Conciliation and Delusion: The Case For Maximum Pressure on Iran

(Hoover Institution) Lt.-Gen. (ret.) H.R. McMaster - Conciliatory approaches toward Iran across multiple U.S. administrations have suffered from a tendency to assume that U.S. actions were the principal determinants of Iranian attitudes and behaviors, and lacked an appreciation for the revolutionary ideology that drives Iran's theocratic dictatorship. A strategy of maximum pressure that aims to force Iranian leaders to make a choice between either acting as a terrorist state or suffering the consequences of economic and diplomatic isolation is the best approach. The regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps gets away with murder due, in part, to the belief that the Iranian regime would respond positively to a conciliatory approach. But when Iran has moderated its behavior, it did so only in response to intense political, economic, and military pressure. From 2008 to 2018, Iran spent nearly $140 billion on its military and combat operations abroad. As American money flowed into Iran after the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), funding for terrorist organizations and IRGC operations across the region soared. Hizbullah received an additional $700 million per year; another $100 million went to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, which fired 4,000 rockets into Israel in May 2021. The writer, a former U.S. national security adviser, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

2021-06-28 00:00:00

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