Perhaps President Obama is trying too hard to not be seen as his predecessor. Instead of being known as “The Decider”, is President Obama trying to be known as “The InDecider”? In most cases he can spend time making up his mind (by reading polling data trends) but his lack of a quick decision in the Afghanistan theater is a worrisome trend. However, worse for the world, next spring he may not be able to take that time as the issues in the Middle East quickly come to a head.
Rumor has it that not only is Israel looking to take out Iran’s nuclear installations, but they are actually looking to President Obama on the go ahead call. As Benny Morris writing in the Guardian tells us:
But it is not only Israel’s leaders who will have to decide. So will Obama, a man who has, in the international arena, shown a proclivity for indecision (except when it comes to Israeli settlements in the West Bank). Will he give the Israelis a green light (and perhaps some additional equipment they have been seeking to facilitate a strike) and a right-of-passage corridor over Iraq for their aircraft? Or will he acquiesce in putting atomic weaponry in the mullahs’ hands?
It is clear – and should be by then to all but the most supine appeasers – that the diplomatic approach is going nowhere, with the Iranians conning and stonewalling and dragging their feet, all the while enriching more uranium. And Tehran is laughing, as it were, all the way to Armageddon. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs know full well that the west will never impose the only sanctions that could work (a complete boycott of Iranian oil and cessation of the export to Iran of all products).
If there is an attack, it will not be just a surgical strike and we go back to the status quo. It will be an all out war with retaliation from Iran, Hezbollah and probably Hamas. And even if we don’t assist in the attack, it is most likely that Iran will not just retaliate against Israel. Most likely, US forces will be targeted in every arena, possibly even by suicide bombing on US soil.
The alternatives? Distance from Israel and allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Or, the US could take out Iran’s military infrastructure completely like it did with Iraq in 2003, allowing for the power vacuum to create enough chaos in Iran to put them back a decade as a danger to the rest of the world. None of these options are politically beneficial to the President.
It will be a no-win decision that President Obama is going to have to make. And most likely will have to make quickly. To date, this isn’t something that he has shown a proclivity to do.
So while we spend time debating things that, compared to what may be coming next spring, are pretty minor (partisan power plays notwithstanding) the powder keg that has been building for what seems like thousands of years may actually be about to go nuclear. We can all only hope that he is getting a decision ready now, we have just about enough time for him to make his mind up on what to do.