The last few weeks have seen some rumblings that I would not have expected: Iran does not appear to be budging on their nuclear capabilities, and I find that interesting because while they spew a lot of rhetoric, they are are from foolish most of the time. This refusal to back down is starting to back nations into a corner … and it pauses for thought:
1. No matter what the UN or anyone says or does, Israel is almost certain to make sure at all costs Iran does not get nukes. Western nations do not have a recent history of terrorist attacks (I say recent, because the CIA etal has stooped that low in the past). Iran has very intimate ties to terrorists. It is one thing to set off a car bomb or fire some hand held rockets into Israel … heck it is even another thing to slam some planes into buildings. Allowing a known supporter of terrorism to have nuclear weapons that can be handed to terrorists is a sure fire way to cause way too much damage to Israel while saying “It wasn’t us!!”. In the end, I suspect Israel will take matters into their own hands. Strategically, it makes sense: Israel cannot win a war with terrorists very easily. An actual military war is something Israel can likely win.
2. If you think the U.S. population doesn’t have a heart for war after 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, wait until Iran gets moved up to #1 contender. I mean this things has been brewing for over 30 years! If the US got away with sending troops to Iraq and not having to deal with a major enough backlash at home (sorry anti war movement, you blew it!), there will be far less opposition to sending the troops in to Iran where a hard line anti-Christian, anti-liberal Western culture government might just be the thing we need to unite the left and right in our country (it won’t really happen).
3. Had Iran done this 15 years ago, we would have been at a disadvantage, but Iran is picking a very bad time for this. Our troops are battle hardened and are now used to fighting in that region. We’ve probably had invasion plans for Iran sitting on the shelf longer than plans for Iraq.
4. Much like Iraq, we really don’t need to win this war. If Iran is thinking that they can just go underground once things get bad, they need to rethink their strategy, and what they think American-Israeli ambitions are. Does anyone actually think our mission in Iraq was to conquer? It was not. That strategy went out the window in Vietnam. Iraq (and to an extent Afghanistan) was a communication; a message: we aren’t coming to plant the flag or permanently install a puppet government (I doubt anyone suspects Iraq’s current government will last 5 years). We come to inflict pure, brutal devastation to your land … we are going to make sure that it is a long couple of decades before your nation is capable of doing anything. Perhaps this is why Iran not backing down is such a bad idea: Iran is trying right now to become the regional superpower: they want to be the biggest kid in South and Southwest Asia. This is very difficult to do when Tehran starts looking like the surface of the moon (exaggeration, but you get my point). When Iran sees its military degraded, its infrastructure ruined, etc … its ability to flex muscle and bring the local nations in line is going to be a problem. There’s yet another reason Iran needs to be cautious:
5. Iran is not going to get much help. There will be a lot of citizens in the Arab states who go off to fight for Iran, and the Arab states will happily let these extremists go to their doom. While Islam is a uniting religion, the Arab and Gulf states are not particular allies of Iran, and would collectively love to see Iran beaten down several pegs. They likely won’t get too involved in helping the US, but they aren’t going to send aide to Iran. Ironically, Iran’s biggest ally is likely to be atheist North Korea, with such super powers as Venezuela and Bolivia thrown in for good measure. China will absolutely not get involved, and India will sit by munching popcorn while one of their biggest pains in the butt gets steamrolled (India deals with far more extremist violence than even the US does). The only likely culprit to get involved would be Russia, but even they are likely to sit this one out given that once the US is done, they might even have more lucrative business associations with a new government, vs. one that is infringing a bit on the whole “Russian sphere of influence” thing.
6. Any war is going to re-tank the world economy. Just as things are starting to look up a little, something like this could send the economy crashing down again. Europe won’t be happy, but don’t expect to see the Greeks or Irish sending military aide to Iran.
7. Iran needs to consider the future of their philosophy. Iran is one of the last Islamic theocracies that has any power to do anything big in the world. If they and many of their supporters get knocked down a notch, who will hold the mantle of anti-westernism, anti-Zionism, pro-extremism thought? Oh sure, there will be small enclaves here and there, but Iran needs to know that its position is very precarious. At a time when extremists are making small headways in Egypt and Syria, and probably Iraq, Iran getting wasted could spell doom for their entire worldview and its ability to make headlines and get support from local governments.
It just seems to me that Iran really needs to back down.