While traveling I am reminded of that modern truth: we are omni-connected in a bad way (crowds staring at devices in their hands when walking, driving, talking -- people will start making fun of this pretty soon) without being reliably connected in a good way (being able to count on usable connections on a laptop when moving from place to place*). Thus today's catch-up grab-bag:
1) Iran The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg reminds us in this authoritative and news-filled interview/post about the fundamental problem with all "let's bomb Iran" scenarios: they would make the situation much worse rather than in any way "better." This is an evergreen theme for our magazine. In his latest report, Jeff Goldberg reports on a lengthy discussion in Israel last month with Meir Dagan, former head of Israel's intelligence service, the Mossad. A sample, with my emphasis added:
What angers [Dagan] most is what he sees as a total lack of understanding on the part of the men who lead the Israeli government about what may come the day after an Israeli strike. Some senior Israeli officials have argued to me that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities might actually trigger the eventual downfall of the regime. Dagan predicts the opposite: "Judging by the war Iran fought against Iraq, even people who supported the Shah, even the Communists, joined hands with (Ayatollah) Khomeini to fight Saddam," he said, adding, "In case of an attack, political pressure on the regime will disappear. If Israel will attack, there is no doubt in my mind that this will also provide them with the justification to go ahead and move quickly to nuclear weapons." He also predicted that the sanctions program engineered principally by President Obama may collapse as a result of an Israeli strike, which would make it easier for Iran to obtain the material necessary for it to cross the nuclear threshold.
This report, and a similar cautionary interview by Jeff Goldberg last week, for me are the conclusive response to yet another recent item from The Goldberg Oeuvre. That was his asking whether Barack Obama, with his track record of taking big, dramatic risks despite his super-deliberate reputation, might be expected to make a similar, "What the hell, let's try it" choice about Iran.