This is one of those good news/bad news stories.
Here’s the good. The U.S. has deployed two carrier strike groups and a Marine force to the Gulf region. That’s a tremendous amount of very versatile, capable, and lethal power. This is sufficient force to conduct a sustained air campaign and to prevent or respond to attacks on Americans—e.g., the 2012 assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, dead.
The U.S. doesn’t have a large footprint in Israel and surrounding countries. Its citizens and diplomatic and military facilities are dispersed throughout the region. Any of these could be targets as Hamas, its supporters, and Iran stir up anti-Americanism as part of their war on Israel. Already, Iranian surrogates have launched dozens of attacks on U.S. military posts in Iraq and Syria—a campaign no doubt orchestrated by the IRGC.
It is prudent to have capacity in the region to protect and assist all these Americans.
Here’s the bad news. Biden isn’t using these forces in the right way at all. His policy is to do the minimum possible to make the threat go away.
First, he basically waved his finger and muttered “don’t, don’t.” After repeated attacks by Iranian surrogates on U.S. bases, he authorized a few minimalistic retaliatory strikes—to no effect. The pace of attacks on U.S. bases remains the same. So now Biden says “if” they kill any Americans, the U.S. response will be more severe. The problem is that this allows Tehran to control the pace of escalation. Biden is stuck responding and reacting, always letting Tehran and its minions land the first punch.
What is really needed from the U.S. is escalation dominance—bold actions that will terrify the Iranians and scare them off, like when the last president whacked Qasem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC for orchestrating a campaign of attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Biden should level every shack in Syria connected to Iran… like, yesterday.
The U.S. should not only smack a bunch of targets, it should also slip Tehran a target list of people and property that are next.
Meanwhile, the White House should get cracking on a strategic Plan B for Iran. Engagement is clearly not working.
Tehran is perilously close to having the capacity to declare nuclear breakout. Indeed, it may already be there. Biden is getting ready to walk into a national election, and if he thinks having a nuclear Iran pop up his watch will help his chances, he needs to guess again.
Further, it is more than clear that he can’t bribe the Iranians out of this course. Biden needs to do a 180-degree policy shift and really start pressuring the regime to fear for its survival. If he fails to do this, the mullahs will run all over him.
It would also be super-helpful if Biden made it 1,000 percent clear that he will make no attempt to restrain Israel—not in Gaza, not on their northern flank, nor in dealing with Iran.
Beyond that, Biden needs to roll up his sleeves and start recruiting the Europeans to take a similar “get tough” stance on Iran.
Here at home, he must secure the border and get Homeland Security and the FBI to stop investigating moms at school boards and monitoring conservative social media posts and, instead, get to work tracking down terrorists.
There is no telling when Tehran, Hamas or some other Islamist terrorist group will take their shot at another 9/11. The two-year lapse in border security has left us far too vulnerable to that.