Does Iran Realize Its Own Growing Danger?

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Iran understandably believes it is riding quite high.

It is flush with cash. It hints it almost has the bomb—and might use it soon.

The Iranians are bragging about their new tyrannical allies like Russia and China.

Iran boasts of now being the self-proclaimed leader of jihad on behalf of all Muslims. It gloats that it is feeding the Russian war-machine by exporting its own drones.

Tehran proudly supplied and funded Hamas’s savage murdering of Jewish children in Israel.

It eggs on its other pawn Hezbollah to launch a reputed 100,000-Iranian-supplied missiles into Israel.

It constantly provokes the U.S.—mostly by veiled threats to unleash anti-American terrorists in the Middle East and perhaps inside America itself.

But above all, Iran is giddy over the appeasing Biden administration.

Biden resurrected the unhinged Obama administration plan of empowering a “Shiite crescent”—of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, including Hamas.

This American idea of a radical bloc would supposedly birth “creative tension” and thus on autopilot balance the dominance of our friends in Israel and the Gulf regimes with our new Iranian clients. Yet the logical result of such madness was the massacre we saw in Israel.

Biden put pro-Iranian envoy Robert Malley—now under FBI investigation—in charge of begging Iran to restart the disastrous Iran Deal.

The anemic Biden administration has reportedly replied only four times to some 83 Iranian attacks on Americans.

Biden lifted sanctions allowing Iran to garner tens of billions of dollars in new oil sales—to be routed to all of Israel’s terrorist enemies.

He sought to pay ransom to Iran to get back five American hostages—at a cost of $1.2 billion per captive and a green-light for Tehran to take more.

The Biden administration restored in aggregate $1 billion in aid to the West Bank and Gaza, despite the long history of radical Palestinian terrorism.

This mollification of Iran also led its appendages Hamas and Hezbollah to believe that if any of them started a war against Israel, then Iran would guarantee their victory, the U.S. would do nothing— and likely force Israel to do the same nothing.

Yet a delusional Iran still is not fully aware how its loud bragging about and support for its client Hamas’s barbaric killing of Jewish civilians have put it into an unprecedented dangerous predicament.

For the first time in decades, there is no nation that can restrain Israel from destroying Iran’s pawn Hamas—not after it butchered 1,000 Jewish citizens while radical Palestinians in Gaza keep celebrating the slaughter and promising more such savage mass murdering.

Iran’s other proxy Hezbollah still issues blood-curdling threats to launch missiles. But it privately knows if it hits Israel with them, Beirut will resemble something far worse than its rubble of 2006 during the last Middle East war.

The world despises Iran, and now finally accepts it cannot be appeased. Arab nations neither want Gazan refugees anywhere near them nor their terrorists whom Gazans one-time voted into power.

Even Europe abhors Hamas’s precivilizational butchery of Israeli civilians.

Russia, Iran’s new patron, will be of little help to it—bogged down in Ukraine and hemorrhaging under sanctions and global ostracism. Nor has Moscow forgotten its own long violent history with Islam.

China cares only about the delivery of Middle East oil, calm seas lanes—and injuring the U.S.

Otherwise Beijing has no desire to risk its economy by pushing an Iranian theater war—especially when China has jailed a million Uyghur Muslims in forced labor camps.

If the two huge American carrier groups parked in the Eastern Mediterranean are attacked by either Iranian or Hezbollah missiles, public opinion will force even Biden to retaliate. And the response will not be street-fighting block to block in Tehran or Beirut.

Instead, it will be a medieval rain of destruction on either or both from the air.

After the Afghanistan humiliation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese flagrant spy balloon mission over the American heartland, eight-million illegal aliens waved in across the southern border, and woke hysterias, Americans may have finally woken up that they dangerously—almost fatally—have squandered prior hard-won deterrence and must reboot.

To play its global jihadist role, Iran must always keep upping its terrorist ante and constantly louder threats.

It assumes the Middle East is business as usual—when it is insidiously becoming just the opposite. An appeasing Biden is not driving events but being driven by them, whether he knows it or not.

The Iranians have little clue that that they and their vassals are one stupid missile volley, or one reckless intervention away from a devastating Western response that would not necessarily be “proportionate.”

And such a retaliation would be welcomed by Iran’s numerous enemies, privately applauded by its small number of supposed “friends,” and largely shrugged off by its even fewer allies.


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44 thoughts on “Does Iran Realize Its Own Growing Danger?”

  1. James (seenitbefore)

    Professor Hanson suffers from the NEOCON cognitive dissonance that he is getting from Ms Rice. He appears to believe that Brandon is correct that the US is the most powerful country in history; we are losing our asses all over the world, militarily, economically, and geopolitically and he appears to be unaware. Analysis based on false information is GIGO.

    1. The US may not be the power that it was, but two carrier battle groups have enough firepower to put Iran back into the preindustrial age.

      1. They are heavily armed for sure for conventional firepower, but they also are susceptible, make no mistake. The real deterrent there are the nearby and distant nuke subs lurking deep with coordinates of Xi and others on-board.

      2. On this one, I think VDH is wrong. An attack on a carrier group won’t result in a response of “medieval” proportions. After all, the guys handling Biden are the same Lame Brain Trust that handled Obama, and their response to the terrorists that brought down the twin towers was to catch them and put them in the US court system for trial to show how highly we hold the goals of human rights.

        Besides, if you want to destroy Iran, all you have to do is bomb their 6 refineries and let them drown in their own crude.

    2. It is quite apparent from your comments that you are not fully aware of VDH’s positions and commentary. He is pointing out the obvious that the left denies.

    3. Pepe Sobreruedas (Miami, FL)

      Not that Victor needs any defending from prats like you, but your last word is where your first thought should lead the rest of your commentary as its final destination…

  2. Paul Constantino

    Why did Schumer and Romney fligh to Israel immediately after this attack? If not mistaken before Biden’s trip, we’re they the true deal maker’s or was it a save face attempt.

  3. William Thompson

    “Proportionate” will soon have a change of definition in the law of war. There is little question that Hezbollah will launch on Israel, and quite likely send a few missiles at the American carrier force offshore as a “warning” to discourage intervention by US forces. At that point “proportionate” will be determined not by the aggressor (Iran et al) as in the past. Rather it will be measured in square miles of smoking ruins where once stood cities, factories, secret weapons caches and production sites, and a small group of former billionaires who wonder what happened to their world. Not hyperbole. Not offered in glee, or even the smallest degree of satisfaction for the losses. It will be a fact of history necessitated by existential threat to a nation that will not be governed by savages, fools in high places, self proclaimed experts and other Laputans. The lesson seems to be repeated for the world to see: We are not a docile people, rather choose benevolence as our default until/unless awakened by circumstances such as are in play now in Israel.

    1. Mr. Thompson-
      I agree with the points expressed in your post.
      Especially the mention of not a docile people, i.e., the working-class citizenry of this once mighty nation. There are signs many are beginning to awake from their slumber. Is it enough?
      We, the average American citizen, have been undermined and on the brink of collapse by the “elite class” of those occupying the numerous Administrative State institutions of the U.S., the woke intelligentsia polluting our Congress, universities, colleges, and corporations.

      Our standard of “the American way of life”, our national exceptionalism. is quickly slipping away with each passing year. Time has been squandered on the misfortune of electing (?) progressives and radicals to powerful and influential positions. Everywhere.
      Our trust in big government and authoritative power was naive and misguided. The corrupt and powerful no longer care what we, the American people, desire. They have their own demented notion of what America must become. The military industrial complex, the dual system of justice, the invasion of the American southern border, and much more, is not a conspiracy theory. It is a stark reality.
      Although, radicals often start by infringing on our local political governments and transform our youth and culture right under our noses. Education and cultural unity are battlegrounds.
      We have no one to blame but ourselves for needing a come from behind victory to save the USA from the point of no return……..

      1. There is a probability it is too late. The decline is deep and widespread and now old.
        Consider the recent survey of opinions of those 18 through 24 who believe Israel deserved the attack. Consider the scene in Michigan and its loud representatives in Congress. Look at the riots at the Capitol and in NY. Best to not forget to consider the scene at the borders. The 15 months to the end of this madness seems more like an eternity today.

        We need Shane.

  4. I’m not an optimist by nature, but I do hope for a such reckoning/healing/trend toward civilizational restoration.

  5. This one sounds more like wishful thinking.

    I can’t imagine the Biden team going against Iran. They need Iran because that regime insures mayhem, which the lefties adore. They get their power from emergencies, disasters, conflicts, and general chaos. They hate the idea of a calm and confident America.

    I just don’t think we will see any substantive aggression from Biden towards Iran.

    However, I like the idea. It just won’t likely happen. The fleets are only symbolic.

    1. Since 2009 the Obama-Jarrett regime ave been Iranian catspaws., and they are probably the ones actually running the current maladministration.

  6. Awesome analysis, Thank you. I further wonder why the US does not use this opportunity to remove the nuclear developments in Iran?

    1. Possibly the 6-China military ships reported nearby were factors. Who knows what communications changed hands between the two participant nations.

  7. Giddiness, over enthralling confidence with the Biden, Jarrett, Klain, Rice, KJP, Mayorkas, Garland, media, and Obama values fits precisely the ancient Chinese adage of the best way to destroy someone (or a gov) is first by flattery. Often flattery brings over-confidence, a resultant less striving and preparation, decline of strength and ability to respond; eventually self-recognition that the other is better prepared and more worthy, finally leading to submission without conflict. Muslims are just as susceptible. Hopefully, they pick up on the ancient adage too late.

  8. VDH, you write with an optimistic tone, suggesting that now, finally Iran has over played their hand.

    But somehow how stupid always has a way of topping itself. That said I hope your optimism is founded, and my pessimism is not.

  9. In my simple minded worldview there are:
    Protectorates of the Globalist American Empire
    Israel is perhaps our closest ally
    The Theocracy in Iran is our worst enemy

  10. Stephen Leonard

    Tragically, this is too optimistic a take. Biden is making some appropriate noises, but neither he nor any of the squishy apparatchiki around him has yet acknowledged Iran’s central role in this barbaric attack. Having the Eisenhower and the Ford in the Mediterranean looks good and will mollify some of the people demanding action, but we have yet to hear anyone in the administration say what retired military men and clear-eyed civilian analysts are saying: Iran need to be told in unmistakable language that if they or any of their proxies try to widen the war, or kill or harm a single additional American, we will destroy their oil refineries and nuclear facilities. Otherwise all that naval presence simply makes for a nice postcard but the Mullahs will assume, correctly, that Biden is as weak as ever and they continue to be free to do as they please.

    Biden yelled, “We’re the United States of America, for God’s sake!” If only that meant something coming from him.

    1. Amen. Biden has neither the mental capacity nor the integrity to do what will need to be done, He is compromised, as all the world, including our enemies, can see.

      1. Goldwater Geezer

        You are assuming that he is actually running or deciding anything? He might choose what flavor ice cream but other than that…He isn’t doing anything.

        Remember when Hussain Obama visited the White House? Joe was standing there, alone, ignored by everyone.
        That isn’t the sign of a leader!

  11. increasingly obvious to the casual observer ..
    that elected office projects a $$ price obligatory for political longevity. ..

    behold the current occupant of the Oval Office ..
    whose daily dose of useful consciousness dramatically erodes with each passing day ..

    .. were it not for disgustingly complicit media carrying the water ..
    every waking hour would portend a constitutional crisis devoid of tangible leadership for this nation

    behind the scenes, invisible power brokers dictate behavior ..
    cleverly manipulating the willing puppets in a pitifully cheap melodrama of spin & opinion journalism ..
    facts be damned

    in the meantime, we the obedient steerage proletariat endure with an over abundance of ‘bread & circuses’ in the form of today’s cannabis & casinos ..
    to mask & dull all our troubling doubts and viable concerns

    never mind the darkening skies ..

    party on dudes

  12. The scenario of an overwhelming response against Iran is satisfying to contemplate, but is America willing to accept a terrorist “dirty bomb” in response? They may not have perfected a missile delivery system, but they have had plenty of materiel for some time. Plus they have had decades of open borders and immigration policies to place sleeper cells. Do you trust the CIA and FBI to have a clue when we see how they spend their resources?

  13. Does VDH write anything without the gratuitous, derogatory reference to “medieval” this or that? Just wondering.

    I usually find much to agree with in VDH’s analyses and positions, but the interventionist goal of this essay for me harkens back to the utterly discredited, failed neocon misadventures, the seeds of which predate 9/11. The West is in a pickle over how to strategically and smartly respond to this murderous, anti-civilization, theocratic movement, to be sure, but is extending past Middle East debacles and opening new ones the answer? Why would this time be any different or produce better outcomes for Americans in the long run (i.e., beyond the immediate and short-term salve of revenge)? Yes, I support the suffering Israelis (horrific suffering!), and yes, America has an unique role to play, and yes, I do believe America is unique among nations in the world, but let’s be realistic. It’s not the 1990s anymore, and America and the larger world no longer are what they were, no matter how much we wish it was otherwise. Much, much damage has been done in that time.

    I don’t have a solution (to anticipate this criticism) — not my area of expertise, but I do think repeating more or less the same things done in the past and expecting a different outcome (i.e., a good one, a positive one) fits the definition of insanity. Where does it lead? When does it end? When is enough enough already? How to define what these things mean against this chaotic, deadly backdrop?

  14. You are a dangerous person and extremely clueless. Especially about Iran.

    Boomers need to leave governent. Sickos!

  15. Robert Westmoreland

    Something left out of this very meaty analysis is the fact that Israel is a nuclear power. To call the ayatollahs unreasonable is comical understatement, like calling Hitler or Stalin unfair; but they are rational.

  16. Israel should immediately hire Hunter Biden as its defense minister before Iran does. This is the real strategic imperative.

  17. The Hamastinians, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad et al are all appendages of Iran. As Alinsky said’ the issue isn’t the issue”. The Biden (D-imwit) Regime and his Demokrat Party enabled and restored US taxpayer finances and deposited monies that former President Trump blocked, forbid release or froze the 1st week Biden was in office. These were all “inducements” by this Obama retread regime to get a “SALT-like” nuclear Arms treaty for foreign policy failure extraordinaire Biden to “achieve” in the Middle East. Biden’s damaged EGO from his Bumbling Bungled Bugout from Afghanistan , to his Ukraine War quagmire and other foreign policy embarassments are the driving force of the world’s Superpower of terrorism and death and uber-cutout Iran. Biden and his Demokrat Party exhibited their true blood stained colors in New York and other major cities across the world on October 7th and 8th. The legacy of Jimmy Carter(D-efeated) and his feckless empowering of Iran continues apace. Thanks Jimmy, Joe and Barack.

  18. If ever there were a time for American interests first and alone, it is now. Confidence in Biden, and the people behind him who are actually running things in his absent mindedness, wanes.

  19. VDH, your entire premise falls apart when you claim that Russia is in a quagmire and hurting its prestige globally.

    The WW1 grind it out war of attrition in Ukraine plays to Russia’s strength. They can outlast a smaller Ukraine and will eventually destroy its army. Neither NATO nor the U.S. is prepared for a ground war in Ukraine, especially after the U.S. technology has proven no match for Russia’s hypersonic missiles.

    The economic sanctions backfired, and Russia is manufacturing war materiel faster than they use it. Meanwhile, the U.S. cannot keep up and is short on armaments. The Defense Dept. didn’t want this war because they know we will lose.

    By any objective measure, your claim that Russia has lost face globally is false. They have doubled the size of BRICS, European governments that supported Ukraine are being tossed out by the voters, and the global community views America as a disloyal and capricious partner. Russia’s global influence is waxing strong as America’s wanes.

    This what the neocons and Biden have wrought in 1,000 days. The U.S. is financially weaker, economically weaker, militarily weaker, and socially weaker than it has been in 250 years. Everything the neocons touch turns to sh**.

  20. No.

    Iranians wouldn’t have a clue.

    They are just stupid Arabs, you know the ones that created modern mathematics and astronomy. The same people who pasted all of the US embassy shredded documents back together to prove how the US overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953.

    The same ones that have developed a nuclear program in spite of draconian sanctions and sabotage.

    But one things for sure, although they might be stupid relative to say Einstein, they are intellectual giants compared to people who write this sort of Neo-Conservative rubbish

  21. I think Biden would sooner bomb Israel or America before he laid a hand on Iran. He has already threatened to use his war planes on American citizens. I have no doubt that he will. This year there has been over 30,000 survey flights all across America. God only knows what he is looking for. I got a buddy that puts in bunkers, he has been approached by the feds. They want to know the location of all bunkers. So with lidar they have found them all.

  22. Gaetano Jannone

    Back when I was a teenager I stumbled upon a stunning book called “The Western way of war : infantry battle in classical Greece”. I was litteraly mesmerized by it’s contents, the clarity, the awareness and the passion the author expressed, made a true impresson on me.
    That very book was probably the reason why I took a great interest in ancient and medieval warfare and kept educating myself on the matter.
    That was the early ’90 and never heard of Hanson again.
    Then internet came along, I learned some English and finally found out more about Hanson, including this blog I started reading hoping to find the same clarity I experienced before.
    I couldn’t be more disappointed.
    Have no idea what turned that brilliant young scholar in the narrowminded neo-con I found today, what I know is that his perception of the events is fairly dissociated with the reality he is so convinced to grasp.
    “Axis of evil” is a concept created by Neocon propaganda to sell a wicked interventionist policy and all it’s nasty consequences.
    China, Russia, Iran are their own countries with a a differentvision of the World and different objectives which are in essence the perpetration of their own good.
    Iran isn’t a distopic reality leaded by obscure figures meeting under the moon to plot America destruction. Iran is a regional power that operates in it’s sphere of influence and 70 years ago Israel was artificially injected in that sphere of influence. [continue.. 1]

  23. Gaetano Jannone

    [continued.. 2]
    When the US decided Israel was their bastion in the Middle East, when they decided any wrong commited against Israel was a wrong against them, they basically brough every country on the Middle East and beyond on their borders.
    United States whos has worked for over a century to secure their borders by any foreign nefarious influence and threat, cutting out, one by one the european powers from american land, brought himself back in the game.
    The very moment the US will stop to mess with the Middle East, Middle East will stop messing with them. The very moment the US will stop backing Israel no matter what, Israel will change attitude and mediate, because then it’s survival will be at stake. Overtime (decades) the situation will mitigate.
    Unfortunately we both know that not gonna happen.
    It’s not gonna happen because the US thinks they MUST control the Middle East to some degree.
    The fact that might be erroneus and on the long term may acellerate the decline they trying so hard to prevent, or even being the cause of their own demise as global power, that’s completely irrilevant.
    Just as irrilevant it’s to discuss if the NATO threat on Russian border is real (and it is) or wrongly percepted, because Russia DID feel threaten and acted consequentely. Therefore an alliance between two nations and cultures that despise eachother and are natural enemies like China and Russia was made possible by excruciating circumstances.

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