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The world is on the brink of a nuclear holocaust and Biden is blind to the risk

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The conventional wisdom is wrong. We need rational, controlled escalation from the Western powers in the face of Iranian aggression, not more of the sickening appeasement, delusion and cowardice of the past few days. The regime needs to be punished for its monstrous war-mongering, not mollified and placated by a bunch of Western ignoramuses who confuse weakness for virtue. 

If Joe Biden were a serious president, he would announce that the mullahs in Tehran have crossed a red line, that they are an existential menace to civilised nations. He would declare that enough is enough, that no country can shoot hundreds of drones and missiles at one of its neighbours with impunity, that no government can go on funding terrorism, rape, torture and murder on an industrial scale. He would understand the need to deter other rogue states through a show of strength. 

He would state that the Iranian regime must be treated like the global pariah that it has become, that all of its proxies must be destroyed, and that, above all, it will never be allowed to get anywhere near nuclear weapons. He would put together a coalition, including as many of Iran’s Arab neighbours as possible. He would impose extreme sanctions. He would allow Israel to finish off Hamas. He would help hit Hezbollah. 

If all else fails, he would use American military power to destroy Iran’s nuclear’s installations, just as Israel bombed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 and the Al-Kibar site in Syria in 2007. He would not invade Iran or impose regime change: that would be up to Iran’s wonderful, long-suffering people. But he would contain and neutralise one of the key players in the axis of evil, and make the world a safer place. 

In the real world, in common with David Cameron, Biden clings to a policy of appeasement when it comes to Iran and its proxies, even though this strategy failed to contain fascistic, imperialistic powers in the 1930s and will fail to do so again in the 2020s. This isn’t even a tactic to buy time while an actual plan is put into place: our politicians are praying that today’s crisis will somehow solve itself. 

It won’t. The West’s refusal to face reality means that it is increasingly likely that Iran will eventually gain a nuclear weapon, and quite possibly use it against Israel, itself a nuclear power, with the explicit view of triggering a millenarian moment. The world is careering towards a three or four-pronged third world war involving Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea: the Islamic Republic is the weakest link, the least difficult one to deal with today, if we had the sense to act. 

Instead, the Iron Dome makes it easier for the West to turn a blind eye to endless attempted war crimes by Iran’s proxies. If an Iran-funded missile fired at Israeli civilian centres is intercepted and doesn’t kill anybody, we can pretend it never happened. If Israel strikes back at rocket launchers and kills some Hamas fighters, it can be blamed for a “disproportionate response”, demonised as the real aggressor, making it even easier for the West to downplay Iranian aggression. It’s a Kafkaesque state of affairs, where actions and intent don’t count. 

This madness has been pushed to new extremities this week: in what would ordinarily be deemed a historic act of war, Iran fired off hundreds of ballistic and cruise missiles on Israel. Yet because 99 per cent were shot down, the official line is that the attack must have been merely “performative”, and can be committed to the memory hole. Tehran warned various countries that it was about to strike – not least because it would be violating their air space – but telling somebody in advance that you are going to attempt to murder them is no defence. 

Many commentators also pretend that Iran’s act of war was mere “retaliation”, and that the Israelis started it all by bombing a building next to Iran’s Syrian consulate in a supposed violation of international rules. The truth is that those killed were top figures in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (the IRGC, an organisation rightly sanctioned as terrorist by the US but, scandalously, not the UK), and no diplomats were harmed. 

In any case, Iran has been at war with Israel for years. The real escalation came on October 7. Far from respecting diplomatic sanctity, Iran and Hezbollah were behind the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina in the 1990s, as a court confirmed this week. Yet Westerners who should know better find it convenient to swallow Iran’s fake narrative. 

They instruct Israel that it should turn the other cheek, that the matter should be closed, that – as Lord Cameron put it – they should “think with their head as well as their heart”, that – in Biden’s phrasing – they should “take the win”. Since when is being attacked with ballistic missiles, something that has never happened to any Western country, a “win”? 

Israel will be slammed for “escalating” when it responds. There will be more victim-blaming, blatant double-standards, rewriting of history, special rules that apply only to Israel, and yet more normalisation of extreme behaviour towards the only Jewish state, all in order to allow the West to avoid acting against Iran. 

Biden’s “strategy” has been to suck up to Tehran since he was elected. He handed over billions of dollars in ransom payments. He renewed a sanctions waiver which allows the regime to access a $10 billion pot from selling electricity to Iraq. He has permitted Iran’s oil output to surge to a five-and-a-half-year high by failing to properly enforce the sanctions regime and allowing sales to China. There is no deterrence left at all: Iran can do anything it wants, and can even count on Biden putting pressure on Israel not to hit back. 

America has no meaningful long-term plan to contain Tehran, or to destroy Hamas, the Houthis or Hezbollah, or to deradicalise the Palestinian territories to ensure that, in time, a new leadership emerges, willing to recognise Israel’s existence, paving the way for a viable two-state solution. It’s head in the sand stuff. 

The message, telegraphed to every other dictator, is that the West is so desperate to avoid any further confrontations that it will turn a blind eye to almost anything. Yet those who seek peace at all cost inevitably end up at war.

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