Sometimes, we see officials serve under two different Presidential administrations. For example, Robert Gates, was a Secretary of Defense under Presidents Bush and Obama. But officials are not the only thing that can carry over from one administration to another, so can fears. And one of the most prominent fears that has served under both of these Presidents is an upcoming war with Iran.
The fear that an assault might occur started sometime around 2006. It was first expressed by those on the Left. Some very respectable writers, including John Pilger and Chris Hedges, predicted that then President Bush would attack Iran which would result in disastrous economic consequences. One person has remained very steadfast, until maybe recently, in saying that there was no imminent incursion. That was Noam Chomsky. But despite that and the fact that, while Bush was President, 5 top American military leaders had said they would resign if such an attack took place, the fears have persisted.
Now it is no longer those from the leery Left who are talking about war with Iran, world leaders have now weighed in. And the question seems to have changed from will we attack to when will we attack.
Critics who are certain that there will be military intervention make comparisons between the current build up to hostilities with Iran with what occurred with Iraq. There are the prewar sanctions suffered by each country, the hyperbole of charges regarding the possession of or quest for WMDs, and the unnecessary demonization of the countries' self-demonizing leaders. And yet, something appears to be different here because an attack on Iran has yet to occur. So the question becomes is bombing Iran still a possibility or are fears of war a distraction from a real wolf.
Despite the posturing, there is a very significant reason why there will be no bombing of Iranian facilities in the near future. That reason is because we're in an election year. Since the last election, the clear lesson for the incumbent party to remain in power is to avoid economic downturns. Since war with Iran would play havoc with the price of oil, there should be no war before the election.
But what about after the election? Isn't war with Iran just a matter of time? To address this concern, we would only have to ask if destroying Iranian nuclear facilities is both necessary and feasible, why haven't we done so already? Part of the reason for a delay could be that we were already involved in two wars and couldn't afford a third front. Thus we could reason that an attack on Iran could start any time now since we have "finished" military involvement with Iraq and Afghanistan is winding down.
However, we should note that there are differences between Iran and Iraq besides the last letter. First, Iran has a deterent. It isn't a military one, it is an economic one. Second, perhaps, just perhaps, we have learned from our wars against Afghanistan and Iraq that the use of brute force in the Middle East can cost too much. Finally, fighting a war against Iran would be far different from the wars we have been in engaged in because an invasion is not feasible and it is likely that we could not accomplish our objectives with an air war alone without paying too high of a cost.
So suppose that the talk of attacking Iran is just a ruse, is there at least one camouflaged wolf at work? Havaar (http://havaar.org/
), a group of Iranian and international activists, claims that the current American and Israeli policies consisting of threats and sanctions do more harm than good. That is because the more foreign pressure that is put on Iran, the easier it is for the Iranian government to redirect accountability for their internal problems to the outside world. In addition, people who feel that their country is under attack can, in a spirit of national unity, become more tolerant of horrible regimes.
Now is there any reason why what is good for the target cannot also be good for those taking aim? We should remember that during last August was Arab Spring Israeli Style. In what started as a few students protesting housing costs became a countrywide middle class protest against the costs of living and for economic justice. A few months later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived talks of attacking Iran.
And just as the Israeli protests were dying down, Occupy fever hit America. This fever was reduced with the attacks on the camps and the Winter weather. But around the same time that Israel's leader was talking up attacking Iran, President Obama made his own public statements on about striking Iran.
The combination of sanctions, which only hurts the Iranian people, and military threats constitute what we could call war-lite. It has some of the benefits of war such as justifying military expenditures to campaign contributors and diverting people's attention from their economic suffering to moving them to stand behind their inept leaders. At the same time, it lacks some of the significant costs of war such as the eventual loss of public support and confidence that actual wars can cause over time.
In the meantime, the Neoliberalism's wolf population, which has already become a protected dominant species, benefits from the military expenditures and price speculation on oil which war-lite causes. Like the terrorists our government is fighting, they know no national boundaries and so they are not controlled by Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand." But devour they do and last year's Israeli protests along with the Occupy Movement in America were sounding the alarm at their sight. So perhaps, Obama and Netanyahu are using the sounds of the war machine preparation to drown out the siren the protesters are sounding.
If there is no real intention of going to war with Iran over the development of the nuclear capabilities, which has currently been legal as a member of the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, identifying the beneficiaries of the posturing can tell us what we might have known already. That the positions taken here by both sides, the Iranians and the West, are there to benefit those with wealth and power which is the same group that has everything to gain should there be a war with Iran.