It wouldn’t seem hard for anyone remotely interested in the fate of the planet to draw at least one clear lesson from last Saturday’s Iranian strikes on Saudi Arabia: There is no way that the regime that casually took 50% of Saudi oil production offline can ever be allowed to get anywhere near possessing a nuclear bomb. Imagine what a nuclear-armed Iran might do to the oil production on which the entire planet depends for energy, transportation, and food. Does anyone really care to wager that an Iranian regime that had such devastating weapons wouldn’t actually use them? That seems like a bad bet.
And yet that was precisely how a highly visible segment of political partisans in Washington has chosen to see things. The oil fields were still burning as former Barack Obama aides, Democratic Party officials, political operatives, and journalists rolled out an arsenal of tweets, quotes, and op-eds laying down cover for a military attack targeting the world’s oil supply. In a different time, the idea of a public campaign to cheer on an operation whose intended effect was to raise oil prices and terrorize a traditional US ally might seem like a deranged PR stunt by campus nihilists. But in DC’s toxic new zero-sum political game, an attack on Saudi Arabia is good news— not because it benefits America or Americans in any conceivable way, but because it benefits Iran. Same difference, right?
The public conjoining of US and Iranian interests represents the fulfillment of Obama’s signature foreign policy initiative, the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The purpose of the JCPOA was to bribe the Iranians to hold off on building a bomb until Obama left office by legitimizing a future Iranian bomb while filling the regime’s coffers with hundreds of billions of dollars. The effect of the deal was to arm and fund the country that Obama saw as America’s new ally in the region.