While there is no serious doubt Iran is driving the Middle East crisis, President Biden continues ignoring the strategic implications of this fundamental reality.
As in Ukraine, where the administration worries more about Russian “escalation” than Ukrainian victory, Biden worries more about the Middle East conflict “spreading” beyond Israel and Hamas than about defeating the Iran-directed threats.
There is no sign the White House is prepared to hold Iran accountable for what has already happened to innocent Israelis and Americans, amid increasingly troubling signs Iran’s future actions will also not trigger accountability.
Israel will continue inflicting significant damage to Hamas and other Iranian proxies, but the terrorists’ strategic masters in Tehran are escaping unharmed.
Biden’s rhetoric about Israel’s inherent right of self-defense is robust, and he has, so far, strongly supported increased aid.
But watch for his resolve to weaken under sustained assaults from the Democratic Party’s pro-Palestinian left wing, the international High Minded and the media.
Similarly, Biden and his advisers have taken a tough rhetorical line regarding strikes against Americans by Iran’s proxy forces across the region and moved two carrier battle groups to the eastern Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf.
Unfortunately, however, as with aiding Israel (the “little Satan” to Tehran’s mullahs), the White House is already underperforming in effectively protecting Americans (citizens of the “Great Satan”).
Biden’s rhetoric about preventing attacks on our people, regionally and worldwide, directly conflicts with what is really his highest Middle East priority: avoiding escalation of the Hamas-Israel conflict.
As a result, Biden’s red line of a strong, swift response to attacks on US military forces, foreign-service officers or just plain Americans is disappearing before our eyes.
Look closely enough, and you can still see it: filed right next to Barack Obama’s red line on the consequences for Syria if “we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Governments, even the United States’, have very little leeway to draw and then ignore red lines before their credibility is shredded.
Biden is adding to the credibility gap Obama excavated, and to Donald Trump’s bluster and braggadocio that no one took seriously, leaving America’s reputation today in deep disarray.
Iran’s proxies have continued firing at US bases without retaliation, fortunately with only minor casualties recently.
(One US contractor died of cardiac arrest while sheltering during an alert.)
Undoubtedly, voices within the administration are advising the president not to respond because, after all, no Americans were killed or seriously wounded.
Why risk the conflict spreading or escalating?
The administration itself concedes that Hamas has prevented US citizens from leaving Gaza.
These Americans, and other foreigners denied exit, are effectively Hamas hostages, however much The New York Times and its ilk try to deny the reality.
Some may be leaving shortly, but those remaining are merely bargaining chips for Hamas.
And US citizens are at risk not only in the Middle East but globally.
FBI Director Chris Wray has testified clearly that the terrorist threat here at home remains high because of Iran’s activities and those of its surrogates — but also from terrorists motivated by antisemitism or other extremist views.
The risk of terrorism is not confined to the United States either; it extends to allies like the United Kingdom, where authorities are carefully watching what Iran is up to.
Bluntly stated, however, this excessively cautious White House policy means it is simply waiting for Americans to die before it retaliates forcefully.
Such reluctance to act is supposedly buttressed by lack of evidence directly tying Iran to its proxies’ terrorism, the same excuse Biden has used since Oct. 7, trying to separate Iran from Hamas’ original barbarity.
This approach is mindless — evidence Iran is successfully deterring Biden, just as Russia has deterred him in Ukraine through fear of “escalation.”
They are laughing at Washington in Tehran and at Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi and Iraqi Shia militia headquarters.
Iran shamelessly advocates the anti-American attacks, in effect claiming credit for them and mocking US weakness.
Almost no one in the Middle East has any doubt Tehran is responsible.
This is not only unacceptable but counterproductive even from Biden’s perspective.
At least 31 US citizens have been killed already and Hamas holds perhaps 13 hostage, in the latest counts.
Americans are at risk worldwide.
Instead of acting now to retaliate for what has already happened, and to act pre-emptively to deter future Iranian-directed terrorism, the White House is being intimidated by Iran.
It’s only a matter of time before we pay a terrible human price. Israel is often said to be “the canary in the coal mine” for America in the West.
Biden and his advisers aren’t listening, and Tehran knows it.
This article was first published in the New York Post on November 1, 2023. Click Here to read the original article.