The Iranian Threat

Earlier this year, I posted a blog that talked about our new national security paradigm, focused specifically on the “4+1 construct,” revealed by then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at the Reagan National Defense Forum in November 2015. This new way of looking at threats to our nation focuses on “four contingencies and one condition.” Iran is one of those contingencies.

Iran is an enormous threat to the West in general and the Europe and the United States in particular. As Michael Oren suggested in his article in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend, “Iran is a Bigger Threat Than Syria and North Korea Combined,” leading off his essay by saying:

“The U.S. has signed agreements with three rogue regimes strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those regimes—Syria and North Korea—brazenly violated the agreements, provoking game-changing responses from President Trump. But the third agreement—with Iran—is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it. Honoring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives.”

First, there are longstanding issues between the West, and especially the United States and Iran. Among the most prominent:

  • Long-standing enmity toward the United States going back to 1953
  • Vying with Saudi Arabia for dominant power in the  region
  • Ability to block the Strait of Hormuz
  • Ability to threaten U.S. naval forces
  • Robust ballistic missile program

But in addition to these long-standing issues, since the fall of 2015, Iran is behaving in ways that worry the United States. Among the biggest issues:

  • It is unknown how well nuclear sanctions will work, if at all
  • Marked increase in ballistic missile tests (flouted U.N. resolution)
  • Open and increased support for the Assad regime in Syria
  • Continued support for terrorist groups (Hezbollah)
  • Active harassing of U.S. Navy vessels in the Arabian Gulf
  • U.S. recently declared IRG a terrorist group

These are worrisome signs. Stay tuned to this blog over the next several weeks to learn more about other threats to our national security.