Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The sprint of folly

Goldberg, after conducting dozens of interviews with senior members of Israel's national security establishment as well as many top personalities in the Obama White House, concludes in his must-read piece that the likelihood of Israel unilaterally bombing Iran to curtail a potential nuclear weapon breakout capacity is north of 50-50.

...He tallies the consequences [of an Israeli attack on Iran] as:

sparking lethal reprisals, and even a full-blown regional war that could lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis and Iranians, and possibly Arabs and Americans as well; of creating a crisis for Barack Obama that will dwarf Afghanistan in significance and complexity; of rupturing relations between Jerusalem and Washington, which is Israel's only meaningful ally, of inadvertently solidifying the somewhat tenuous rule of the mullahs in Tehran; of causing the price of oil to spike to cataclysmic highs, launching the world economy into a period of turbulence not experienced since the autumn of 2008, or possibly since the oil shock of 1973; of placing communities across the Jewish diaspora in mortal danger, by making them targets of Iranian-sponsored terror attacks, as they have been in the past, in a limited though already lethal way; and of accelerating Israel's conversion from a once-admired refuge for a persecuted people into a leper of nations.
-- Steve Clemons

Goldberg concludes with unconvincing bromides about win-win for the U.S. and Israel. Also instructive are his blindspots. Justice for the Palestinians is one. Goldberg, he points out, fails to mention that UAE ambassador and others strongly emphasized that the most important radicalizer in the region is the unresolved Palestine-Israel dispute. Another issue, though, is that Goldberg writes as if the only significant players in this game for domination of greater west Asia were Israel (U.S.) and Iran, with the Arabs as worried bystanders. No mention of China or others.

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