The Biden Administration has an Iran problem mostly of their own making. Having been handed a Middle East in a general state of peace by his predecessor, President Joe Biden went about undoing his predecessor’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and its terrorist proxies as well as dismantling the incipient Abraham Accords, which attempted to unite Sunni Arab power and Israeli power together in a coalition aimed at containing Iran’s growing power.
To compound matters, the forty-sixth president then went about undermining both Israel and Saudi Arabia for alleged human rights violations while trying to restart the disastrous Iran nuclear weapons agreement that former President Barack Obama had crafted and his Republican successor, Donald J. Trump, had rightly abandoned.
After three years of empowering the mullahs, distancing the United States from its traditional allies in the region, and signaling overall weakness to America’s rivals in the Greater Middle East, the collapse of the American-led order in this most geostrategically vital region has occurred.
What replaces it will be a devastating, Hobbesian system in which ethno-religious animosities are overlaid by the apocalyptic, zero-sum politics of nuclear weapons.
None of this was necessary or even inevitable.
The Biden Problem
The world today teeters on the precipice of a third world war precisely because, sadly, the American people got the 2020 Election wrong.
In life, there are rarely do-overs. Even if the country evicted the current occupant of the White House, who has messed everything up since he became president, the likelihood that we could get back to the quieter times of the Trump era Middle East is unlikely.
Events have begun which have few off-ramps remaining.
In the wake of his historic trip to Israel, amidst all the praise that the mostly sycophantic Western press heaped upon Biden for even going into a warzone, few appeared able to point out that the Hamas-Israel War would not have happened had it not been for the feckless and contradictory Biden foreign policy toward the Middle East.
Empowering an enemy like Iran (and refusing to point out that it is, in fact, an enemy) while undermining America’s partners in the region, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, is no way to avoid a war. Biden’s policies created the conditions for this war—and a wider one—to occur.
The chattering classes insist that Biden looks strong and presidential after his recent trip to Israel. They gloss over the fact that the crisis was of his own making. To then reward the president with effusive praise for offering unprecedented levels of aid to Israel, in response to a crisis that Biden’s policies made possible, is incredibly disingenuous.
But here we are.
And while Biden’s speech in Israel was decent, even he could not help but to reassert the Big Lie being bandied about by Hamas and its supporters in the West about how Israel supposedly blew up a hospital in Gaza and killed 500 people.
That, by the way, has been totally debunked. It was, in fact, the terrorists who had a rocket intended to strike civilian targets in Israel misfire and find its way into a nearby hospital.
But the terrorists blamed Israel. And many in the Western press and governments dutifully spread the lie.
With Biden in the Mideast, It’s Always One Step Forward, Two Back
More importantly, despite whatever diplomatic support and aid Biden has authorized for the besieged people of Israel, he and others in the West have led a tiresome chorus demanding that Israel act with restraint in its retaliation against Hamas.
During his speech in Israel, Biden, the arsonist who set fire to the region, had the temerity to insist that Israel follow the laws of war.
Never mind that the laws of war say little about handling terrorists. At some point, such banditry and barbarism of the kind that Hamas displayed when they attacked Israeli civilians must be crushed mercilessly.
Beyond the Hamas-Israel War, though, the United States is again presented with a Middle East that is teetering on the brink of a devastating war—the likes of which could rope in American forces, if we are not careful.
There is still a pathway forward that does not involve America surrendering the region to bloodthirsty Iran or replicating the worst excesses of the Iraq War.
The Requirements for Mideast Peace
All peace requires is for Biden to restore presidential support for the Abraham Accords, to resume the Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign directed against Iran, and for the Biden Administration to stop belittling Israel and Saudi Arabia in public for purported human rights abuses.
If Biden truly wants to stand alongside Israel, then stop chiding them about proportional responses before Israel has even struck at those responsible for the worst terrorist attack in Israel’s history. Biden should demand the crazies in his party stop swearing fealty to Hamas and sharing their propaganda.
What’s more, if Biden wants peace to reign in the region, he needs to use American power and leverage over the Sunni Arab states to get them to both align their security interests more closely with Israel (to contain and deter an expansionist Iran), while forcing these Arab states to take in Palestinian refugees.
Failure to achieve any of these things will result in a wider war that the Americans will get drawn into at precisely the time that the United States cannot afford to get embroiled in yet another mindless Mideast war.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense.