Iran is on the verge of learning the hard way two of military history’s greatest lessons – the second lesson is courtesy of yours truly,
- Never fight a conventional war against the United States.
- Never fight a Soviet-style proxy war against the United States without Soviet-level resources.
The second lesson in particular is why Pragmatically Distributed recommended this series of policies as the best way to stress Iran’s proxy war strategy to the breaking point – policies that went against the typically lousy advice of Iran apologist “foreign policy experts”, yet, policies which have since been wisely adopted 100% by the Trump Administration.
To wit, from December 2017 –
Iran – Finally, Iran itself deserves to be subjected to two actions. The first is for America to reimpose the heavy economic sanctions that were lifted by the Islamic terrorist supporting government of Barack Obama. Proxy warfare is inherently more suitable for strong states with great resources to distribute to its proxies. Iran is a weak state with few resources playing a great power’s game. It should be punished for its overestimation of its own power with the destruction of the Iranian economy, a destruction which by extension will mean Iranian proxies will have fewer Iranian resources to rely on.
And, from May 2018 –
The way Tehranologists portrayed Iran is similar to how 1970s Kremlinologists portrayed the Soviet Union; as an unassailable world power that must be accommodated forever by the United States through weak détente.
At least Kremlinologists could, in retrospect, defend their argument by pointing to many objective measures of Soviet strength such as its nuclear arsenal, attack submarines, armored divisions, etc. Tehranologists, however, could only justify détente with Iran on vague grounds that some “regional conflagration” would break loose if Iran was told “no” or that Iran was a really “moderating” influence in the Middle East. All of these reasons were minor concerns compared to Soviet Russia.
Iran is lashing out because it is only too late realizing it is a minor economic and military actor that has nothing close to the actual capabilities needed to satisfy its great ambitions.
If Trump, for whatever reason, opts in the future for military retaliation against Iran he will most likely want to do at least as much damage as Reagan did in 1988’s Operation Praying Mantis when America devastated half of Iran’s naval assets of that time:
By the end of the operation, U.S. air and surface units had sunk, or severely damaged, half of Iran’s operational fleet.
Today, the US Fifth Fleet, newly reinforced by an extra bomber wing and the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group, would decisively defeat Iran’s Navy as well as any offshore air and land forces supporting Iranian warships.
After the Iranian Navy has been sunk, Trump should then instruct the Pentagon to use long range missiles and bombers to also destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons program and oil infrastructure. An American air and naval assault on those targets would set back Iran’s nuclear program by at least a decade as well as guarantee the impossibility of Iranian oil returning to world markets for years even if American oil sanctions were dropped this year.
Any response by Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Syria against Israel, and/or response by proxies in Yemen against Saudi Arabia would be quickly suppressed by militarily superior Israeli and Saudi forces.
The end result would crush Iranian regional strength, although the government itself may cling on for a bit of time.
But without naval assets to threaten tanker and commercial traffic around Saudi Arabia, lacking the deterrent benefits of a nuclear program, and the loss of vital energy infrastructure, the ability of any surviving Iranian government to project power in its own region would be neutralized for years to come.