This week’s must read is VDH’s take on the options offered to the world on Iran. The quick version:
1) head in the sand
I doubt that many serious planners any longer entertain this passive fantasy, especially after the latest rantings of Ahmadinejad.
2) years of sanctions, condemnation etc etc while hoping for regime change:
It is a long-term therapy and therefore suffers the obvious defect that Iran might become nuclear in the meantime. Then the regime’s resulting braggadocio might well deflate the dissident opposition, as the mullahs boast that they alone have restored Iranian national prestige with an Achaemenid bomb.
3) Give Israel the green like to do like they did to Iraq’s nuclear ambitions.
But 2006 is not 1981. We are in war with Islamic radicalism, at the moment largely near the Iranian border in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting furor over a “Zionist” strike on Shia Iran might galvanize Iraqi Shiites to break with us, rather than bring them relief that the Jewish state had eliminated a nearby nuclear threat and had humiliated an age-old rival nation and bitter former enemy. Thousands of Americans are in range of Iranian artillery and short-term missile salvoes, and, in theory, we could face in Iraq a conventional enemy at the front and a fifth column at the rear.
4) U.S. airstrike