Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dealing With Syria and North Korea Also Deals With Iran

Is Iran next after a strike on Syria's Assad and threats to North Korea? One, it is a little early to talk about "next" when neither Syria nor North Korea is solved. Two, harming Syria and North Korea does hurt Iran.

Sure, we fired some cruise missiles at Assad's air base. What's with the "next" talk?

What does this mean for Iran? President Trump said many times that the nuclear agreement that the Obama administration negotiated was flawed. So there is no surprise that he intends to do away with the agreement.

At best, the strike was a signal that we are serious about dealing with Assad--not the completion of dealing with Assad.

North Korea is farther down that road of dealing with them.

But if you must talk about Iran, dealing with Assad will deprive Iran of a power projection platform to support Hezbollah and radicals in Gaza.

And dealing with North Korea likely deprives Iran of a subcontractor in the pursuit of nuclear weapons. If North Korea is truly dealt with, it is possible that keeping the otherwise horrible Iran nuclear deal in place but enforcing it ruthlessly and relentlessly will salvage something from that deal.

This type of advantage also repairs our ability to coordinate an Arab-Israel coalition to oppose Iran, which the Obama administration seemed determined to empower at the expense of our Arab allies and Israel in their futile effort to make Iran a responsible regional power.

So no "next" here. Try "also."

UPDATE: I'll also note that failing to deal with Iran makes it more necessary to deal with North Korea.

If you recall, I've long been of the opinion that regime change in Iran should be our goal while containment could be possible with North Korea, reflecting the difference between a Shia Islamist government that might use (directly or indirectly) nukes to get lots of virgins in Paradise and a poverty-stricken dynastic thug regime that lacks appeal much beyond the ruling elite that wants to survive.

But that logic falls apart if the Islamist regime continues and the thug regime can sell nukes to the Islamist regime that has the money to buy nuclear weapons or technology.

Failure to eliminate the mullah regime makes it more critical to deny nuclear technology to the dynastic thug regime, which may come down to using force after hoping the race between regime (or state) collapse and nuclear capability would be won by the former.

Have a super sparkly day.

UPDATE: And almost as if on cue:

Iran will ask "no one's permission" to build up its missile capability, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday, in what appeared to be a defiant response to U.S. efforts to hamper the Iranian military.

How's that day going?