Pete Riehm
Iran emboldened, Israel isolated, America weakened
By Pete Riehm
April 25, 2024

The mess in the Middle East is bigger and worse than at any other time in half a century. The hatred of Israel by radical Arab and Muslim groups and nations is documented and expected. So, it’s obvious the basic conflict is that Israel has been defending itself for 75 years against those who seek their destruction. The USA has stood steadfastly by Israel for most of those 75 years, but the American policy toward Israel changed about 15 years ago. Democrat administrations still pay lip service to defending Israel, but their actions are confusing and contradictory. With a feckless American foreign policy, Iran is emboldened, Israel is isolated, and America is weakened.

Right after the horrific vicious surprise attack by Hamas on Israel last year, Joe Biden declared the USA would again stand by Israel, but he has been backtracking ever since. He said Israel has a duty and right to defend itself, but then he would say Israel needs to moderate or back off their military campaign against Hamas. Now he wants Israel to stop defending itself by demanding a ceasefire. Biden admonishes Iran, backed Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthis, to come to the negotiating table at the same time he repeatedly eases sanctions on Iran refilling their coffers, so they can fund more attacks on Israel through their proxies.

The ambiguous actions and schizophrenic statements by the Biden Administration seem to make no sense, but it makes sense when you realize Biden is just surreptitiously fulfilling Obama’s foreign policy goals. Obama’s vision for the Middle East was “parity;” he hated the fact that a Jewish state is a regional superpower without equal. His goal was to strengthen Iran to be a counterweight to Israel. That’s why Obama insisted on the “Iranian Nuclear Deal;” he wanted Iran to have nuclear weapons to balance Israel.

Theoretically, establishing a balance of power system between civil countries is a viable policy, but like the discredited “Two State” solution for Palestine, it’s impossible with barbaric regimes avowed to annihilating others. Obama’s parity objective for Iran utterly destabilized the Middle East. Iran has been funding terrorism and proxy wars against Israel from every direction. The further flaw of Obama’s wrong-headed policy was Iran not only wanted to destroy Israel but also all its Arab neighbors. Trump successfully spread stability and peace with the Abraham Accords, because those Arab neighbors realized Iran was a much greater threat. So it was in their interest to cooperate with Israel against a common enemy.

Obama wants a Muslim nation to dominate the Middle East, but the overarching goal in destabilizing the Middle East was discrediting the USA. The USA is the last standing superpower and final obstacle to global governance. Therefore, America must be knocked down a few notches, so we can be integrated into some global government. We lost control of the Middle East, and we are failing in Ukraine, severely damaging our credibility.

With American foreign policy in tatters and American influence waning exponentially, our military must also be decimated to eliminate any leverage from our military might. As resources are drained to support Ukraine, American ammunition stockpiles are depleted, equipment goes without maintenance, and our weapons systems age without replacement. Compounding the equipment readiness deficiencies, the military has abandoned traditional standards in favor of lower and unrelated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies. The result is poorly trained troops and devastating recruiting shortfalls. Annual manpower requirements are down as much as 20%. That is a national security crisis, because it means the military will lack about a fifth of the personnel needed to execute their missions.

Military effectiveness and morale are further eroded by recent operational humiliations. The poorly planned and led retreat from Afghanistan in 2021 was an absolute debacle. Thirteen American service members were needlessly killed, Americans and allies abandoned, billions of dollars of military equipment was left to the Taliban, and the best military airfield in Asia was literally turned over to China. American credibility and prestige were eviscerated. Our allies learned not to trust us, and our enemies learned not to fear us.

Getting little attention in the media, another military humiliation is unfolding in Niger. After spending about a billion dollars over the last decade on a vital counter-terrorism base in Niger, the military junta now running Niger is demanding the American military leave—they are no longer welcome. The Russian friendly junta has isolated American military forces denying access for resupply, so our troops are effectively held hostage with dwindling supplies awaiting some decision from our inept Commander-in-Chief. Again, Biden’s foreign policy is failing miserably. Another ignominious retreat is inevitable. American credibility takes another mortal blow.

The death spiral for American military prestige only continues. Iran’s direct attack on Israel was thankfully ineffective, but the point is Iran was not constrained by Biden. Biden warned Iran; he told them, “Don’t” – the next day they did. Israel is bearing the brunt, but it’s American influence that is collapsing. Iran acts with impunity while Biden coddles them with sanctions relief. Russia laughingly disregards us, and China waits patiently in the wings to move on Taiwan when they believe America is powerless – that day is at hand.

Ukraine is a sideshow. Israel is in the crosshairs, but the United States is the ultimate target. America has exhausted itself in Ukraine and is mired in the Middle East, so China will defeat us without a fight because we have expended our assets and resources, and mostly because America stumbles absent leadership. The only hope is that Israel and Taiwan can survive until Biden is run out of the Oval Office, and we can restore American credibility.

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10).

Pete Riehm is a conservative activist and columnist in south Alabama. Email him at or read all his columns at

© Pete Riehm


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Pete Riehm

Born to German immigrants, Pete Riehm grew up in Texas as a first generation American. Working his way through college, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After graduating from the University of Houston, Pete was commissioned into the United States Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He also earned a Master's Degree in National Security from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas... (more)


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