Monday, August 26, 2013

Naval Gazing Power

Richard Fernandez has written a convincing description of why and how the Obama administration might be in the process of responding to the alleged chemical/biological attacks reported to have occurred in Syria recently:
The administration is appears convinced that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own population, according to the NYT and may be moving to chastise it. The BBC however cautions that there may never be any evidence actually the chemical weapons violation. “UK Foreign Secretary William Hague warned that evidence could have been tampered with, degraded or destroyed in the five days since the attack.”
With the BBC innoculating the administration against future media accusations of ‘faked’ WMD evidence by declaring any proof imperceptible in advance, the NYT describes the administration’s possible game plan. “WASHINGTON — As President Obama weighs options for responding to a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, his national security aides are studying the NATO air war in Kosovo as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations.”

Wretchard then goes on to link a piece at by David Axe in which are described specific US Navy assets and capabilities well able to destroy-in-place any war-fighting assets the Syrian government might currently possess.

Which causes me to ask (again); why couldn't the US do essentially the exact same thing to the still-not-quite nuclear armed Iran too?

It isn't as though the Obama administration has any intent to actually invade either place (and what follows is key, so pay attention), nor is there any need to to achieve the strategic objective of denying development/usage of "weapons of mass destruction" to aggressor states (or anyone we don't happen to like all that much really).  There is no expectation of US troops occupying Syrian territory, only that US .mil air assets destroy Syrian offensive war-making facilities and equipment.  Entropy naturally follows as a result.

Why isn't doing the same exact thing to Iranian nuclear (and all the rest of the arsenal as long as we're about it) development and deployment facilities and equipment equally justifiable under the precise same political rationalizations evident in the Syrian situation?  Are we to believe that the Iranian pariah state is somehow magically more capable than is the regularly Russian-reinforced (or, at least, resupplied) Syrian military (not to mention the various other combatants rampaging about the Syrian territory and skies).

All of which is why I long ago decided that Iranian nukes are a strategic distraction, and worry over same a mark of advanced gullibility.  Not a tactical one note; destruction of Iranian capability is readily achievable, all of which effects the calculus of using a weapon, but nonetheless remains a minor strategic consideration.

Iran does not possess the capability to prevent the naval force described by Mr. Axe from doing to it what is apparently about to be variously gratefully received by the Syrians just any ol' day now.  Waiting for the Islamic Republic leadership to draw undeniable attention to themselves is an unconscionable failure by the American government, and has been for at least the last ten years.

OTOH, initiating the Iranian (Air) Campaign under cover of the public Syrian effort would be a bit brilliant, wouldn't it?  I know, never happen.

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