With Obama’s new Iran 3.0, we are flip-flopping and now ratcheting up sanctions. We are announcing the dispatch of additional warships to the Persian Gulf. We are lobbying the United Nations for tougher resolutions against Iran and freezing Iranian assets in the U.S. We are no longer warning Israel to play it cool, but rather publicly and matter-of-factly announcing the likelihood of a preemptive Israeli bombing strike.
In other words, after demagoguing the old Iranian 1.0 containment strategy, the Obama administration is now trying to play 3.0 catch-up after its own failed 2.0 appeasement policy.
The ironic result is that war is now far more likely with Iran than it ever was under George W. Bush, and for far more reasons. Obama faces no knee-jerk, left-wing criticism. Just as the Left went silent when Obama suddenly took ownership of Guantanamo, Iraq, renditions, and tribunals, it won’t hit the streets if he takes action against Iran. If Obama finds himself behind in the 2012 campaign, such a bold move would win him political unity and advantage in wag-the-dog fashion.
Due to Obama’s hostility toward Israel, the United States now has far less knowledge about, and influence with, the Israeli military. And the long-appeased Iranian theocracy is now more likely to miscalculate, thinking either that the confused Obama administration won’t stop it, or that any American attempt to stop it would be only half-hearted.
Obama’s initial Iran reset policy squandered the American sense of deterrence. Now we are desperately trying to regain the tough bipartisan approach taken under earlier presidents.
But the likely result of this schizophrenia will probably be an Obama 4.0 Iran policy — in other words, a big war in the Persian Gulf.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The End of Sparta, a novel about ancient freedom. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.