Biden’s incoherence on Iran

There’s very little Joe Biden has done as president with which I agree. However, I agree with his policy of striking Iranian-backed militias whenever they attack American troops.

According to the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s policy was to retaliate only if the Iranian-backed attacks resulted in American deaths. If so, I think Biden’s policy is better.

One sign that Biden is on point with this policy comes from the protests of the left. For example, lefty congressman Peter DeFazio moaned that Biden’s latest airstrikes “were not authorized by Congress and are therefore unconstitutional.” The notion that an American president must go to Congress before retaliating against isolated attacks on our troops is ludicrous.

Some Democrats also fret that Biden’s policy reflects a policy of protecting Syrian oil fields from pro-Iranian forces. In my view, there’s nothing wrong with such a policy. But Biden denies that our troops are in the region for that purpose. The administration says they are there as a “stabilizing presence” in the former heart of the ISIS caliphate.

Stripped of its euphemistic quality, that’s a better reason for their presence. We ought not turn the area over to our sworn enemies in Tehran.

But Biden’s policy of standing up to Iran in portions of Iraq and Syria is no substitute for the strong anti-Iran stance of the Trump administration. Biden is intent on reentering the Iran nuclear deal, and seems willing to appease the mullahs to accomplish this.

What’s the point of having troops in Iraq and Syria to limit Iran’s influence if we’re going to facilitate Iranian aggression throughout the region by enriching the regime — whether directly in cash or indirectly through the lifting of sanctions? Indeed, some of these assets would likely go to the very militias that attack American troops.

Biden would say the point is to make sure Iran doesn’t develop nuclear weapons. But the nuclear deal won’t stop Iran from doing so at a time of its choosing. That time might be sooner, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, or later under his probable successor, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi or someone like him.

The U.S. did not negotiate seriously with Iran regarding its nuclear program until the election of Hassan Rouhani as president in mid-2013. It was only then that John Kerry engaged with Iran, declaring that with the new president, there were now “very different” possibilities for progress towards a deal. It was only then that Barack Obama called the Iranian president, initiating the highest level contact between the U.S. and Iran since 1979.

Now Rouhani is gone, replaced by Raisi. Biden’s adviser Jake Sullivan declares this fact largely irrelevant because Khomeini is the real boss. But Rouhani’s election was relevant to the Obama-Biden administration’s decision to engage Iran in 2013, or so it claimed, even though Khomeini, the “supreme leader,” had the same power he exerts now.

The Democrats are playing bait and switch for the purpose of doing what they wanted to do all along — appease Iran. Occasional strikes against militias in Syria and Iraq appear to be mostly for show.