There is a lot of talk about a war with Iran. Faithful readers will recall that I said the best chance for a US strike passed when Tony Blair resigned. But let's spare the tortuous history, here are a few points that have mostly been consistent since this started.
- Israel cannot, with conventional weapons, knock out the Iranian atomic program. They simply can't deliver enough ordinance at that distance. Their problems are most recently outlined here.
- Likewise, the US can do a LOT more damage than Israel, but things may be past the point where they could deliver a knock-out blow either. At least with conventional weapons.
- A nuclear attack on Iran is not an option. The weapons would have to penetrate deeply into the ground before exploding in order to get at buried facilities. This would result in massive radioactive fallout over Eastern Iran, Pakistan and India. With attendant casualties.
- No action by the US and/or Israel can bring about regime change in Tehran. So the essential problem can't be solved by military means.
- No matter what, an Iranian bomb is not a threat to the US, Europe, China, Russia or India. If the world can live with a nuclear Pakistan, then we can live with a nuclear Iran.
Besides these points, there are some new ones.
- Relations between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are terrible. Neither likes or trusts the other. Obama will go out on a limb for Israel, but he won't lift a finger to help Netanyahu.
- Jerusalem and Washington are talking the same language, but the words don't mean the same thing. Obama doesn't want the Iranians to build a bomb. Netanyahu doesn't want them to be able to build a bomb. For him, the red line has already been crossed. For Obama, the line won't be crossed for years, if ever.
- Lastly, the most pressing issue in the Mid-East is Syria. Syria sits on just about every fault line in the region and is now in civil war. It won't end well and the implications are both far reaching and difficult to predict.