Decoding Biden’s Iran Chess Move: A Strategic Analysis…

I provoked chuckles from the American official the moment I inquired about President Joe Biden’s Iran plan. Continuing, the official mentioned that many within the administration also wonder that. Even on the first day, they may inquire. Six months later, they still inquire.

Let me tell them: Biden has no plan for Iran.

The increasing anarchy in the Middle East could use his intervention, therefore he should probably think of one.

Many people believe that the Islamist government in Tehran is responsible for most of the instability in the Middle East and poses a greater danger to American interests than in the past. A nuclear weapon is almost within Iran’s reach. Chaos is spreading beyond its boundaries as a result of its proxy militias. The regime has suppressed internal uprisings and, as demonstrated by its most recent assault on Israel, maintains a robust ballistic missile program.

However, during Biden’s presidency, his advisors have prioritized keeping this mystery out of the president’s hands rather than finding a solution to it.

The plan is to maintain a low temperature on all fronts, whether they be nuclear, regional, or any other. The second American official I spoke with for this piece shared my sentiments; they are all well-versed in American policy toward the Middle East and were all given the green light to discuss the sensitive topic in question.

Many in Washington use the term “strategy” in a broad sense, and there are legitimate debates about the term’s definition. Many politicians have complained that papers with the word “strategy” in them aren’t actually strategies. Foreign policy issues are real and pressing, but those discussions are theoretical and hardly tackle the issues head-on.

From what I’ve seen, a strategy isn’t really a plan until it leads to a solution.

So, when experts in the field of public policy talk about Biden’s strategy toward Iran using terms like “risk management,” “deterrence,” “containment,” and “de-escalation,” all I hear are tactics.

Despite his belief that Iran poses a threat, he seems to lack a clear strategy to address it.

The Obama administration sought a solution to the issue of Iran’s expanding nuclear program while he was in office. Additionally, it inherited an endeavor from the administration of George W. Bush that used sanctions and diplomacy as a means to achieve that objective.

The plan was successful, and a nuclear agreement with Iran came into being.

Not everyone was satisfied with the arrangement, and some even questioned Obama’s true strategy. His detractors said he wanted to alleviate tensions between the United States and Iran, an ally of the Islamic Revolution.

My research indicates that Obama’s expectation that a nuclear agreement would result in generally improved relations with Iran was more of a wish than a component of the strategy.

The Obama administration’s approach and the optimism it had inspired were both shattered by Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear agreement.

You have to give Trump credit for coming up with his own plan.

Changing the regime’s actions, rather than the dictatorship itself, was the declared objective of his administration. However, the administration’s insistence on such drastic changes in conduct amounted to actively seeking out a new regime‚ÄĒtheoretically, a solution to the problem. “Maximum pressure” meant a slew of sanctions and other punishments aimed squarely at Tehran.

Clearly, that tactic was unsuccessful.

Bringing the nuclear accord back to life was Biden’s half-hearted aim and less-than-ideal plan when he joined office.

He attached a number of requirements to the target, including the fact that Iran must consent to talks for a more robust and long-term agreement. Even before a new hardline Iranian government showed up with its own demands, he took too long to start negotiations, which hampered the resurrection attempt.

The Biden team has been trying to save the original accord by achieving little victories wherever possible with Iran after their previous attempt failed.

Despite what Republicans referred to as a ransom, they were able to return a number of Americans held in Iran. A startling but transient Iranian protest movement had their vocal and technological support.

They have also maintained, to a considerable extent, the sanctions that Trump reinstated against Iran following his withdrawal from the nuclear deal. The sanctions have not been effective in pressuring Iran to alter its behavior, either because of their own willful lack of enforcement or because of other factors. Foreign sales of its oil have increased.

Looking over the Iran policy of the Biden administration, it is evident that they are not officially demanding a regime change. (Keep in mind that not even Trump would formally descend to that lowest level of politics.)

But Biden’s team isn’t even prepared to declare its desire to alter the regime’s conduct in any significant way. Words like “deter” and “counter” are the most often used when referring to Iran in official documents like the National Security Strategy.

Rather than attempting to resolve the issue, it is being managed.

Perhaps the Biden administration has reached the conclusion that a direct and practical solution to “solve” Iran does not exist. And it is certainly not an easy problem to solve.

Like immigration, this issue has grown so divisive in Washington that simply talking to Tehran gets you scolded. The fact that Russia and China, which were previously allies of the United States on several Iran policies, are now assisting Tehran in evading American sanctions is another obstacle, partly due to their own internal conflicts with the United States.

Perhaps the white house thinks a different approach will have an nth order impact and bring about long-term change in Iran.

That seems to be one explanation for why Biden and his associates are continuing to pursue their loftier goal of “regional integration” for the Middle East, despite the fact that it has been prompted by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The Biden administration actually used this tactic. The apparent goal of its many economic, security, diplomatic, and other accords is to end hostilities between Arab governments and Israel. Last weekend, the concept was put into action when a combination of aerial defense systems neutralized Iranian missiles and drones that were aiming toward Israel.

U.S. goals include rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a security treaty between the two capitals, and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state. All of these parts are interdependent, thus whoever is trying to sell them you might as well just purchase a lottery ticket.

Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, referenced parts of this plan for regional integration in a column comment.

The policy is not determined by bumper stickers, according to Watson. “Our main objective is to undermine Iran’s capabilities while bolstering those of our allies and partners.”

Putting Iran’s regional enemies, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel, on the same side undoubtedly increases the regional pressure on Tehran, thus one could generously call regional integration an Iran strategy.

It’s not generous of me.

It is unrealistic for the US to expect regional integration to bring about a major shift in Iran’s policies in light of the region’s inherent instability and complexity. Even Saudi Arabia, in its pursuit of a fresh deal with Israel, has attempted to repair some damaged relations with Tehran.

In addition, the Arab world’s ire at Iran will not quickly subside in comparison to its wrath against Israel over the Gaza conflict.

A change may be on the horizon for the Islamic Republic of Iran: Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, is elderly and fragile.

An opportunity for a Biden approach toward Iran may present itself with a change in leadership, since a dictatorship is typically most vulnerable during such a transition.

Assuming a plan existed.

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