Sunday, January 08, 2012

US Israel buildup: Routine, counter-Iran, or political Obama?

The US is sending thousands of troops into Israel for joint exercises.  See also HERE.   Similar exercises have been conducted in the past, but the timing of this buildup warrants enhanced speculation.

Here are the major options of what we can expect:

1.  Routine exercise:  Apparently every few years we conduct joint exercises with Israel to sharpen our ability to coordinate with Israeli defense systems - to test and practice integration of our military plans and systems, especially rocket defense systems.  This has the added benefit of sending a message to hostile nations about our resolve to defend Israel and to encourage Iran to stand down with its nuclear program.

2. Not routine, but urgent:  This build-up may in fact be preparatory to legitimate joint military action against Iran. There has been additional credible evidence that Iran now has the capability to assemble nuclear bombs and the ability to deliver them throughout the region as well as for terrorist purposes overseas, including to the US and elsewhere via a variety of platforms – missile, freighter-missile, freighter-truck, or cross-border transit. 

3. Illegitimate action:  There has been speculation over the past year that Obama will initiate some dramatic event to take the focus off the election to benefit the odds of his being elected to a second term.  This could be that event. Military action against Iran may be considered by some to be legitimate, but may not be in reality.

The second justification for suspicion about such action has broader, trans-Obama implications in the minds of some.  This suspicion is based on the economic theory that we need go to war to bolster our economy and we have a pretext to do so regarding Iran, whether they actually have the will and means to produce and deliver a nuke or not.

I will stand with option 2: This is a necessary action.  We have been hearing from international experts for years that Iran’s nuclear weapons capability is 3 years, 2 years, 1 year away.  Their Islamist rantings expressing hatred toward Jews and calling for the annihilation of Israel show clear intent.   The three criteria for carrying out a crime are  Means, Motive, and Opportunity.  Do we wait for the execution of a crime that could kill 10’s of thousands of residents of one of our best allies before we act?

And no, I don’t think preemptive action against Iran will improve Obama’s ability to be re-elected.  It will demonstrate his failed foreign policy of sucking up to our enemies, not acknowledging their hatred and intent, and emboldening them to the point that we are forced into taking last-resort action of military confrontation.

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