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June 09, 2006


BJ Bjornson

No chance, at least not yet. The Bush administration simply doesn't have enough political capital to start another war without it backfiring massively on them. Even if you only took the domestic reaction into account, July or August are too soon, since the second-order effects would have time to come back and sink the Republicans even further in November.

Internationally, this would be a coalition of one. Nobody, not really even Israel, wants to see this happen right now. Iran has played the diplomatic game wonderfully to get to this point.

I do see a ramping up of propoganda to try and limit Democratic gains in November, much like the ramp up in late 2002 against Iraq, but the only way I see them starting a bombing campaign is if they're handed a trigger event, like another major terror attack in the US.

If that happens, they could channel the anger into an attack against Iran. By the time cooler heads had a chance to prevail, it would be too late.

John Robb

Hope you are right, however, a bombing campaign doesn't take much poltical capital to initiate.

BJ Bjornson

True, but it does take some to maintain it. Too many of those catastrophic consequences you allude to won't take very long to manifest; Oil supply, and the subsequent rise in gas prices, and the likely blowback across the border in Iraq as the Shiite militas rise up. With Bush's approval levels in the toilet, the Republicans have weeks, rather than months to get any benefit out of this. I just don't see them committing political suicide over this. Whatever else this administration has proven, its that they're extremely competent when their self-interest and grip on power is at stake.

I've yet to see any US administration start bombing without saying it was a "last resort"; that all diplomatic efforts had been exhausted. The administration has been forced to at least appear to make a real effort this time. The rhetoric has been toned down considerably the last couple of months. Did you think in January you'd hear the US offering to sit in on the talks with Iran?

Understand I don't find your scenario totally unbelievable, more just the timeline. The Iranians will take most of June to consider the incentive package, and then present a counter-offer. July and August will likely be taken up with the US painting the counter-offer as a total refusal, and trying to get some kind of action through the Security Council, probably unsuccessfully. All the while they can ramp up the rhetoric for domestic consumption.

Put your EBO campaign start in late September, early October, when they've had more time to lay the ground work and the patriotic boost is more likely to last through the November election, and before the consequences become widely apparent.

You are likely right in one point. If they don't do this soon, they'll probably lose the chance.

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