The Iranians clearly see the JCPOA as a first step in their effort to recalibrate its relationship with the West, that is to force the United States to recede and enable it to dominate the region. With President Obama, Iran is pushing on an open door. He plainly wants to disengage from the region, to the chagrin of our Gulf and other Sunni allies.

We therefore have a new dynamic. Iran challenges us, violating one or another aspect of international law (e.g., seizing our sailors, testing ballistic missiles). The administration plays down the issue. Lawmakers become irate. The president issues some empty rhetoric. Congress says it will act, but Democrats will not do anything effective. The pattern repeats.

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