IEET > GlobalDemocracySecurity > Vision > Contributors > Piero Scaruffi > Futurism > Military
Israel will strike Iran before November
piero scaruffi   Mar 24, 2012   piero scaruffi  

First of all, I do not believe for a second that Iran ever had any intention of destroying Israel. I believe the Iranian regime is a very rational and pragmatic regime, one that has worked with Russia and China (both guilty of atrocities against Muslims) and whose closest ally is Syria (a Sunni country). We are always told that the enemy (whether the Soviet Union or Saddam Hussein) is an irrational demon in order to justify our own irrational behavior, but later find out that the demon’s first priority was its own survival.

That said, I also believe that Iran is indeed working on a nuclear weapon.

First of all, I don’t see why it shouldn’t: Israel is the regional superpower because in 1956 it illegally acquired nuclear capabilities.

Secondly, recent events have demonstrated that the only way to prevent a US invasion is to acquire a nuclear bomb: Saddam Hussein was attacked because he did not have one, and Qaddafi was liquidated after he surrendered his weapons of mass destruction, whereas North Korea is handled with peace negotiations, Pakistan’s double games are tolerated, and India has even become a close ally of the USA. The difference in treatment is obvious: a nuclear-armed Iran would be treated with much higher deference than it is now.

Israel views a nuclear Iran as a mortal danger. The USA views it as a destabilizing factor that would lead to an arms race in one of the most unstable regions of the world. Therefore they are both determined to stop Iran before it’s too late. Israel is probably behind the campaign of assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists (and so much for accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism) and the USA has led the campaign to isolate Iran with economic sanctions. Nonetheless, there is only one way to make sure that Iran will not succeed, and that’s a bombing campaign against the nuclear facilities.

There is now mounting pressure on Israel’s prime minister to do it sooner rather than later. The coincidence of favorable circumstances might not repeat itself for many years.

1. It is an election year in the USA, and all candidates want to please the powerful Jewish lobby, and are therefore making strong statements of support of Israel: Obama would not condemn an Israeli strike this year, but might do so if reelected for a second term, as he has consistently preferred diplomacy to warfare, and he seems convinced that diplomacy is working, albeit slowly. Iran’s ally Syria is torn apart by a civil war, leaving Syria’s proxy in Lebanon (Hezbollah) and in Gaza (Hamas) weaker than they have ever been; both are the only military organizations capable of truly inflicting pain on Israel with their rocket attacks and suicide bombers. Whichever way the Syrian civil war goes, the next regime might need anti-Israeli propaganda to shore up domestic support, while the current regime is too busy fighting the protesters to start a war against Israel or sponsor attacks by its proxies.

2. Anti-Israeli sentiment is at a record low after the Arab Spring: the Arab masses are preoccupied with their own future, and hardly pay attention to what Israel does. Once those Arab states stabilize, they might be less tolerant towards Israeli aggression.

3. There is strong silent support by the members of the Arab League, who view Iran as either a troublemaker (the Gulf states, who have sizable Shiite minorities or even majorities stirred by Iran’s secret services) or as a dangerous rival for regional influence (Egypt, Saudi Arabia) or as a bullying neighbor (Iraq). Once Iran acquires the bomb, the richer Arab contries might simply decide to build their own bomb instead of trying to stop Iran.

Even the consequences might not be as severe as the USA fears. Israel has learned that, when hit by a spectacular strike, Islamic dictators try to hide the event. So did Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein when Israel destroyed its nuclear weapons plant, and so did Syria’s dictator Assad when Israel destroyed its plant: those dictators don’t want to admit that their government is so incapable and weak. Therefore they will rather claim that nothing happened. The Iranian regime, embarrassed that the Israeli destroyed its nuclear facilities, will probably claim that Israel struck irrelevant facilities and will insist that there were no nuclear facilities to bomb in the first place.

The Iranian regime will need to retaliate against an illegal attack against its own territory, like any other state would do, but it’s more likely to be a diplomatic effort at the United Nations, presenting itself as the victim of an unwarranted aggression, than an all-out war against Israel that would certainly end with Iran’s defeat.

Iran is not even likely to retaliate against the USA. First of all, Iran probably knows that Israel does not take orders from the USA. But, more importantly, Iran has learned first-hand from what happened to its neighbors Afghanistan and Iraq that the USA is the proverbial elephant in the china glass shop: if provoked, the USA could retaliate with devastating strikes, not Israel’s surgical strikes.

Last but not least, the one country that cannot afford a war in that region is Iran’s main customer: China. China’s economy has been slowing down, and might fall below what is considered the minimum to avoid social unrest if Iran starts a war in the region and the oil supply is jeopardized.

Even some kind of economic retaliation is unlikely, because Iran is already too impoverished and restricting its exports of oil would cause additional hardship on its people. It would be a move that would probably backfire against the regime.

Israel is probably also counting on the fact that any reaction by Iran is likely to boost the critics of the regime, and therefore increase the likelihood of new demonstrations against the regime like the ones that failed in 2009. The Iranian regime has to be very careful not to create the preconditions for its own internal downfall.

Hence Iran will not have many options: it will probably sponsor some terrorist attacks against Israeli and Western targets. These might indeed cause severe damage, especially if Iran supplied radioactive material to the terrorists.

The other price that Israel might have to pay is the already strained relationship with Russia.

piero scaruffi is an author, cultural historian and blogger who has written extensively about a wealth of topics, ranging from cognitive science to music.


Yep, that looks pretty convincing to me.
Question: should we be doing something about it?

Would take a Da Vinci-Newton-Einstein-rolled-into-one to know what to do. The following is a typically cynical, mildly amusing quote from Mark Steyn (NRO) regarding ‘Defense’ and war-financing:

... [Ryan] does not propose to balance the budget of the government of the United States until the year 2040. That would be 27 years after Congressman Ryan’s current term of office expires. Who knows what could throw a wrench in those numbers? Suppose Beijing decides to seize Taiwan. The U.S. is obligated to defend it militarily. But U.S. taxpayers would be funding both sides of the war — the home team, via the Pentagon budget, and the Chinese military, through the interest payments on the debt. (We’ll be bankrolling the entire People’s Liberation Army by some point this decade.) A Beijing–Taipei conflict would be, in budget terms, a U.S. civil war relocated to the Straits of Taiwan. Which is why plans for mid-century are of limited value. When the most notorious extreme callous budget-slasher of the age cannot foresee the government living within its means within the next three decades, you begin to appreciate why foreign observers doubt whether there’ll be a 2040, not for anything recognizable as ‘the United States’...[emphasis added]”

Curiouser and curiouser down in the rabbit hole.

If Iran, as you say, has no intention of destroying Israel - it has nonetheless repeatedly said the opposite. There’s an entire wiki section devoted to its threats to “wipe Israel off the map”

here’s that link:

Given the history of Israeli people, and the tiny size of their nation… that could indeed be wiped out by a handful of nuclear blasts…

it seems that Israel has a very rational reason to be concerned about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons… and a sensible desire to prevent it.

The essay’s first claim—that the Iranian regime is rational and pragmatic—assumes a familiar argument: that no regime is irrational, since that would be contrary to their survival, and all regimes want to hang on to power and survive.  That’s to say, we’re all rational egoists.  Sounds good at first blush, but what nation A thinks is rational isn’t necessarily the same as what nation B thinks is rational. 

The assumed argument also suggests that nations can’t ever be wrong, or at least they always think have the right intentions.  In other words, an irrational nation is a manifest impossibility.  But why should this be true?  Along with possible miscalculations, lack of information, different values, etc., why couldn’t there be a suicidal regime?  (Again, maybe the nation doesn’t believe it’s suicidal, but the consensus otherwise could be.  Think about North Korea: that’s a pretty wacky nation – maybe not suicidal but still dangerously unpredictable.)  If nation A can’t understand B as “rational”, then for all practical purposes, B is irrational to A; and, understandably, A proceeds accordingly.

This doesn’t just seem true of nation-states but at any scale:  Powerful gangs/warlords that hold their own countries hostage are often seen as “irrational”, even if they think they’re being rational.  And at the individual level, think about the last several US administrations:  Would you say the presidents were all rational and, even if so, they were equally rational?  (Maybe in their own minds; and no.)  In the US, we don’t understand, say, honor-killings or vengeance as rational policies, but some nations, cultures, and individuals do.

Whether or not Iran is really irrational or not, it sure is acting like it, at least from the lens of many Americans and Israelis.  Yes, we have different values, histories, etc. than Iran, so of course it’s hard to understand each other.  The article (Piero Scaruffi) is right that we should give peace a real chance, but I think we should do it because we want to be committed to peace and diplomacy, not because we disregard evidence to believe Iran is innocently peaceful, especially when that’s a risky outlook.  Better to be cautious and skeptical here — but not trigger-happy — than to be overly optimistic/blind and unprepared.

If we have reason to think that Iran is “irrational” (whether subjectively or objectively), then whatever reasons we think should compel Iran to not develop nukes or to seek peace are moot.  By definition, if something is irrational, then it doesn’t respond to our reasons.  To be clear, I don’t know if Iran is rational or not – I think it’s an open question.  But it’s a question that’s dismissed with one paragraph to start the article.  Instead, that missing discussion seems to be the key to everything here.

By the way, none of this is to say that the US and Israel have clean hands, either…

What makes me shudder is the following: “The U.S. is obligated to defend [Taiwan] militarily.” It is exactly this balance of power politics and patchwork of alliances between nation states that led Europe to tear itself apart in the first half of the twentieth century. And the UN today is becoming about as impotent as the League of Nations was back then. The difference now is that we have the firepower to destroy the Earth several times over. And yes, we can be that stupid.

@Hank re Iran I’m inclined to share Piero’s view that all this “wipe Israel off the map” stuff is essentially empty rhetoric. Not that I blame the Israelis for being nervous…

Bin Laden’s strike against the US on 9/11 is undoubtedly one of the most heinous and “successful” acts of political aggression since the crusades - anyone in doubt should examine the resultant expenditure in loss of human lives as well as monies, and restrictions to personal freedoms since. The damage done still is immeasurable.

And it seems that this is as little as it takes to set the World at war and at odds.

Personalities.. These ego madmen in which hands we place the security of the world are key players in the game of war for profit - Bush, Blair especially share the blame.

Ah-mad-ine’jad is an antagonist employed to rattle US and Israeli cages - a puppet for a dangerous, backward thinking theocracy, (like Israel), yet also intelligent and not so stupid?

Is Iran seeking to set the world on fire, or to promote fear and uncertainty within Israel and perpetuate a psychological holy war to support their own political power at home?

How long can the world deny Iran nuclear power?

“a puppet for a dangerous, backward thinking theocracy, (like Israel)”

That’s an unfair comparison: Israel is basically a secular democracy, albeit too much driven by counterproductive anger and insecurity (like us in other words).

But I agree about the ego madmen, although I think Bush himself was more of a hapless puppet of other ego madmen #cheney#rumsfeld

What about Obama?

“What about Obama?”

I thank the lucky stars that John McCain wasn’t elected POTUS in 2008—be thankful for small favors. McCain called his N. Vietnamese captors “gooks”, which is good way to garner Asian votes, aye?: a real smart thing to say in public.

Indeed, I think Obama is just about best of breed, but to some extent I share CygnusX1’s distaste for the breed.

  I gusss we will not be suprised to find a high abondence of psychopath traits in the breed on both side. As an Iranain who live there for most of his life, it seems that the real strugle is rather between people and the increased goverment power on either side.

YOUR COMMENT Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Robot Sees Itself for First Time

Previous entry: Are Prediction and Reward Relevant to Superintelligences?