The Tehran Calculus and Procrastination's Reward
If it was missed when it was published Friday, be sure to read and consider The Tehran Calculus by Charles Krauthammer.
The next day, he [President Bush] responded thus (as reported by Rich Lowry and Kate O'Beirne of National Review) to a question on Iran: "It's very important for the American people to see the president try to solve problems diplomatically before resorting to military force."
"Before" implies that the one follows the other. The signal is unmistakable. An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option.
The costs will be terrible:
Krauthammer goes on to detail the likely high economic, military and diplomatic costs that will likely be incurred, either all collectively or in some combination, as well as the cost of doing nothing. He concludes one of the most salient and brutally honest observations yet, making once again the point made here regularly: There simply are no palatable options left. Procrastination has yielded as much.
Then there is the larger danger of permitting nuclear weapons to be acquired by religious fanatics seized with an eschatological belief in the imminent apocalypse and in their own divine duty to hasten the End of Days. The mullahs are infinitely more likely to use these weapons than anyone in the history of the nuclear age. Every city in the civilized world will live under the specter of instant annihilation delivered either by missile or by terrorist. This from a country that has an official Death to America Day and has declared since Ayatollah Khomeini's ascension that Israel must be wiped off the map.
Against millenarian fanaticism glorying in a cult of death, deterrence is a mere wish. Is the West prepared to wager its cities with their millions of inhabitants on that feeble gamble?
These are the questions. These are the calculations. The decision is no more than a year away.
It will be a decision taken by a single state, likely the United States or Israel.
It took three years for the United Nations to consider the deceptive Iranians' program at the Security Council. It's own concrete deadline has been defied without consequence. Simply put, there will be no action taken by or with the 'international community.'