Friday, January 13

Iran redux

I'm watching CNN right now and just saw a plug for a debate between two commentators about when the U.S. will pull out of Iraq. Is this still the debate we should be having? What about when we will go into Iran, or, if we won't, what we will do instead?

A typically sobering and incisive analysis of the Iran situation is provided by classicist and military historian Victor David Hanson.

Key quotes:

With nukes and an earned reputation for madness, [Iran] can dictate to the surrounding Arab world the proper policy of petroleum exportation; it can shakedown Europeans whose capitals are in easy missile range; it can take out Israel with a nuke or two; or it can bully the nascent democracies of the Middle East while targeting tens of thousands of US soldiers based from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf.

Our four options, according to Hanson:

. . .

First is the ostrich strategy — see and hear no evil, if extending occasional peace feelers out to more reasonable mullahs.

. . .

Alternatively, we could step up further global condemnation. . . . It is a long-term therapy and therefore suffers the obvious defect that Iran might become nuclear in the meantime.

. . .

A third, and often unmentionable, course is to allow the most likely intended target of nuclear Iran, Israel, to take matters into its own hands.

. . .

The fourth scenario is as increasingly dreaded as it is apparently inevitable — a U.S. air strike.

For the pros and cons of each option, you'll have to read the article.

The deadly serious conclusion, however, is that "the public must be warned that dealing with a nuclear Iran is not a matter of a good versus a bad choice, but between a very bad one now and something far, far worse to come."