Sunday, February 25, 2007

Will the U.S. attack Iran?

Everybody is chattering about whether the U.S. is going to invade Iran. Not having the actual answer to the question, I do have some information to share that is not generally available.

Back on December 17, 2001 there was a talk at the Heritage Foundation, a hard-right wing conservative "think tank" in Washington, D.C., entitled Victory: What It Will Take to Win at which the primary presenter was Angelo Codevilla of The Claremont Institute. He is basically a card-carrying Neoconservative. His name is not widely known, but he is one of the key formulators of the "doctrine" that guides the Neoconservatives. The talk was in fact open to the public, and I attended. That link points to what should be a video of the talk.

My recollection was that the key point of the talk was that it was not necessary for the U.S. to invade all of our ememies, but simply to invade enough and with enough firm resolve that the others would see the futility of resisting our ultimatums to bend to our will. That was in 2001, well before Iraq became the public focus of "the global war on terrorism."

The invasion of Iraq was presumed and had been talked about in earnest since 1998, and it was assumed that between Afghanistan and "success" in Iraq, that would be enough for most of the other "failed states" to cave in. In fact, Libya did cave in without any significant military threat. And we might even be seeing North Korea do at least a partial cave-in... maybe. Syria and Iran on the other hand are not showing signs of caving to "diplomatic" pressure.

So, the approach or "doctrine" espoused by Codevilla, without any opposition from his fellow Neoconservatives, probably still stands as the primary doctrine that guides whether we will invade any other countries.

My suspicion is that the Neoconservatives believe that we won't have to invade both Syria and Iran (or North Korea), but that there is a strong likelihood that we will need to invade and topple one, and that then the other will in fact cave.

The problem with the doctrine right now is that Iraq is widely viewed (outside of Neconservative circles) as a collossal failure and that neither Syria nor Iran believes that an invasion is an absolute certainty. In fact, both countries probably believe that they can embarrass the U.S., at least the U.S. Congress, into refusing to back an invasion.

All of that said, I strongly suspect that many Neoconservatives and others in the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby do in fact believe that a full military invasion of Iran will be necessary. Whether there is sufficient political support for that view is entirely debatable, but the existance of that view is not. Sure, we do in fact hear these people publicly state that their "preference" is for a diplomatic solution, but that "all options remain on the table." Most sensible people interpret that as a ruse and that the commitment to diplomacy on the part of the hard-core Neoconservatives is weak if not outright nonexistant.

My belief is that even the diehard Neoconservatives know that their own clock is ticking and that they don't have even a fraction of the support for going after Iran that they mustered for going after Iraq. A lot of their invasion talk is probably in fact the simple bluster of has-beens on their way out the door. Nonetheless, Bush and Cheney and Gates and Rice are still in power, and may be feeling desperate, so all bets are off. I would rate the probability of invading Iran in 2008 at no more than 40%, but that is definitely not zero, either.

I suspect that Iran knows that it has the U.S. and the Neoconservatives and the rest of the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby and their right-wing "unipolarist" agenda over a barrel and that Iran can probably do a symbolic "cave" that allows it to remain intact and not give in to many if any of the Neoconservative demands in exchange for some mostly symbolic actions that permit the Neoconservatives to claim a symbolic "victory" ("mission accomplished"?). For example, Iran could agree to allow Russia or some sort of international consortium to operate and "control" its nuclear facilities. Iran does not want that, but it would be trivial for Iran to re-take control at some later date, and the Neoconservative agenda would be "defused."

I could well be wrong about my own suppositions and conclusion that Iran could well escape the "noose", but it is important to understand where the Neoconservatives are coming from and what they think they are trying to do.

-- Jack Krupansky

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