23 February 2012

Is Attacking Iran The Least Bad Option?

Interesting discussion at Foreign Affairs magazine. While starting a war with Iran is something that no one really wants, it might be the best option in a difficult situation:

Time to Attack Iran: Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option
Fearing the costs of a bombing campaign, most critics maintain that if these other tactics fail to impede Tehran’s progress, the United States should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran.

But skeptics of military action fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond. And their grim forecasts assume that the cure would be worse than the disease -- that is, that the consequences of a U.S. assault on Iran would be as bad as or worse than those of Iran achieving its nuclear ambitions. But that is a faulty assumption.

The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.

The article linked to above prompted a response, also worth reading, The Case For Regime Change in Iran: Go Big -- Then Go Home
[A] limited military strike would only be a temporary fix, and it could actually do the opposite of what it intends -- drive the program further underground and allow Iran to retain the ability to threaten the United States and its allies.

If the United States seriously considers military action, it would be better to plan an operation that not only strikes the nuclear program but aims to destabilize the regime, potentially resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis once and for all.

Wow. So the argument against hitting Iran nuclear sites is that it doesn't go far enough? Maybe. At the link are other articles arguing we shouldn't strike at all, and that sanctions will change the Iranian regime's course. The problem is that time and time again, brutal regimes are capable of inflicting much misery and suffering on the people, and still stay in power for prolonged periods. There just doesn't seem to be any good options in dealing with Iran.

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