Syria, Iran and the Wars Ahead

David P. Goldman:

Is there a better way to handle the Syrian calamity? I believe so.
First, neutralize Iran, by which I mean air strikes to destroy its nuclear weapons program and a few other military capabilities. That would remove the Assad regime’s main source of support. It would also make the Turks dispensable: without the Iranian threat, the Turkish army is just a makework program with obsolete weapons. Let the Alawites have their enclave, and let the Sunni Arabs have a rump state, minus the Syrian Kurds, whose autonomy would be an important step towards an eventual Kurdish state. The Turks and the Russians would be the biggest losers.

The USA isn’t likely to do this, which was probably Goldman’s point. It’s possible that the Iranian regime will collapse or that Israel will attack. The near-term odds of the regime falling on its own seem slim. The odds of an Israeli attack are probably increasing as the Israeli Right seems likely to increase its parliamentary majority. But an Israeli attack is far from certain and might not succeed in any event. It therefore seems likely that Syria will continue to fester, that Iran’s imperial ambitions will remain unchecked until there is a regional war, and that nuclear weapons will spread at a faster rate than otherwise. Eventually someone will use a nuke, or two or three, and then what? Richard Fernandez points out that we haven’t been thinking seriously about such things. Maybe it’s time to start. It doesn’t look like containment is going to work this time.

19 thoughts on “Syria, Iran and the Wars Ahead”

  1. }}}} Richard Fernandez points out that we haven’t been thinking seriously about such things

    Oh, I’m quite sure many have been thinking quite seriously about this. One group is doing everything it can to encourage Iran’s nuclear development and obstruct any opposition to that, the other is rightfully attempting to find some way around the more powerful first group.

  2. “First, neutralize Iran, by which I mean air strikes to destroy its nuclear weapons program and a few other military capabilities.”

    Dream on. Isn’t the message from the Obama administration: we love and support the Iranian Revolution?

    They will never attack Iran.

  3. The main reason, well one of them anyway, that you are in the crapper economically, is your stupid wars. Attacking Iran should finish you off nicely. Go for it.

  4. Pen: Eph off.

    I don’t usually engage in such commentary, but your post deserves no better.

    The “wars” in question are less than 25% of the entire amount we’re in the crapper over… HARDLY a recipe for financial collapse, as the history from WWII alone more than amply shows.

    In short, it’s got nothing to do with the wars, but bad economic policy by both the RINO GOP and the spendthrift left, as well as their endless meddling on all levels trying to engineer social change by means of fiscal redistributionism. The housing bubble, and its subsequent collapse, was a DIRECT result of idiotic, bonehead Democrat/Left financial meddling. The GOP *did* have the power to act to stop it, so they failed, too — but a sin of omission is not the same ballpark, by any means, as a direct sin of commission.

    In summary I repeat: eph off. You clearly suffer from a world-class case of CRIS.

  5. “It doesn’t look like containment is going to work this time.”

    Containment has a very bad historical track record. It worked ONCE in our lifetimes and we’re still in love with it..and it’s arguable that Reagan didn’t also win by Rollback.

    Containment was the Whigs and then the Republicans plan for the Confederacy.

    We’re not going to attack Iran.

    And nukes aren’t likely to go off unless we are perceived as so weak it’s worth going for it. In the case of Israel it’s not worth going for them.

  6. First consideration: Obama is president for four more years.

    Second consideration: Obama is president for four more years.

    Israel will consult its own interests. Obama might be able to cripple their ability to prevent war with Iran but he can’t prevent the Israeli response to an attack by Iran. That nuclear exchange was studied by Tony Cordesman a few years ago. His conclusion was that Iran would not survive as a nation. Israel would lose 600,000 casualties and that would be the end of middle east oil for a century or so. Of course, Obama is trying to prevent us from becoming independent of the middle east for oil.

    What Obama would do in the event is unknown. He might respond with our nukes but he might just freeze and do nothing. Whatever he does, it will be too late.

    PenGun is inching toward troll territory, I’m afraid.

  7. Well we attack countries it’s said to gain their mineral resources.

    And women.

    I’ve attacked Iraq twice and we’ve seen nought of neither. [In Iraq]

    Which is why I propose we swing north and attack CANADA. Not only do they have plenty of both and can’t be more cantankerous than the Iraqis [a high bar] but in CANADA they have BEER.

    And as we know they’re not armed beyond the Mounties. In Iraq that was not the case…

    Our flag is missing some stars. On to Canada!!

  8. I have to agree, a little bit, with PenGun on this one.

    For any year 2009-2012, you could set total military spending to zero, and it still wouldn’t close the deficit, by a long shot. So the claim that the Great Recession is mainly due to the marginal increase in spending for recent wars is absurd on its face. Classic PenGun, so far.

    However, we’re unlikely to get any government spending under control unless we get all government spending under control. Deficit hawks that act as if military spending somehow doesn’t count aren’t really deficit hawks, they’re just partisan GOP hacks. (I’m speaking primarily of the hacks in DC, not the hacks on this site.)

    As for the “stupid” part, it is stupid for us to think that we know better than Israel what to do (or not do) about Iran’s nukes. And for us to strike Iran expecting it will simplify — rather than complicate — the situation in Syria or anywhere else in the region is crazy stupid.

    There’s a very good chance that nothing the US can do will alleviate the threat that the governments of Iran and Syria pose to their own people and the countries around them. But there are countless things we can do to make the situation worse. What are the chances that anyone in Washington has enough sense to tell the difference?

  9. Huh?

    The original post, and my comment, spoke of a preemptive strike on Iran by the United States.

    My point was and is that Israel has a lot more riding on preventing a nuclear attack from Iran than we do. Unless and until the Israelis think the risks of a preemptive strike are warranted, it’s absurd for us to talk of it.

    And if the threat of a nuclear attack hasn’t (yet) justified a strike on Iran, then hoping to help the situation in Syria as a side effect doesn’t even come close.

    (Just to be clear, none of this should be taken as justification for the Obama administration’s undermining of Israel.)

  10. Setbit,

    The situation is a bit more complicated than that, because the Israelis are being very careful to avoid unnecessarily antagonizing the Obama administration and are consequently guarded in what they say publicly. There is also substantial opposition to an Iran strike from the Israeli Left and particularly the military leadership. I don’t think we will know if/when they intend to attack until after they do it.

  11. “In summary I repeat: eph off. You clearly suffer from a world-class case of CRIS.”

    I love you guys and your abbreviations. So is that Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist or is Google not getting it either?

  12. “My point was and is that Israel has a lot more riding on preventing a nuclear attack from Iran than we do. Unless and until the Israelis think the risks of a preemptive strike are warranted, it’s absurd for us to talk of it.”

    I think we are far too dismissive of the fact that Iran has been at war with the US, not Israel, since 1979. We are “The Great Satan,” not Israel. Yes, they threaten Israel and yes they talk of wiping it off the map.

    Why did Hitler attack France in 1940 ? His aim was to take over and destroy Russia for “lebensraum.” The attack on France was to prevent their combining with Russia in a two front war, as occurred in 1914.

    Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor ? Their aim was to prevent us from interfering in their plans to acquire oil from Indonesia and to expand the war on China. They had no intention of invading California, no matter the hysteria that led to interning the Japanese ethnic group.

    I would think it only slightly less likely that we will see an attack on us in the next four years. An atomic weapon in a container would be effective in New York City. Biden is an idiot to dismiss Iranian threats by saying they don’t have ICBMs.

  13. Pengun, how about a little respect? U.S. has it’s faults but some slack, please. You’re reading and powering your home with electricity, you’re not speaking German or Russian, you’re eating well, you’re flying flying and driving where you want too, your typing your comments on Cboyz due to tech and industry in the U. S…….I could go on. These developments didn’t come to you and the rest of the world from heaven. Have a little balance in your comments, please. We all disagree heartily with some or even most of what our government is doing but (if we cared to find out or were interested in Canadian politics, no offense) almost no one at this post would wish your country to be “finished off”.

    I’d suggest to you that these things are largely due to the prosperity and inovation that this country has provided. All this and Pax Americana doesn’t deserve your thoughtless disrespect.

    Please don’t respond with some nitpicking comment about the genereal validty of what I wrote.

  14. I recognize PenGun’s type because I’ve met it often enough: The foreigner living in America on a work visa, enjoying our hospitality by loudly insulting us every chance he gets. The progressive creep who enjoys tossing a turd into the punchbowl whenever the conversation turns to topics and facts that are inconvenient to his depraved, totalitarian worldview. I would have banned him long ago.

  15. PenGun is slightly less offensive than Joe C was (Speak of the devil?) because he has had a few worthwhile points. I can’t remember any at this moment but I’m sure there must have been some. Canadians have a certain attitude toward the US that goes back to the Tories and their flight to Canada to avoid war with Mother England. I respect that, especially as one branch of my family is Canadian. I love Gordon Lightfoot and his Canadian Railroad Trilogy.

    However, Canada has its own problems, chiefly Montreal. And, of course, the weather. The Chinese seem intent on buying western Canada and there are places where it seems one might be in China, or at least Hong Kong. A Chinese friend of mine, now sadly deceased, told me that in the late 70s, wealthy Hong Kong families, including his, had first class air tickets to Canada that were for a date in the near future and they kept rolling them over to keep a valid date of departure in case China did something hasty about Hong Kong. They were ready for a mass exodus.

    Canada has benefited greatly by having Harper as PM and by Alberta oil discoveries. They were helped not insignificantly buy Obama’s buddy Chavez who chased all the oil field technology folks out just as Alberta needed them. We are stuck with Obama and we would happily trade him for Harper.

  16. I’ve banned him in the past. I generally only ban commenters who are consistently abusive or engage in repeated thread-hijacking. I don’t find most of his comments insightful but they are brief and occasionally he makes a point.

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