Monday, February 20, 2012


I have been noodling the Iran/Israel thing. I cannot envision that any Israeli prime minister would be willing to chance a nuclear armed Iran. I read with interest an article today in which the writer asserted that no Israeli prime minister wants to go down in history as the guy under whose watch Iran became a nuclear power. I think a valid point. Ergo, I think Israel will, at some point in the relatively near future, attack Iran. After all, what would be the point of Israel, "a safe place for Jews", to exist if it were to allow a neighbor sworn to destroy it a nuclear weapon? Rather than "a safe place for Jews" Israel would become a concentration point for their annihilation. This cannot be acceptable to Israel or the Diaspora.

I do not think the U.S. will be involved... but I do think that the Israelis know that the U.S. cannot afford to have an Israeli attack result in Gulf shipping to be shut down or for the Israelis to suffer a strategic defeat. So, even though I don't think BHO wants anything to do with an Iran confrontation before the election... I think the Israeli's know they hold the cards. The U.S. can't stop Israel, and the U.S. can't let Israel fail.  When Israel acts, the U.S. will be forced to act.

I am not talking about what I want to happen or hope will happen... I am talking about what I think is most likely TO happen (I said "most likely"- not "definitely"). I also have no idea about the soundness of this adventure, the odds of success, the costs, or the unintended consequences. My sense is that much of this is unknowable, but it seems that the chances for an interruption in Oil supplies out of the region are very high. And I think that this is going to happen.

We are all in the Risk Management business now.


PioneerPreppy said...

I am going to go way out on a limb here and say Iran will go nuclear and neither Israel nor the U.S. is going to do anything about it. That is anything that hasn't already been tried.

If Israel was really going to do anything I think they would have done it last year. Something NOT the U.S. is stopping them. Maybe Russia maybe China, maybe both. They tried the virus, they tried assassination and then I think they got a message that stopped them cold.

Now here is my tinfoil hat theory. The U.S. and Israel are hoping that events will eventually turn Russia into an ally. They are going to put maximum effort into defending Israel but do nothing more antagonistic than floating some boats into the straights and arming Israel's air defense.

The blackhats will be trying to destabilize North Korea to keep China occupied and look for a weak link to exploit to bring Russia and China at odds somehow. Once this Russo-Chin loose alliance can be broken then it will be time to take out Iran.

If Iran directly strikes before things are ready then the U.S. Fleet and Israeli airforce can do some major damage in the name of defense. Russia and China will not be able to intercede then because too many other nations will feel sympathetic.

So we wait. Too many big game players have put their chips on the table, along with their pistols and everyone is afraid to move right now until the situation changes.

Or I could be completely off my rocker too I guess.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

A reasonable scenario. I think mine is the more likely, but not that much more likely than yours.

Still, we are all in the risk management business now.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Certainly the U.S. let first Pakistan and then North Korea become nuclear powers... however, Israel is a different animal - or was. If it is the same nation that won the 6 day war, they are coming to an Iran near you... if not, then not.

Publius said...

Wow: will Israel really be willing to destroy the last vestiges of a sane international order that actually proceeded out of WWII and the Nuremberg Trials? A process that defined a war of aggression and preemption as by definition a war crime and against the laws of war?

If Israel does this, it will have let the proverbial cat out of the bag: any nation will be able to claim a vague future threat as an excuse to attack another nation without provocation.

The USA is unable to stop Israel?
Greg, we (the USA) provided Israel with much of its arsenal and $3 billion plus in direct aid.

If Israel attacks Iran, we will be letting them. We could close down Iraqi airspace if we wanted to. If we don't put a stop to their shenanigans, that means we want to let it happen.

Even serious Israeli military leaders have been saying that Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons wouldn't be an existential threat if they existed.

Finally, the real reason that Israel wants to prevent another neighboring Muslim nation from having event the theoretical capacity to build a nuclear weapon is that that they are loathe to give up their nuclear monopoly in the region. They want to be able to beat the living shit out of their Arab neighbors with impunity.

Here's a pretty good analysis of the situation by Fareed Zakaria (not my favorite analyst, but one of the few slightly sane MSM guys):

I'm frankly perplexed by your obvious open-ended support for Israel. They are not a democracy - a democracy doesn't ethnically cleanse the original inhabitants of the land, and turn almost one half of its population into half-citizens. No real democracy can also be a theocratic state in which your status depends on your religion/ethnicity.

The biggest reason that our one-sided support of Israel is a mistake is that no other nation should be a permanent "ally," regardless of their reckless behavior and complete lack of strategic importance.

It's embarrassing to have our foreign policy so under the sway of a small, dogmatic, and dangerously Spartan/militant nation. Our politicians pander, and Netanyahu struts around with his characteristic bully's glaze.
Fortunately, the Greeks were correct about the ultimate fate of hubris.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Ah, but its good to hear from you Publius!

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Mine is not open ended support for Israel...

I do NOT support an Israeli or U.S. attack on Iran... Oil exports from the Gulf will come to an end before the end of this century... perhaps well before.

Why kill anybody for the convenience of a few for so short a period of time?

Israel is not asking me... I am merely relating what I think is the most probable outcome...

Urban Gorilla said...

As far as ethnic cleansing is concerned, the American Democracy did a pretty thorough job of that itself in the 19th Century. And there are more than a few contemporary "leaders" who would like to see the U.S. as a theocracy, as well, it would seem. This is not to let Israel off the hook for everything its politicians do, but just to point out that "existential threats" can be very subjective, and Israel has always had plenty of reasons to feel threatened.