A couple of pretty good commentators have noted an increasing probability of war with the Iranians. Since they have apparently accumulated enough material to make nukes, this prospect should make one check to see that their powder is being kept dry.
Actual damage from a limited number of weapons would be minimal…but then again…what if they did an EMP attack designed to fry microchip electronics? Visualize no cars (control computers gone), no computers, no cell (or other modern phones), no radio/TV (all modern gear uses chips), etc. NOT a pretty picture.
“Classic” or other vehicles that lack computers, EFI, electronic ignition, etc. would still work, as would old “tube” based electronics.
Anyway…the first of these notes goes back a few weeks to May, from the inimitible Spengler in Asia Times. The other is more recent warning note from veteran commentator Arnaud de Borchgrave.
What can the West offer the Islamic Republic of Iran in return for giving up its nuclear ambitions and kenneling its puppies of war? The problem calls to mind the question regarding what to give a man who has everything: cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney failure, and so forth. Iran’s economy is so damaged that it is impossible to tell how bad things are. Except perhaps for the oilfields of southern Iraq, and perhaps also northern Saudi Arabia, there is nothing the West can give Iran to forestall an internal breakdown….
What strategic consequences ensue from Iran’s economic misery? Broadly speaking, the choices are two. In the most benign scenario, Iran’s clerical establishment will emulate the Soviet Union of 1987, when then-prime minister Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged that communism had led Russia to the brink of ruin in the face of vibrant economic growth among the United States and its allies. Russia no longer had the resources to sustain an arms race with the US, and broke down under the pressure of America’s military buildup.
The second choice is an imperial adventure. In fact, Iran is engaged in such an adventure, funding and arming Shi’ite allies from Basra to Beirut, and creating clients selectively among such Sunnis as Hamas in Palestine.
I continue to predict that Iran will gamble on adventure rather than go the way of Gorbachev….
Which leads to this rather unpleasant conclusion:
An old piece of diplomatic wisdom states that one always should give one’s enemy a way out. But I see no way out for the pocket empire of Persia. Ahmadinejad and his generation of Revolutionary Guards will fight, and cautious old men like Rafsanjani will not be able to stop them.
An impressive sampling of US establishmentarians seem to be salivating at the prospects of taking on, and presumably taking out Iran.
“The case for bombing Iran,” was the headline over Mr. (Norman) Podhoretz’s long piece in the June issue of Commentary, the magazine he edited for 35 years (until 1995) and where he serves as editor at large. “I hope and pray that President Bush will do it,” Mr. Podhoretz wrote. His son-in-law Elliott Abrams is deputy national security adviser to President Bush. His son John is a columnist for the New York Post.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, added his powerful voice recently to the case for military action against Iran in response to its purported killings of U.S. troops inside Iraq. “I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq… and to me that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers,” he said.
Denials from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice notwithstanding, it is an open secret in Washington Vice President Dick Cheney does not believe diplomacy-cum-sanctions will persuade the mullahs to forgo their nuclear ambitions. David Wurmser, a former member of the Douglas Feith politico-military team at the Pentagon, is deputy assistant to Mr. Cheney for national security â€” and a hawk on Iran. A co-author, with Mr. Feith and Richard Perle, of the controversial 1996 White Paper “Saving the Realm,” which referred to Israel and advised then incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to repeal the Oslo agreements on a Palestinian solution, keep Gaza and the West Bank, and establish a democracy in Iraq by overthrowing Saddam Hussein.
The word among the neocon family is Mr. Cheney believes Mr. Bush will stick to his pledge not to leave office 16 months hence with Iran’s nuclear facilities unscathed. Either Iran comes clean and stops its nuclear fuel enrichment process under IAEA control, or Tehran faces Mr. Bush’s military option. Two U.S. aircraft carriers are now 30 miles off Iran’s coastline in the Persian Gulf.
Would this REALLY happen? The Chief would not bet against it, especially considering the demented state of mind of the Iranian “leadership”.