If You're Bluffing, It's Best to Avoid the Question - Clive Crook - International - The Atlantic

If You're Bluffing, It's Best to Avoid the Question - Clive Crook - International - The Atlantic:

Fallows recommends this article by Paul Pillar, We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran.

[W]e find ourselves at a strange pass. Those in the United States who genuinely yearn for war are still a neoconservative minority. But the danger that war might break out--and that the hawks will get their way--has nonetheless become substantial. The U.S. has just withdrawn the last troops from one Middle Eastern country where it fought a highly costly war of choice with a rationale involving weapons of mass destruction. Now we find ourselves on the precipice of yet another such war--almost purely because the acceptable range of opinion on Iran has narrowed and ossified around the "sensible" idea that all options must be pursued to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Given the momentousness of such an endeavor and how much prominence the Iranian nuclear issue has been given, one might think that talk about exercising the military option would be backed up by extensive analysis of the threat in question and the different ways of responding to it. But it isn't. Strip away the bellicosity and political rhetoric, and what one finds is not rigorous analysis but a mixture of fear, fanciful speculation, and crude stereotyping. There are indeed good reasons to oppose Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons, and likewise many steps the United States and the international community can and should take to try to avoid that eventuality. But an Iran with a bomb would not be anywhere near as dangerous as most people assume, and a war to try to stop it from acquiring one would be less successful, and far more costly, than most people imagine.

Obama either agrees with this analysis or he doesn't. If he agrees with it, of course, you wouldn't expect him to say so, because that would take the pressure off Iran's government. But you also wouldn't expect him to say, as he now has, that if US military action is what it takes in the end to stop Iran then so be it. If on the other hand Obama disagrees with Pillar's analysis--which is what he tells Goldberg in fairly plain words--then Fallows and others opposed to war with Iran ought to be more worried about Obama's position than they seem to be.

Super Tuesday

This is a horrible night for Mitt Romney. It's not devastating (he'll barely win Ohio), but it's really not good. Romney can't close this sale, and every state he wins via massive negativity is one that will weaken him in the long run.