April 14, 2024 | New York Post

The epic fail of Biden’s doctrine vs. Iran — no consequences

April 14, 2024 | New York Post

The epic fail of Biden’s doctrine vs. Iran — no consequences

President Biden needs to face reality: His policies of appeasing Iran while waging political warfare against Israel led Tehran to conclude it could launch a massive attack on Israel and face no consequences.

As Biden again tries to hold Israel back from defending itself while maintaining both United States and United Nations sanctions relief for Iran, he risks confirming the ayatollah’s calculation — and guaranteeing a more dangerous future for America and our democratic allies.

Iran’s weekend attack against Israel was not symbolic or performative — it was an unprecedented and unacceptable act of war.

There’s no other way to characterize the launch of 120 ballistic missiles, alongside 30 cruise missiles and 170 suicide drones, against a country the size of New Jersey — especially when the attack was committed by the state sponsor of terrorism already waging a multifront proxy war against that country.

Two questions now loom largest: Why did this happen and what is to be done?

Over the past six months, Washington has pressured Jerusalem not to escalate against Iran’s terror proxy in southern Lebanon, despite the daily launch of missiles, rockets and drones that has forced towns across northern Israel to evacuate.

Hezbollah’s war on Israel has been normalized due to the lack of severe consequences imposed on the group and its sponsor.

The same can be said for the near-daily missile and drone attacks on the Red Sea by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, where the US won’t even put the group on an official terror list let alone impose true military costs on its leaders.

All the while, the White House has been showering Tehran with access to cash in hopes of incentivizing better behavior — a policy more commonly known as appeasement.

America today does not enforce its oil sanctions on Iran, allowing Iranian crude to freely flow to China and other Asian destinations.

Just last month, Biden renewed a sanctions waiver giving Iran access to upwards of $10 billion to be used as budget support.

Biden’s desperation for a renewed nuclear deal was never clearer than in October, just days after the Hamas massacre, when he allowed the UN’s missile embargo on Iran to expire rather than work with European allies to trigger the “snapback” of UN sanctions — a mechanism to restore all multilateral restrictions on Iran without a Russian or Chinese veto.

Oct. 7 accountability

Iran has faced no consequences from the US for Oct. 7, despite years of funding, training and arming Hamas.

Nor has Iran faced consequences for directing missile attacks against Israel from Lebanon, missile attacks against the US Navy from Yemen and missile and drone attacks on both Israel and US forces from Iraq and Syria — even after the murder of three American soldiers.

Instead, the president’s public wrath in recent weeks has been aimed at Israel: pressuring Israel to halt its campaign to destroy Hamas in Gaza, threatening a cutoff of US support, doing nothing to stop Canada from halting arms sales and emboldening Democrats in Congress to call for conditioning American aid.

It’s quite logical for the mullahs to examine the record and conclude a strategic-level strike on Israel would end in two results: zero consequences for Tehran and pressure on Israel not to respond. As of this moment, they are being proven right.

Israel, however, has no choice but to respond forcefully to this attack — imposing costs high enough on Tehran to turn the ayatollah’s calculation into a miscalculation.

Normalizing ballistic and cruise missile strikes from Iranian territory — whether they succeed in breaking through Israeli missile defenses or not — will establish a new and outrageously high baseline for future escalation. It may also inform the regime’s calculus on whether and when to pursue a nuclear breakout, doubting there is any level of misbehavior that could break Western appeasement policies.

Stop Tehran cash flow 

The president reportedly wants Israel to hold off on a military retaliation so he can pursue diplomatic options instead.

But if those options exclude economic and political costs for the regime, Biden will simply be putting lipstick on a policy of accommodation.

The president should immediately freeze the $10 billion made available to Iran through his own sanctions waiver — money that’s accessible right now in bank accounts in Iraq, Oman and Europe.

He should order a crackdown on Chinese imports of Iranian crude, too. If he refuses, the Senate should finally vote on two House-passed bills that would force his hand on both matters.

On the multilateral stage, the White House should join with the United Kingdom, France and Germany in triggering the snapback of UN sanctions and press Britain, Canada and the European Union to finally designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Canada should be pressured to lift its arms embargo on Israel, too.

Both the US and Israel must recognize Iran carried out its attack despite a week of warnings from both countries. That is not a “win” — that’s a national-security failure, which should compel an immediate change in strategy.

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is a former National Security Council official and senior US Senate aide.


Hezbollah Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran Nuclear Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism Sanctions and Illicit Finance