Monday, January 5, 2009

Kristol: From Gaza to Tehran

William Kristol predicts that Israel’s invasion of Gaza and their confrontation with Hamas will resonate in Tehran.

The huge challenge for the Obama administration is going to be Iran. If Israel had yielded to Hamas and refrained from using force to stop terror attacks, it would have been a victory for Iran. If Israel were now to withdraw under pressure without accomplishing the objectives of severely weakening Hamas and preventing the reconstitution of a terror-exporting state in Gaza, it would be a triumph for Iran. In either case, the Iranian regime would be emboldened, and less susceptible to the pressure from the Obama administration to stop its nuclear program.

But a defeat of Hamas in Gaza — following on the heels of our success in Iraq — would be a real setback for Iran. It would make it easier to assemble regional and international coalitions to pressure Iran. It might positively affect the Iranian elections in June. It might make the Iranian regime more amenable to dealing.

Given Mr. Kristol’s stellar track record in predicting the outcome of previous armed conflicts and our efforts in the Global War on Terror, we’re in for a world of hurt in dealing with Iran.

It would be nice if this scenario worked out — hey, I’ll give Mr. Kristol credit if it does — but I have the distinct impression that neither Israel or Iran are thinking globally or granularly enough to plan that far ahead. And it’s not as if Israel is provoking a world-wide response just to curry favor with the United States. But then, Mr. Kristol seems to think approvingly that everything in the world revolves around everyone else doing our bidding.