The US Perception, Credibility and Deterrence Problem

The US has a problem with credibility and thus also with deterrence. This is largely a perception problem based on the erroneous view that the current US administration is afraid of war. However, the Biden administration does not seem to understand that the position of the US as regards one region affects US credibility in yet another region and that this ultimately has severe consequences for US national security. Iran, China and Russia are all convinced that the current US administration is afraid of war due to US society being traumatized from its military experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. This has severe implications for US deterrence and incentivizes those three countries to go on the offensive and attack American allies and even in the case of Iran the American homeland itself.

US international credibility is a communicating vessel where a policy that is perceived as “weak” in one region affects US credibility in yet other regions. The US has given the impression that it is desperate for a nuclear agreement with Iran. Russia and China play a coordinated double game with Iran but are effectively allies despite being rivals. Russia and China are happy to have others deal with the Iranian problem while not having to suffer Iranian WMD terrorist retaliation after the US-Israeli destruction of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Yet, Moscow and Beijing are reading US behavior on Iran and have concluded that the US will not stand up for Ukraine and Taiwan. There is thus a direct causal relationship between the US appeasement policy towards Iran and the planned Russian invasion of Ukraine and the planned Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Why would Beijing defer the invasion when it has a perfect opportunity with a sitting US president who can be relied on not to defend liberal-democratic Taiwan? Russia too sees an opportunity in Ukraine which it is determined to seize with its both hands.

The US faces three emerging imperialist powers – China, Iran and Russia – which all strive to replace the US as the sole superpower. There is a complex relationship between the three as they are all strategic rivals of each other but cooperate tactically against the United States, their shared adversary. US policy does not seem to be concerned with how perception of the US affects threats against the United States and its allies. This is deeply disturbing and the US government needs to reassess its foreign policy worldwide in order to restore faith in the US will to defend itself and its allies. The notion of the US being weak is no doubt fueled by the false perception of President Biden being negatively affected by his age and being unable to handle major foreign policy decisions. 

The US has a dual track policy on Iran in preparing Plan B with Israel and building an international coalition to impose a no-fly zone over Iran that will provide air support to armed rebellions throughout the country and a contingency plan for an invasion of Iran should this become necessary at the same time as the US is exhausting all perceived possibilities to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. This is appeasement not weakness, but perception is credibility and credibility is deterrence. The US is severely mistaken on Ukraine in maintaining an economic deterrence policy despite not believing that it will deter Russia from invading, conquering and annexing Ukraine. This is a mistake, but it is nevertheless perceived as weakness and incentivizes further aggression by the three wannabe superpowers.

The US government needs to internalize that there is an Asian axis consisting of China, Iran and Russia which despite being strategic rivals tactically coordinate their policies in order to undermine and minimize the power and influence of the United States around the world. The US should be wary of the Chinese and Russian roles in Vienna since they are not particularly well-intentioned to put things mildly. The US needs to urgently move to admit Ukraine into the NATO defense alliance in order to restore its perception, credibility and deterrence in the eyes of its three rivals. 

The US faces the worst threat against the American homeland ever as Iran is ready to attack major American cities with weapons of mass destruction following the joint US-Israeli destruction of the Iranian nuclear weapons program as the negotiation option is a pipe dream bound for collapse. Russia plans to annex the entire Ukraine and intends to conquer the rest of Europe, believing that the US does not stand with its NATO allies and does not intend to defend them. China intends to conquer Taiwan and who knows what neighboring nations. The sparsely populated nations in Central Asia would seem likely candidates for Chinese expansion which China could colonize just as it is colonizing Xinjiang and Tibet with ethnic Han (ethnic Chinese) people. 

Iran intends to first take over its escatological region where they expect the Hidden Imam, Jesus and Dajjal to appear in Mecca, Damascus and Jerusalem respectively and Tehran intends to establish itself as a superpower with nuclear weapons and controlling a large proportion of the world’s oil resources. This is a prelude to Iran taking over the entire Islamdom and next the entire world. 

It is noteworthy that at the moment do not the respective expansionist projects of China, Iran and Russia clash with each other although they undoubtedly will unless stopped by the United States and its allies. America’s national security and status as the sole superpower is at stake. America needs to encircle China with US allies but the US policy on Afghanistan and Ukraine sends the dangerous message that the Biden administration will do nothing to prevent Chinese territorial expansion.

The perceived US fear of war is incentivizing neo-imperialist aggressive behavior by the three adversarial powers. American leadership is indispensable and the world certainly needs American leadership, not American retreat which we are now tragically witnessing in Ukraine.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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