Friday, August 13, 2010

Bombing Iran

"Netanyahu’s belief is that Iran is not Israel’s problem alone; it is the world’s problem, and the world, led by the United States, is duty-bound to grapple with it."

This is a quote from Jeffery Goldberg's recent comment in The Atlantic. I will admit that the Iranian Republic of seven years ago is different from the one of today. Then, there was a widespread distribution of power among clergy, the religious assembly, the Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guards. Now the more moderate clergy has been sidelined, and the more extremist Revolutionary Guards and their leader Ahmadinejad have consolidated power.

The nation looks more like a police state / dictatorship than it did seven years ago. I absolutely hate WW2 analogies, but I actually think it is appropriate here: Iran now looks like Germany in 1932, where the brownshirts and the SS were on the brink of a major consolidation of power within the nation. So too may the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Ahmadinejad be poised.

Any time power gets more concentrated, it is unstable, and more dangerous - especially when the people in whose hands it is concentrated have apocalyptic religious beliefs, and thus are likely irrational and hard to deter. So before having finished the article, I will say that the thought of a military solution to this problem does not turn me off nearly as much as it did previously.

If I was Obama, what would I do? I would tell the Israelis flat out that settlements in the West Bank stop TODAY if they want our military / diplomatic support in a year from now if things get a bit hazy. If we have to go to war, we have to go to war. The world has to know that we at least did everything possible to prevent that eventuality, which Obama has virtually done, save successfully restrain Israeli provocation in the West Bank.

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