War has become Washington’s panacea for any international problem. Since the end of the Cold War, no other state has attacked as many countries or threatened as many countries as has the United States.
The most persistent threat to use force has been against Iran, which is said to endanger the United States. Yet Iranians likely believe differently.
In 1953, Washington supported a coup against the democratic Iranian government. Through 1979, every American administration backed the repressive Shah. In the1980s, the United States supported Iraq’s aggressive war against Iran. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama ostentatiously kept “all options on the table.”
Military threats continue to rain down on Tehran. For instance, since Iran will not negotiate away its bomb, in the view of Bush administration aide, John Bolton the United States must attack: “Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”
SAIS’s Joshua Muravchik recently argued that “we can strike as often as necessary.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) explained, “we have to be willing and we have to make the leadership of Iran realize that we are willing to take military action.”
The belief that war would be quick, simple, and sure reflects either simple-minded naiveté or criminal arrogance. Virtually every military action Washington has taken in the Middle East has resulted in unintended consequences. Bombing Iran would be no different.