The Trump vs Iran situation: it’s over. Iran didn’t respond. Because there was nothing they could have done. America went in, took out the top general in Iran’s military, turned its back and left.
The Americans had known for years that Soleimani was a key figure behind attacks on US interests. They got their enemy. Iran was left a whimpering, helpless mess.
Everything has quickly recovered after the initial panic of the weekend: oil prices have subsided and the stock market is back to a giddy bull run. The world has moved on from Iran already.
There is a lesson here for all of us in the free world, dealing with the menace of rogue nations anywhere. When you show strength, the rogue nation always runs away. They don’t really have the appetite for a fight.
It is now worth asking why people were so worried over the weekend. Evidently, they feared that the US would get involved in a long and expensive war. Oil prices would go soaring. An already heavily indebted US would have to borrow more and more, shifting the balance of power definitively towards China. For India, which imports a ton of oil and does not share many interests with the Chinese, this would have been bad news.
Why didn’t these fears come true? Because the Trump administration called the bluff of the Iranians. They were not interested in regime change. They did not want to put troops on the ground and invest energy in turning Iran into a democracy. They simply wanted to take out an enemy. They fulfilled their objective and left.
Why didn’t the Iranians react? Because Trump told them he was willing to be as crazy as they were. He listed out 52 sites across Iran that the US military had identified. Liberal critics across the world immediately began whining about how this would be “barbaric.”
But the Iranians knew that Trump meant business. That he would not consider anybody’s feelings. That he was willing to bomb them back to the stone age, heritage and all.
That’s why Iran backed out of the fight. Smart move to save their own behinds.
And what of the whining of those liberal critics in democratic countries? Those people are best described as “crybullies.” And they are arguably the most valuable instruments of state power for rogue nations around the world.
See, when it comes to narrative, there is a fundamental asymmetry in the way a country like America faces off with a country like Iran. By definition, free societies are primed to take feelings of everyone into account, including even that of the enemy. The enemy on the other hand has no values, no regard for human life nor for civilization. So they can do whatever they want. This gives them a tactical advantage.
Just think about India and Pakistan. Because we are a responsible power and they are not, they have a much wider range of options than we do. They can sponsor terrorist attacks, they can threaten nuclear holocaust, they can fight conventional war or they can negotiate diplomatically. The choice is always theirs. We however are constrained by concerns about human rights, rules of war, international treaties, the need to not look like warmongers and such. And the fact that we want a prosperous future in the real world right now, instead of an imagined afterlife.
Of course I would take a free society like India over Pakistan any day. But it is a strategic disadvantage that we always have to engage with our rogue neighbor with one hand tied behind our back.
The Pakistanis understand this. And they take full advantage of the situation. Just like the Iranians did. They were able to activate the liberal network all over the world, with questions like:
Why are you being a warmonger?
What about the human rights of civilians?
What about all the evils that America has done?
In a free society, these are important moral questions. But when they get to the point that they paralyze the country and it cannot act against enemies, the liberals can only be called “crybullies.”
The way to shake off the crybullies is to ignore them. Trump did just that. The Iranians got the message and retreated.
The same happened earlier when Trump decided that the US Embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem. The crybullies warned of apocalypse. But America stood its ground. And it worked.
We in India have been facing the full brunt of the global crybully network for the last several months.
When Article 370 was abrogated, the crybullies spoke much the same language of liberal blackmail. They warned of dire consequences, a long drawn insurgency and a spate of terrorist attacks. Remember how BBC sent people to scour every corner of Kashmir, looking for the smallest chance to blow things out of proportion? But, India held its ground. The stone pelters and terrorists got the message. Kashmir has never been so peaceful as it has been in the months since the big decision in August 2018.
At the moment, India is facing a similar situation over CAA. The crybullies think they can intimidate the government with a fake narrative of victimhood.
We are done arguing with them. They know exactly what they are doing. They know the history of Partition. They know well how Hindus, Sikhs, etc are treated in Islamic countries. They know that CAA is the right thing to do. They just oppose it because they hate Hindus and the legitimately elected government of India.
Crybullies have power only if we give them that power. The moment we start ignoring them, they are nothing.
We have abrogated Article 370 and integrated Jammu & Kashmir fully into India which is our legitimate right. We have started the process of constructing a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya, which will be an acknowledgement of our cultural identity as a nation. We have passed the Citizenship Amendment Act, which recognizes the injustices of partition and gives relief to marginalized Hindus and Sikhs who are persecuted in Islamic countries. Let’s just go on to the next item of business. Ignore the crybullies.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar – A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.