But let us return to Prof. Kaye’s argument. She continues:
Such an attack could also backfire by fomenting nationalist sentiment within Iran (particularly if large numbers of civilians are killed) and boost support for more hard-line elements within the regime that current policies are attempting to marginalize. It could also increase Iranian incentives to obtain nuclear weapons to avoid such attacks in the future, while undermining painstaking U.S. efforts to bolster international and regional support for economic and diplomatic pressure against Iran. In short, there are serious risks associated with this option with little potential to actually solve the problem, and possibly making it harder to solve in the future.
No-one can make such assertions with assurance. Nothing succeeds like success. If Britain and France had drawn the line at the Sudetenland in 1938, the German generals likely would have overthrown Hitler. But Kaye misses the point. Yes, the nuclear facilities are deeply entrenched. No, a surgical strike is out of the question. To destroy nuclear weapons capability means to decapitate the regime and the military leadership, with a lot of collateral damage. Five years ago we could have done it cleanly, when cancer was easily operable. Now we will have to make a mess.
Kaye’s final objection is trivial if not disingenuous:
A military strike would be particularly damaging in a post Arab spring environment, in which public opinion is already hostile toward U.S. policies. Even if Arab governments may quietly welcome forceful U.S. actions, Arab publics are far more sympathetic to Iran’s anti-Western positions. Despite Iran’s waning regional influence as Arab revolts and Turkish activism have decreased its relevance in the resistance narrative, Arab publics would likely rally behind Iran in the face of an attack. Additionally, they could constrain their governments’ ability to support US-backed efforts to isolate Iran.
She neglects to mention that the Saudis, now by far the most important Arab power, have been screaming at America for years to take action against Iran. The Syrian opposition, whose people are dying in the streets at the hands of Iranian thugs, won’t particularly mind, one would think.
Above all, it’s critical to keep in mind that Iran is a dying nation. As I report in How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too), Iran is suffering the fastest fertility decline on record, any time, ever. The average Iranian has six or seven brothers and sisters, but will have one or two children. The population pyramid will invert: within a single generation, it will go from having 7 children to take care of elderly parents, to just 1.5. And in a country where the average person has $4000 to spend per year, that means starvation. The Iranian leadership knows it. They’ve been screaming about it in public for years. Like Hitler, they think they have one last chance at empire before the curtain comes down. If they’re not stopped, millions of Americans might die.