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Washington's Dangerous Fixation on Iran

June 6, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

United States President Donald Trump appears to worry a lot
about Iran, a concern that is shared by his secretary of state and
national security adviser. They were so worried about a nuclear
Iran that they revoked the international agreement known as the
Iran deal, which was supposed to prevent Tehran from developing
nuclear weapons. Instead, Trump now demands Iran’s de facto
surrender. However, the administration is so far is backed only by
Israel and Saudi Arabia, which want America to do their dirty
work.

Why is the Trump administration so fearful of Tehran? Iran is a
struggling regional power. It lags well behind its competitors in
economic and military clout. Even its greatest enemy, Saudi Arabia,
dismisses the Islamic Republic as being no match.

Additionally, Iran clearly is not in America’s league. The U.S.
has a vastly bigger economy, far more powerful military, the
globe’s dominant culture and is allied with most of the
industrialized world—at least until President Donald Trump
initiated a misguided trade war against Washington’s allies.

Nor does the Middle East matter much to America anymore. The
U.S. is becoming the world’s leading energy producer, and other
sources are being developed, diminishing the importance of the
region’s oil. Israel has become a regional superpower and is
cooperating with Saudi Arabia, eliminating their need for
Washington’s protection. What little remains of the Islamic State
should be left to those it threatened- virtually every other state
in the region. Furthermore, Syria is a tragedy that is mostly best
left to its neighbors.

Instead of treating Iran
as the locus of all evil, Washington needs to develop a more
balanced policy for the region.

Even claims that Iran is a terrorist state aren’t true, at least
in the usual sense that most Americans understand. Instead,
Washington complaints are about Iran’s support for Hezbollah and
Hamas, two quasi-governments which periodically battle Israel.

Would it be better if Tehran cut off its support for them? Of
course, but what Middle Eastern power doesn’t meddle in the affairs
of others? The list of Middle East actors that have acted up and
intervened in each other’s affairs is a long one.

Israel routinely bombs Syria, having blown up that nation’s
nuclear reactor and more recently having targeted Iranian forces
fighting on behalf of the Syrian government. Israel also
assassinated a Hamas operative in Dubai while maintaining the more
than half a century-long occupation of Palestinian territories.

Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen, sent troops to Bahrain to support
their dictatorial monarchy, sent money to Egypt to help their
dictatorial military regime, backed efforts to overthrow Syria’s
Bashar al-Assad and even kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister. Riyadh
also continues …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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