Saturday, November 9, 2013

More "Final Talks" with Iran

(Image by Michael Ramirez)
With all the "close-quarter combat" over Obamacare, it's easy for us to forget about our foreign affairs woes.  Unfortunately, our adversaries aren't slacking off while we unravel the Gordion Knot of Obamacare.

Iran is back in the news--somewhat.  Apparently, negotiations are underway in Geneva, Switzerland.  But most of us like-minded folks know the end-game will still be a nuclear powered Iran.

The Saudis seem to think so and may have already pre-ordered nuclear weapons from Pakistan should Iran go nuclear.

These news tidbits generated nearly two dozen message responses.  The best comment that sums up the situation was this one over a prediction a friend made some years ago:

No prediction required -- the Saudis have been saying it loudly for a few years now. We just fail to listen.
I will restate a relevant prediction, though -- mutual nuclear deterrence between Israel and Iran will not be stable. Both sides will be incentivized to conduct a first strike, unlike the way things were with the US/USSR. And, given the uselessness of the US these days, one will preempt first (I bet on Israel, but who knows).
Israel is incentivized because of their extreme vulnerability. 8-10 minutes of warning time is not enough time to do anything other than lash out. Iran could launch just a handful of nukes, along with say 100 other missiels, near simultaneously to overwhelm any Israeli missile defenses (even if a nuke or two is shot down, you don't many to be successful). A lucky strike would obliterate Israel forever, and all that they might be able to do is a second strike from submarines, if one is available and in position. Oh, and the possibility of uncoventional delivery (from ship, land, submarine) is also a constant worry, given your populations proximity to the Med coast.
Iran is incentivized because they know Israel is likely to strike first. Since they are likely to be attacked anyway, best to go first and destroy Israel's air forces and missiles (and population) quickly to limit any counterattack. If you time it right (i.e. no Israeli sub available) you might get off scot free. Not like the US is going to do anything about it, especially when you show that Israel was going to attack anyway ("we're just doing what the US says its policy is") AND they can threaten Europe, US bases, the Saudis, etc to deter us. As an additional motivator, Israel will double down on missile defense, which will further push Iran to strike sooner rather than later, before it's missiles become useless.
Iran will go right up to the line on weaponization, building up their stockpile of MEU and HEU. Then, when things look propitious and they make the final decision, they will make multiple weapons rapidly and deploy them in a "launch on warning" scheme.
QED: Letting Iran get nukes will lead to a nuclear war in the Middle East.
(The US/USSR model fails in this case because the historical case had much longer warning times (hours before ICBMs), both sides had huge landmasses and populations to absorb hits, both sides had a fairly recent history of working together despite their divergent political views, there were methods for fighting by proxy around the world (by contrast, Israel and Iran can only really fight by proxy on one another's territory), etc)
Time to write an article on this, I think.
Yes, by all means write the article!
In the meantime, here's a couple follow-on comments:
And all this information is available to our “strategerists.”  So are they just irredeemably stupid? Or is there some other reason for them and our political leadership being in denial about this?
They are looking at Iran going nuclear -- and no further. There is no real thought on "the day after"
I'm no brilliant "strategerist," but even I can see this is short-sighted to say the least.


I know the current Iranian president is Hassan Rouhani, but I couldn't find a more up-to-date cartoon. 

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