Israel Attack Iran This Year?
Michael S. Rozeff
by Michael S. Rozeff: What
the FED Should Do Now
at what the "market" answers by using the Intrade prediction
The price of
28.3 is like a 28.3 percent chance that the answer is "yes"
and a 71.7 percent chance that the answer is "no". The
prediction market’s odds against attack before the end of 2012 are
2.53 to 1. Each reader may use this observation to update his own
prior probability of attack.
is especially pertinent at this time because of a report
on August 20 that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "is
determined to attack Iran before the US elections". I assume
that the source of the report is an intentional leak for political
purposes. It was done to influence political outcomes, including
both Netanyahu’s position in Israel, the positions of presidential
candidates in America, and the voting of Americans. The report had
a substantive effect on the market-assessed odds of an attack. Prior
to its publication, the odds were 3.35 to 1 against. Two days later,
they were 2.04 to 1 against. (Price rose from 23 to 32.9.)
often play these dangerous games of threats, military buildups,
alliances, ship and troop movements, subterfuges, false flag events,
and leaked "information". They act like little boys who
haven’t grown up, except that they have weapons and military forces
at their disposal to assist in their irresponsible antics. And,
unfortunately for us, what they do has far-reaching effects on the
lives of many of us.
meeting with serious
political resistance within Israel to his threats against Iran.
Even before the Aug. 20 news report, he had been accused by Israel’s
Kadima party leader of "creating
a panic" for war against Iran. His response via the leak
has been to brush off such criticism by a display of his firmness
toward his goal of attacking Iran. He may not be the actual source
of the leak; it may have come through his Defense Minister Ehud
Barak. This is of no great moment.
August 23, Netanyahu kept up his effort to diminish his opposition’s
standing by being
quoted by his spokesman of saying "Only yesterday we received
additional proof that Iran is continuing accelerated progress towards
achieving nuclear weapons and is totally ignoring international
demands." This statement cannot be taken as meaning much of
anything, given its source. I think that Netanyahu is referring
simply to the fact that Iran
and the IAEA on the same day reportedly failed to reach an agreement.
They have been having discussions for some time.
trying to smoke Obama out by eliciting pressure from pro-Israel
voters in America, but Obama is playing it cool on Netanyahu’s overheated
rhetoric. What else can Obama do? He has never embraced Netanyahu’s
position. He has always stood for the sanctions route. If he approved
of Netanyahu’s stance now, it would be a green light for an aggression
on Iran and a brand new war. Obama’s not about to do that with an
election coming up. If he spoke up against Netanyahu, he’d lose
some pro-Israel votes. So he says little. Instead he plays off the
remarks of Netanyahu as all smoke and no fire. An unconfirmed report
has an unidentified administration official saying "the Israelis
feel the need to elevate the urgency on the Iranian timeline. They
tend to do this from time to time. It’s something we’ve learned
to live with."
naturally elevate their counter-threats so as to deter an Israeli
attack, which would have to be a nuclear attack in order to achieve
its goal. What is that goal? It is here that we enter the theatre
of the absurd. Such an attack might delay Iran’s legal program
of uranium enrichment for only a few years and it might encourage
Iran to develop nuclear weaponry. Furthermore, with Israel being
the clear aggressor, Iran would occupy the moral high ground. It
would be able to counterattack Israel by any and all means of its
choosing whenever and wherever it wanted to. It would be able to
attack Israel for an open-ended and unlimited period of time. Even
if its forces currently are weak and unable to prosecute a conventional
war, it would be able over time to mobilize its resources against
Israel. Its population would likely rally behind that effort. An
Israeli attack might mobilize the more radical elements in Iran
and encourage a government that is even less to the liking of Israel
than the current one.
Is it worth
it to Israelis to be under threat of attack and actual attacks of
all sorts and to increase the nuclear threat against their country
in return for stopping for a few years what it is legal for Iran
to do? Is it worth it for Israel to join the exclusive club of nations
that have attacked others with nuclear weapons, consisting at present
only of the U.S.? Is it worth it for Israel to provide the very
grounds that would make it a pariah among nations and encourage
fundamental alterations in the nature of the Jewish state? Is it
worth it to the U.S. government to enter a new war and a nuclear
war at that when Iran poses no significant threat to U.S. interests?
Is it worth it to the U.S. to send the price of oil soaring and
to devastate its own and the world’s economy?
goal makes no sense. What he expects to gain by attacking Iran in
no way compensates for the prospective consequences. I have to wonder
if he is able to think straight about the consequences of attacking
Iran. On May 31, 2012, it was reported that "the majority of
Israel’s defense chiefs are against a military strike in Iran at
this time". They surely recognize what the results will be.
will close by making the observation that politics introduces far
more far-reaching instability and uncertainty in our lives that
almost anything else I can think of, short of certain large forces
such as volcanic eruptions. Politics is surely much more the source
of uncertainty and very broad negative effects than economics. Markets
and people are remarkably adaptive to changes in costs and prices.
But in politics, look what we face. If Janet Yellen were to replace
Ben Bernanke on the FOMC, which is a political matter, the entire
economic outlook would alter. If our currency’s value were determined
by market forces rather than by central political control, its stability
would immediately rise. If Netanyahu attacked Iran, the world situation
would change drastically. All the major powers would become involved,
in addition to the changes mentioned above. If Obama died and Biden
became president, the whole world would change.
for the difference between politics and economics is that politicians
have concentrated and far-reaching power, whereas economic matters
are typically widespread and diversified. There exists economic
power but it is subject to the check of entry and competition. Economic
power is both narrow and significantly constrained. Political power
is constrained but not as much constrained. There is still ample
scope for a man like Benjamin Netanyahu or George Bush or Barack
Obama to start a war that has far-reaching effects. It is only because
of this far-reaching power that we are asking such a question as
"Will Israel attack Iran this year?".
S. Rozeff [send him mail]
is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.
He is the author of the free e-book Essays
on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book
The U.S. Constitution
and Money: Corruption and Decline.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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