The current “deal” with Iran over its nuclear program is better defined as policy capitulation. To be viable, the deal must have teeth and achieve the endstate desired by the United States. The current “deal” with Iran is neither and ultimately does not stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Therefore, a renegotiation of the treaty is necessary to avoid war. However, war may still be the inevitable result of either doing nothing or trying to force a renegotiation the Iranians are unwilling to engage in. If Iran continues to get closer to a nuclear weapon, there will be a major war irrespective of whether or not the US wants it. Further, if Iran feels cornered, it may simply refuse to renegotiate anything and regionally retaliate against US pressure leading to a military engagement. Iran isn’t a paper tiger and has the ability cause the US significant problems if we do drive a hard bargain. Donald Trump will need to understand this in finite detail or the US will pay in blood and treasure abroad and at home.
For well over a decade, I have been openly advocating for a diplomatic solution to hostilities between Iran in the US. This isn’t because I am living in denial of the fact that the regime in charge of Iran is hostile to the US. It is precisely the opposite. I understand the situation at a level most cannot. A key piece of that understanding is the knowledge of what a conventional war against Iran would cost. The US can certainly win a war against Iran, but the truth is that it would be a pyric victory at best. The US has neither the will nor the capital to prosecute a long war and occupy Iran indefinitely to maintain stability and peace. Short of a swift nuclear strike against key Iranian nodes, the costs of the war in blood and money would bankrupt the US and wreck the global economy. Therefore, all diplomatic avenues must be exhausted. In the end, if Iran will not come to its senses and agree to a deal that prohibits it from obtaining nuclear weapons, then Iran will most likely face annihilation by Israel and or the US as an unavoidable consequence.
To achieve this diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, a hard deal must be made. This will require Iran to truly fear the US will crush it if it does not agree while offering a carrot that includes full diplomatic recognition and trade, which would be beneficial to all parties. The US must put it all on the table in exchange for one thing…no nuclear weapons or associated weapons programs. The continued use of “some” sanctions by the Obama Administration is just stupid. These partial sanctions only obstruct obtaining a clean deal. Either Iran is making good on its promises or it isn’t. If it is, then it should be not be punished. If it isn’t, it needs to be crushed. Any middle ground provides Iran political maneuver space that will prove detrimental to stopping its progress on nuclear technology.
Donald Trump has openly stated he is going to scrap the deal, but like with most of his proclamations, has not offered any suggestions about how he would go about this or what his deal would look like. I fear that Trump, like with many of his other statements, has not properly thought this through. I agree that the deal should be renegotiated, but I fear Trump does not understand that Iran has the ability to not only overrun our embassy in Baghdad, but order its Shia militias in Iraq to attack the small contingent of US forces currently operating in Iraq and Syria. Further, Iran has the ability to bolster the Taliban or other insurgent groups in Afghanistan in exchange for them launching attacks against American forces. The immediate effect, without a massive and unpopular US troop surge to Iraq, would most likely be the US getting overrun and forced out of Iraq completely and the loss of additional American forces in Afghanistan. This would deal the US a massive defeat on both the policy and military fronts.
Trump must understand that as President, his statements and actions have far reaching consequences. The situation with Iran is not just some “business deal” for a building. This is a deal that affects billions of dollars in global commerce and millions of lives. If he goes into the situation shooting from the hip, he is going to have too many costly failures that we as Americans will pay for in blood and money. To date, pointing to the fact the man can’t even properly spell simple words in his Twitter posts and looks like a complete moron, I have real fear he is not getting properly advised and his tough talk will quickly be found as bankrupt as his business deals. Nonetheless, like I have offered previous administrations, if anyone on his staff is willing to listen, I am willing to help. To date though, I have very little reason to be optimistic. Until shown otherwise, I wouldn’t scrap your preps and would continue to prepare as if things are going to get far worse before they improve.
By Guiles Hendrik
December 18, 2016