Anyone cares to explain me why Iran ended up on Bush's "Axis of Evil" list and Pakistan did not???
Having Pakistan on the naughty list wouldn't be much incentive for them to help us out in the war in Afghanistan. Bush even went as far as to put them on the nice list, and they get lots of US presents. I'm not sure that they've really returned the investment.
Then compare the size of Iraq and Iran. You can fit Iraq in a corner of Iran.
This is not arrogance or sarcasm, it's basic fact. Iran is HUGE, has a motivated and much better equipped military and over sixty million people. Invade Iran and an occupier will need troops in millions. Assuming that your forces ever get as far as staging a complete takeover that is.
I agree completely with what you're saying. But here's the thing: there are those who think that Bush and his crew really and truly do believe that they can do it. Whether they think that they're guided by God, or that nothing can stop the American superpower, or whatever, they're not going to be put off by the difficulty of something once they have their mind set to it.
Now that Powell is out, there is nobody at the top table who does not fall into this line of thinking (scary thought). They will not be afraid to act, despite the fact that invading Iran, while possible, is exponentially more difficult than invading Iraq.
That said, they also understand that if diplomacy will work, there is no point in wasting the money and lives. And so they'll wait until the talks start to show signs of failure until they start to go into war mode. The problem is, they like to set unrealistic expectations for the talks. I think we can see where this is going.
So, we have:
- a president who wants regime change in Iran, and is not afraid to use force to do it should diplomacy fail.
- a cabinet who is pretty much incapable of thinking on their own when it comes to making policy.
- a congress that, when it comes to the matter of invading another country, doesn't have the balls to stand up to Bush
- unrealistic expectations for the talks with a country that, like any other country in its position, is not going to give up their weapons without a fight.
The likely scenario: the talks come to a solution, but a halfway one (you're never going to get anything but a compromise when you go into negotiations). And it becomes something very much like what happened with Saddam in Iraq - inspectors get pushed around a bit, more talks, more inspections, even more talks, etc. Meanwhile, the US intelligence, in their hunt to find nuclear weapons in Iran, falls prey to the "better safe than sorry" doctrine, and things go on from there much in the manner that they did with Iraq. Except that this time, although the US would win the conflict, it would be far more expensive and far more bloody.
I really don't want war with Iran, but I don't see much else happening. Call me a pessimist if you like. What would probably be best is for the US to stay out of this. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran are not a threat to the US. If Israel feels threatened enough to act, then they can do so, and would have our support. They will face quite a lot of backlash for that, and we'll be obligated to help them defend themselves, but that will be a lot easier than going on the offense with a full-scale invasion of Iran.