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The Existential Threat of War
The Middle-East -- Yes, Again
Pakistan stunned the world when it announced it had developed the atomic bomb. So far, they haven't used it.
I suspect the same thing "might" transpire if Iran actually developed an A-bomb. Nevertheless, many Israelis are in a panic about an existential threat, and they are rattling our cage.
Their polling shows the populace doesn't want to make a preemptive strike against Iran unless the US is watching their back. At the same time Israel says that it does not feel compelled to ask the US permission to make a preemptive strike via their own initiative -- even though thousands of US lives could be at risk.
It isn't a joke -- all of this sabre rattling -- not when you are talking about war. I hope the administration is savvy enough to realize the phobic condition in Israel.
There is no indisputable proof that Iran has an atomic weapon, although they may be trying hard to develop one (we don't even know that as a certainty). Without question, a first strike against Iran would cause the Iranians to coalesce around their delusional leaders, and the country would strike back in every and all ways possible.
Our generals in the Pentagon are far from gung-ho about becoming embroiled in another Middle-Eastern imbroglio. Their budget has been cut, and the forces are worn out from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars (which have given us nothing in return -- except the diminution of America's capabilities).
The Israeli point of view is that the Iranians are hell-bent on developing an A-bomb in order to prompt their religious notion of the end days -- even at the risk of having everyone in Iran turned into ash. I do not think those living in plush living conditions are anxious for this radical turn of events, but they can hardly mumble a word of objection. The problem with fanaticism is that it's nearly impossible to differentiate from bluster. It's difficult to discern who is behind the curtain, pulling the levers and pushing the buttons.
At the same time it isn't easy to discern who is basking beside their swimming pools and privately buying negligees for their girlfriends/wives. Individuals who loath the thought of war with Israel and/or the US probably hope for moderation and sanity, but there's no guarantee this is what they'll receive.
Since it is unclear how prepared the Iranians are in preparation of an atomic bomb or how committed they are toward self-annihilation, it would appear that the West has some time to see if ever-tightening sanctions can provide the desired result.
This, of course, does nothing to appease Israel, the wild card in the entire scenario. Someway or other the White House will need to act as a soothing nanny over the nervous and trigger-ready state. As said at the beginning, Israel is living daily with an existential threat to its existence.
If there are any truly wise men in Iran (and it's not clear there are), they should (if capable) look on the other side of the mirror. Their extension of this dilemma could have devastating results because no one can say how long and deep the endurance of the Israelis may be in a lethal game (real or psychological) created by the Iranians.