I don’t truly understand the Bush policy toward Iran, as it now stands. I’m not even sure I know what the policy is. Seems to be something about “going through the UN,” which inspires hypothetical headlines such as “Iran Nukes Tel Aviv; UN Security Council to Meet.”
The obvious solution to the problem is to do something very unsettling now, which means bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities back to what would be more appropriate in the hands of 12th Century barbarians, or wait a while and have to do something too horrible to contemplate. Those seem to be the bad choices, with more diplomacy being the certain path from number one to number two. There is a conspicuous absence of good choices, although the Europeans will no doubt argue that a 1938 Munich-style solution is good enough for them.
I truthfully do not know what the Russians and the Chinese are thinking, but I know that they regard themselves as very deep thinkers, and so very wonderful at gamesmanship, etc. But I’m sure that whatever they’re saying or attitudinizing about right now, that they will just as quickly align themselves with the post-bombing facts on the ground, be it rubble or dust.
And, yes, bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities will have some nasty consequences, but they’ll be much less nasty than the alternative. Like Saddam Hussein at the end of the Cold War, the Iranians think that they are about to shoot the gap and fill a huge regional power vacuum and become the power brokers of the Middle East. It’s time to foreclose that opportunity for them.