Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Focusing on Ukraine and Missing Iran

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Bibi is back as Prime Minister of Israel, and with him comes an ironclad promise not to let Iran threaten Israel with the bomb. While everyone is focused on Ukraine, and the fiery fight against Russia, it is very easy to miss what is happening with preparations to take out Iran’s nukes.

Sure, we are in day 339 since Russia blatantly invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine, and the stakes keep going up with more advanced weapons, including drones, missiles, and tanks, as well as continuous threats of escalation even to nuclear weapons.

But while the world is preoccupied with Eastern Europe, efforts to restore the horrible Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran have died a number of time over. Iran is never going to voluntarily give up its nukes. Iran learned from North Korea to keep to your guns and not from Ukraine, which had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world and gave up its nukes for empty security guarantees in 1994—and look where that has gotten them!

Now with all eyes on Ukraine, Israel and the United States conducted the largest ever joint exercises this week, simulating the bombing of a major adversary by dropping 180,000 pounds of munitions. Further, Israel has been amassing F-35Is, refueling capabilities, and precision munitions to strike Iran. Hey, Iran, are you hearing the aftershocks and getting the drill here?

Iran has repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel and attack the U.S., and after 2,000 years of persecution that ended with six million Jews dying in the Holocaust, Israel does not take these threats lightly and does not ignore or forget them.

What Putin and the Ayatollah have in common is that both are overconfident and think that they will roll into Ukraine or the Middle East and carve it up to take what they want and that no one will have the guts to stop them. Like the Wall Street Journal states today:

More often than not, aggressors and sometimes even their victims fail to anticipate just how deadly and difficult war will be. They are often off by a factor of 10 or more in terms of the casualties and duration of war.

Certainly Russia, which has lost over 100,000 men wounded or killed in less than a year and is stuck on relatively static battle lines in Ukraine, has underestimated both Ukraine and the West’s resolve in not letting them win! Similarly, but with less attention, Iran has been extending its malevolent reach of terror from the Persian Gulf through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, as well as to Hezbollah and Hamas, and they too seem to believe that they can do so with relative impunity. But they do this despite the timeless military lesson to never underestimate your enemy.

Israel and the United States are watching and preparing to put a stop to the Iranian terror madness, just as the U.S. and NATO have been putting the brakes on Russia’s expansionist goals. Putin and the Ayatollah are not accurately calculating the cost-benefit of their aggression. Russia has become a pariah nation, condemned and sanctioned, fighting against virtually the entire western world. Iran is deemed a critical threat not only by Israel but by almost all the surrounding Sunni Muslim nations as well as the West; hence, we see the Abraham Accords and budding economic and security coordination and “friendship” being fostered amidst Iran’s adversaries.

When it comes to military adventurism, it’s necessary to correctly assess both strategy and tactics. Whether you have a strategy to restore the preeminence of the Soviet Union or the religious hegemony of a Shiite Caliphate, if your tactics are not realistically able to get you there, then it’s like taking aim but basically shooting with blanks. In this vein, a colleague asked rhetorically this week:

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

While Russia continues to try and put the squeeze on Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO have committed to making them pay an enormous price in blood and treasure. While most of the world’s attention appears to be focused on Ukraine, Iran is quietly stockpiling nuclear weapons and preparing terrorist agents to attack—you know who. But thankfully, Israel and the U.S. can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” and Iran is not going unnoticed and, I would venture to say, will not go unpunished.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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