Noah Pollak, at Commentary today, on how the tensions over the Iranian nuclear weapons program might play out over the next year:
David Ignatius’s account of a war game involving the United States, Israel, the Europeans, and Iran (and Gary Sick’s addendum) is a good guide to how the struggle over the Iranian nuclear program might play out:
“The U.S. team — unable to stop the Iranian nuclear program and unwilling to go to war — concluded the game by embracing a strategy of containment and deterrence. The Iranian team wound up with Russia and China as its diplomatic protectors. And the Israeli team ended in a sharp break with Washington.”
Let me try to flesh out what the “sharp break with Washington” might consist of. . . . [T]he real challenge for Obama over the next year isn’t going to be dealing with the Iranians, it’s going to be deterring the Israelis. . . . The president is perfectly capable of muddling through the nuclearization of Iran. What would create huge problems is an Israeli strike. Obama would have to use the military to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. The “Arab street,” which he has worked so hard to befriend, would burn him in effigy from Algiers to Islamabad. The Zionist-Crusader axis would be denounced around the world. “Optics” are very important to Obama, quite more so than substance, and he would look as though he had completely lost control of the Middle East (which would be true). And once again, the world would descend into the kind of brutal struggle for power that is not supposed to happen during the Obama Era.
No hope or know hope?