Preventing a catastrophe

News Item:

“Iran is taking a very big chance when it continues with the process of attaining nuclear weapons — and on that we are certain,” [French President Nicholas] Sarkozy said during a press conference in Damascus. “We may wake up to the day when Israel — regardless of who is in charge — attacks.”

“The question here is not whether an attack of this sort is legitimate or worthwhile,” he continued. “The question is what will be done in that instance.”

“It would be a catastrophe and we must prevent it,” Sarkozy concluded.

Israel, with or without American support, could almost certainly set the Iranian nuclear capability back more than a few years (see Whitney Raas and Austin Long, ‘Osirak Redux’).

The catastrophe would not be the Israeli attack — which would be relatively ‘surgical’ — but Iran’s reaction, which would unleash Hezbollah’s missiles against Israel and international terror squads against Jews worldwide. But the part that the West worries about is the interruption of the oil flow that Iran could easily orchestrate, which could quadruple the world price of oil, or more.

Without being overly cynical, a few Jews more or less and their “shitty country” are not enough to make Western leaders lose sleep — it didn’t  in the 1940’s and today is no different. But imagine gasoline at $15-$20 per gallon in the US!

The US has apparently taken the position — and this cuts across party lines — that Israel must be discouraged from attacking Iran. That will only work up to a point.

Think about it: take a people traumatized by mass murder within living memory, suggest that their nation ought not to exist and threaten to destroy it in the vilest terms, and then develop the means to do so — don’t you expect that there will come a time when they defend themselves?

So Sarkozy is quite right, the West “must prevent it” unless we plan to populate our freeways with donkey carts. But if discouraging Israel won’t work, what will? Here’s one answer:

According to Ma’ariv, [Knesset member Ephraim] Sneh offered the two [American presidential] candidates the “sane, cheap and the only option that does not necessitate bloodshed.” To prevent Iran’s nuclear aspirations, Sneh wrote, “real” sanctions applied by the US and Europe were necessary. A total embargo in spare parts for the oil industry and a total boycott of Iranian banks would promptly put an end to the regime, which is already pressured by a sloping economy and would be toppled by the Iranian people if they have outside assistance, he said.

The window of opportunity Sneh suggests is a year and a half to two years, until 2010.  — Jerusalem Post

I suggest that the Bush administration and the new one that will take office in January take both Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Sneh seriously. Instead of trying to solve the problem of Iranian aggression by creating a Palestinian state (confused? So am I), they should take steps now to solve it directly.

Otherwise, as Sneh suggested, “Ido” (IAF commander Gen. Ido Nechustan) will solve it for them.

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