The Wall Street Journal: War in the Middle East is closer than we think


The Wall Street Journal posted article by Walter Russell, who’s a researcher at the American Hudson Institute, reveals that he interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week when he was participating in the Tikva Israeli security conference in Tel Aviv.

Russell revealed at the his article that he came out believing that the United States is closer to getting involved in another war in the Middle East than most people in Washington understand, and that minimizing this danger requires a rapid and comprehensive change in policy from an administration that is still struggling to understand the most serious international crisis since the late 1930s.

Russell pointed out that the administration of US President Joe Biden came to power with an elegant and coherent geopolitical strategy.

It wanted to counter China’s challenge by driving a wedge between China and its fellow corrective powers.

The US administration wanted to stop Russia by accommodating President Vladimir Putin, and to stabilize the Middle East by reviving the nuclear deal with Iran even as it pursued aggressive trade and security policies to check the rise of China.

He added: From the beginning, the US administration knew that the US-led world order was in trouble, but it underestimated the severity of the threat and misunderstood its causes to the Biden team’s credit, it saw China’s challenge clearly from day one, but failed to understand how weak the foundations of US power were or how far corrective powers, China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria were willing to work together to weaken US hegemony.

Two years later, the Biden administration is grappling to manage the failure of its original design.

Its aggressive rhetoric and policy toward China have intensified China’s hostility, but instead of confronting an isolated China in a quiet world, the administration is facing simultaneous confrontations in Europe and the Far East.

Russia isn’t stopping, Iran isn’t calm, and the three Revisionists are coordinating their strategies and messages to an unprecedented degree.

Worse still, Iran’s march toward nuclear weapons, along with its deepening partnership with Russia, is steadily moving the Middle East closer to a war likely to embroil the United States, one that the Biden administration desperately wants to avoid.

Russell believed that for Putin, the major military confrontation in the Middle East would be an absolute blessing.

Oil prices will rise, filling Moscow’s coffers and putting pressure on Europe.

The Pentagon will have to divide the weapons available between Ukraine and its allies in the Middle East.

The balance in the Taiwan Strait will shift largely in China’s favor.

Rising energy prices will increase inflation in the United States just as Biden tries to convince anti-war Democrats to support another US military project in the Middle East.

And while in an ideal world, Russia might oppose an Iranian nuclear weapon, under the current circumstances where Putin desperately needs Iran to help disrupt US strategy, Putin may decide to help Iran cross the nuclear threshold.

Russell explained that the Russian president doesn’t need to go that far.

He could, simply by increasing Iran’s military capabilities that limit Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, prompt Israel to launch a preemptive strike that would trigger a regional war.

The United States cannot force Iran and Russia to avoid actions that lead to the outbreak of a new war in the Middle East, but strong policy on our part may deter them.

Unfortunately for the Biden administration, this involves precisely the kind of hardline stance on the Middle East that many Democrats, including senior Biden officials, loathe deeply.

The US approach to Saudi Arabia will have to shift from a fist bump to a heartfelt embrace.

Drone attacks and other provocations by Iran and its allies against the Saudis, Emiratis, and their neighbors must be met with the kind of American military response that leaves no doubt about our resolve to prevail.

Russell considered that the best way to avoid war, and to reduce direct US involvement in the event of one breaking out, is to ensure that our allies in the Middle East have the strength to defend themselves.

We must make it clear that we will ensure the victory of our allies in the event of hostilities… Nothing else will do that.

He pointed out that the US administration is moving slowly in the right direction in the Middle East, but time isn’t on its side.

Wishful thinking and strategic incompetence led the bipartisan foreign policy establishment first to ignore the problem and then to appease the rising challengers of the post-Cold War world order.

The writer believed that the Biden administration is currently facing the consequences of a generational failure in US foreign policy.

Along with the US foreign policy community as a whole, we must wish Team Biden success as he struggles to come to terms with a world he largely failed to anticipate.

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