With attention focused on the situation in Crimea and the Ukraine, Iran has been less in the news of late. But it is still there, still dangerous. At the conclusion of a recent speech, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, former CENTCOM commander, was asked about Iran and current diplomatic efforts to prevent its becoming a nuclear power. As Paul Szoldra of Business Insiderreports, the general answered with characteristic asperity, saying:
"If the Iranians come away from this with a nuclear program intact, I think there are very bleak options.”
"Americans certainly have no appetite for attack … [but] once the Americans exhaust all possible alternatives, they'll do the right thing."
Twenty-nine years ago yesterday, December 12, 1983, Hezbollah and operatives of the Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite group Da’wa carried out a series of seven coordinated bombings in Kuwait, killing six people and wounding nearly ninety more. The targets included the American and French embassies, the Kuwait airport, the grounds of the Raytheon Corporation, a Kuwait National Petroleum Company oil rig, and a government-owned power station. An attack outside a post office was thwarted.
Based on last week’s debate, both President Obama and Governor Romney believe that squeezing the Iranians economically is the best way—and perhaps the only way—to end their nuclear-weapons program without resorting to a military strike. Of course, nobody knows if sanctions will actually work. But if the United States is truly serious about crushing Iran’s economy, it must pursue a more aggressive strategy, and it must put more pressure on Iranian trading partners.