If anything, the United States should be exploring ways in which to more ruthlessly weaponize its economic standing in the world. The United States produces 22 percent of the human race’s economic output; as Senator Marco Rubio has emphasized in his defense of the Iran sanctions, more than half of international capital flows move through the American financial system. Sanctions are no substitute for an army and a navy, but when a country enjoys a strategic advantage comparable to the American economic edge, it owes it to itself to fight first from the high ground.
American leadership is necessary in this world. As Carly Fiorina and others have persuasively argued, an America-sized vacuum in world affairs draws out monsters. That leadership need not always be rifles-first, nor is it, as the reasonable efficacy of the Iranian sanctions shows. What invites disaster — and the disaster of war — is wishful thinking, including the wishful thinking that the terrorist regimes in Havana and Tehran can be reformed by gentle talk and good wishes. And those of us who put peace high on our agendas must begin with a frank acknowledgment that whatever it is that Iran and Cuba are engaged in, it isn’t “waging peace.”
The Obama administration is opening the door to a nuclear conflict in the Middle East, and perhaps beyond. The Iran deal is not a prelude to peace, but a prelude to war. To imagine that Tehran’s posture toward its neighbors and the world constitutes peace or that it is oriented toward peace is an error that we cannot afford to make.