Pat Buchanan

And given the public threats by Israel and test runs by the IAF as far as Gibraltar, no attack on Iran will come as a total surprise. There would be losses of planes and pilots.

What would be the results?

While it would destroy some of Iran's nuclear facilities, it would not end the program but rally Iranians behind the regime. And it might trigger retaliation by Iran and Hezbollah, by missile, against Israel itself.

An Israeli attack on Iran, which President Obama and the U.S. military strongly oppose, would also put the issue of a U.S. war with Iran front and center in the presidential election.

What would America do; what would Obama do?

The election of 2012 could turn on that decision.

Should Iran retaliate against Israel, the Israeli lobby and the neocons would demand that America come to Israel's defense. Mitt Romney, the GOP hawks, evangelical Christians, conservative commentators and many Democrats would echo the demand, no matter who started the shooting.

A clamor would arise for us to finish the job of smashing Iran's nuclear facilities.

As Israel is admired and Iran's regime is detested, Obama could never declare neutrality. And should he order the U.S. military to go to Israel's aid, his re-election might well be assured.

As commander in chief and first diplomat, Obama holds all the cards.

If Iran is accommodating, the sanctions he has imposed will be seen as successful. If Iran balks in negotiations, he can impose new sanctions.

If Iran walks out of the talks, he can issue ultimata.

If Israel attacks Iran, he can come to Israel's defense and finish the job of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. If done close to the election, this would assure Obama's re-election. The "October surprise" of 2012.

What are Iran's interests and options?

Tehran cannot want war with the United States. For whatever the damage done to U.S. interests, the destruction of Iran's air, naval and missile forces and nuclear program would be total.

The smartest course for Iran to pursue is to demonstrate to the West that she is reasonable and anxious to prove she has no present or future intention of building atomic weapons.

Which is what Iran was doing in Istanbul.

No wonder Bibi is frustrated. If there is no U.S. attack on Iran by November, and Obama wins, there may never be a U.S. attack on Iran.

Israel cannot do to Iran what Bibi wants done to Iran. Only Obama can.

But how does Bibi get Obama to do it, before November?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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