If the Biden administration has articulated one goal since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel, it is to prevent the outbreak of a broader regional war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on a multi-country Middle East tour in early January to make what the Wall Street Journal characterized as a "full-court press" to stop the war in the Gaza Strip from metastasizing.
As with so many of this administration's foreign policy initiatives, Iran had other ideas.
Its Houthi rebel proxies have been attacking U.S. military bases and disrupting commercial shipping routes in the Red Sea, injuring hundreds of American military personnel in the process. Over the weekend, American officials announced the deaths of two Navy SEALs in a daring raid on an Iranian weapons ship off the coast of Somalia. The ship was ferrying arms to the Houthis.
Suffice it to say, the regional war the administration sought to avoid is well underway, even if nobody is talking about it.
Like most wars, this one is exacting an economic toll: "The cost of shipping containers from China to the Mediterranean Sea has more than quadrupled," according to Bloomberg, as ships ferrying consumer goods, "from clothing and toys to auto parts, are now adding two weeks to their routes to travel around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa."
What does Team Biden have to say about it? "We are clear-eyed about who the Houthis are, and their worldview," a senior U.S. official told the Washington Post. Please. How clear-eyed could the administration that yanked the Houthis from the list of designated terrorist organizations be?
Any actual clear-eyed analysis would start and end with Iran, which has been waging a proxy war against the United States for decades. That includes during Barack Obama's nuclear deal, when Iran took the pallets of cash it received and poured the money into its terror proxies throughout the Middle East.
Now, as Iran wages a regional war, the Biden administration's responses in Iraq and Yemen have been limited to the appendages of the Iranian hydra. To stem this conflict and prevent it from growing further, we must attack it straight on.