I know, I know, I have cried wolf before but this time I really do believe that Israel is on the brink of an attack on Iran. Those who think this would be a folly and that the Israelis should learn the 'lesson' from the cold war stand-off between the Soviets and the West, that is, that mutually assured destruction works as a deterrent to both sides, should read 'The Kraut' in The WaPo:
There are few foreign-policy positions more silly than the assertion without context that “deterrence works.” It is like saying air power works. Well, it worked for Kosovo; it didn’t work over North Vietnam.
It’s like saying city-bombing works. It worked in Japan 1945 (Tokyo through Nagasaki). It didn’t in the London blitz.
Charles Krauthammer reminds us of the difference between the Soviet communist ethos based on a material 'here and now', and that of the millenarian ravings of religious zealots who believe that there is an infinitely richer existence beyond this squalid life on earth. Also, the clerics are shrewd enough to realise that given the tiny size of Israel and the physical concentration of their population the Israelis are, in effect, a one-bomb target. However, Israel could use all of its arsenal and turn Iran into a wilderness but that would not destroy the vast remaining bulk of Muslims in the Middle-East. It's a win-win situation for Islam. Hence the extreme likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive strike.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is anything other than an enormous doubt in Israeli minds as to the reliability of President Obama as an ally. Some of his critics accuse him of timidity but that, in my view, is absolutely incorrect. His world-view is steeped in anti-Americanism and that feeling of domestic antogonism reaches out to encompass America's allies, including us, but especially Israel. So Netanyahu has some delicate equations to balance and time is not on his side as the Iranians race towards their nuclear goal. Will Romney, likely to be a more steadfast supporter, win the election? Can Netanyahu squeeze some useful concessions and/or promises from Obama by assuring him that he will not strike before the election?
In another article, 'The Kraut' quotes an American plan of action which, if Romney wins and impliments it, might just save the day. In essence (and it's worth reading the article in full), the progenitor of this plan, Anthony Corseman, a military analyst, suggests a three-part approach. First, make clear to the Iranians that there are only two options left - a deal or a disaster! Second, let the Iranians know that if they choose not to deal then in addition to surgical strikes against nuclear targets there will also be a massive campaign aimed at the total destruction of the entire infrastructure of their country, in other words, they will bomb Iran back to the stone age. Third, if they agree a deal then part of it would be an equivalent of the old Marshall Plan in which huge amounts of aid and trade would flow from the West into Iran guaranteeing them a prosperous future.
Of course, it is not a given that Romney would adopt such a hard-nosed policy because no-one knows anything about his foreign policy views, or, whether he has the cojones for such risk-taking. And needless to say, the Israelis may not wait around to find out!