On the campaign trail in 2007, Senator John McCain sang a parody to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann”: “Bomb, bomb, bomb … bomb, bomb Iran.” That sentiment resonates in the Donald Trump administration, and it’s understandable. The Iranians continue to push their influence throughout the Middle East: using proxies to threaten U.S. allies; supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria; fueling the war in Yemen through support for Houthi rebels; and seeking to destabilize Iraq and gain further influence in Lebanon.
Now we face a new twist to Iranian expansionism that demonstrates both Tehran’s ambition and its growing ties to Russia: the Iranian navy announced it will undertake a five-month deployment to the western Atlantic. While it’s unclear how many ships will be involved, Tehran says the flotilla will include a newly built destroyer, the Sahand. Some vessels are expected dock in Venezuela, one of the few countries in the Western Hemisphere that would welcome them.