December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a
“very successful regional power.” His wish — a nightmare for the
Western-oriented Arab states — is becoming a reality. Consider:
of Aden: Iran sends a flotilla of warships and weapons-carrying freighters to
reinforce the rebels in Yemen — a noncontiguous, non-Persian, nonthreatening
(to Iran) Arabian state — asserting its new status as regional bully and
arbiter. The Obama administration sends an aircraft carrier group, apparently to
prevent this gross breach of the U.N. weapons embargo on Yemen. Instead, the
administration announces that it has no intention of doing anything. Meanwhile,
it exerts pressure on Saudi Arabia to halt its air war over Yemen and agree to
negotiate a political settlement involving Iran.
After a five-year suspension, Russia announces the sale of advanced
surface-to-air missiles to Iran, which will render its nuclear facilities nearly
invulnerable to attack. Obama’s reaction? Criticism, threats, sanctions? No. A
pat on the back for Vladimir Putin: “I’m, frankly, surprised that the
embargo held this long.”
Last week, Obama pre-emptively caved on the long-standing U.S. condition that
there be no immediate sanctions relief in any Iranian nuclear deal. He casually
dismissed this red line, declaring that what is really important is whether
sanctions can be reimposed if Iran cheats. And it doesn’t stop there.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is offering Tehran a $30 billion to
$50 billion signing bonus (drawn from frozen Iranian assets) – around 10% of
After insisting for years that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria “step
aside,” the U.S. has adopted a hands-off policy toward a regime described by
our own secretary of state as an Iranian puppet.
Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani, director of Shiite militias that
killed hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War and were ultimately defeated by
the 2007-08 U.S. surge, operates freely throughout Iraq flaunting his
country’s dominance. In March, he was directing the same Iraqi militias, this
time against the Islamic State — with the help of U.S. air cover.
is the new Middle East. Its strategic reality is clear to everyone: Iran rising,
assisted, astonishingly, by the United States.
initial Middle East strategy was simply withdrawal. He would enter history as
the ultimate peace president, ushering in a new era in which “the tide of war
is receding.” The subsequent vacuum having been filled, unfortunately and
predictably, by various enemies, adversaries and irredeemables, Obama lighted
upon a new idea: We don’t just withdraw, we hand the baton. To Iran.
may not even be aware that he is recapitulating the Nixon doctrine, but with a
fatal twist. Nixon’s main focus was to get the Vietnamese to take over that
war from us. But the doctrine evolved and was generalized to deputize various
smaller powers to police their regions on our behalf. In the Persian Gulf, our
principal proxy was Iran.
only problem with Obama’s version of the Nixon doctrine is that Iran today is
not the Westernized, secular, pro-American regional power it was under the shah.
It is radical, clerical, rabidly anti-imperialist, deeply anti-Western. The
regime’s ultimate — and openly declared — strategic purpose is to drive
the American infidel from the region and either subordinate or annihilate
America’s Middle Eastern allies.
has those allies in an understandable panic. Can an American president really
believe that appeasing Iran — territorially, economically, militarily and by
conferring nuclear legitimacy — will moderate its behavior and ideology,
adherence to which despite all odds is now yielding undreamed of success?
went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally,
hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil
prices. After 17 months of serial American concessions, the Iranian economy is
growing again, its forces and proxies are on the march through the Arab Middle
East and it is on the verge of having its nuclear defiance rewarded and
Saudis are resisting being broken to Iranian dominance. They have resumed their
war in Yemen. They are resisting being forced into Yemen negotiations with Iran,
a country that is, in the words of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., “part of
the problem, not part of the solution.”
appears undeterred. He’s determined to make his Iran-first inverted Nixon
Doctrine a reality. Our friends in the region, who for decades have relied on us
to protect them from Iran, look on astonished.