Posted on | December 21, 2011 | 13 Comments
In a recent interview with CBS news anchor Scott Pelley, Panetta said “the United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us”. He continued: “We will take whatever steps are necessary to stop them”. A nuclear Iran is “unacceptable”. When US secretaries talk about “whatever steps are necessary” they are not usually talking about holding one more meeting of the sanctions committee. They are thinking shock and awe rather than cookies and tea.
Panetta said the Iranians could have a bomb in a year or less; we’ve heard this before. The point is, Washington doesn’t believe the mullahs have stopped building. Unless that changes, the Obama administration is headed toward war with Iran, quite possibly before November of 2012.
I view any of this through the lens of Iraq/Kuwait/Saudi Arabia.
For all the hue and cry about Israel this, and the Palestinians that, keep in mind the two real drivers in the region are the Shiite/Sunni tension and regime security for the oil producers. The former is about faith; the latter, cash.
Nobody really wants to see a dirty bomb, and the technological and ecological fallout from that. That hypothetical bomb, like virginity, is a one-shot deal. Short of direct physical threat to regime survival, pickling off a nuke, even a dirty bomb, just isn’t all that likely.
Ah, but the teasing one can engage in! As with the aforementioned virginity, the knowledge that a country is in the nuclear club really puts some extra shake in the hips. Which is why our various OPEC allies in the region don’t mind having the Great Satan flex a bit in the region.
Too, saber rattling is always worth points in the polls. And maybe he’ll even be able to contend that pulling the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan was to reconstitute them for the shiny new effort.
Another war? Sure. And now, from 30 years ago, let the band Fear take it away: