Goldblog, reacting to several mysterious explosions at Iranian nuclear sites, puts his thinking cap on:
I'm not entirely convinced, but it's not unreasonable to group these recent explosions with the Stuxnet virus of last summer that haywired an uranium enrichment facility in Natanz; last October's explosion at a Shahab missile factory; the killing of three Iranian nuclear scientists in the past two years, last November's attempted assassination of Fereydoun Abbasi-Davan–a senior official in the nuclear program — and rumblings of a second supervirus deployed this month as proof that the West's war on Iran's nuclear program is getting less covert by the minute.
Western policymakers have implicitly made the same assumption today that their predecessors made in the 1930s, 1940s and 1990s: that an immediate war, even one fought on favorable terms, is to be feared more than a looming cataclysm that is likely to occur at some indefinite point in the not-too-distant future. That was the right decision to make with Stalin's Russia; it was tragically wrongheaded with Hitler's Germany and the Taliban/Al Qaeda.
Matt Fay and Michael Cohen are decidedly unimpressed with Boot's argument. I'd simply point out something that seems beyond most commentators. The US was rightly outraged by Iran's plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington; but what about the targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists? If Iran started assassinating American scientists, would we not make a stink? Don't get me wrong: sabotage of Iran's nuclear program is easily the best way forward, along with sanctions. But killing individuals seems to me an over-reach we could come to regret.
(Photo: Members of Iran's paramilitary Basij militia parade in front of the former US embassy in Tehran on November 25, 2011 to mark the national Basij week. Iran has dismissed a US news report implicating it in a chemical weapons cache uncovered in Libya, saying it was a champion in fighting to eradicate such arms. By Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images.)