A fellow student recently mentioned the conventional nature of war in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. This caused me to think about Israel and Iran.
Unlike Israel and Lebanon who share a common border and therefore can wage a conventional war rather easily, Israel and Iran are separated by a large land mass making direct conflict more difficult. On a smaller scale, they seem to be waging a “cold war” of rhetoric and defense build-up, but unlike in the Cold War, they have limited ability to “export” hot, conventional war.
This is where, I think, the US finds itself in a bad situation. Entangling alliances and diplomacy are threatening to pull us in to a regional battle that would leave us the big losers. While Iran does not seem like the ‘nicest’ of world players (especially with the crazy dude spouting craziness all the time), Israel is more dangerous because they seem to be looking for justification for a preemptive strike. When we made the preemptive argument for Iraq, we gave credibility to others who want to make the same argument. Worse, no amount of justification can overshadow the chaos left behind, or the reality that even with our best intentions, we cannot “build” a foundation others won’t tear down once we are completely pulled out. To keep the peace and preserve what we have tried to do, we have to be a modern version of an imperial power, i.e. we make the ‘sovereign’ nation dependent on our economic, political, and military strength. Or – the big elephant in the room – we pull out, cut our losses, and deal with the repercussions for the next few decades. If we take the second option, Israel will have further justification for preemptive strike, knowing they will not need to clean up any mess they make, because we set the precedent. I shudder to think what Pakistan would then do.
Then what, would we all take sides? Would it be like a game of Risk? Would we be lucky to end up in a new Cold War, or would we see a WWI chain reaction?
Just something to ponder…
News article found after posting – check it out. http://hamptonroads.com/2012/10/exdefense-chief-says-hit-iran-would-be-disastrous