Sunday, March 04, 2012
I figure Israel is going to attack unless Iran both backs down and proves it has done so (the chance of the former is slim, there is no chance of the latter). Even though it's likely (probable) that an attack wouldn't be a complete success and would create a whole lot of problems, I figure Israel has no choice but to launch an attack. Heck, their entire history is full of (sometimes futile and suicide) attacks against their enemies. And while Israel has lost most of its hardness, 'never again' still means something to a whole lot of them.
Given this, there is nothing Obama can or would say that would make Israel hold off past the closing of its window to attack. There is nothing he could threaten to do to Israel that would be worse than Iran getting (and using) a nuclear weapon. There is nothing he could threaten to do to Iran that would cause Israel to hold off attacking past its open window. Even if Obama was to promise to attack Iran, no self-respecting Israeli would take Obama at his word if it meant giving up their only opportunity to take matters into their own hands. He simply has no credibility with them (as an aside, is there anyone on the international stage who thinks highly of Obama?).
As for Iran, nothing Obama could have said today would have made it change its mind and plans. Iran has (correctly, in my mind) concluded that Obama has no interest in ratcheting up the pressure sufficient to make Iran back down (if indeed there is such a level of pressure that would have that effect). Even if Obama had drawn a proverbial line in the sand today, Iran wouldn't back down, concluding that Obama just wasn't serious.
So today's speech means nothing. It changes nothing.
Absent an American-led attack by the closing of whenever Israel's window of opportunity, Israel is going to attack Iran.