edlada wrote:The problems in the Mid East are thorny indeed. Obviously Israel has a right to exist without the constant threat of annihilation and the Arabs have been completely unreasonable about the entire situation. I don't believe Obama would standby and watch Israel be destroyed. On the other hand, another war in the Mid East is not a very pleasant prospect. It is unfortunate that the most volatile part of the world also holds a significant amount of the world's petroleum reserves, I think there would be far less interest in the problems of the region were this not the case. If a major conflict erupts there and especially if it involves nuclear weapons, I don't know if anybody can predict the outcome except it would probably be very ugly given that almost every major country in the world has a vested interest in the oil. I don't think being prudent in the face of a possible Armageddon is appeasement or not showing strength. The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would pale in comparison to a major conflict involving the Arab countries vs the US, Israel and it's allies. Russia still has a significant stockpile of nuclear weapons and they have always sided with the Arab nations. A conflict in the Mid East could rapidly escalate and not only involve massive loss of human life but significant economic disruption to the world economy. The other problem is winning a war is sometimes easy, it is the peace or rather the turmoil afterward that is the big problem. If we have learned nothing else from Iraq and Afghanistan we should have learned that lesson. Does anybody think the rest of the world will be happy if the US occupies the Mid East for the next 50 years or so like in Europe during the cold war days? In the best case scenario, the US or Israel with US support steps in and takes out Iran before they have a nuclear capability. Of course if Israel initiates the war they will have their hands full fending off the other Arab countries. Then what? A major ground war in the region? Limited nuclear warfare? Will the US public agree to raise taxes for this war? We certainly can't start another war on credit. With so many questions and many terrible consequences I think slow, prudent actions are the reasonable course even if that means many more years of tension.
I certainly don't see Romney dealing with the situation in any reasonable fashion, he talks a good game with lots of tough rhetoric but I think (god forbid) if he becomes president he will see talking about it isn't as easy doing something about it. Romney's biggest talent appears to be changing his positions to suit the moment, that may work in an election, it doesn't work too well when you have to govern effectively.
You're right that the problems are thorny indeed and do not admit of an easy or even a reasonable solution. Like this election, we're looking for least worst. I disagree that Obama will take action to prevent the Iranians from getting a bomb, and that's very, very big deal
The Iranian "problem" is that we botched things in Iran to a fare-thee-well for decades. No President or Joint Staff wanted to fight a war with Iran if it could be avoided. The American people don't want to fight a war with Iran. The Iranians, as the editorial in the Wall Street Journal today puts it, are at war with us, and with the Israelis.
It would have been a hard war dealing with Iran in 1991-2, it would have been a hard war in 2003-2005. But, if the Iranians get the bomb, the war will be far, far more destructive. I don't like the idea, but I truly believe that if the Iranians get the bomb, we will see a nuclear war in the Middle East. Probably with a nuke popped on the Israelis and a bunch of them popped on the Iranians. I have no good idea what will happen after that, but I think it will be ugly. Of course, the world will be outraged, but the only countries whose outrage is meaningful is the US, Russia, China, Pakistan and India (if Pakistan acts up). The French and the Brits won't act. The only powers who can project power in the Middle East are Russia and the US, and Pakistan/India to a limited extent.
WWII was very much worse than it would have been had the French and the British stopped Hitler when he tried to re-militarize the Rheinland in 1936. Millions who died in the war would have lived. I deeply believe we're likely to see millions die in the Middle East because of (primarily) American weakness over the past 10 years in dealing with Iran. I'm not saying it wasn't understandable, or the much easier thing to do, but, that will be cold comfort to those who die.