2013 March 04 Monday
Obama Bluffing On Iran Attack?

Will Obama attack Iran to prevent it from bringing its nuclear weapons development program to fruition?

Barack Obama's threats to use military force to prevent Iran securing a nuclear weapon are more than idle bluffs, vice-president Joe Biden told the biggest pro-Israeli lobbying group Aipac on Monday.

Does Obama mean it? I do not see anything short of a massive air attack from preventing Iran from developing working nukes.

Imagine Obama goes thru with the attack. Will some neocons switch parties? In the longer run as the Republican Party becomes less electable (demography is destiny) it wold make sense for neocons to move to the Donkey column so they can operate within the party that has long term power to try to maintain an aggressive military posture toward Israel's enemies.

In the longer term I wonder whether AIPAC and allies can succeed in maintaining a strong enough US military to project force into the Middle East. Liberals aren't so big on the US military. Liberals want more money to shift toward social programs. The demand for those programs will grow as the lower class continues to grow. Plus, the growing demographic groups have less of the religious beliefs (i.e. less fundamentalist Protestant Christianity of the form that feels special obligations from their interpretation of the Bible to help the Jews) that have allowed the domestic alliance in support of Israel to be so strong.

Will the very demographic trends that are strengthening the Democratic Party undermine US support for Israel? Is a Pyrrhic victory in the offing for some of those who support those demographic changes?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 March 04 09:21 PM 

MarkyMark said at March 5, 2013 1:20 AM:

I hope that Obama doesn't bomb Iran but I've also long thought that Obama gets "one free war". Most anti war protests come from the left. And the left will give Obama the benefit of the doubt on any war. You don't protest your own guy. Too much cognitive dissonance. If Obama bombs Iran and them comes on TV and tells the American public that he carefully weighed up the options and after much thought did the necessary thing to promote peace and protect america then I can't see riots on the streets or mass protests on college campuses. If Romney had got in and launched another war then he may have split the country. Obama gets one free war.

Vektor said at March 5, 2013 6:41 AM:

Iran is a pretty big freebie. I guess Libya doesn't count then.

More likely Israel will act first, then cry for help. I wouldn't be surprised if the Obama administration secretly gives Israel the nod to proceed, as long as they play along and let the Obama administration act surprised. Then they can say 'gee wiz, we didn't want to attack Iran, but we have to help our allies.....it's not our fault'. The media will predictably play along

A truly grand hypocrisy. When Obama went up against McCain, before the economy tanked, it was all about Iraq. Obama's big selling point was that he was the guy who voted against the Iraq war when everyone else did.

SOBL1 said at March 5, 2013 7:43 AM:

My wild guess: Israel bombs Iran, but US offers assistance to finish the job after initial airstrikes. Interesting thing will be how Russia + China act since Iran is a useful idiot for Russia in the grand strategy game and China gets oil from Iran. One national security analyst threw a curveball out there that maybe CHina's econ and US Treasury blackmail might be forcing the US to prevent Israel from bombing Iran. Kind of out there, but interesting to read the interview.

Obama's actions in office have proven that the left and right at the top are just the same. Had someone told me in 2008 that no Wall St. bankers would be in jail and we'd have thousands of troops active in Afghanistan 18 month after killing OBL, I'd had called them crazy. I did think he'd be different. I dont think Obama gets one freebie from America, but the left will swallow their tongue just as they did with the Afghan surge, kill lists + drone strikes, Libya and soon Syria.

James Bowery said at March 5, 2013 7:54 AM:

My working hypothesis is that JudeoChristianity is, and has for nearly all of its 2000 year history, been a true conflict of cultures between Mediterranean/Levantine "civilized peoples"/group organisms and northern European "barbarians"/individualists -- with JudeoChristianity being basically a group organism psyop that succeeded where military efforts failed. The success suffered a setback with the discovery of the New World because the frontier allowed escape of the "feral humans" but the closing of the frontier in the late 1800s began a slow process of rounding them up and redomesticating them. Viewed in this light the termination of the Apollo program and the bureaucratic takeover of any pioneering spirit was absolutely critical to prevent another escape. The "support" for Israel/Zionism provided by the settler stock Americans is just a way of keeping them "waiting for Jesus" while they are being destroyed once and for all.

Abelard Lindsey said at March 5, 2013 1:58 PM:

MarkyMark and others: I think you are correct about Obama getting "one free" war and him getting us involved, one way or another, in an attack on Iran. The problem is that I expect him and his administration to botch it up spectacularly in such a way that it really pisses off the Iranians, does not help Israel much in the long run, and either results in a lot of U.S, troops being killed, lots of terrorism, or a combination of the both.

I dislike the GOP and its obsession with a interventionist foreign policy (I'm an isolationist). However, liberals are truly and spectacularly incompetent when they embrace such policies.

Dan said at March 5, 2013 5:07 PM:

Iran is orders of magnitude bigger. A war with Iran would not be one more war.

GDP of Iran: 331 billion

GDP of Iraq in 2002: 25 billion
GDP of Afghanistan in 2002: 2.5 billion

Obama has no concept of large numbers and it shows.

James Bowery said at March 5, 2013 5:32 PM:

From the guy who, years beforehand, predicted a Reichstag-type event would occur right around the turn of the millennium to get all the JudeoChristian sheep riled up to go kick Muslim butt, click here for a theory about the "act of God" in advance of the saber-rattling between Russia and the US.

Abelard Lindsey said at March 5, 2013 6:03 PM:


You are right.

In addition, the Persians are a proud people. Even though they hate their government, and most of them hate Islam as well, Nevertheless, they would not take too kindly to us attacking them. They will fight back hard. It will not work well for us. Iran is like that dysfunctional family that lives down the block from you, always fighting and arguing all of the time. Yet, you try to sort them out and they suddenly present a united front against you. That is Iran (Persian people) - Land of the Aryans (yes, this is the literal translation of the word "iran").

The Iranians worked to develop both nuclear power and nuclear weapons during the Shah's time. The desire for a nuclear armament is not just the mad dreams of the mullahs. It's an expression of Persian nationalism combined with the fact that Iran is surrounded by many historical enemies (Arabs, Turks, Baluchies) as well as psychopaths (Pakistanis).

A war with Iran is a very bad idea.

Check it out said at March 5, 2013 6:27 PM:

My guess: Obama is bluffing. You'll see.

Sean said at March 5, 2013 7:35 PM:

No, Obama isn't bluffing. Obama has said quite clearly that Iran will be stopped from getting a nuke, by whatever means necessary. (Wilson and FDR waited until they got re-elected too.)

Iran is implicitly being threatened with attack by the US, but the threat inveigles Iran into making attack inevitable by getting it to nuke up and build alliances to defend itself.

At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered a final deal to the Palestinians. The Palestinians had the backing of Iran and Iraq at that time, but now they have only Iran, and (not coincidentally) Israel has long since taken its offer off the table.

Iran is a non-Arab state, which when in need of allies, attempts to curry favor in its region by supporting the Palestinians. That makes it a target of the Israel lobby. Trusted advisors of Obama are likely saying that if Iran is neutralized, Israel will be able to give enough for a final agreement, and then (so he may think) Obama will be the Big Man who solved the Mideast problem. He is going to order an attack on Iran.

The Joint Chiefs donít want two conflicts so it'll probably be after "withdrawal" from Afghanistan in 2014. Iran will be hit with massive air strikes. Rebellions will spring up under US air superiority, and the country will dissolve into factional principalities, just like Iraq did. In effect most Palestinians (the ones in Gaza certainly) have already been expelled from what land Israel intends to keep. Once Iran is taken out of the equation, the Palestinians will have no militarily significant state supporting their aspirations. They'll become demoralized and capitulate.

Randall Parker said at March 5, 2013 9:41 PM:


Great numbers on the GDPs.

As for the cost of an attack on Iran: I do not expect boots on the ground. Air wars are cheap, especially with drones and smart bombs. I'm thinking the US will send in lots of B2 bombers and whatever are the biggest high altitude drones and rain down precise missiles. Cruise missiles from ships and subs too.


It feels so much like I just happen to live in a country run by a different people. Not my country any more. I miss feeling like a citizen of a healthy Republic.

Calvaria said at March 6, 2013 8:26 AM:

Couple thoughts:
1) Don't put stock in anything Biden says. It's not that he's a malicious liar, but he really has no concept of what is real. He says whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear then *believes it himself*.
2) Don't assume a secret 'understanding' between Israel and the US under this administration. Israel has zero trust in Obama, and wouldn't expect any 'agreement' to be honored.
3) The vast majority of 'anti-war' sentiment had nothing to do with war. The disagreement had more to do with the letter after the president's name than anything else. (Again, vast majority here...though there *are* truly anti-war individuals, the vast majority of those who identify themselves as 'anti-war' are useful idiots who quickly drop their sentiment if a proponent's name is followed by a (D)).

That said, I doubt we enter into any sort of ground war with Iran. As others have pointed out, Iran is very well financed. Iran also has a bevy of allies that while no match for the US, would cause broad geopolitical instability (think a new World War). There will *not* be another Iraq as that was a foothold war -- carried out with the purpose of transforming the politics of a region (as opposed to the policy of replacing dictator after dictator after dictator, see: Egypt, Libya, Syria). Whether it pays off won't be known for decades, but it won't be attempted again anytime soon.

John said at March 6, 2013 11:18 AM:

It's amusing to me how common it is for people to express fear of Iran, a proud "Aryan" country that could not win a war against Arabic Iraq for seven years. You hear this kind of fear expressed all the time. I suppose every nation has its fearful and its timid who are scared of everything, and America isn't spared.

The reality, of course, as anyone sane and unblinded by pathological timidity knows, is that Iran is as gnat for us to crush at whim, we are so much more powerful than them. Of course Iran has the capacity to do us mild harm - but should we fear this capability? Or should the Iranians fear that if they exercise their capability to do us mild harm we would obliterate them? It seems to me, and I suspect to anyone sane, that the weight of the fear - up to trembling and terror - should be felt rather on the Iranian side than our own. And yet there are some that say it is we who who should be afraid! In reality, if we obliterate Iran's nuclear program, they should count themselves lucky we go no further - if they so much as lift a finger in "revenge", we should utterly crush them. Let them tremble as they think on that.

As for what will likely play out, I suspect either Israel will attack Iran without the help of the US in any shape, or nothing will happen. The US will never attack Iran.

Check it out said at March 6, 2013 2:48 PM:

Obama is bluffing. Period.

No way Obama dares attack Iran. No way. And it's not out of fear of Iran -as John naively thinks- It's about Russia, with whom Iran is an important trade and bordering partner. Russia won't allow the U.S. to attack Iran. "Period" like the vicepresident likes to say. "Period"

Let us not forget that when Russia speaks, America trembles.

Check it out said at March 6, 2013 2:52 PM:

Nearly bordering I meant.

Check it out said at March 6, 2013 2:56 PM:

Iran has the right to nuclear power.

ASPIRANT said at March 6, 2013 6:03 PM:

>> Most anti war protests come from the left. And the left will give Obama the benefit of the doubt on any war. You don't protest your own guy. Too much cognitive dissonance.
This one thing pisses me off more than anything else in our culture.

Dan said at March 7, 2013 7:23 AM:

@John --

Those are nice sentiments. But you aren't allowed to squash anybody like a bug these days. If you could, we might have turned Vietnam into a smooth stone that glows green at night.

Although as other commenters have noted, maybe His Holiness Barack Obama (Peace Be Upon Him) is the one person who can inflict serious violence on that country and get away with it.

Dan said at March 7, 2013 7:45 AM:

"And the left will give Obama the benefit of the doubt on any war. You don't protest your own guy. Too much cognitive dissonance."

This is what is very wrong with the left, and why leftist hegemony is so historically destructive. What happened in Egypt and Libya with the loving support of Obama sets women's rights and freedom of conscience back centuries. The former is a giant country.

The right is far more likely to manfully stand in principled opposition even when it makes them politically exposed. I mean dear Gawd... Ron Paul refused to endorse Romney all the way to the bitter end, when his team had everything on the line.

Check it out said at March 7, 2013 2:49 PM:

"Most anti war protests come from the left." True. The righties seem to continue with the same backwards instinctively agressive mentality. They are still addicted to the rush of invading sovereign nations which have never done anything to them However, the rest of the world is getting pretty sick of that loud macho kick-ass attitude and that propensity to disregard human cost. Not to worry though; as soon as Russia pronounces her big "No", the U.S. will start to swallow sand.

Firepower said at March 7, 2013 4:59 PM:

Truly crazy stuff Obama's pulling.

Attacking Iran?
He/we can't even defeat Afghani clodhoppers.

Check it out said at March 14, 2013 4:52 PM:

What, no Iran attack yet? See what I tell you?

Obama was bluffing!

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