You asked two tough questions.
1) Why is Israel taking such a hawkish public position?
I think they are doing it specifically because their position is weak in certain fundamental ways, with respect to their capacity to have the impact
upon Iran that would lead to them ceasing their nuclear ambitions. I see it as part of a larger western strategy to shift public opinion toward a war
with Iran that I believe will be forthcoming.
Israel doesn't see itself as having a choice. It's a bit of a nasty nation in that it has defined its own national security interest as ensuring
its neighbors don't have certain types of weapons. So, they will actively act to keep them from reaching them, wherever and whenever it happens, but
given the disparity in resources and manpower, it seems like it is doomed to eventual failure. Demography usually wins, all other things being
That being the case, Israel sees being crazy as sanity, if that makes sense. I don't think they lack the knowledge of their own hypocrisy to the
world; I think they don't have the luxury of caring.
2) Can the West (read: America) fight a winning war in Iran/
Victory defends on the objectives. As we've discussed, there are basically three different potential outcomes that America could seek.
- Destruction of Current Nuclear Facilities - a very limited war with the intention of degrading the existing capacity of Iran for all nuclear
research and development
- Regime Change - a more involved conflict whose goal is the removal of the current regime which may or may not include stabilization of the new
- Complete Destruction of Iran - total war including civilian casualties in great numbers
For political reasons, the last option isn't going to be on the table unless Iran launches some seriously nasty attacks against the American civilian
population. If they do, I suspect there would be a majority far quicker than people think who would agree with a scorched earth policy that would
lead into a World War scenario. But let's assume Iran's regime doesn't do that for the moment, as they act more reasonably for their own
If American assets launched a series of aerial, missile, and special forces attacks with the limited goal of destroying Iranian nuclear facilities, I
believe they could do in such a fashion that it would serve for several years setback. If they used allies who would conduct assassinations on
related figures, perhaps even longer.
Would the Iranian regime risk expanding such a war by attacking against American naval assets, mining the Straits of Hormuz, or otherwise, when the
end game could leave them in power minus a weapon they didn't have? It's a question worth considering, and given the changing landscape, I think
time is the ally of the Iranians, with respect to their future partners in China and Russia, and with respect to Israel's deteriorating security
situation with regard to its own neighbors.
America knows this, and I think that's why if they get involved, their goal will be to destabilize and remove this regime. I don't know that they
care what replaces it, how radical it may be, so long as it is friendly on the resource front, inactive on the nuclear front, and less prone to using
terror as a weapon. Even a broken and destabilized Iran is actually fine, from the American perspective, because the one thing America must avoid is
putting substantial boots on the ground in an effort to rebuild.
A smart strategy could see a Green Revolution type coup backed by limited American security assets. A less smart strategy could just take out the
command and control mechanisms of Iran, and hope for the best. It gets tricky because their political leadership is religious as well, but since the
Shi'a are not so well liked in the rest of the Muslim world, I think they are not off limits for consideration. That said, you'd want them pushed
aside, not taken out.
What I Predict
I think American planners have wanted a war with Iran for a long time, as they are the last organized base of power in the region openly hostile to
the US, and they will act to remove the regime. I think the differences between the Israelis and American are about time and method, and are more a
function of public relations theory designed to motivate indifferent western populations, who rightly care more about their own collapsing economies
at home, but both security and economic resource considerations will see Iran at war.
They'd like Iran to strike first, but assuming that doesn't happen, I'd be stunned if America doesn't attack Iran before November. I'd guess
we'll hear a few more months about how terrible the Iranians are, enough time to move American assets into place, for the Israelis to hole up, to try
to cut deals which will mollify Russia and China, during which Syria will be erased from being a threat to Israel to the greatest extent possible.