IMRA Weekly Commentary..
01 July '15..
“The National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015“ released today by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey provides shocking evidence just how different our takes are of the Iranian threat.
Let’s first read the relevant excerpt from this document:
“I. The Strategic Environment
......Iran also poses strategic challenges to the international community. It is pursuing nuclear and missile delivery technologies despite repeated United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding that it cease such efforts. It is a state-sponsor of terrorism that has undermined stability in many nations, including Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Iran’s actions have destabilized the region and brought misery to countless people while denying the Iranian people the prospect of a prosperous future.
North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies also contradicts repeated demands by the international community to cease such efforts. These capabilities directly threaten its neighbors, especially the Republic of Korea and Japan. In time, they will threaten the U.S. homeland as well. North Korea also has conducted cyber attacks, including causing major damage to a U.S. corporation.
....None of these nations are believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies.
Notice the difference in the narrative between Iran and North Korea?
While Iran “poses strategic challenges to the international community” and is “pursuing nuclear and missile delivery technologies” there is no indication that those Iranian “missile delivery technologies” will attain a range that reaches the United States.
In sharp contrast. The report explicitly states that North Korea “In time…will threaten the U.S. homeland as well.”
In plain English: it would appear from this report that in the view of the U.S. military analysts, Iranian nukes do not present a threat to the United States of America – only to some of America’s allies.
But what does the report actually think this “threat” means?
After all, the report asserts that neither Iran nor North Korea “are believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies. “
In plain English: the American experts who wrote this report don’t think that Iran would actually ever push the button if they had nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles. They would just threaten with them.
And If you don’t think Iran would ever use nukes if they had them, your concerns regarding the consequences of signing a bad deal with Iran are profoundly different than if you thought Iran would push the button.
This curious take on the significance of Iranian military capabilities applies also to the conventional sphere.
The report turns a blind eye to the tremendous investment Iran is already making in upgrading and expanding its conventional military capabilities – activities that would no doubt accelerate should sanctions be dropped and Iran is flooded with money.
None of this matters in the eyes of the authors of this report since Iran is not “believed to be seeking direct military conflict with the United States or our allies."
We are not on the same page.
As Bernard Lewis put it, for the Iranian leadership, “MAD [AL: Mutually Assured Destruction] is not a constraint; it is an inducement.”
The consequence of a bad deal isn’t Iranian nuclear deterrence, its Iranian nuclear attacks.
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Since 1992 providing news and analysis on the Middle East with a focus on Arab-Israeli relations