Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
WHY DON'T SUPER POWER PRETENDERS UNDERSTAND THAT SUCH GAMES PLAYED BY IRAN, PAKISTAN, ETC, ARE ONLY FOR AMERICA AND RUSSIA?
Why don't super power pretenders understand that such games played by Iran, Pakistan, etc. are only for America and Russia?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Power is not only in the size and number of weapons that you possess. A lot depends on how you play the game. You might have underestimated N Korea or Vietnam too, but you’d have been wrong. The US was unable to defeat those two. In fact, it is really hard to say that the US defeated Iraq because shortly after the war started, ISIS emerged and this group kept the US from being able to control the country.
The US is actually at a disadvantage in a ground war in Iran because, for one thing, Iran has all its weapons on hand, while the US would have to transfer its tanks and other vehicles from afar, and for another thing, Iran has the capability of mustering 11 million soldiers under arms, while the US could not call up even a fraction of that. The US might succeed in destroying half the country and still not be able to subdue Iran.
And then there are the several thousand missiles hidden in mountain tunnels in Iran. These could almost completely stop shipping traffic in the Gulf for a long enough time to weaken the entire world economy.
Further, Iran is not alone. China and Russia recently held 3 way drills with Iran in the Gulf and warned the world not to get in the way. They said any ship or plane that entered the drill zone would be hit. The US prudently stayed away. (The cowardly hit on Soleimani was the best response the US could come up with, and it further weakened the US by prompting Iraq to evict US troops).
Finally, there is the political aspect. Iran knows that Trump’s freedom is hampered by the upcoming elections. Trump can only go so far in provoking or attacking Iran and its assets. If it goes too far and triggers a war, Trump knows he could easily lose the election if enough voters woke up and realized how reckless he is.
In fact, the US is now in a severe liquidity crisis requiring the Fed to inject billions of dollars into the economy every day. It would not take much to upset the apple cart and plunge the country into a recession.
Iran’s position is similar to that of a champion kungfu fighter pitted against a much larger but less skilled opponent. This was illustrated in the latest Ip Man movie starring Donny Yen, who took on a US boxer played by Mike Tyson and managed to hold him off for 3 minutes.
Let’s not underestimate Iran.
The US didn’t.