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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Obama's best chance for re-election: Attack Iran

Here's a summary of a lengthy article from Stratfor (via Real Clear World) whose bottom line is that President Obama's best chance for re-election is to attack Iran.
I am arguing the following. First, Obama will be paralyzed on domestic policies by this election. He can craft a re-election campaign blaming the Republicans for gridlock. This has its advantages and disadvantages; the Republicans, charging that he refused to adjust to the electorate's wishes, can blame him for the gridlock. It can go either way. The other option for Obama is to look for triumph in foreign policy where he has a weak hand. The only obvious way to achieve success that would have a positive effect on the U.S. strategic position is to attack Iran. Such an attack would have substantial advantages and very real dangers. It could change the dynamics of the Middle East and it could be a military failure.

I am not claiming that Obama will decide to do this based on politics, although no U.S. president has ever engaged in foreign involvement without political considerations, nor should he. I am saying that, at this moment in history, given the domestic gridlock that appears to be in the offing, a shift to a foreign policy emphasis makes sense, Obama needs to be seen as an effective commander in chief and Iran is the logical target.

This is not a prediction. Obama does not share his thoughts with me. It is merely speculation on the options Obama will have after the midterm elections, not what he will choose to do.
Hmmm. Read it all.


At 9:48 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
Somehow i don't see Obama attacking Iran,unless he wants to alienate Turkey who for some reason suddenly seems to choose all the "potential"ennemies of the USA as friends.If this happens in my opinion you may say goodbye to Turkey as a Nato member.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

Won't happen. In addition to the reasons Will stated, domestically, BHO has increased spending everywhere except on defense. He has emasculated the military. He has denigrated it and cut spending. The idea of his using a pretext to start a war is too far-fetched.

There would have to be, IMO, a quite severe provocation. A war started by Israel would not do it. An attack on Israel would not do it. Americans have been killed either directly by Iranians or by weapons supplied by Iran in both Afghanistan and Iraq for years. It is pretty common knowledge but ignored by the U.S. press and government (one seems to be a branch of the other these days). Wikileaks may or not change that with the recent disclosures. But the fact that it has been happening and both Bush and Obama have both known and been silent on it suggests that it is an insufficient provocation.

So what pretext would change things? Publicized and convincing evidence of Iranian nuclear warheads being assembled and placed on rockets in range of U.S. interests? A direct attack on the U.S.? Will these become happen before the 2012 election and in time to save the Obama presidency? Will the U.S. military even be in a position to do anything about it in the next two years, other than maybe a brief air campaign? Will an air-only campaign even stir anyone? Will either the right or the Obama's base want to see Obama get militaristic?

As Carl says, "when pigs fly."

At 11:58 AM, Blogger יונתן said...

The only way I could see it is if Obama the stealth Sunni will decide to stick it to those Shiite heretics.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger yzernik said...

I have read elsewhere that Iran will delay their nuclear test until after Obama is reelected to make it easier for him to win the election.


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