There's no way around it, war with Iran over its nuclear ambitions is almost inevitable. In fact, the situation today is reminiscent of the summer of 1914, when the military preparations of the countries of Europe, and the collective neurosis and pathology, the miscalculations, only required a spark to set off World War I.
The Middle East is like the Balkans of 1914, and Iran like the Serbia of 1914.
The spark for the coming conflagration this time is Israel. Israel with good reason feels threatened by an Iran with possession of an atomic bomb. If you were a non-democratic dictator like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wouldn't you want nuclear power?
Power is power, for domestic use or military.
Pakistan has it. So does India. North Korea wants it. So does Iran. If you were Mahmoud, you'd want it too. It elevates your power as a statesman on the world scene. It makes you feared, able to respond to any threat or insult real or imagined.
You can wave the nuclear sword. People listen.
Iran claims it's only developing nuclear power for peaceful non-military purposes, but let's be real. If you've got the power to make the glowing rods, you can use them for anything you want, and we know given their bombastic statements to wipe Israel off the face of the earth that Ahmadinejad and his henchmen are not pacifist Quakers.
Let me outline the quickly developing nightmare scenario. Israel, which has a long history and extensive experience dealing aggressively with those bordering states it considers terrorist, also has a history of preemptive strikes. Thus, the urge to attempt to take out Iran's nuclear factories before it can advance its ambitions further is almost overwhelming.
There is a gamble that Iran will strike back and level Tel Aviv and that other Arab countries will become involved in a conflagration. But the price of sitting back and doing nothing while Mahmoud harnesses the nuclear genie is, to Israel, unthinkable. That's not an option.
Washington is counseling Israel to remain calm and not to attack Iran.
Now let's add to the nightmare. The United States stupidly launched war against Iraq, for possessing weapons of mass destruction it didn't have, and Afghanistan, while ignoring the much greater threat from Iran.
Let's assume that a Pearl Harbor-style attack on Iran to take out its nuclear plant is justified, the best idea, and I'm not saying here that it is. If that's the case, it should have been done five years ago when Iran had less capability. Instead, we were wasting our time in Iraq for little gain.
Iraq without weapons of mass destruction is not a threat to the U.S., but Iran with an A-bomb is, and it certainly is to Israel, based on rhetoric coming from Tehran.
In the 10 years since both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been launched, we have exhausted our troops with multiple endless deployments and worn out our military hardware, trucks, planes, and tanks, so that we are less prepared to deal with a new emergency. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said that although the U.S. could stand up to any threat (and here's where he gave it away), we cannot fight any further "two-front" wars.
Our economy melted down too.
We are a country that can't correctly prioritize its enemies.
Let me rephrase it: WE ATTACK COUNTRIES WE DON'T LIKE THAT DON'T HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND IGNORE COUNTRIES WE DON'T LIKE (IRAN AND NORTH KOREA) THAT OPENLY ARE BUILDING THEM.
So what are the options? Narrower. We can appeal to Iran to be logical, peaceful. We can ask them to stop building nuclear weapons, although the power it will give them by joining the nuclear club of nations will transform them at the very least from a pariah who can be shunned, into a super power to whom we must pay deference.
They want that so bad they can taste it.
We can hope, we can pray, but that in the past hasn't convinced unscrupulous men to curtail their activities. If you were Ahmadinejad, wouldn't you want people to fear you? I don't want to sound crude, but if you were a macho man, it would be like gaining an extra three inches to your male sexual organ.
It also begs the question, for how long can the U.S. expect to embargo the knowledge of nuclear power to only those countries it considers appropriate? Who to allow and not to allow in the always-growing club? The knowledge to make a bomb can be learned, or can be stolen and learned.
I don't trust Ahmadinejad, but I'm pretty certain he's aware that if he acquired the bomb and used it, he and his country would be vaporized. The problem is, we have now reached a stage that like in 1914, only requires a miscalculation, a thought that I have to act. If I don't act, I won't have another chance. It will be too late. I'm not sure what the other guy is thinking, but I have to do something. I have to gamble it all.
That card will likely be played by Israel.
Iran won't stop. I don't see any way out of this, any possible solution.
We are poised on the brink of the abyss.