A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.Jack Straw, the former British Foreign Secretary added this warning:
"It could lead to a major realignment in international relations of a kind that we have not seen up to now," he says.
He didn't mention my prediction about a new arms race but given the highly polarized world he describes, I consider it a given.
"You'd get huge divisions in the international community between the US and maybe the United Kingdom, on the one hand; other European countries somewhere in the middle; Russia and China, Brazil, India on the other."
As for my contention that the real goal is to destroy Iranian economy (and that it is working much better than any strike could), Reuters has reported that Iran was unable to pay for even those goods that are sold under a humanitarian license, like diapers and drugs.
"Everything from aspirin to multivitamins - you name it - it's all jammed up," said Cari Stinebower, an international trade lawyer with Crowell & Moring, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm, and a former counsel for the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
The payments gridlock is a testament to the effectiveness of the latest round of financial sanctions, which aim to force Iran to curb its nuclear program and which have made the Iranian banking sector even more radioactive for major global banks. (...)
"That has had a huge ripple effect," said Douglas Jacobson, a Washington attorney who focuses on sanctions work.
"On the one hand, you can get a license. The government is saying, 'OK you can sell.' But the practical reality is that you can't get paid," he added.And all of this predates the SWIFT expulsion:
The decision on Thursday by Belgium-based SWIFT, the world's biggest electronic payment system, to expel all Iranian banks blacklisted by the European Union, may make it even harder to conduct transactions, sanctions lawyers said.I realize that sanctions represent a terrible hardship for the civilian populations but I doubt that a large scale bombing by the US and a protracted regional war are better alternatives.
If there is a modicum of rational though left in the world, no such attack should take place.
Despite the ravages of post-modernity, I am still hoping that this is the case.