War with Iran, based on things that are not so
Wolf Pangloss wrote an interesting and detailed reply to Part I of my series on The Long War. In it he describes why Iran is our enemy. As a timely rebuttal see “The Iranian Challenge“ in 19 November 2007 issue of The Nation, by Trita Parsi (Wikipedia entry). He is the author of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. (Yale, 2007), and president of the National Iranian American Council). This article describes 6 myths about Iran.
- Iran is ripe for regime change.
- Iran is irrational and cannot be deterred.
- Iran is inherently anti-American.
- Enrichment equals a nuclear bomb.
- Iran seeks Israel’s destruction.
- The pressure on Iran is working.
I am no Middle East area expert, but these seem pretty accurate. But the strategic context to this debate is seldom discussed. Let’s consider two aspects of the wider game.
First, history shows that the very existence of a hegemon impels other states to ally against it. Worse, our new fondness for attacking other states must incite fear and encourage alliances against us. This is clearly happening today amongst the emerging powers of Asia — China and Russia. Let’s not encourage this natural tendency, let alone accelerate it. Attacking Iran would do both, at warp speed.
Second, strength encourages boldness — often disastrously so (Napoleon’s invasion of Russia). But even worse, so does the illusion of strength. America’s position today is precarious, with both internal and external weaknesses — both geopolitical and financial. Note my previous posts about Peak Oil and the US dollar. Adding the stress of another war at this time seems extremely unwise.
Note that rumors are again circulating about a strike at Iran by Israel, best stated in this January article in the Times: Israel plans nuclear strike at Iran. Almost certainly a bluff, in my opinion. Using nukes would make Israel a pariah, far more so than it is today. They would be global criminals, almost certainly hit with punitive measures such as elimination of foreign aid and trade sanctions. These would put Israel’s very existence at risk.
For more information about Iran
- War with Iran, 9 November 2007
- Is Iran dangerous, or a paper tiger?, 13 November 2007
- Will Israel commit suicide? More rumors of a strike at Iran., 22 December 2007
- Will we bomb Iran, now that Admiral Fallon is gone?, 17 March 2008
- More post-Fallon overheating: “6 signs the US may be headed for war in Iran”, 18 March 2008