I used to be of the mind that the Obama administration would ultimately not launch a preventative war against Iran's nuclear program, but I'm beginning to change my mind. Over the past few weeks, there have been several unmistakable signals that the Obama administration is serious about starting a war with Iran if the country does not come clean about its nuclear program. First, we had Dennis Ross, formerly of the administration, assuring us in no uncertain terms that President Obama would use military force if need be. Then came the "clarification" of Defense Secretary Panetta's remarks cautioning against such a strike. And now Eli Lake's reporting that the Obama administration is discussing its "red lines" with Israel to assuage their concerns about America's willingness to go to war over Iran's nuclear program.
Finally, and most significantly, is the potential sanctioning of Iranian oil. This is, for all intents and purposes, a declaration of war against Iran as it cuts the country's economic lifeline, leaving Iran little choice but to fight, capitulate or face severe economic deprivation.
So either the administration is engaged in a very high-wire bluff designed to make Iran think an attack is likely or it is actually willing to start a new war in the Middle East. In any event, if I were an Iranian strategist, I would be preparing for the worst.