The Pompeo Plan: Present Iran With Hurdles It Won’t Jump

    Doug Bandow

    Security, Middle East

    Pompeo presented an offer that Tehran cannot accept: surrender your sovereignty and defense and the United States will end sanctions.

    Washington’s fixation on Iran, exhibited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Monday speech, has prevented U.S. policymakers from developing a less toxic relationship with Tehran. The current Iranian regime will never be a friend of America, but neither nation benefits from a state of permanent hostility. And contrary to administration claims, Tehran poses little threat to the United States.

    Despite Washington’s perverse fear-mongering regarding Iran, the latter is militarily weak, economically decrepit, and politically divided. Washington’s globe-spanning armed forces spend almost forty-three times as much as does Iran’s military. Saudi Arabia alone devotes nearly five times as much on defense. Although Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman compared Iran’s supreme leader to Adolf Hitler, MbS, as he is called, admitted that: “Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world. The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy. Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.”

    The vision of vast new Persian empire in the making is among the worst fantasies propagated by Washington and its Mideast allies. As MbS observed, Iran is a minor-league power. It gains influence only through the weakness of those around it, which is why Riyadh fears Tehran. Even Iran’s antiquated theology looks good compared to a system of absolute monarchy most noted for its licentiousness and corruption.

    Elsewhere Tehran has made gains where most countries would prefer not to make gains: with the ravaged nation of Syria, which remains at war and faces years of reconstruction; the perpetually divided nation of Lebanon, which fears return to sectarian conflict; the devastated nation of Yemen, which, like Humpty Dumpty, has fragmented, perhaps beyond repair; and Iraq, courtesy an American invasion, which replaced a secular dictatorship with Shia authoritarians. What fearful threat to America or anyone else could Tehran mount with this tragic assemblage?

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