Although I did enjoy your book Death of the West, for 15 years since
I've watched you plunge deeper-and-deeper-and-deeper into your hermetically-sealed isolationist world... so deep, you'll contort into a pretzel -and say just about anything- to defend it.
Here's some news for you:
1- It's not our job to decipher whether Iran 'means it' or not when they threaten to destroy Israel... same as it's not our duty (nor problem) to have to try and guess whether the Russians' various plutonium-encrusted threats are actually 'serious'.
It's IRAN's and RUSSIA's responsibility to grow-up, drop the trash-talk...
or simply learn to shut their damn mouth. Enough of these punk-states and their crazed rhetoric, they need to know they'll be taken at their word- and dealt with accordingly.
2- Iran IS NOT our friend just because 'they're fighting our enemies',
good grief, man.
Iran is our enemy, Hezbollah is our enemy... and ISIS is our enemy. Any of them would kill every single last American they could ever get their hands on.
And while I'm well aware you'd 'rather Iranian troops fight ISIS than our boys', I really don't see more than a sliver of daylight between them... the Iranians are not -and will never be- a US ally. These are amongst the most ruthless scumbags on the planet... and not to EVER be trusted, regardless anything they may sign, say, or do. Didn't you learn anything in 1979?
3- The Kremlin/Tehran DO NOT possess privileged spheres of influence in the world, including any control over the sovereignty of other nations-
be it Ukraine, Georgia, Lebanon, Yemen, or what have you.
The Ukrainian citizens Putin aims to subjugate are fully entitled to break-away from vile Russian domination and find their own way... not be tethered to Moscow forever, trapped in a post-Soviet hell run by Putin puppets like Viktor Yanukovych (with the blessing of people like you).
A large part of ISIS's rise came from Iranian-backed repression of the Sunni minority in Iran-backed-Iraq... and of the Sunni minority in Iran-backed-Syria. It's pure tribal warfare... only those acquiescing to Tehran -and the Shia branch of Islam- will feel the Mullahs are out for anybody but themselves.
The Russians have little to offer anybody but 'protection' (or a gas discount)... and the Kremlin's 'protection' is the same as with the mafia-
'Do as we say and we (probably) won't kill you'.
These two countries are militarily-obsessed expansionists that can only maintain influence over other states by force... because neither have any philosophy, standard-of-living, industry, or morality any sane person would ever want to aspire to. But they do have an agenda.
So while the entire world pretty much envies Americans'/European wealth, creativity, and freedom... Russian and Iranian leadership seek to re-establish lost empire (and what brutal and depressing empires they were)- thus they control and exploit other nations by any means they feel they can get away with, up-to-and-including stealth invasions and reckless nuclear brinkmanship--and how is that their right to do that to anybody else, Pat?
Neither are doing their own country any good, either: Tehran is run by apocalyptic kooks who think they're on a mission to end the world,
whereas Moscow is all about little-man Putin attempting to grow a couple inches for the history books.
None of that that will ever benefit their own citizens -both economies are in the toilet, and they've made their own people despised abroad- so no other nation (including the Baltic states) should be paying any sort of price for Moscow or Tehran's misguided crap.