Q&A Friday #37: How Would You Deal With Iran?
Question: What would you do about Iran if you were the POTUS?” — Nostradamus6006
“Which do you think would be more viable, taking on the Iranian military in an invasion, or taking on their new radar avoiding missiles in an air strike? Obviously, an air strike will be cheaper and have less casualties, but which do you think would have better long-term gains?” — JMHoffer
Answer: First off, I have almost no hope of a diplomatic solution working. The Europeans have been negotiating with them for years and they’ve achieved absolutely nothing. Moreover, since the country helping them build nukes, Russia, sits on the UN Security Council, we can’t realistically expect that the UN will be any help (Of course, how often are they ever anything other than a big impediment to getting things done anyway?)
Next, the “X factor” with Iran is how long do we have and there’s never going to be any easy answer to that. Our intelligence agencies and those of other nations, like the Israelis, are really just going to be making educated guesses. The one thing to keep in mind is: hitting way, way, way too early is better than hitting one second too late, after they’ve got nukes.
So, how will we, or possibly the Israelis hit them? Not with an invasion, but with bombing runs, missile strikes, and maybe, in some limited cases, special forces on the ground.
As for their new, “super weapons,” I mean come on; since when has any nation in the Middle-East, other than Israel, been smart enough to come up with any breakthrough weapons technology? Being in a country run by Islamo-Fascists helps stifle innovation. So, the best stuff the Iranians have will be whatever they can buy from China and Russia.
Then, we have to consider the timetable and retaliation from Iran.
The easiest way for Iran to retaliate without inviting further attacks would be by using intelligence agents and militias to cause problems in Iraq. That’s why it’ll be important to get the Iraqis as far along as possible before we hit the Iranians. Ideally, if we have the time, we’d probably want to wait until mid-2007 or so to hit them because the Iraqis should be just about ready to handle all their own frontline policing by then.
Iran could also attack Israel, but that would invite Israeli strikes on Iran. The Iranians could aim terrorists strikes at US assets around the world or in the States, but that risks more American retaliation, or, if they do something really big, it could even inspire a US invasion. The Iranians could also retaliate against the world in general by withholding oil sales, but that probably wouldn’t be very productive and they desperately need that revenue. There has also been some talk of their cutting off the Strait of Hormuz, but all that would probably accomplish in the end, if they kept it up, would be to get their navy destroyed and their coastline bombed while the rest of the world chided them.
The basic problem the Iranians have, as far as retaliation goes, is that state sponsored terrorism is only useful in that regard as long as no one traces it back to you. The moment a terrorist act can be pinned on you, it becomes a huge liability, especially when the country you’ve attacked is capable of destroying any high value target in your nation that they so choose. Iran isn’t Afghanistan or even Iraq. They have a lot of very nice things they’d prefer not seeing on the business end of a missile or a bomb. This limits their options.
Bottom Line: Bombing Iran is messy, dirty, and dangerous business, but it looks extremely likely that it’s going to have to be done. Cross your fingers and hope they see the light before it’s too late, but personally, I’m not hopeful.