Contrary to dominant thinking in Washington, Iran poses no immediate threat to the U.S. In fact, our Middle Eastern allies, eager to have America do their fighting for them, wildly inflate the supposed threat from Iran.
The U.S. is a global military superpower that spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. Iran, by contrast, is a third-rate military power with an economy that is one forty-fifth the size of the U.S. economy. This is hardly a formidable threat.
The recent election of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has been called “a major potential opportunity” to revive diplomacy and “resolve” longstanding tensions. Unfortunately, America’s purported friends don’t want rapprochement.
The U.S. has built up various alliances in the Middle East since WWII in order to fulfill a larger strategy of controlling the flow of oil and preventing the emergence of another power in the region that would threaten U.S. dominance.
In the course of building these alliances, Washington has signed security agreements with these countries, promising to subsidize their militaries and come to their defense. In essence, this makes their problems our problems.
Our closest allies in the region, Israel and the Arab Gulf states, hate Iran for a variety of strategic, cultural, religious, and ideological reasons. As a result, they have hyped the threat of Iran and frightened Americans into thinking the Islamic Republic poses an existential threat to America.