There is only a few months left for the Bush Administration to decide how it will eventually deal with the Iranian Regime. If Bush does not accomplish the Neo-conservative military “solution” for what they call the “Iranian threat”, it would be quite hard to believe that this “solution” would be carried out by the new administration.
Under these circumstances, it is interesting to see how each candidate will treat the Iranian case. How and in which way are they similar or different?
Iran and the Three Candidates
The Iranian issue became especially vital since the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen recently presented Iran as the top challenge for the US over the next five years, calling the United States government to have a dialogue with Iran. This suggestion by Mullen, after Admiral William Fallon's departure from Central Command due to his opposition to a military action against Iran(1), shows the difficulty for the neo-conservatives within the Bush Administration to bring the US into a new war, after those of Afghanistan and Iraq, both disastrous and dreadful.
McCain, as a Republican, thinks that the only way to make the Iranian Regime surrender is more and more pressure economically, politically, financially and why not, militarily. He said that worse than bombing Iran is the Iranians getting nuclear weapons. But McCain said several times that it will be difficult to convince the American public about the necessity of attacking Iran. And this, because of the loss of credibility of the American Intelligence services regarding Iranian and Iraqi issues.
Hilary Clinton, as a democratic candidate thinks that some negotiation with Iran can be useful. But she wants this dialogue to begin at low diplomatic levels and achieving higher levels only if Iran accepts to cede some points on its nuclear activities and maybe on other issues.
Barack Obama does not think that any pre-conditions are necessary to start the negotiations with Iran, whatever its level. Obama thinks all topics can be discussed in these negations as long as there is some progress on the nuclear issues and the security of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Intervening Forces
But apart from this brief presentation of viewpoints of the candidates, we should take into consideration the reality that other forces- political, economical and lobbyism- can and will actually influence the future Presidents’ decisions.
First, the Arms industry which consists of 4% of the GDP of the American economy with more than 528.7 billions dollars of expenditures in the market in 2006. On the other hand, we should not underestimate the importance of those who think that an Iran recognized and out of isolation can only be a trouble maker for American domination in the Middle-East. In addition, the reality of the social and economical situation in the United States would be an important factor in rationalizing the strategic decision regarding Iran. Who can predict the consequences of such a war and the high price the Americans will have to pay for an amplified new war?
But the point is that there is also an external force which can greatly influence any rational American decision and bring the US into chaos which would be disastrous for both the Americans and the Iranians.
This external force is Israel.
The Role of Israel
We know that the common view of the three candidates concerning Iran is the “security of Israel.” The firm commitment by the three candidates is a warranty for Israel to take any military action against Iran while being backed by the US. Israel, will have the free hand to decide about both countries future relations, despite it being the least involved in a likely long conflict between these two countries.
An Israeli attack on Iran will be aimed at the nuclear installations of the country and maybe some other targets related to the missile activities; Iran would surely react by targeting Israel, directly or indirectly, which will be followed by an American reaction, the response of Iran to this latter reaction will intensify the conflict throughout the Middle-East.
A total and deeply destructive war will be started and the only country that will theoretically be well protected is Israel itself, thanks to, on one hand, its own high technological level of military defense and on the other hand through the support of the American presence in this region.
However we should not forget that the Iranian Regime, as an authoritarian and antidemocratic system, cannot be quiet and will cause a lot of serious problems to the region and world peace. That’s why, at the end, the best way for having a peaceful Middle-East and reaching a more acceptable situation for the region’s peoples would be to try to replace the Iranian regime with a democratic system. The Iranian people are ready to act, but international recognition and support can enrich their struggle for democracy in Iran.