Attacking Iran Would Be a Political Disaster for Obama
As usual, Daniel Pipes has some terrible foreign policy advice for Obama:
Given this background, I propose that (updating my 2010 article) a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless fifth year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline immigration reform, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.
Aside from being an appalling idea in its own right, this gets the politics of an attack on Iran all wrong. If Obama were foolish enough to do this, this would not improve Obama’s political position at home. It would very likely blow up in his face in several ways. Because an attack on Iran would at best set back Iran’s nuclear program by a few years, it would be deemed a failure within a few weeks. Instead of rallying behind the attack, many Republican hawks would fault Obama for having “waited” so long to take action. Because it would provoke Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and because it would cause enormous harm to the global economy, it would expose Obama to charges of recklessness and being responsible for inducing a global recession. There would be an initial rally effect when the bombing began, but this would quickly disappear as it became clear that military action hadn’t “solved” the problem and had instead committed the U.S. to a new war. In the event that Iranian retaliation caused U.S. casualties, public support for the war would begin to drop, and would continue to do so as long as hostilities lasted.
If Obama ordered the attack without Congressional authorization, the political backlash would be even more severe, and aside from a few hard-liners I doubt there would be very many Republicans eager to identify themselves with Obama at that point. Ordering an attack on Iran would wreck whatever reputation Obama still had on foreign policy, and outside of a core of partisan loyalists it would quickly have very little support. Internationally, the U.S. would have almost no supporters for its war with Iran, which most governments would consider to be illegal and unprovoked. The attack would end up harming relations with most other major powers to the detriment of U.S. interests in many other parts of the world, and the ensuing conflict would consume the remainder of Obama’s second term. Attacking Iran would be foolish and wrong, and it would also be a political disaster for the administration.