Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When Iran Enters My Dreams

This morning, I awoke just in mid-dream about Iran and the potential war on the horizon.  Yeah, it has gotten that bad.  In the dream, I am standing up, watching a bunch of Bay of Pigs-type folks preparing to drop into Iran as the first wave.  I ask the crowd of IR security types: "who is in favor of a war with Iran?"  I guess my dreams are as selective as the people I choose to follow on twitter because no one wants this war.

What does this say?  Well, probably too much about my psyche.  But other than that?  I have yet to hear an argument that asserts that any kind of attack against Iran would produce anything more than a delay in Iran's nuclear development.  What I do see are very compelling arguments to think once, think twice, think three times and see if we can avoid making the mistakes we (well, they, the Bush Admin) made nearly ten years ago.

It has gotten to the point that the US should make clear to Israel, if it has not already done so, that it will get the "Georgia treatment."  That if Israel starts a war with Iran, the US will make noises about trying to stop the violence, but it will not be compelled to come to Israel's aid.  It is one thing to promise to defend a friend.  It is another to let an ally drag one into an ill-considered war.  If Israel wants this war (and I am pretty sure that there is a fair amount of division on that), then Israel can have it to themselves.

Alliances are always problematic in two ways: allies may not show up when needed (Britain and France betrayed Czechoslovakia in 1938) or allies may start wars that drag everyone else in (WWI?).*  Let's avoid the second dynamic now by making clear that if Israel wants a war, the US certainly does not, despite the yammerings of the folks who thought invading Iraq was so cool.
See Glenn Snyder's book on the dilemmas of alliances.

I am just glad we currently have an administration that has had its fill of war.  The bad news is that a Republican could still win next fall, despite their best efforts to fail.  Then, who knows?  Suddenly the stakes for the next election have become much, much bigger.  Which explains why I am having lousy dreams.

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