Once upon a time the US had a staunch ally in the Middle East. It was a Muslim nation boldly stepping into the modern era and while it related to the Arab states, it wasn't really Arab. We then elected a President who in many circles has been the winner of the dubious title, "worst ever". The aftermath of his one short term was the deposition of our ally, the alienation of the area and the embarrassment of the seizure of our embassy. Although that President had graduated from one of our military academies he had not learned the lessons regarding strength of nations.
I read a book shortly after the Shah of Iran had died. It covered the period of the collapse of his empire and the rise of the fundamentalist theocracy. The one lesson I took away from that book was a view of Iranian culture and how it differs from the West. The difference isn't restricted to Iran alone. We saw it in action during the often humorous TV reports emerging from Baghdad during the second Gulf War. The minister of information would be reporting to the people of the victories of the brave Republican Guard and the armies of Sadaam. We were getting different reports but we weren't sure that what our sources were reporting was factual, at least until Baghdad Bob was upstaged in his reporting by the columns of US armor rolling through the street behind him as he boasted of his victories.
The lesson is that within the culture of the Middle East there is conditioning to believe what you are told, not what you see or what the facts might indicate. It allows for the people to retain confidence in despotic governments. It provides support for the weakest of regimes. It convinces a military to fight against certain defeat. And it can even cause an indecisive opposing political leader to hesitate in actions.
Here is recent validation of the practice:
Supreme Leader Challenges For a Smackdown
Today there can be little doubt that the leadership of the US is eager to abrogate that position. There is no stomach for a fight and there is a prevalent belief that we can be a broker for peace if only we negotiate. We don't need to be armed and trained anymore. We are eager to withdraw and dismantle. We can always hire some Hessians if necessary.
Israel harbors no such delusions. They are realists because they must be. They are told repeatedly that the intent of Iran is to eradicate them from the face of the earth. There has been plenty of evidence to support that goal. They also know that the alibi of "peaceful application" of Iranian nuclear development is a story for the weak to embrace. There is an approaching deadline; a point of no recovery. The need for action is increasing and within months if not weeks, there will be no possibility of salvation.
Many have thought that there was a rift between Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah. They grasped at the straw that the Premier was a loose cannon and would be held in check by the Supreme Leader. That message has now been effectively erased.
Israel will act. We will be impacted whether we support that action or sit indecisively on the sideline. There can be no doubt of that.
It would be foolish, however, to believe that our global stature will be enhanced by passivity. Our allies will increasingly distrust us and our enemies will be confident in their immunity from consequences.
The Chinese curse is definitely in operation. We are living in interesting times.