Iran poses a major regional threat in the Middle East. But it is much more complex than that. They actually hold the keys to stability in areas way beyond the Middle East. Iran is a major force that places pressure on Israel, but also on Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and other countries in the region. They supply weapons to their proxies that are situated on Israel’s borders and their proxies use these weapons to apply pressure on Israel.
Iran is still Russia’s key to a foothold in the Middle East
Throughout the 1980’s, Iran was the growing concern in the Middle East. Back in 1979, the revolution of the Ayatollahs turned a gradually modernizing country into a radical Islamic regime with significant resources to fund their goals. Iran’s Ayatollahs made it clear that their value system stood in stark opposition to the values of the Western world. But the dominance of the United States and the unraveling of the Soviet Union were the major forces that shifted the New World Order and placed Iran in a different situation over the course of the 90’s. They lost the power of the Soviet Union as an ally. Russia was too busy reestablishing it’s power structure to focus on foreign policy issues.
But in the last decade, Russia has reemerged as a world power – despite being weaker than the United States. Vladimir Putin has shown in numerous ways his intentions of expanding the Soviet Union wherever possible. Back in 2012, Mitt Romney was asked which country poses the greatest danger to the United States. When he said Russia, and not Iran, North Korea, or China, that raised a few eyebrows. But he may have been right. (At this point, China looks like they may be the larger threat – but that may take another decade or two.)
In the coming years, Russia will probably move to establish it’s influence with any country that is willing to work with it – whether it’s Ukraine, Georgia, Iran, or Lithuania. And, whenever it can, the Russian bear will swallow up a swath of land. But more probably, it will ally with any country that is willing to stand in opposition to the West. It is not out of the question that one day there will be several hot spots over the world that grow and fester into major issues – if the United States stands on the sidelines with an isolationist approach. That is one of the things that led up to World War II. IF back in 1933, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union had worked together to strangle the Nazi leadership in Germany, then the massive military build up of the next 6 years would have not happened. Germany would have been a paper tiger. This seems to be the attitude of the Trump administration – strangle and strangle a country economically that poses a regional threat. And if that doesn’t work, then be prepared to attack a weakened country that still threatens world stability. That probably isa prudent approach. The question is if President Trump’s whims will overcome the sound logic that seems to be dictating the foreign policy until now.