“War is the unfolding of miscalculations.” Barbara W. Tuchman
I do not think that there is a sane person in the world that sees any benefit of a war between the United States, Israel and the West and Iran. But then sane people seem to be in the minority of all those involved in the current escalation of tension regarding Iran, Israel, the United States, the West and the Arab World.
That being said I don’t think that anyone really wants to go to war even as all of countries involved move military units around the region, stockpile more weapons and issue ever more strident threats against one another.
When the war between Iran and those that oppose it occurs it will be because one of parties involved makes a fatal miscalculation that leads to a regional war with unimaginable consequences.
The immediate parties involved, the Iranians, the Israelis and the Americans have all hardened their military, political and economic stances in the past few months. The Iranians in particular have escalated military tensions by threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, moving naval units to Syria even as that country devolves into civil war and making attempts or threats on the lives of Israeli diplomats in various countries including the United States.
Israel is reacting in kind to what many Israelis view as an existential threat from Iran in regard to the possibility of Iran producing nuclear weapons and delivery systems that could threaten Israel. Reports seem to indicate that the Israelis could conduct a pre-emptive strike against Iran any time between the spring and the November elections in the United States.
The United States and much of Europe have imposed an increasing number of economic sanctions on Iran that are taking a toll on Iran’s economy. Iran is increasing pressure on its own citizens who want more freedom. The Iranian military and the Revolutionary Guards are conducting exercises which are becoming increasingly bellicose including sending warships into the Mediterranean Sea to Syria. Whether they want war or do not their actions could accidentally trigger a war with terrible consequences to the region as well as the global economy.
At this point I do not see any easy way out of a war which everyone knows is coming but cannot or will not avert. The question is no longer if? It is when, how and where? Will it be a naval action at the Straits of Hormuz? Will it be the assassination of an Israeli, Iranian or perhaps a Saudi diplomat or leader? Will it be a terrorist attack against Israel by an Iranian ally such as Hezbollah which triggers an Israeli response? Who really knows? There are so many possibilities that could trigger a regional war that it it boggles the mind.
The media with its 24 hour news cycle which demands fresh news raises the tenor of emotions and passions of the people and nations involved with each passing day. The fear of war is driving people to the brink of it. Back in the late 1890s it was called “Yellow Journalism.”
Adlai Stevenson said that “In matters of national security emotion is no substitute for intelligence, nor rigidity for prudence. To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man, and also a nation.” But this is not always the case. It is very possible that Israel, Iran or the United States may conduct a “preventative” strike against its opponents. Otto von Bismarck commented that “Preventive war is like committing suicide out of fear of death.”
One can only hope that leaders and nations will see the truth of Stevenson and Bismarck’s words before the someone makes that one fatal miscalculation.