While Americans try to sort out the question of who will be their next president, the real question people should be asking themselves is, “Will Israel have the courage to save itself–and the rest of the world–when it comes time to deal with Iran?”
It really doesn’t matter whether the American electorate takes the unlikely view that it wants a more bellicose geriatric version of George Bush, i.e. John McCain, or the likelier scenario that it wants a vibrant black JFK who promises change, i.e. Barack Obama. Either way, the responsibility for saving the world will fall on Israel’s shoulders.
Pick your leader America. I’m afraid it won’t matter!
If McCain becomes president, the United States will obviously stay in Iraq longer than otherwise. The American government will continue to try to suppress the reactionary tendencies within Iraq’s Islamic culture, only to find that any policy designed to direct Iraq’s development necessarily involves other requirements beyond America’s current political will.
To try to mitigate Iraq’s external handicaps, McCain proposes to apply “international pressure” on the regimes that seek to undermine Iraq’s Westernization, i.e. Iran and Syria. This deliberately vague proposal means one of two things: 1) either McCain does not want to confront them directly, and he’s being up front about it, or 2) he wants to, but realizes that it would be political suicide to say so. Either way, he will never do so with the effectiveness required to dissuade these terrorist regimes and motivate America’s political allies in Iraq.
Only with America’s full support against Iran could Iraq’s secular leaders possibly be motivated to tough out what will certainly be decades of religious strife to come. It is well known that Iran aids insurgents militarily, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Iran is the central hub of contemporary Islamism and thus it impacts the entire region ideologically. The reactionary theocratic philosophy that fueled its 1979 revolution has been gaining in appeal among Muslims, and Iraq’s leaders need to know that they will always get help resisting this force.
Similarly, Iraq’s nascent democracy needs to know that its ally will not tolerate the undermining presence of oppressive theocracies and terrorist states along its other borders. Consequently, regime change in Saudi Arabia and Syria would also have to figure in any American plans for a stable Iraq. These things will never happen. In the Republican mindset, Saudi Arabia is a stable ally, and Syria is just a containable nuisance.
What will happen if America sticks with the Republicans is that McCain will attempt to “stay the course.” He will try to isolate the Iraq situation, and try to evade the fact that it can’t be isolated. And if Americans aren’t calling for the troops to come home quite loudly enough for McCain to hear it yet, he won’t be able to not hear it as president.
Tragically, the longer American troops stay in Iraq while Iran remains untouched, the stronger the eventual backlash against America’s presence will be. Iraq will most likely disintegrate into civil war. The world will be scrambling to come to grips with Iraqi disintegration, and praying that we aren’t swallowed up by some world-wide conflict. While everything is busy pointing the finger at America for creating this mess, and falling over each other not to get involved, Iran will capitalize on America’s diplomatic isolation and try to do what every Muslim regime in the Middle East wishes it could do: destroy Israel.
But what if Obama becomes president? Can we avoid such an outcome?
With Obama in charge, America will adopt a position of respect for the “self-determination” of the Middle East. Obama will remove America’s troops from Iraq as quickly as possible.
In the hopes of stabilizing the situation in the region, he will then attempt to befriend Ahmedinejad as JFK attempted to befriend Nasser. Like JFK, however, he will get stung, only it’ll be much worse than Nasser sending troops to revolutionary Yemen. It’ll be a lot more like Chamberlain getting stung by Hitler.
The historical parallel between modern Iran and pre-WWII Germany has naturally occurred to many. Like Germany in the 1920s, Iran does not accept its subordinacy to powers that have never conquered it. It does not accept that other countries may determine its national fate. Like inter-war Germany, it is surrounded by weaker countries that share an ethnic (in this case religious, not racial) identity with it, and which it hopes to dominate based on an integrating ideology, in this case Pan-Islamism.
Iran’s neighbors only vaguely apprehend its ambitions and have only a loose connection to the power that should be the one to stop Iran, the United States. However, just as in the 1930s, Americans want disengagement, and Obama is ready to deliver.
What’s worse is that like Chamberlain before WWII, he is willing to exchange hand shakes and promises with someone he believes isn’t really an enemy, just a frustrated patriot.
Thus what McCain would abhor doing, but can’t avoid, Obama will willingly do: empower Iran to strike at Israel.
The situation has deteriorated to the point where we will arrive at this juncture regardless of which of the current candidates leads America into it.
With America paralyzed, the way will be cleared for Iran to make its move.
As everyone is well aware, Ahmedinejad is pushing forward with Iran’s nuclear energy program. And as everybody knows, this is a natural stepping stone to the creation of nuclear weapons. The idea that Iran needs nuclear energy to help its own people, when it starves them of oil which it has in abundance, is ludicrous. For a committed Islamist regime nuclear power can have only have one purpose: nuclear weapons, and nuclear weapons can have only one first-strike target: Israel.
Ahmedinejad’s message is clear, but it’s so frightening no one wants to listen.
So the real question is: what will Israel do when the time comes?
Will Israel strike first? It will take incredible courage. I don’t envy the Israelis to have to be in this position because America has defaulted and will continue to default on its role as world leader. If they choose to destroy Iran by the preemptive use of nuclear weapons, they will have to endure decades of international hatred for refusing to be sacrificed for “peace in our time.”
But this is their only option. No matter how good Mossad’s operations are in Iran, and no matter how good their air force pilots are, limited strikes can hardly guarantee a secure result, and they will only serve to align the world against Israel and embolden Iran to take the final step.
Unlike pre-WWII Czechoslovakia, Israel is powerful enough to stop its aggresive neighbor militarily. Its policy of “nuclear ambiguity” is obviously a cover for its own nuclear program, which has probably been in place since the 1960s. Its leaders certainly understand as well that Israel is too small to trade blows on a nuclear battlefield, and cannot risk being the first to be struck.
This all adds up to one of only two results. Iran gone. Or Israel gone.
The only thing the upcoming election is going to settle is the number and variety of intervening events along this terrifying timeline.