The US must attack Iran to save Israel’s tourism sector!

That is the assertion from Noah Pollack. Or at least that’s what it seems to be if you endeavour to unpack his lengthy post on what to do about Iran. Here’s the money quote:

“A nuclear Iran allied with Hezbollah to the north and Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the Southwest and East would dramatically embolden Israel’s enemies, suppress foreign investment and tourism in Israel, and over time would cause the economic and psychological attrition of the Jewish state — with no bombing runs over Tel Aviv necessary.”

Well, I suppose if you work in the Israeli tourism industry, this is a concern. It is probably not the sort of problem that requires an airstrike. As for Israel’s economy, my impression was that it was generally focused on arms production, so, um, wouldn’t this help that sector?

Moreover, having a nuclear backer in the form of the Soviet Union really didn’t help Israel’s enemies in the 1960s or 1970s, did it? Pollack concedes there will be no “bombing run” over Tel Aviv, yet thinks potential damage to Israel’s economy or tourism should warrant a mass assault to attempt to cripple Iran’s nuclear program.

Pollack goes on about the delicate balance that the US has constructed in the region. It is of course the atomic equivalent of two fat kids sitting on one end of the teeter-totter. Oops, well, I mean one has a paper bag on his head since Israel doesn’t “officially” have nukes.

I am not a fan of more states going nuclear but I do not think it any more possible to stop Iran than it was to stop Pakistan and India. The attempt to stop Iran though would unleash hell in one way or another. In Iran you have an extremely ideological regime that is not terribly well supported by the public (though many would be reflexively patriotic in the face of a serious international threat) and an economic policy that is not working out terribly well.

Is it not time to think in terms of a stern, credible but ultimately peaceful engagement in the mold of engaging the Warsaw Pact nations in the 1980s instead of the psychotic, demand-an-immediate-showdown mode of the Iraq debacle?

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