Iran’s New Record: First Country to Target US Since WWIIBashir Esmaeili, Setareh Sadeqi
The morning of Wednesday, January 8th was a turning point in the modern history of international relations. Iran’s ballistic missiles hitting two US military bases in Iraq and the United States’ reaction—coupled with admission and caution— considered a new phenomenon in international equations.
Essentially, the discussion on whether or not the US forces suffered casualties or if they knew of the attack in advance does not pursue anything but to deride this great incident in order to fulfill personal goals and interests. For anyone with the least information on international politics cannot ignore the significance of these measures.
In what ways is the attack on the two important US military bases in West Asia significant? This question can be observed in different aspects:
Imperium and Hegemony: Firstly, an important part of the United States’ tool for global management is achieved through drilling fear in states in order to obey it. This fear of the United States’ hard power along with its soft power has led to the US’s global hegemony over the past decades.
Maintaining fiat dollar in the world’s economy, which has had many paybacks for the United States, is one consequence of the US hegemony.
Hence the United States regards its military bases and navies across the world as some temples of ancient gods with sacredness and red lines to be observed by the world and such it imposes imperium over nations. The United States represented military power is greater than its actual power; as in the case of Vietnam the huge US Army proved unable to overcome even the Viet Cong guerrillas.
Therefore, as described by the leader of the Islamic revolution—Ayatollah Khamenei—, this “merely a slap in the face” of this made-up imperium will majorly impair the dignity of the hegemonic United States; an impairment that can threaten the flow of billions of petrodollars.
Against the law of ‘either all or none’:
Since the United States quitted isolationism and entered the international system, the only time it became a military target by a foreign state was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States retaliated with the most severe penalty, that is dropping two nuclear bombs— a highly disproportionate punishment. Since then, Japan became an absolutely obedient follower of the United States in its policies concerning East Asia.
All throughout the Cold War, the USSR never dared directly attack the United States, hence the name "the Cold War”. In the closest possibility of a confrontation between the US and the USSR missile crisis of Cuba, it was the Russian Jrushchov that retracted fearing the US and thus leaving Cuba alone.
Despite its fast-paced growing power over the past decades, China—the strategic rival of the US in East Asia—has adopted a more cautious approach in confronting the United States.
To cut a long story short, since about a century ago to that day, no country had dared attack Americans. In fact, the Americans do not even tolerate the tiniest cases of disobedience. On January 8th, however, following a sequence of events, and after a day of consultations as well as security emergency meanings, the President of the United States appeared before reporters and journalists to excitedly announce that the attack on the US military base did not have casualties. He who had constantly stressed that if anyone threatens the interests of the United States in the region, they will be demolished, now informed his audience that a new round of sanctions would be imposed on Iran to punish the Islamic Republic!
It seems that what functions against the domineering powers of the world today is resistance. Iran’s experience shows that the hegemonic power initially tries to bring the disobedient country down to its knees or to diminish it and when this does not come off, it will have no option but to accept the involvement of that country in the international equations. It is said that ‘the pain that does not kill you makes you stronger’; years of going through pain and difficulty have now made Iran tread the path of consolidating its regional power and impose it on the United States.
Setareh Sadeqi is a PhD candidate in North American Studies at the University of Tehran. She is a freelance researcher whose interests include social movements, Iran-U.S. relations, West Asia, African American community.
Bashir Esmaeili holds a PhD in International Relations and is a Faculty Member at IAUSH. He is a regular contributor to multiple Iranian news outlets and an awarded satirist. His research interests include the West Asian region, Foreign Policy, International Relations, Iran-U.S. relations.