Global Review had the pleasure to have another interview with Daniel Pipes, expert on Islam and counterjihad about the threat of a nuclear Iran. Daniel Pipes (born September 9, 1949) is an American historian, writer and political commentator. He is the president of the Middle East Forum (MEF) which was the mastermind of the Victory Project which has now incorporated as a strategy in the IDF strategy. Daniel Pipes is also publisher of its Middle East Quarterly journal. His writing focuses on American foreign policy and the Middle East. He is also an Expert at Wikistrat.
After graduating with a PhD from Harvard and studying abroad, Pipes taught at a number of universities including Harvard, Chicago, Pepperdine, and the U.S. Naval War College. He then served as director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, before founding the Middle East Forum. His 2003 nomination by U.S. President George W. Bush to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace was protested by Arab-American groups, and Democratic leaders, who cited his oft-stated belief that victory is the most effective way to terminate conflict.
Pipes has written a dozen books, and served as an adviser to Rudolph Giuliani´s 2008 presidential campaign. He was in 2008–11 the Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Stanford University´s Hoover Institution.
Daniel Pipes supports more Israel´s Right point of view, while Global Review has a different position, but we want to give all sides a fair chance to bring their arguments.
Daniel Pipes has his own blog at: http://www.danielpipes.org
Global Review: Has Putin canceled the gentleman’s agreement with Netanyahu that granted Israel’s air force a nearly free hand against Iranian assets in Syria?
Daniel Pipes : Rumors have spread about such a change but, so far, the Kremlin has not confirmed them. I find it hard to imagine that Moscow will challenge Israel over Syria, a secondary interest for it but a priority for Israel. The Russians will not slide into a confrontation there on behalf of Assad and Khamenei.
Global Review: Is China’s 25-year, $400 billion agreement with Iran for real?
Daniel Pipes : Signing agreements with large promises and huge numbers is much easier than fulfilling them. Each side has incentive to proclaim this partnership but turning it into reality will be another matter; just note the challenges facing the $62 billion China–Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Global Review: Tensions are increasing between Israel and Iran: the Hamas war, Hezbollah firing rockets, Iran’s new leader, Iran drone attacks against an Israeli-run ship, Iran pushing its nuclear enrichment program. In reply, Israel warns Hezbollah and Iran while pressuring the Biden administration to toughen its policies. Where do you see this going?
Daniel Pipes : What’s called the shadow war has intensified of late. I expect it will continue for a long time, unless and until the Israelis expect an Iranian nuclear breakout to be imminent, when it will likely come out of the shadows.
Global Review: Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated on Aug. 4 that “Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA and is only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.” Are we finally reaching a crisis?
Daniel Pipes : This is a turning point but not likely one that to provoke Israeli action; that will presumably wait until just before a nuclear breakout, defined by Simon Henderson as the moment “when a state achieves nuclear weapons capability as a fait accompli before it can be stopped by diplomatic pressure or military action.”
Global Review: Can Israel attack Iran’s nuclear installations without U.S. political and military support?
Daniel Pipes : A number of studies between 2007 and 2013 concluded that Israel’s forces could do major damage while also concluding that they would not knock out the infrastructure as they did in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007. Much has changed since those studies but from what I can tell, the balance of power remains fundamentally the same. So yes, Israeli forces on their own can probably attack those installations.
Global Review: Would the U.S. administration denounce an Israeli attack (as in 1981) or stand by its ally (as in 2007)?
Daniel Pipes : As in 1981, I expect public outrage and private satisfaction.
Global Review: How would Tehran respond to an Israeli strike?
Daniel Pipes : Unlike the Iraqi and Syrian governments, it likely would retaliate, especially as it has an estimated 140,000 rockets and missiles at the ready in Lebanon. The only question is, would Hezbollah go along with this suicidal attack? I am not certain it would.
Global Review: Can Moscow and Beijing live with a nuclear Iran?
Daniel Pipes : Their actions suggest yes, they can. They seem to assume that a nuclear Iran is now and will always emain a problem only for Americans, not Russians and Chinese. That is a very curious assumption and doubly so when one recalls how Iran switched sides in 1979.
Global Review: Can Washington live with a nuclear Iran?
Daniel Pipes : Each of the past four U.S. presidents, including two Republicans and two Democrats, has said it cannot. What this means in practice has not been tested and will likely not be, given that the problem presumably can be out-sourced to the Israelis to handle.
Global Review: Can Biden accept a new deal under Iran’s current conditions?
Daniel Pipes : Tehran’s demands are currently unpalatable to the American government. That could change, but I doubt it.
Global Review : Should the Biden administration return to the Trump’s policy of maximum pressure and the Abraham Accords?
Daniel Pipes : Emphatically, yes. Just because Democrats despise Trump does not mean they should reject all his policies. Some of them were excellent.
Global Review: Would a nuclear Iran distract American attention from the Asian pivot?
Daniel Pipes : It would, as would the other turmoil in the Middle East, including widespread anarchy, Turkish bellicosity, Palestinian irredentism, and continued jihadism.
Global Review : Is Western opposition to the Iran deal, the JCPOA, growing? For example, the organization “United Against Nuclear Iran” includes former Senator Joe Lieberman and August Hanning, the former director of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND).
Daniel Pipes : Yes, there is a fairly common understanding that “it is no longer 2015,” especially because of the many aggressive Iranian actions since then and because the sunset provisions are much closer.
Global Review : Why is the European Union, led by Germany, so soft on Iran?
Daniel Pipes : That softness results from a mix of the “ Venus mentality“that has dominated Europe since 1945 and a focus on economic benefits. The transformation of Europeans from world conquerors and world war makers into a largely meek, apologetic, and guilt-ridden people is amazing. Lacking military power, technical creativity, and economic dynamism, Europe falls further and further away from its five centuries of global dominance.