Iran Between Trump and Biden
Iran Between Trump and Biden
Would it be wrong for someone to say that he/she supports Joe Biden’s policies everywhere but prefers those of Trump when it comes to Iran?
In all likelihood, this opinion is accurate. Regarding the United States itself, its foreign relations, the environment, globalization, NATO, taxes on the wealthy, racial and gender issues, the celebration of diversity, human rights, immigrants, and refugees. The same applies to their general view of politics, institutions, diplomacy, and international organizations... In all of these regards, it is difficult to equate the two presidents and their administrations. This is also true of the Palestinian-Israeli question and the decision-making process in general.
Why the exception when it comes to Iran?
Because Iran is an exception; of course, it is not the only source of evil in the world, but it is the source of the most dangerous and most immediate evil. It is the only place where, now, an extremely destabilizing and deeply disturbing imperial project is being built, not to political regimes, but the nature of things: a bridge to several Arab countries that expands its sphere of influence, one which not only crosses borders and violates these countries’ sovereignty, but which has also led to the emergence of devastating civil conflicts, sectarian and ethnic, throughout the region. On top of this, the issue with Iran goes beyond nuclear weapons to also include ballistic weapons, and it goes beyond ballistic weapons to reach explosives, pistols, and knives. He who does not die by this will die by that.
It could be said- rightfully- that China and Russia are overseeing imperial and expansionist projects as well. With that, they are more restrained by international balances and standards and they have an interest in protecting global economic stability, especially China, which recently presented itself, in Davos, before and after it, as globalization’s pioneer. Iran, on the other hand, threatens its neighbors’ economic and oil interests as soon as it opens its mouth.
Moreover, China and Russia neighbor countries are weaker than they are but influential enough to be taken into consideration: Germany and Poland in the case of Russia, Japan, and Vietnam in the case of China. In the Middle East, Erdogan’s Turkey is not capable of fulfilling this role, nor is it willing to do so in the first place. As for the general Arab atmosphere, in a time of counterrevolution and civil strife spurred by Iranian interference, it, in turn, is not encouraging either.
Russia and China, both of whom are Security Council members, have other requisites for expansion in addition to destruction, whether economically- despite the disparity between the two countries- culturally or in terms of political weight. These are all capacities that Iran, with its ancient civilization and oil wealth, could have possessed had the Khomeinist regime not squandered them successively.
More importantly, Iran’s evil is also ideological, in contrast to that of Moscow and Beijing, which have given up on grand ideologies. It is more similar to North Korean evil, with the difference between the two being that the latter, despite its theatrical nuclear ambitions, is contained within its borders.
The 42nd anniversary of the Khomeini revolution was celebrated a few days ago, but Iran, 42 years later, still seems like it is in the first few days of its revolution. Russia, 42 years after its revolution, that is, in 1959, was undergoing a phase of relative openness under Khrushchev; three years had gone by since the Twentieth Communist Party Congress that chastised Stalin and Stalinism. 42 years after China’s revolution, in 1991, Jiang Zemin announced what he called a “socialist market economy,” continuing the path of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms. Vietnam, 42 years after the fall of Saigon in 1975, in 2017, had come a long way in the process of opening up to the world that started early in 1986.
In Iran, there is an astonishing insistence on not maturing, remaining adolescent forever. Perpetual adolescence is dangerous to oneself and others. Those who bet on the opposite had miserable endings: Abolhassan Bani-Sadr ended up in exile. Mohammad Khatami is in the dark. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been placed under house arrest.
Inspired by never-ending adolescence, the Iranian leadership issued its response to the signals of openness shown by the Biden administration. It did not show any willingness to meet halfway, escalating everywhere the Iranians are present instead. With empty bellies, they went about screaming their habitual and vulgar cry “we are victorious.”
But why not? Some in the Biden administration love perpetual adolescents and do not see the evil that comes from their actions. Symbols of appeasing Iran are part of this administration, like Robert Malley, who handles the US relationship with Tehran and is described as “understanding” Assad’s Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as Iran, or Philip Gordon, advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris, who implicitly views US intervention in the region as absolutely harmful and believes that the people of the region can be harmed only by forces from outside it. The former represents a brand of leftist-populism, and the second represents Kissingerist “realism” twisted left. The practical conclusion that they agree on is that this region deserves nothing but what was written for it and Khomeinist Iran was written for it. It is the good whose gushing spring is only constrained by the United States, which does not understand it.
For us and for Iran, Trump was undoubtedly better.