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Monday, February 23, 2009

Proof: Obama administration doesn't understand Iran

An article in Sunday's Los Angeles Times shows that the Obama administration is living in the past, believing that the Cold War era strategy of 'containment' employed against the Soviet Union will work against Iran (Hat Tip: Hot Air).
If diplomacy fails, another Obama advisor wrote in the same report, the alternative "is a strategy of containment and punishment." That was the conclusion of Ashton B. Carter, Obama's reported choice as an undersecretary of Defense, who also warned: "The challenge of containing Iranian ambitions and hubris would be as large as containing its nuclear arsenal."

Most (and maybe all) of Obama's advisors see the costs of attacking Iran as outweighing the benefits. If Iran gets closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, they've warned, military action won't look any more appetizing than it did under George W. Bush.

But that doesn't mean the United States would do nothing. Instead, Obama aides suggested in their writings, the U.S. should pursue a Persian Gulf version of the containment strategy used against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

What would that mean? For starters, a nuclear-capable Iran would face continued, serious pressure from the United States and its allies to dismantle whatever it had built. Obama might declare that a nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the U.S. homeland. And the U.S. military would act to bolster Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states against conventional-warfare threats from an emboldened Iranian regime.
The assumption that Iran will have as a rational actor like the Soviet Union behaved during the Cold War may not have a basis in reality, certainly when it comes to the possibility of Iran attacking Israel and maybe not when it comes to the possibility of Iran attack the United States and other countries either. This is why Israel has said time and time again that it cannot live with a nuclear Iran.

America's Cold War strategy against Russia was based on a doctrine called Mutually Assured Destruction (or MAD). As a college student majoring in Political Science in the late 70's, I learned the theory from one of the world's top experts in it: Professor Warner Schilling. MAD started with the assumption that each of the US and USSR was a rational actor that cared about its people and would not want to see mass death and destruction against its country or its people. Once each side was convinced that regardless of what happened, the other side would have a second-strike capability (an ability to respond) in the event of a nuclear attack, it would not attack the other side.

That theory worked well for the US and the USSR. It doesn't work for Iran. Keep in mind that the post I just linked and the article I am about to quote (from Ron Rosenbaum in Pajamas Media) were both written more than two years ago, when Iran was nowhere near as far along the trail to nuclear weapons as they are today.
But there is another point I’m afraid I have to disagree with: That Iran would “lose” a war with Israel Perhaps now, perhaps for the next few months or (at most) the next few years. But as soon as Iran has nuclear weapons (if they haven’t bought them already), they can arm their Shehab-3 missiles and foreign bought submarines with them—and is there anyone so naive as to doubt that sooner or later, probably sooner—a nuclear exchange with Israel will result.

That is what people don’t get in this situation: it won’t matter whether Israel has more nukes or bigger nukes or better delivery systems. The logic of nuclear deterrence that once prevailed in the U.S./USSR Cold War no longer obtains. Now one side (Iran) feels it can absorb and survive nuclear retaliation if necessary to exterminate the other side (Israel).

Once Israel had a nuclear deterrent to conventional attack. Now however consider the words to be found in footnote 55 to the indictment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for inciting to genocide. Footnote 55 to the indictment, the “Referral” to the International Court of Justice under the Genocide Convention described in the previous post, is the heart of the matter, the heart of darknesss.

These words, this genocidal sentiment, which I have been citing since 2002 in writing about the situation, in postulating the prospect of a second Holocuast, were uttered by the leader of what the Western press has lately taken to calling the “pragmatic conservatives” in Iran, Ayatollah Hashemi Rasfanjani:

“If one day the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel’s possession [meaning nuclear weapons]—on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This…is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”

“Nothing on the ground” versus mere “damage”. In other words, as one rather dramatic version has it, Israel is “a one bomb state”. A state you can wipe off the map, along with its people, with a single nuclear device. Yes Terhan might be destroyed in return, other Muslim capitals as well perhaps, by Israeli retaliation. But at the end of that bleak day there will be “nothing on the ground” in Israel, once the homeland of five million Jews. And there will still be a billion or so Muslims, many of whom will be celebrating the outcome.


Once Iran was distant from Israel (though within range of the Shehab 3 missile). now Israel’s borders are surrounded by Iranian catspaws, Hizbullah and Hamas.Is there any doubt that, one way or another, sooner or later “one bomb” can reach Tel Aviv? Remind me how Iran would “lose” this war.

There is no deterrent to suicidal martyrdom, involuntary mass martrydom. No deterrent that depends on belief in the value of life by genocidal murderers on a “martyrdom mission”. Is there a solution to this problem aside from pre-emptive strikes which will likely be catastrophic for both sides and probably only postpone a second Holocaust? Are there any deterrrents that will stop Ahmadinejad and his ilk from carrying out their genocidal designs? I wish I could believe there were. Any ideas?
This is what the Obama administration does not - or does not want to - understand. If, for example, Obama declares that a nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the U.S. homeland (as the LA Times article cited above suggests), that will not be a deterrent to the Mullahs. If anything, it will be an invitation to 'martyrdom.' Obama and his advisers ignore Islam's martyrdom complex as if it is limited to the likes of Um Nidal or Nizar Riyyan. Obama and his advisors don't take it seriously when 70,000 Iranian 'students' volunteer to commit 'martyrdom' operations (suicide bombings) against Israel - but we Israelis do take it seriously based upon our own bitter experience. The Iranians mean what they say. Pretending that it is otherwise will not change that basic fact. Ahmadinejad's (and Khatami's) response to containment would be exactly like the cartoon at the top of this post. And it won't stop with Israel.

For those who don't remember it, please go back and read Rosenbaum's entire article. It seems like a few people at the White House and Foggy Bottom need to read it as well.


At 3:56 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Iran's first target is the Jews. But the entire human race is really the target and if madmen are going to push the nuclear button to wipe out Israel, it will be the last war in history. There will nothing for the Muslim World to celebrate since the human race will disappear forever from this planet. The Jewish people are never again going to be the sole footnote in history and her enemies ought to take note of it.


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