By Andrew Lappin
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
In view of Iran’s flagrant aggression, it seems like some Democrats are beginning to perceive the liability of failing to talk tough.
In a strongly worded letter dated Nov. 14, 2017, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), along with 43 bipartisan co-signers, urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take immediate action to prevent Iran from becoming permanently entrenched in Syria by way of its proxy Hezbollah.
Could it be that the congressman has come to see that the Iran nuclear deal, vigorously embraced by his Democratic colleagues in 2015, instead of making the world a safer place, has in fact had the exact opposite effect? Because the mullahs have denied inspectors access to military installations, it is not even possible to appraise the extent of Iran’s compliance.
But the compliance loophole has become secondary. The agreement removed economic sanctions that had been successfully suffocating Iran and thwarting its hegemonic capability. With the lifting of the sanctions, Iran was thrown a lifeline. Hardware like those 150,000 missiles that Hezbollah has pointed at Israel, that Schneider now bemoans, actually cost money!
In 2016, with the economic chokehold removed for just a single year, Iran’s economy of $1.45 trillion grew at the coveted rate of 6.5 percent. That’s just one year, and it fails to take into account the explosion of activity that will result from the plethora of capital goods that will now flow freely into Iran. Eighty percent of Iran’s exports are oil-related and 50-60 percent of government expenditure is derived from oil revenues. Iran forecasts that the lifting of sanctions will enable a doubling of oil revenue.
The age of “credible posturing” has expired. With Hezbollah so comfortably embedded from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, exactly how do Schneider and his colleagues envision convincing Hezbollah to fold up its tents?
Rather, isn’t it far more likely that those congressmen who in 2015 failed to comprehend the impact of infusing a sworn enemy with billions in surplus cash, will again fail to acknowledge the necessity for counterforce?
The recent opposition, along party lines, to the idea of reinstituting sanctions on Iran is discouraging testament to feckless dereliction of duty. The menacing specter of a nuclear Iran now hangs ominously over our heads as Iran, undeterred by credible military constraint, puts the finishing touches on a regional bridgehead that was begun during the Lebanese civil war in 1976 and upon completion will span from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.
The incalculable strategic shift that will result from this grand territorial opening, in conjunction with Iran’s nuclear capability, is stunning. As all of this unfolds before us, one must question how it is that the strategic imperative of rebuilding a credible deterrent capability could once again be subordinated to political gamesmanship. If ever voters – especially those concerned for Israel’s security – were inclined to make a case for willful ignorance, this would be it.