The Drums of War
Man, I hope I’m wrong. But I think a storm is coming.
I study the news because I’m a lifelong journalist but also to find storylines for my novels, which are set in the world of realpolitik. And the news these days is frightening.
Most of it isn’t obvious, unless you know how to connect the dots.
The U.S. selling a new generation of warplanes to the Saudis, the longtime foes of Iran. The U.S. pulling a carrier group of the Persian Gulf, with Iran’s warnings about blockading the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran moving forward with its nuclear energy program; a program that the Israelis, the International Atomic Energy Agency and, increasing, Western intelligence agencies warn a front for a nuclear weapons program.
That program has had too many mysterious mishaps to count: Transformers exploding; centrifuges for enriching uranium melting down; state-of-the-art computer viruses corrupting nuclear facilities; the assassination of top scientists in the nuclear program; a missile-testing base west of Teheran all but incinerating in a massive explosion.
On and on.
Israel’s warning that, under no circumstances, would Iran be allowed to join the league of nuclear powers. “Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped,” The New York Times quoted Moshe Ya’alon, Israeli vice prime minister, as saying, “In any way and anywhere that we see fit.”
The drums keep beating. Israel claims that the destroyed testing facility was creating a missile with a range of 6,000 miles. What’s within 6,000 miles if Iran? The United States’ Eastern Seaboard.
Say that’s an exaggeration. Say the Iranians’ prototype missiles could only fly roughly 1,200 miles, as many analysts claim. That’s a range covering portions of Eastern Europe; countries with mutual non-aggression agreements with NATO and the United States. Hitting those targets means hitting U.S. allies.
A Washington Post columnist quoted U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta predicting “a strong likelihood” that Israel would hit Iran by April at the earliest. By June at the latest. Late last week, Panetta declined to comment on the quote.
I don’t claim to be a great political scientist. But I think I’m OK. And I think a storm is coming.