Weakness Invites War With Iran

The death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi may further unsettle the region, but it doesn’t change a fundamental reality: The U.S. has fallen into Iran’s trap. Tehran needed only seven months of war to accomplish a primary strategic objective—dividing the U.S. and Israel. The Biden administration has accelerated a potential rupture with the Jewish state that overwhelmingly benefits America’s enemies in the Eurasian axis. The result will be more war.

After months of negotiations and largely empty diplomatic discussion, Israel moved into Rafah last week. In response, the Biden administration said it had paused various military support shipments to Israel. Although these U.S. actions are unlikely to curtail the Israeli military’s operational performance, the Biden administration has taken broader, more dangerous diplomatic steps. It also extended a waiver that allows the U.S. to sell weapons to countries boycotting Israel, including Lebanon—whose government is increasingly subordinated to Hezbollah and Iran—and Qatar, Iran’s crucial financial conduit in the Gulf. The U.S. may well abstain from future United Nations Security Council resolutions on Palestinian statehood, allowing them to pass.

Iran understands that it can’t defeat Israel militarily. Israel and Iran are separated by 600 miles and multiple countries. Despite the sophistication of Iran’s missile program, its still-improving nuclear capacity, and its solidified military-technical relationship with Russia, Iran can’t deploy large-scale armored units along the Israeli border and invade. Nor can Iran’s proxies, numerous as they may be, credibly threaten to take and hold Israeli territory given the Israel Defense Forces’ conventional superiority and well-designed plans to defend the Golan Heights.

Rather than conquer Israel, Iran’s objective is to destroy the state’s political character—that is, to convert Israel from a state that is democratic and Jewish into a non-Jewish, likely nondemocratic state primarily populated with Iran’s Islamist partners. This requires Iran to sap the strength of Israeli society.

Read the rest at WSJ.

Seth Cropsey is the founder and president of Yorktown Institute.

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