The ranks of the Iran realists are swelling every day and recruits come from the unlikeliest of places. Recently, Matt Duss noted that John McCain, the Iran uber-hawk during the presidential campaign, has resigned himself to an Iranian bomb. Newsweek interviewed McCain:
Many leaders in President Obama’s position would love the opportunity to be Churchill and order up a dramatic strike that would set the Iranian program back and send a message of resolve. But even the most hawkish of American politicians do not believe such military action would work at an acceptable cost. In a conversation last week with John McCain, I asked whether we would have to live with a nuclear Iran. Without hesitation McCain replied: “Very likely.”
I like Matt’s wrap up to this post:
…It’s encouraging that one of America’s leading hawks has come around to the idea that dealing with Iran boldly and bravely does not necessitate making war against it.
Now for those of you who like the idea of a pro-Israel media “star” joining our side, how does the name Jeffrey Goldberg strike you? Yes, Jeff’s come over to the realist side on this one. Frankly, given his past and usual cluelessness on so many issues related to Israel and the Middle East, I didn’t expect this of him. But give him credit. A broken clock is right twice a day and so is he (on this issue).
Actually I shouldn’t be so churlish because we need allies wherever we can find them. So welcome Jeff Goldberg:
I’m against a strike first because because…American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer because of an Israeli strike. A nuclear Iran is not in the long-term best interests of the United States, of course, but we have short-term interests[that] conflict with what some see as Israel’s interest. Second, I’ve moved to the belief that the Iranian government is not so much a messianic apocalyptic cult, as Netanyahu described it to me, but an oppressive military regime…Its real agenda, it seems, is self-preservation, and people interested in staying alive, as individuals or as a collective, don’t launch nuclear-armed missiles at a nuclear state with a second-strike capability. The Iranians understand that Israel could obliterate Persian civilization…My impression, to date, is that…Iranian leaders would rather stay alive, and th[ey] have a great deal of sway over the nuclear program.
…So far at least, no one has convinced me that an armed attack on Iran’s facilities by Israel would a) work, and b) make the world a safer place and c) protect the Jewish people from a second Holocaust.
I recently wrote a post about an article Reuven Pedatzur wrote in Haaretz which outlined Anthony Cordesman’s masterful analysis of a possible Israeli strike against Iran. Matt Duss links to a new Wall Street Journal op ed Cordesman published on his views about this subject.