To go or NOT to go to war with Iran

Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, is on his way to the United States to argue, again, for a war with Iran. Plenty of US officials including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have also been in Israel to discuss this very issue.

Then, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, who just called General Dempsey “a puppet of Iran,” will be making his way over to mobilize the right wing American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) to send American men and women back to war.

To make matters worse, the US Congress seems to be yet again representing Israel instead of their American constituencies who already have war fatigue not to mention a $15 trillion dollar deficit costing tax payer $4 billion a day. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Joseph Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) are pushing through “let’s get everything off the table except bombing the hell out of Iran” legislation and Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is siding with the Israel Prime Minister instead of the American Joint Chief who is right in his assessment that the US should not rush to war.

Nevertheless, the US, Israel and their coalition of the “willing to overthrow every regime on the face of the globe” are continuously debating going after the next victim. Attacking Iran, however, will not be a simple Shock an Awe operation. Iran actually has a formidable military. Perhaps maybe the world is just craving a traditional war with air fights, naval standoffs, and tanks rolling in – all coupled with asymmetric hybrid confrontations.

The most disturbing part of this whole picture is that the world seems to have forgotten that they can actually think beyond war. “All options on the table” seems to dismiss everything other than bombarding things, people or both. For too many years, Americans and allies alike have completely ignored robust diplomacy. They rushed into Afghanistan failing to acknowledge that the Taliban was ready to give up Osama bin Laden – threats instead of savvy cultural posturing and negation led to a ten-year war. Everyone couldn’t wait to hang Saddam Hussein despite the fact that all intelligence showed there was no mushroom cloud, not to mention the fact that he provided the United Nations with all the necessary documentation showing he had no weapons of mass destruction.

The US Secretary of State – America’s top diplomat – threw her patience right out the window calling for the Libyan President, Qadaffi, to be “captured or killed.” In her most recent outburst, she is calling for mutiny in the Syrian army to, yes, rid themselves of President Bashar Al-Assad.

Next stop – Iran.

So where is that “Diplomacy 3.0” that the US State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) was touting just two years ago. Apparently all those foreign service officers that were suppose to be deployed to “centers of influence” missed the Middle East and Southwest Asia and/or are more likely they are unsuccessfully trying to influence behind giant slabs of concrete and perpetual lockdown.

Governments of the world, let your people go. The days of addressing today’s threats cannot be done behind armored vehicles and barbed wire or even at the barrel of a gun, people need to get out and get to know the people, not just hob nob with corrupt ministers – although that is important too. There are plenty of people who knew the “Arab Spring” was coming, but even the most seasoned diplomat can’t evaluate the changes from behind bars.

In today’s world, we need to stop warring and start a dialogue, one that lasts more than an hour and contains options other than coercive threats on the agenda. So what if we don’t like them, they probably don’t like us much either. if you can get eventually along with one monarch or dictator, why not another?

The bottom line is that there are more options on the table than mutually assured destruction. Political, economic and, most importantly, diplomatic options for Iran exist. It is time for us to break out of this over zealous combat mindset and try something new. In the grander scheme of things, it is much better than sending more of our young men and women off to yet another war or causing Armageddon. Maybe 2012 will be the end after all, if, that is, we make our own prophetic nonsense come true instead of thinking critically in order to find a better solution than more war.

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