I sometimes feel like “bomb Iran” is just a policy proposal walking around in search of a solution. Mostly, it’s supposed to solve something related to their nuclear program but nobody can ever quite say what. Sometimes, it’s for something to do with their “meddling” in Iraq. Here via Tyler Cowen we see Shmuel Rosner confront the fact that bombing Iran isn’t a good way of preventing them from getting nuclear weapons, and come around to favoring bombing Iran anyway:
According to this line of thinking, which has adherents…focusing on the tactical questions surrounding such an operation — how much of Iran’s nuclear program can Israel destroy? how many years can a bombing campaign set the program back? — is a mistake. The main goal of a hit would not be to destroy the program completely, but rather to awaken the international community from its slumber and force it to finally engineer a solution to the crisis…any attack on Iran’s reactors — as long as it is not perceived as a military failure — can serve as a means of “stirring the pot” of international geopolitics. Israel, in other words, wouldn’t be resorting to military action because it is convinced that diplomacy by the international community cannot stop Iran; it would be resorting to military action because only diplomacy by the international community can stop Iran.
This, honestly, would be downright silly if not for the fact that bombing countries is per se a serious business. One likes to think that Israel hasn’t managed to survive this long in a dangerous neighborhood by being run by morons and, thus, this policy is going to be rejected. Meanwhile, as one can see here, what’s needed here are fewer rumors of war and more direct engagement by the United States in a serious diplomatic effort at a rapprochement with Iran. Israel’s soi disant friends in the United States seem to get antsy at the prospect of anything resembling a real diplomatic initiative, but it would clearly be the best thing for Israel as well as for the US, Iran, Iraq and the world at large.