One of the arguments that is being trotted out to support the extremely unpopular proposal of a military strike against Syria is that it will establish US credibility against Iran. I understnad the motives. When you have a weak case, you pull out anything that you think will change the odds. But let’s just look at the facts:
Iran took a decision to proceed with a nuclear program roughly a quarter of a century ago. Since that decision, the US has invaded Iran’s neighbors to the east and west; we have surrounded Iran with military force that they could never possibly match; we have imposed the most draconian sanctions, possibly in world history, and have forced the gross devaluation of their currency while cutting off the bulk of their trade. We have acquiesced in the the assassination of their nuclear scientists and we have almost certainly conspired to introduce the most damaging offensive cyber attack (Stuxnet) in history against their nuclear sites. We have flown drones over their territory…need I go on?
Despite all that, they have proceeded slowly and steadily to increase their nuclear capability, in the process drawing closer to a possible breakout capability. They have already spent twice as long as any other country that chose to go for a nuclear weapon — and they still haven’t done it. In fact they say they reject the very idea. They have a new government that is committed to seeking a negotiated settlement to the nuclear issue.
So they don’t believe we are serious? And a limited strike on Syria is supposed to change this somehow for the better?