Bombing Iran

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On the one hand, it’s pretty hard to envision Barack Obama–whose candidacy was partly premised on reconciling America with the Muslim world–launching a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. On the other hand you have data points like Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest Atlantic opus, in which White House officials insist that “President Obama has by no means ruled out counterproliferation by force.” Goldberg spends some time looking at the question of whether and how Israel might coordinate with Washington should Bibi Netanyahu decide that only force can deny Ahmadinejad and Khamenei the bomb. The discussion leads me back to the final piece I wrote for my last employer, which looked at the practical effects and implications of a U.S. or Israeli strike. My core conclusion:

Obviously, a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear march would be vastly preferable to a military one. And even if, as seems likely, tough international sanctions are either unattainable or fail to change Iran’s course, it may well be that air strikes aren’t worth the potentially terrible consequences. Yet if someone is going to bomb Iran, it shouldn’t be Israel. It should be America.

Click here for my full reasoning, but basically an Israeli strike has a lower chance of success with roughly the same amount of blowback for the U.S.

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