World War III, the conflict we now unfortunately find ourselves in, is far more complex and confusing than World War II.

A good example is America’s principal enemy, Iran (supported by Russia, China and the European Union), which declared war on America 40 years ago and continuously preaches genocide against the United States (“Death to America!”) and Israel (“Death to Israel!”):

Numerous U.S. federal courts have ruled that Iran’s leaders “provided material support” to Al-Qaeda for the purpose of carrying out the 9/11 attacks, imposed judgments of tens of billions of dollars on them, and ordered U.S.-based properties owned by the Islamic republic to be seized and auctioned off to pay off these and other judgments.

As the aggressor, Iran relatively successfully uses all six forms of modern warfare: physical, cultural, economic, legal, demographic and cyber. It has created three worldwide terror arms, specializing in physical terrorism, narco terrorism and cultural terrorism, with an estimated 450,000 terrorist/operatives in over 30 countries.

Reacting defensively, the United States is fighting back primarily with economic warfare, some cyber-warfare and very limited physical warfare, the latter mostly through passive shows of force. The United States has yet to employ cultural, legal or demographic warfare against Iran.

What is going on here, and why the mismatch of strategies between us and them?

The key reason is that Iran is a dictatorship that speaks and acts with one voice. In contrast, the United States is a democracy that speaks and acts with multiple voices, and disparate actions that create huge mutual confusion.

Iran’s goal is to take over the world, and convert everyone to Islam, particularly its Shi’ite version, using all forms of warfare. America’s goal, in contrast, is to live in peace and prosperity, while encouraging all democracies (50 percent of the global population) and dictatorships (the other 50 percent) to join in worldwide economic growth.

There is no compatibility between these two national objectives. Either one or the other can prevail, but not both.

Therefore, we find ourselves in World War III, even though we don’t want to be, don’t think we are and don’t even want to consider the possibility we might be.

The trick now is to create a winning strategy.

Ken Abramowitz is chairman of Citizens for National Security.