Bombs Away Bolton Strikes Again

John Bolton editorializes in the Wall Street Journal about all the possible bad things that could happen if Israel bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities and concludes that none of them are likely to happen. Closing the Strait of Hormuz? “Neither feasible nor advisable for Iran.” Cutting its own oil exports to raise world prices? That “would complete the ruin of Iran’s domestic economy.” Attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan? Risks direct U.S. retaliation, and “carries enormous risks for Iran.” Increased support for global terrorism? That, too, could lead to direct retaliation by the U.S. — again, “extremely risky for Iran,” and besides, Iran usually “prefers picking on targets its own size or smaller.” Launching missile attacks on Israel? Israel could counterattack with the full might of its nuclear capabililty — Iran would have to “think long and hard” about doing this. Using Hamas and Hezbollah to launch proxy attacks on Israeli targets? This, Bolton tells us, is the “most likely option,” but the danger of Israel being destroyed by a nuclear-capable Iran is much greater.

Bolton’s conclusion? All systems go for air strikes on Iran:

This brief survey demonstrates why Israel’s military option against Iran’s nuclear program is so unattractive, but also why failing to act is even worse. All these scenarios become infinitely more dangerous once Iran has deliverable nuclear weapons. So does daily life in Israel, elsewhere in the region and globally.

Many argue that Israeli military action will cause Iranians to rally in support of the mullahs’ regime and plunge the region into political chaos. To the contrary, a strike accompanied by effective public diplomacy could well turn Iran’s diverse population against an oppressive regime. Most of the Arab world’s leaders would welcome Israel solving the Iran nuclear problem, although they certainly won’t say so publicly and will rhetorically embrace Iran if Israel strikes. But rhetoric from its Arab neighbors is the only quantum of solace Iran will get.

Could Bolton be just a little more self-serving in his logic? Apparently, we are meant to believe that Iran’s government is rational enough, and cognizant enough of its own political and existential self-interest to be very, very cautious about responding to a direct Israeli attack in any of the above ways — and yet, somehow, Iran is not rational enough or sufficiently cognizant of its own self-interest to realize that launching a nuclear attack on Israel (in the hypothetical scenario of its having the ability to do so) would carry the “enormous risk for Iran” of an immediate and devastating counterattack on Iran by the combined nuclear arsenals of both Israel and the United States.

Naturally. That argument does not serve Mr. Bolton’s war-lusting interests.

Or, as Michael Crowley of The New Republic puts it:

I don’t completely discount any of these individual arguments as implausible. But it’s a reach to line them all up together behind an argument that an Israeli strike wouldn’t bring all sorts of awful and unpredictable consequences. And forgive me, but I’m just highly skeptical of Bush hawks assuring us that worst-case scenarios for a Middle East miilitary adventure are overblown.

4 Responses to “Bombs Away Bolton Strikes Again”

  1. Jack Jodell says:

    Mr. Bolton, neocon that he is, sounds that familiar neocon refrainof preemptive military action, only this time he is advocating its use by proxy, having Israel do the job. It is the typical blinders-on, one-way-only approach he and his cohorts have advocated for the past 12 years, and it could prove to be disastrously premature. For Iran faces a monumental election today, one which could alter the shape of history in the Middle East. Should Ahmedinijad be defeated, a kinder and gentler Iran could emerge. Just as during the Cuban Missile Crisis and again in the 1991 Gulf War, cooler heads should and must prevail here, at least for the moment, to prevent an out of control escalation of the situation. Rash moves like Bolton advocates will only fan the flame of discord in that highly volatile region. .

  2. Jack/tas: What’s wrong with a sober discussion and development of a strategy against Iran’s Nuclear Program?? Does anyone here think a Nuclear Armed Iran would be a good thing? If not, what if anything should we do about it?

    There’s nothing wrong or irresponsible about pushing for Military action in this case. Allowing Iran to have Nuclear Armed long range missiles, to continue the current “nothingness” strategy could have more dangerous consequences down the road.

    During the Cuban Missile Crisis we were taken to the brink of Nuclear War, how cool headed was that thinking Jack? Khrushchev set up Nukes right at our doorstep. He purposefully tested JFK, who was perceived as too young and weak. JFK escalated the situation via a Naval Blockade and Airael Reconnaissance directly over Cuba. He busted the Soviets for lying at the UN, embarrassing Khrushchev. Had the Soviets not removed the Missiles, ie backed off, what would JFK have done next?? Seems we are at this point with Iran and unlike the Soviets, they are not backing off.

    Seems you guys are upset at any talk of a strike against Iran. Seems what Bolton is doing makes sense, get the topic out there and plan a strategy at each step.

  3. opit says:

    I’ve got links back to at least 2005 to plans to strike Iran.2 years ago last February Russian intelligence had the wind up figuring an attack was imminent. Global has detailed Carrier Groups ( yep – plural ! ) in the puddle off Iran. Iran, incidentally, has supersonic missiles that ‘jink’ on the way in to naval targets.
    Putin thought to put the U.S. on notice that Russia would consider an attack on Iran as if it were an attack on Russia itself ! Yep despite 2 CIA reports basically calling stories of Iranian nuke weapons research ‘fairy tales’ – ‘Yellowcake, Anyone ? – the push is on to call reactor fuel potential weapons materiel.
    I suspect Russia might have objections to that sort of tech in their backyard ! That’s why they aren’t too keen to have the U.S. install missiles in Poland, etc.
    Last time that circus went up there were bases in Cuba to reciprocate for them being in Ankara, Turkey. JFK might have been able to persuade a couple of people that hadn’t been such a nifty idea !
    Did you even catch the retaliatory salient this time ?
    It’s just another chapter in an old, old story
    I’ve assembled information on this topic…it never goes away.

  4. I wonder if anyone here will bring up the European Elections, what were the results and why … perhaps what it means for Obama:

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