In my judgment, the United States should not intervene militarily in the affairs of another nation unless its own defensive interests so justify. That is why my columns have consistently opposed US meddling in the affairs of the Arab Spring, especially those that destabilized the positions of important US allies – Mubarak in Egypt and Gaddafi in Libya.
Iran, however, is quite another story. The International Atomic Energy Agency this week released its assessment that Iran is no more than one year away from acquiring nuclear weapons. Such an acquisition will place Israel and the United States in clear and present danger of a nuclear holocaust.
For the Iranian government is evil and unstable , fully capable of launching a first strike on Israel and Washington, in full recognition that such actions would result in the nuclear devastation of the entire Middle East, as Israel and the United States responded with massive second strike retaliations from submarines located in the Mediterranean Sea. If such is the price of seating oneself on the right hand of the Prophet, that price will be paid by the Mad Mullahs who currently rule from the mosques of Tehran.
What are the risks associated with an aerial campaign to demolish or substantially downgrade Iran’s nuclear facilities?
Planes could be shot down and airmen taken prisoner. Iran could close the Straits of Hormuz sending energy prices upward. It could conduct a campaign of terror throughout the world, or attack shipping in the Persian Gulf, or fire missiles against U.S. military installations in the region, or spark a war with Israel or another insurgency in Iraq.” Editorial, ‘If Iran Gets the Bomb’, The Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2011
These risks must be weighed against the consequences of a nuclear Iran:
This is a regime that took 52 American diplomats hostage and dared the Carter administration to do something about it. It used its surrogates in Beirut to kill 258 American diplomats and Marines in 1983. The FBI believes it was behind the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. airmen. It supplied IEDs to anti-American militias in Iraq, killing hundreds of U.S. soldiers. And only last month, the Obama administration accused Iran of seeking to blow up the Saudi ambassador in a Washington, D.C. restaurant. These acts were perpetrated by Tehran without a nuclear umbrella. What would Iran’s behavior look like if it had one? (ibid.)
The United States would confront a serious strategic threat should Iran get the bomb. Israel would confront an existential threat. If President Obama does not possess the foresight and/or cannot muster the courage to initiate a pre-emptive strike, surely Israel will assume the responsibility.
Israel will fight and Israel will be right. Israel may not have the oil. But it surely has the matches.