What do we do about Iran?
Moderation may well be the course of action we take after the elections of 2008. A draft, for example totally depends on the Congress to vote it back, and our current passives will not go along. I also agree with assessments of the lack of understanding our public has of the importance of ME oil to the world, ourselves included. And, I agree with the importance of China to this issue, but would add Russia as well.
This adds to the complexity of the situation mightily. The one possible change, therefore, could be allowing the sale of oil to China, or Russia, but not allowing the import of refined products, if even that is possible, considering the pipeline developments underway between Russia, Iran, and eventually China. There are undoubtedly great risks in this factor.
As to the shutdown of the Gulf by Iran, I have two reactions. It cannot be total, since they have to sell their oil. But if they try that, we can interdict their vessels. So, no Iranian oil would go to market. The second reaction is that the US Navy would strive to put Iranian missile launch sites out of action by air attack, and there would be Special Forces actions on the ground to find, fix, and destroy them as well. So in my opinion, for them to close the gulf would be to either deny themselves revenue, or to expose their weapons systems to full precision-weapon attack. It is their choice.
The threat we see from the Iranian nuclear weapons developments is quite clear. Beyond acting as a defensive shield for Iran, such weapons would be eagerly received by AQ, passed to them in secret by Iran. This is entirely in accord with the Iranian support for terrorist organizations worldwide, and gives them a denial capability in case of AQ use of such weapons on us. One must admit the horror of an AQ armed with nukes. It would put our major cities under the threat of total destruction. (We may see this anyway if Pakistan turns around, which is yet another major issue.)
The mindset of Mullahs is not something I would bet on to be rational, either. We made the mistake of ignoring the threats of OBL, and got death and destruction for our lack of attention. Likewise, the collective mindset of the Iranian population is not exactly what I would want to rely upon to help the peace process in the ME.
We have practiced a multilateral approach to Iran, and to the NK as well, for over 4 years. We stood aside (as the bad boy)to allow the UK, Germany, and France(as the good boys) to attempt to solve the nuclear question in Iran. They have produced exactly one thing—sufficient delay and obscurantism for the Iranians to proceed at great speed to produce weapon grade material. When do we stop talking while allowing the Iranians to complete a cache of nuclear bombs for use by AQ?
As I said in my earlier post, perhaps obscurely, significant augmentation of the forces is not politically possible as things stand. It will require far more provocation than we have seen so far to open the closed minds we have here and elsewhere. We will have to wait, perhaps, for the loss of one or two of our cities, and a million of our citizens, before we will respond adequately.
Unless, of course, Bush and Cheney live up to their threats, which places us back to the beginning of this discussion.
One sees many, many ostriches these days.
Labels: Iran, Worldview