As many experts have attested, bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities will only slow Iran’s efforts at processing nuclear fuel. In addition, it would only confirm Iran’s worst suspicions about the West and, very likely, harden any existing resolve some among its leadership might already have to develop nuclear weapons. (For the record, I don’t believe Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons.)
Meanwhile, those hawks who think the United States and other states we dupe into cooperating, could pull off an invasion and occupation of Iran should read Zachary Keck’s recent National Interest. To begin with, he writes, “this option is almost never proposed by any serious observer.” Why?
Iran’s ability to defend itself against a U.S. invasion begins with its formidable geography. As Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, has explained, “Iran is a fortress. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the ocean, with a wasteland at its center, Iran is extremely difficult to conquer.”
While the “stopping power of water” has always made land invasions far more preferable for the invading party, the age of precision-guided munitions has made amphibious invasions particularly challenging. As such, the United States would strongly prefer to invade Iran through one of its land borders, just as it did when it invading Iraq in 2003.
Unfortunately, there are few options in this regard. On first glance, commencing an invasion from western Afghanistan would seem the most plausible route, given that the U.S. military already has troops stationed in that country.
Keck then goes on to explain how Iran is natural defended on its other borders as well.
While, as I mentioned, Iran most likely isn’t currently developing nuclear weapons, it’s not out of the question that it seeks the capability to so that a few other nations, such as Japan, have. That said, the only real way to halt proliferation is not years of conflict in advance of excruciating years spent attempting to hammering out a treaty. It’s demonstrating genuine leadership on the part of the United States by substantively disarming. Granted, it may take years before other states that aspire to nuclear weapons, as well as those already in possession of them, get the message. But, in fact, there’s no other recourse.