Whether Israel will do the same to Iran is still unknown, although Prime Minister Netanyahu has certainly made it clear he won't be giving Obama a "heads up" before it happens. What the US should do is assist an Israeli attack with intelligence and logistical support, including immediate transfers of new fighter-bombers, aerial refuelling tankers and additional bunker-busting bombs. Doubtless, however, despite its newly muscular rhetoric, the Obama Administration is doing the exact opposite, still desperately hoping to pressure or cajole Israel into not striking.
Nonetheless, in an era of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ICBMs in the hands of rogue states and terrorists, pre-emption is an entirely legitimate form of self defence. It should figure prominently in American military planning in the years ahead, whatever Israel does on Iran.
Here is the most important conclusion: America should never again be in a fair fight. The best wars, of course, are those that are never fought. That objective itself argues for an overwhelming preponderance of US and allied forces in the world. And when war is fought, Clausewitz never deviated from the imperative of decisively defeating the enemy's military capability. Nor should we. Finding the Schwerpunkt and determining the "culminating point of victory" are, I concede, not entirely scientific, but they are readily understandable.
In 2009 Obama said: "I'm always worried about using the word ‘victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur." Of course, it wasn't Hirohito who surrendered on the Missouri's stout deck, but the revelation of Obama's mindset is telling. Conceptually, a world of no victories may warm the hearts of social democrats, but it is insufficient for the defence of America. Nonetheless, November may well tell us, in more ways than one, whether America will remain America, or whether it has become better suited to being a junior member of the European Union.
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