Illustration Credit: Timothy R. Butler/Stable Diffusion

Mirrored Perils, Shattered Response

By Timothy R. Butler | Posted at 2:43 PM

In a parallel universe last week, Iranian drones and missiles were launched against two pro-Western democracies. The same two that received those volleys in our universe; just one bit was different in Universe Two: there, the West scrambled jets to protect Ukraine, leaving Israel to fend for itself.

The result was expectedly tragic. As incredible an accomplishment as the Iron Dome and other protective systems of the Israelis happen to be, Iran’s carefully calibrated waves were designed to overwhelm and exploit weaknesses.

By Sunday the devastating results were blanketing the news. The Western Wall lay in ruin as part of a barrage against the Old City of Jerusalem, while the Knesset’s no longer standing Givat Ram home had been exchanged for meetings in a bunker. Horrifyingly, thousands of casualties made October 7’s terror look tame.

“Apocalyptic” was the most common description the visibly shaken war reporters choked out on air.

Air defense had worked to prevent even more devastation, it’s true. Nonetheless, everyone knows air defense has its limits. Then the news came: emboldened by its diabolical success, Iran was lobbing another round.

Months would go by and gradually the democracies of the world would muster a pittance of old weapons and humanitarian supplies to help the brave Israeli army hang on. Still, the Iron Dome, starved of ammunition to shoot down Iran’s rain of death, became just so many more targets for Ayatollah Khamenei’s wrath.

The G7 and its friends had plenty of ammunition to re-enable a significant level of protection. They also had decommissioned aircraft superior to what the Israeli Defense Forces had left.

Those planes were well suited to bolstering defenses where air defense wasn’t enough. But, fearing the nuclear program of Iran and feeling overtaxed in general, America and her European allies demurred.

Meanwhile, nearer home, NATO sought to stem the tide of Iranian manufactured destruction. One notch east of the alliance, in Ukraine, the Western Powers had said enough was enough. The country’s air defense had been bolstered by a multi-country air shield of modern jets that, within hours, made further attacks pointless.

NATO’s unequivocal statement of air superiority altered everything without a single life lost.

Freed from trying to protect her remaining infrastructure, Ukrainian forces focused their entire effort on destroying Russia’s Kerch Bridge, a key artery for the aggressor’s military. Pushed rapidly both south and east, Russia’s army of antique Soviet tanks proved brittle without any further air barrages.

The Kremlin sued for peace. The risk Blue and Yellow flagged troops would roll past its borders was too great of a risk.

Across the Mediterranean, Israeli politicians watched in disbelief. They wondered about all the rhetoric concerning why their Western friends couldn’t send those previous generation aircraft and idled air defenses to the Holy Land. Why were her innocent civilians not worthy of even half as resounding of protective care?

The answers came as unsatisfactorily as the withholding of protective air support had been. The United States’s Matthew Miller suggested the U.S. had a long-term relationship with Ukraine, while its supportive agreements with Israel were but a couple of years old. He conveniently ignored America’s thirty-year-old pledge of protection that had been given to Israel in exchange for the latter handing over her nuclear weapons. He also ignored twenty years of Israel’s general populous rising up under corrupt administrations to unshackle herself from hostile eastern neighbors and join the free, democratic West. To Jerusalem’s dismay, hardly anyone noticed those crucial oversights.

Such is the tragedy in our nearest neighboring alternative universe. Hold up a mirror, and it is the tragedy in ours, too.

The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia did well last week in our reality bringing to a halt Iran’s attempt to flex direct military muscle. The Islamic Republic’s best looked almost satirical once the dust settled. Some mused it must not have been a wholehearted attack at all, it failed so spectacularly.

But while that particular attack (thankfully) failed, Iran’s weapons continue to take the lives and infrastructure of a Ukraine unfortunate to live in our reality and not my fictional one. Everything we feared on April 14 for Israel happens with nightmarish regularity in Ukraine. Burnt-out shells of cities and mass graveyards now stand as monuments to Western indecisiveness that a multi-country Air Force defensive action could have stopped twenty-six months ago.

Ukrainians have rightly stared in disbelief as countries incessantly muttering about escalation and staying within NATO-protected bounds worried about neither in the Middle East.

I’m so thankful they didn’t fret. Not worrying likely saved more lives than we can imagine in Israel, and beyond, by closing down Iran’s opening salvo. But, in so doing, it pulled the facade off of the lie that defending innocent civilians is escalatory.

Letting thousands die is escalation. It feeds the blood lust of wicked regimes like the ticks that they are. Last week put in demonstration what was already obvious: the Free World has the power to stop rogue regimes’ military havoc and, given the power, has the moral obligation to use it.

What’s good for the Persians is good for the Putin. It’s time to end the extermination of Ukraine.

Timothy R. Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. He also serves as a pastor at Little Hills Church and FaithTree Christian Fellowship.

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