My biggest concern, still, is that the US went in at the beginning listing all the things we were prepared to give up before the negotiations commenced. And although they are saying there are limits, I’m very worried that Robert Malley will give up far too much, putting our country at risk. I haven’t given a lot of thought about all our potential losses in the end, but I’m not confident that they’ll know where to draw the line.

    • #35
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So it seems to me that we have two paths forward. Oppose the JCPOA, and Iran will get nukes somewhat sooner. Agree to the JCPOA, which gives the possibility of delaying Iranian acquisition of nukes, and the possibility of other favorable developments. Given these options, the JCPOA seems like a reasonable idea, to me. Something like the best of a set of pretty bad options.

    If there is some good alternative, I’d really like to hear it.

    All very good points, Jerry. Perhaps not likely, but certainly possible. I’d love to imagine regime change.

    My biggest concern, still, is that the US went in at the beginning listing all the things we were prepared to give up before the negotiations commenced. And although they are saying there are limits, I’m very worried that Robert Malley will give up far too much, putting our country at risk. I haven’t given a lot of thought about all our potential losses in the end, but I’m not confident that they’ll know where to draw the line.

    I’m concerned too, Susan.  I don’t have a lot of confidence in the current administration.  This particular initiative, though, seems reasonable to me, in principle.  I hope that they can accomplish something useful.

    I haven’t yet addressed your concern about a larger war, which is a good point.  The Israelis are coy about their nuclear program, but just about everybody seems to think that they have a fairly sizeable nuclear stockpile.  If so, that would be a deterrent to Iran, though I don’t know whether the deterrent would work.  My personal feeling is that whatever rhetoric they might employ, the Iranians wouldn’t actually be willing to have their own country utterly destroyed in order to destroy Israel.

    I think that you are correct about the Saudis, and perhaps others, wanting nukes if Iran gets them (or gets closer).  Turkey may well be on this list too.  That would be destabilizing.  This might present an opportunity in future negotiations with Iran — pointing out that if they go after nukes, so will the Saudis and the Turks, and that would be bad for Iran also.  As with much of the situation, I’m not optimistic that this would deter the Iranians, but it might.

    By the way, I appreciate your willingness to engage on the merits on this issue.  It’s a tough situation.  My own position used to be knee-jerk opposition to the JCPOA, without understanding it at all, and it took a while for me to be willing to understand the complexities and consider the (not very good) options that we have.

    • #36
  7. DonG (CAGW is a Hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Hoax)
    @DonG

    BDB (View Comment):

    I wonder if the baffling public statement by John Kerry was a signal.  Something about hoping that Putin will play ball with enviro-whack something or other.

    The media is the “hidden” comms channel these people use.  I’m not supposing a bunch of dog-whistle code book stuff.  Just that John Kerry is Mister Iran Nuke Deal.  It was really odd of him to pop up, and I think the oddness was him staying *off* the topic.  If I had to guess, I’d say that was to re-assure the Mullahs that Team Obama is on the job.

    Kerry is the Climate Czar (can we still use that term?).   He will attempt to turn every topic into a climate topic.  He’s a moron on a mission.

    • #37
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan, do you have evidence that the JCPOA was not working?

    I’ve seen a couple of reports indicating that Iran was complying with the complex provisions for reducing its nuclear program. Here is one from the State Department, here is another from a site called the Arms Control Association. I don’t know whether or not they are correct.

    If these reports are correct, then it appears that the JCPOA was preventing Iranian progress toward obtaining nuclear weapons — until President Trump pulled out of it.

    I haven’t reached any conclusion myself. I used to have a knee-jerk reaction of opposition to the JCPOA, based on nothing more than criticism by some people on the political right and general dislike and distrust of the Iranians. I’ve come to have less confidence in the type of people leveling those criticisms, so I find myself undecided. It looks like a complicated situation. I have been influenced by a discussion of the issue by John Mearsheimer, which led me to be willing to consider the other side of the argument about this particular agreement.

    I haven’t seen any plan by those opposed to the JCPOA that would prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Sanctions don’t seem to have been effective, over a great many years.

    I don’t want to see Iran getting nuclear weapons. Do you know of any plan, other than the JCPOA, that you think would be effective in preventing this?

    If you’re going to argue that Obama, Biden, and John Kerry actually accomplished something worthwhile for once in their careers, you have a very difficult case to make.

    I think that this is a very careless, knee-jerk way of thinking.

    I don’t have much confidence in Obama, Biden, or Kerry.  However, I think that each issue needs to be considered on its merits, and I don’t think that it’s wise to reach a conclusion on the basis of treating these three as always wrong.

    I think that Obama was absolutely right, and Romney was absolutely wrong, in the most important foreign policy issue of the time.  Obama wanted to “pivot to Asia,” to address the problem of a rising China.  Romney focused on Russia as our principal geopolitical adversary, which I think was an incorrect view.  Obama worked on the TPP as a step toward solidifying an alliance to contain China, which Trump rejected, largely for domestic political reasons.  I do think that Obama’s general ideas in this area were correct.

    • #38
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My personal feeling is that whatever rhetoric they might employ, the Iranians wouldn’t actually be willing to have their own country utterly destroyed in order to destroy Israel.

    Don’t they believe that unleashing armageddon brings back the “hidden imam” or something?

    • #39
  10. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My personal feeling is that whatever rhetoric they might employ, the Iranians wouldn’t actually be willing to have their own country utterly destroyed in order to destroy Israel.

    Don’t they believe that unleashing armageddon brings back the “hidden imam” or something?

    I have no idea what Iranians believe.

    I have heard a claim along these lines, something like: “those fanatical Iranians think that, like, blowing up Israel and the whole world and everything and leaving their own country a smoking pile of radioactive rubble would be, like, just bitchin’ to the max.”

    • #40
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I have heard a claim along these lines, something like: “those fanatical Iranians think that, like, blowing up Israel and the whole world and everything and leaving their own country a smoking pile of radioactive rubble would be, like, just bitchin’ to the max.”

    Couldn’t help giggling! Actually, it’s valuable to remember that the Iranians are Shia, the only ones to my knowledge, and they hate the Sunnis; they believe they are not serious Muslims. Thus, part of the reason for their antagonism to the other Arab countries.

    • #41
  12. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Mahdi

    • #42
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I have heard a claim along these lines, something like: “those fanatical Iranians think that, like, blowing up Israel and the whole world and everything and leaving their own country a smoking pile of radioactive rubble would be, like, just bitchin’ to the max.”

    Couldn’t help giggling! Actually, it’s valuable to remember that the Iranians are Shia, the only ones to my knowledge, and they hate the Sunnis; they believe they are not serious Muslims. Thus, part of the reason for their antagonism to the other Arab countries.

    The Iranians are not the only Shia, but I think that Iran is the only major nation with a big Shia preponderance.  From the Wikipedia entry, based on polling from 2009, Shia is also widespread in Iraq, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, and Lebanon.

    • #43
  14. Roberto, [This space available for advertising] Member
    Roberto, [This space available for advertising]
    @Roberto

    BDB (View Comment):

    I wonder if the baffling public statement by John Kerry was a signal. Something about hoping that Putin will play ball with enviro-whack something or other.

    The media is the “hidden” comms channel these people use. I’m not supposing a bunch of dog-whistle code book stuff. Just that John Kerry is Mister Iran Nuke Deal. It was really odd of him to pop up, and I think the oddness was him staying *off* the topic. If I had to guess, I’d say that was to re-assure the Mullahs that Team Obama is on the job.

    That’s how they roll.

    It’s no accident that the Biden administration is using Russia as the intermediary for these “negotiations” with Iran and that as part of the process Putin will pick up some nice benefits for himself. If reported leaks regarding the talks are correct many of these “tough” sanctions on Russia over their invasion of Ukraine are going to amount to nothing but empty threats.

    • #44
  15. DrewInWisconsin, Oat! Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oat!
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Roberto, [This space available… (View Comment):

    It’s no accident that the Biden administration is using Russia as the intermediary for these “negotiations” with Iran and that as part of the process Putin will pick up some nice benefits for himself. If reported leaks regarding the talks are correct these many of these “tough” sanctions on Russia over their invasion of Ukraine are going to amount to nothing but empty threats.

    “More flexibility after the election” comes to mind. 

    • #45
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I have heard a claim along these lines, something like: “those fanatical Iranians think that, like, blowing up Israel and the whole world and everything and leaving their own country a smoking pile of radioactive rubble would be, like, just bitchin’ to the max.”

    Couldn’t help giggling! Actually, it’s valuable to remember that the Iranians are Shia, the only ones to my knowledge, and they hate the Sunnis; they believe they are not serious Muslims. Thus, part of the reason for their antagonism to the other Arab countries.

    Iran is not an Arab country. (Party time. Excellent.)

    • #46
  17. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    The way the JCPOA was supposed to work, as I understand it, was that while it slowed (or stopped) Iranian progression towards nuclear weapons Iranian engagement with the world economy would increase Iranian prosperity (and thereby regime stability) which in turn would give them skin in the game of stability and growth.  Excluding them with the use of sanctions results in the opposite of this.

    Wrt regime: the only force capable of authentic regime change in Iran is Iranian civil society.  Which is impoverished and weakened by sanctions.  Of course this view doesn’t increase military aid or sell weapons so….

    • #47
  18. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    The way the JCPOA was supposed to work, as I understand it, was that while it slowed (or stopped) Iranian progression towards nuclear weapons Iranian engagement with the world economy would increase Iranian prosperity (and thereby regime stability) which in turn would give them skin in the game of stability and growth. Excluding them with the use of sanctions results in the opposite of this.

    Wrt regime: the only force capable of authentic regime change in Iran is Iranian civil society. Which is impoverished and weakened by sanctions. Of course this view doesn’t increase military aid or sell weapons so….

    And if the civil society was enriched and comfortable while their government seeks to destroy Israel and the rest of the western world…  THEN they want to overthrow their government?

    Do tell.

    • #48
  19. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    The way the JCPOA was supposed to work, as I understand it, was that while it slowed (or stopped) Iranian progression towards nuclear weapons Iranian engagement with the world economy would increase Iranian prosperity (and thereby regime stability) which in turn would give them skin in the game of stability and growth. Excluding them with the use of sanctions results in the opposite of this.

    Wrt regime: the only force capable of authentic regime change in Iran is Iranian civil society. Which is impoverished and weakened by sanctions. Of course this view doesn’t increase military aid or sell weapons so….

    And if the civil society was enriched and comfortable while their government seeks to destroy Israel and the rest of the western world… THEN they want to overthrow their government?

    Do tell.

    Why would they want to destroy what enriches them? I don’t believe millenialist rubbish about conservatives in the West, I don’t believe it about conservatives in Iran either.

    • #49
  20. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    The way the JCPOA was supposed to work, as I understand it, was that while it slowed (or stopped) Iranian progression towards nuclear weapons Iranian engagement with the world economy would increase Iranian prosperity (and thereby regime stability) which in turn would give them skin in the game of stability and growth. Excluding them with the use of sanctions results in the opposite of this.

    Wrt regime: the only force capable of authentic regime change in Iran is Iranian civil society. Which is impoverished and weakened by sanctions. Of course this view doesn’t increase military aid or sell weapons so….

    And if the civil society was enriched and comfortable while their government seeks to destroy Israel and the rest of the western world… THEN they want to overthrow their government?

    Do tell.

    Why would they want to destroy what enriches them? I don’t believe millenialist rubbish about conservatives in the West, I don’t believe it about conservatives in Iran either.

    Exactly.  If they were being enriched  – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    • #50
  21. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My personal feeling is that whatever rhetoric they might employ, the Iranians wouldn’t actually be willing to have their own country utterly destroyed in order to destroy Israel.

    Don’t they believe that unleashing armageddon brings back the “hidden imam” or something?

    I have no idea what Iranians believe.

    I have heard a claim along these lines, something like: “those fanatical Iranians think that, like, blowing up Israel and the whole world and everything and leaving their own country a smoking pile of radioactive rubble would be, like, just bitchin’ to the max.”

    I note the very different tone in which you disclaim one sort of knowledge from another sort.  You’re not neutral — you’re partisan for about two-thirds of whatever you see opposed on Ricochet.

    See: millenarian, twelver, occultation

    • #51
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly.  If they were being enriched  – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does.  Let’s call it freedom.  If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power.  (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.)  At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people.  They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    • #52
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    BDB (View Comment):
    See: millenarian, twelver, occultation

    Look, people use the same kind of reductionist language to explain American conservatives – it isn’t a meaningful way to explain you and your agenda, nor does it meaningfully explain Iran and its agenda.  Iran is a large, complex country with many different groups and interests.  Three words doesn’t cut it.

    • #53
  24. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BDB (View Comment):
    See: millenarian, twelver, occultation

    Look, people use the same kind of reductionist language to explain American conservatives – it isn’t a meaningful way to explain you and your agenda, nor does it meaningfully explain Iran and its agenda. Iran is a large, complex country with many different groups and interests. Three words doesn’t cut it.

    I get it.  I’m commenting on his studious, careful, respectful approach to some areas of ignorance as contrasted with the sneering involved in addressing other forms of ignorance.

    The Christophobes said the same thing about Reagan, on the basis of their hatred.  I get it.

    • #54
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly. If they were being enriched – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does. Let’s call it freedom. If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power. (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.) At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people. They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    Sounds like you’re advocating for treating Iran like we’ve treated China, and we all know how well THAT turned out.

    • #55
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Sounds like you’re advocating for treating Iran like we’ve treated China, and we all know how well THAT turned out.

    I don’t think Iran and China are particularly similar. 

    Regarding the possibility of war in the Middle East, imho the Iran sanctions increase the likelihood rather than reduce it. 

    Here’s just one reason:

    Iran usually prefers not to publicly confirm that it gives financial or military support to the Houthis in Yemen, but it occasionally hints at it when stakes are high. In recent weeks, the publicized interlocking of Iranian interests in reaching a nuclear deal with the Houthis’ interest in ending the war in Yemen suggests that the Middle East’s security could be severely compromised if the ongoing nuclear talks between the world powers and Tehran falter. As Iran leads the negotiations, it is also calling for an end to the cycle of violence in Yemen, which it blames on a Saudi-UAE-led military coalition against the Houthis.

    • #56
  27. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly. If they were being enriched – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does. Let’s call it freedom. If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power. (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.) At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people. They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    I follow your logic about sanctions never resulting in a regime change, but I don’t know of a single case where a prosperous free people overthrew their government either, with the exception of the American Revolution.

    • #57
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly. If they were being enriched – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does. Let’s call it freedom. If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power. (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.) At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people. They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    I follow your logic about sanctions never resulting in a regime change, but I don’t know of a single case where a prosperous free people overthrew their government either, with the exception of the American Revolution.

    The American Revolutionaries didn’t think they were free, hence the Declaration of Independence, etc.

    • #58
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly. If they were being enriched – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does. Let’s call it freedom. If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power. (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.) At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people. They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    I follow your logic about sanctions never resulting in a regime change, but I don’t know of a single case where a prosperous free people overthrew their government either, with the exception of the American Revolution.

    The American Revolutionaries didn’t think they were free, hence the Declaration of Independence, etc.

    No. They thought they were free and intended to stay that way.

    • #59
  30. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    Exactly. If they were being enriched – rather than perhaps starved – under their government that wants to destroy Israel, why would they overthrow it?

    Because they want more than material prosperity, like any people does. Let’s call it freedom. If Iranians were truly free to select their next government in free and fair elections I’m certain that a majority would not vote for the hardliners currently in power. (If you look at participation rates, less than 50% bothered to vote in the last election – which is a pretty significant statement about the elections’ lack of meaning.) At the same time they probably will not elect a government that throws the Palestinians under a bus.

    Sanctions do nothing to address lack of freedom, they only impoverish and kill people. They have never resulted in regime change – not even in much vaunted South Africa, where the Apartheid Government came to the negotiating table because the country was becoming ungovernable more than anything else.

    I follow your logic about sanctions never resulting in a regime change, but I don’t know of a single case where a prosperous free people overthrew their government either, with the exception of the American Revolution.

    The American Revolutionaries didn’t think they were free, hence the Declaration of Independence, etc.

    Well, they weren’t free from British rule, but relatively speaking they were freer than most people on Earth.

    • #60
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