In 2012, Dr. Lamont Colucci was approached by U.S. News and World Report to write a weekly column on foreign policy and national security. This is under the aegis of World Report – Insights, perspectives, and commentary on foreign affairs. View the article on USNews.com
The United Nations Security Council proved its worthlessness once again. It met in emergency session last week to discuss the protests against the Iranian regime. Instead of taking action against the illegitimate Iranian theocracy, the U.N. focused on the positive nature of the Iranian nuclear deal. The Security Council did nothing, yet again, against a tyranny.
This downward focusing has been the consistent problem in international affairs since the end of the Cold War: the inability of leaders, media outlets and academics to appreciate the strategic battlespace. The recent Iranian protests, the Iranian nuclear and missile program, Iranian-North Korean joint activity, Iranian state sponsorship of terrorism, and the existential threat Iran poses to Israel are all part of a triangle: the religious fervor of Iranian Shiism at one angle, the desire for an Iranian empire at another angle, and the regime itself, which makes up the apex. This is the identical problem as with North Korea: If the regime ceases to exist, all the inherent problems cease as well.
The attention paid to Iran until the recent protests and the deaths of at least 22 civilians has been over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is known. This deal has been soundly criticized by many over its verifiability and enforcement mechanisms. Lost in the tumult is Iran’s consistent activity to support Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and the Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah, the rebels in Yemen, and terrorism in Gaza. Focusing on the nuclear deal and even focusing on the protests does not answer the greater question of U.S. foreign policy towards Iran.
Iran is bent on domination of the region, state sponsorship of terrorism and the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Instead of focusing on the “comprehensive” plan for action, there needs to be support of the Trump administration’s goal of a comprehensive Iranian policy.
This is demonstrated by Ambassador Nikki Haley’s remarks at the U.N. that reinforced American foreign policy’s values: “The voices of the Iranian people should be heard. … Human rights are not the gift of governments. They are the inalienable right of the people themselves. Freedom and human dignity cannot be separated from peace and security.”
Those that tout the nuclear deal over the interests of the Iranian people and U.S. foreign policy need to be reminded that this is the one regime in the world that has a marginal chance of making the North Koreans look tolerable. (Although it should be noted, nothing can do that in reality.) The release of an Osama bin Laden intelligence trove has heightened confirmation of the al-Qaida /Iranian connection. Iran employs Hezbollah as a full-fledged terrorist surrogate army. It supports Hamas, the quasi-government and terrorist organization in Gaza, and makes common cause with both al-Qaida and the Taliban when it is convenient. Notably, the number one area of convenience is killing Americans and America’s allies.
Iran is jointly involved with North Korea in nuclear weapons and missile technology development; it continues to prop up the second worst regime in the Middle East, that of Assad in Syria, and continues to destabilize Yemen. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard-Qods Force (the Revolutionary Guard force abroad)-Hezbollah axis is active worldwide, maintaining cells in the United States and Western Europe, bombing synagogues in South America and undermining the governments of Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.
These actions are all part of a strategic goal. The Iranian government is pursuing a “Pax Iranica” in the Persian Gulf, especially in the geographical location knows as the Shiite Crescent stretching from Lebanon in the west, through Iraq, the Gulf States, and eastern Saudi Arabia in the center and Iran to the east. The potential for dominance and disruption (most notable in Iraq) is extreme.
All of this might be bad enough were it not for the type of regime that exercises de facto control over Iran. This “Mullacracy,” which possesses the faint window dressing of democracy, is in reality an abhorrent dictatorship where ultimate power rests with the 12-member Iranian “politburo,” the Islamic Guardian Council, under the thumb of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Sayyid Khamenei. Khamenei controls the armed forces, intelligence services, security services, judiciary, media networks and appoints half of the Islamic Guardian Council. Iran has no substructure of democratic institutions and no civil society.
In philosophical terms, the democratic institutions of the United States and our civil society are founded on immutable natural law concerning human dignity, rights, property and liberty under law, all of which are non-existent in Iran. The problem for the United States is fundamentally the maniacal policies of a repressive rogue regime that abuses its people in a quest for greater control and power.
Simply put, Iran is not only a terror state terrorizing its own populace, but also the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Any deal kept or made with such a regime makes those nations complicit in Iranian actions. Any nation placing this deal over the lives of the protesters is worse than the regime itself.