Iran’s Options in a Showdown with America Are All Bad

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

After losing its top strategist, military commander, and arch-terrorist, Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian theocracy is weighing responses.

One, Iran can quiet down and cease military provocations.

After attacking tankers off its coast, destroying an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia, shooting down a U.S. drone, and being responsible for the killing and wounding of Americans in Iraq, Iran could now keep quiet.

It might accept that its strategy of escalation has failed to lead to any quantifiable advantage. Trump did not prove a passive “Twitter tiger,” as his critics mocked. Instead, he upped the stakes to Iran’s disadvantage and existential danger.

The chances, however, for such a logical and passive readjustment by Iran are nil.

Iran believes that Trump’s beefed-up sanctions have all but destroyed its economy and could now extend to secondary boycotts of nations trading with Iran. U.S. sanctions have also squeezed Iranian expeditionary efforts to forge a permanent hegemony and a Shiite crescent extending to the Mediterranean.

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