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Regional war in the Middle East

There was a bit too much of this going on this morning not to comment on it. Browsing some of the cable news outlets, I saw several White House officials and guest commentators expressing concerns over the activities of the weekend. Some, including John Kirby, were warning against the possibility that a strong response by Israel could cause the situation in the region to "spiral into a regional war in the Middle East." I was rather flabbergasted and I clearly wasn't the only one. 

Despite what a lot of ominous voice-overs during B-roll will tell you, you don’t have to worry about the Middle East spiraling into a regional war. You have to worry that the regional war is already there. The Biden administration desperately wants Israel to declare victory and the conflict to be resolved, which is akin to its belief that the Ukrainians should win the war, but not using any method that might damage Russian oil refineries or roil the world oil markets. Joe Biden is always telling his friends to hold back, at least internationally.

On Sunday’s edition of Face the Nation, CBS News correspondent Debora Patta declared of this weekend’s Iranian attack against Israel, “It is the scenario everyone has feared since the October 7 Hamas attack: a state-to-state confrontation that could spiral into a regional war.”

Spiral into a regional war?

By the Israelis’ count, Iran, along with proxies based in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, fired 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles at Israel Saturday. Thankfully, almost none of the projectiles reached their intended targets — although one seven-year-old girl was hospitalized, and the nearby Israeli Nevatim air-force base suffered minor damage.

My first response to our vaunted National Security Advisor was to ask, "Dude... do you even own a television?" There was continuous footage of literally hundreds of missiles and drones raining down toward Israel from multiple locations, including Iran. Israel's missile defense systems were overheating swatting them all down and a couple still managed to get through. Elements inside six different nations and territories are firing at each other. That sure sounds like a regional war to me. Thankfully, Israel is maintaining the upper hand for the moment, but they will need the support of their allies.

The response from the White House was telling. Biden was immediately ready to declare that the Iranian attack was "symbolic" and that Israel was victorious so they should simply stand down. Of course, that's always Biden's advice. It's also a load of malarkey, as the Commander in Chief would say. Israel's leaders already know this, thankfully. Iran is acting like a bully, and when you let a bully throw that many punches, even if you block most of them, they will come back for more.

The bigger question is probably why Iran felt they could get away with this in the first place. None of our adversaries who support Iran are urging restraint on the part of the Mullahs. It's the United States that is trying to put a leash on Israel. Without our full backing, Iran probably feels confident in testing Israel's defenses. It's simply not enough for Joe Biden to repeat that our support of Israel is "ironclad." Those words need to be backed up with actions. We already have the resources in place to take out more of Iran's proxies in the region. Our missiles should have been flying before the last of Iran's were taken down. There needed to be a clear and unambiguous statement from the White House (not from Rehoboth Beach) that Israel would surely strike back hard at a time of their choosing and they would do so with the full support and backing of the United States.

Iran believes they can act aggressively from a position of power and Israel will exercise restraint in its response. They believe this because they sense weakness in the Biden administration and they are concerned that the clock is ticking because Donald Trump may be back in power next year. If that happens, they know there will be hell to pay. All of this is happening because we have a timid leader in Washington and our adversaries know it. Enough is enough. Joe Biden asked for this job. It's long past time for him to man up and do it.

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