America has focused much of our national time, energy and money in the past decade to controlling events that transpire beyond our borders. Iraq and Afghanistan are the main theaters of our efforts, but the overall drive has spread across much of the Muslim world. Terrified since the events of 9/11, Americans believe that they’re acting in not only their best interests, but of the world as well.
But, largely, we’re not, and we’re embarking on yet another catastrophic collision course with another screwy country in south Asia, Iran. Iran has been on our shitlist for the past three decades. An Islamic republic in name, it’s financed terrorism throughout the region, much to the detriment of development and progress everywhere. And with their latest saber rattling tactics of arresting, and condemning to death, an American national on patently false espionage charges, threatening to cut off access to the Persian Gulf, and insisting on continuing with their nuclear program, they’re playing right into our paranoid frame of mind, setting the stage perfectly for a coming showdown that has the potential to mire us in yet another fight in which, truly, we don’t have a dog.
Is Iran a criminal kleptocracy, bent on regional hegemony and tone deaf to the moral standards of the world? Without a doubt. But how is that our problem? Really, in the calculus that is our national interest, Iran is more of a belligerent child than anything, able to make a stink, but unable to really effect any kind of meaningful drive for dominance in the region. Their economy is in a shambles, large segments of the country actively despise the ruling mullahs, and a demographic bulge in the number of youths will likely end the theocratic government at some point in the next decade or so.
So, while this may work itself out organically, it will do so if, and only if, the United States doesn’t get it into its head that another war is in order in south Asia. It would retard any progress that will come naturally in Iran, and it would be fighting demons that don’t really pose a threat to our interests. If we’re really concerned about nuclear proliferation, let’s work to secure the Pakistani nuclear arsenal, continue diplomatic pressure against Iran and North Korea. But, for the sake of God, do not, under any circumstances, start a war with Iran. In trying to make things safer, the United States would be making it only more dangerous for everyone involved. And, frankly, we’re broke. Do you really feel like shelling out another trillion dollars for another failed war in Asia? I don’t.