Thursday, July 10, 2008

what will happen with iran?

Iran's missile tests provoked a bit of laughter this week when two of the smoke clouds looked a little too similar, provoking suspicions that the photo had been doctored, perhaps to cover up an errant launch. There's nothing particularly funny about Iran's blustering, though, or about the increasingly open Israeli (and American) threats to do something about it. Can a war be averted?

I'd like to think so, but I'm dubious. Israelis in particular are not given to idle threats, and the country's recent posturing--including an exercise in which planes flew roughly the same distance as Iran and made sure everyone knew it--has hardly been subtle. An American attack would theoretically require some kind of political consensus, but an Israeli rather less so, and the Iranians seem determined to provide an excuse even where none exists.

One interesting question is the thinking of the Presidential candidates on the subject. McCain is typically thought the more likely to be supportive of military action. But Obama said yesterday that the U.S. should pursue more "aggressive" diplomacy in the area. Aggressive diplomacy is an interesting concept: but what do you do if it fails?


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