American Weakness and Iranian Missiles Are Pushing the Gulf States into the Arms of China

By developing an impressive arsenal of attack drones, rockets, and cruise and ballistic missiles, the Islamic Republic has achieved a decisive advantage over its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Most importantly, the Iranians have learned how to use these weapons in concert, in ways that can overwhelm even the most sophisticated American-made defensive systems. The U.S., for its part, has shown itself reluctant to respond to Iranian aggression against its Gulf allies, or even against its own soldiers. Michael Doran and Can Kasapoğlu examine the political and strategic dimensions of this situation, which has implications for Russia and China as well as the Middle East:

The United States has the military capabilities to prevent Iran from advancing toward a nuclear bomb and to deter it from threatening its neighbors—and it can do so without sparking a major war. It has more than enough might to reassure allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that they can rest comfortably under the American power umbrella. What is more, these allies want to remain inside the American system. The erosion of the American order is therefore more the result of confusion in Washington than of objective shifts in global power.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been on the receiving end of sophisticated Iranian missiles and drones for around five years now. The immunity from counterattack that Iran has enjoyed has emboldened it to support Russia. Moreover, it has set America’s Gulf allies on a quest for security that, increasingly, is taking them out of the arms of the United States and into the waiting embrace of China. The week before last, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced no less than three summit meetings among the Saudis, the Gulf States, and regional Arab countries with the Chinese, concurrent with the anticipated visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to the kingdom.

If today Venezuela were to import the Soumar, an Iranian long-range cruise missile based on the Soviet-Russian Kh-55 line of missiles, it would probably have difficulty hitting targets inside the United States. Its range will increase, however, once the [removal of sanctions and embargos under the nuclear deal] facilitates the integration of Western components. Cities such as Miami and New Orleans will easily fall into the crosshairs of the anti-American regime in Caracas, posing a direct strategic threat to the American homeland.

China now holds the balance between Iran and the Gulf States with respect to the very weapons that give Iran its disruptive military edge. Xi Jinping has managed to insinuate China into the balance of power between America’s Gulf allies and Iran.

Read more at Tablet

More about: China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, United Arab Emirates

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus