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.
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…
oppressive military regime??? Oppressive maybe, but certainly not military or militaristic. Iran uses and has used for a long time to military expenditures the smallest share of GDP in the region. Iran has about 80 old fighter planes, 1000 outdated tanks, 3 frigates, 3 submarines. Basically nothing compared to the military equipment Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel have. One doesn’t have to be professional high ranking soldier to make the conclusion that Iran simply has no means to invade neighbouring countries, not to mention a country over 1000 kilometres away. One can’t really with logical reasoning call a country which has used so little to its army and has so little equipment a military regime. Israel’s regime can with far better arguments be called a military regime. And an aggressive regime.
It is asthonishing how these US and Israeli “intellectual giants” feed us constantly with the propaganda that when Israel has neutralized Iran’s nuclear ambitions with (nuclear) bombs everything is OK. Israel’s existing thermonuclear capacities are to Arab countries, Turkey and Europe a bigger existential threat than Iran now is or in the next 10-20 years will be. Eventually Arab countries, Iran and Turkey have to find a way to neutralize Israel’s nuclear deterrence and military domination which it causes. If Israel refuses to disarm its nuclear weapons they need and will create own nukes. Attacking Iran will surely only accelerate the arms race and increase Arab efforts.
Richard Silverstein says
I think this was just a sloppy locution (or perhaps deliberately sloppy) on Goldberg’s part and that he meant to refer to the Basij/Revolutionary Guards who intervene in civilian life in obtrusive, violent, militaristic ways as evidenced by the response to the June elections.
Joachim Martillo says
I have not been in the region since 2002, but when I was selling equipment to governments and businesses in N. Africa and the ME, I always had the impression that officials tole US government personnel that they feared Iranian nuclear ambitions because Americans wanted to hear it.
The idea of a united front among Arab countries, the US and Israel against Iran is a pipe dream.
By far the best solution remains a nuclear free ME, with Israel giving up its stuff too. Ain’t gonna happen though, is it?
Hey, this comment section started miraculously to work for me again (error messages for weeks on end previously)!!
SimoHurtta has it spot on. Couldn’t have put it better myself. His list of Iranian weaponry has gone into my file on Iran. Thanks for that!
Yeah, this highlights how radical & extreme the war on Iran crowd is when you see these two back off, at least momentarily, from the fomenting of hysteria. One, a demented boob who previously invoked the slaughter of Persians to the tune & lyric of the Beach Boys, and the other, an Israeli-‘American’ IDF-serving war hawk who is probably the most mediocre & insipid of all our foreign affairs commentators (excepting the far-right Commentary & National Review crowd).
Why are these people even listened to, or taken seriously? Okay I sort of get it, though not really, with McCain and his story, but come on, he’s no Eisenhower. Wow, Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt!, to even think of real American leaders like those two in today’s bought and paid for America, it’s like entering some dream-like parallel universe.
Perhaps there’s some big cosmic vaccuum hovering overhead sucking up the brains and soul of this country. At least half of my friends within a 2-mile radius of me have more intelligence and geo-political depth and insight than those two schmucks (Goldberg & McCain). Rome is burning, here. We’re so far gone as a nation that we rejoice (myself included) when two radical warmongers join the ranks of the ‘realists’ for a moment. This is sad.
And what’s even more sad is there are a whole lot of keenly intelligent and sensitive Americans across the length and breadth of this land who would so much better serve their fellow Americans in commentary and analysis than the boobs who populate our main news, politics and culture journals, and U.S. senate. Talk about having the wrong people at the helm, both in influence and positions of leadership (referring to McCain here, not Obama).
P.S.—I need to find another adjective other than ‘boob’, which is kind of lame. People will think I’m anti-breast, which isn’t true. In fact, breasts are quite nice (better on women than men, imho).
Joachim Martillo says
FYI [Followup] Mobilization for Attacking Iran (an event at Harvard)
Well said. As a European I could start lecturing about how we have less of those boobs in power. Sadly, this is only marginally true. If there is ‘some big cosmic vacuum hovering overhead sucking up the brains and soul’, it clearly extends across the pond!