TEL AVIV - It is hard to remember a moment when the United States' foreign policy establishment showed as much unanimity as in its horror at the prospect of a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran.
In a September 10 report for Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies, Anthony Cordesman warns, "A strike by Israel on Iran will give rise to regional instability and conflict as well as terrorism. The regional security consequences will be catastrophic."
And a "bi-partisan" experts' group headed by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and co-signed by most of the usual suspects states, "Serious costs to US interests would also be felt over the longer term, we believe, with problematic consequences for global and regional stability, including
economic stability. A dynamic of escalation, action, and counteraction could produce serious unintended consequences that would significantly increase all of these costs and lead, potentially, to all-out regional war."
If a contrarian thought might be permitted, consider the possibility that all-out regional war is the optimal outcome for American interests. An Israeli strike on Iran that achieved even limited success - a two-year delay in Iran's nuclear weapons development - would arrest America's precipitous decline as a superpower.
Absent an Israeli strike, America faces:
A nuclear-armed Iran;
Iraq's continued drift towards alliance with Iran;
An overtly hostile regime in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood government will lean on jihadist elements to divert attention from the country's economic collapse;
An Egyptian war with Libya for oil and with Sudan for water;
A radical Sunni regime controlling most of Syria, facing off an Iran-allied Alawistan ensconced in the coastal mountains;
A de facto or de jure Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the Kingdom of Jordan;
A campaign of subversion against the Saudi monarchy by Iran through Shi'ites in Eastern Province and by the Muslim Brotherhood internally;
A weakened and perhaps imploding Turkey struggling with its Kurdish population and the emergence of Syrian Kurds as a wild card;
A Taliban-dominated Afghanistan; and
Radicalized Islamic regimes in Libya and Tunisia.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest loser in the emerging Middle East configuration, and Russia is the biggest winner. Europe and Japan have concluded that America has abandoned its long-standing commitment to the security of energy supplies in the Persian Gulf by throwing the Saudi monarchy under the bus, and have quietly shifted their energy planning towards Russia. Little of this line of thinking will appear in the news media, but the reorientation towards Moscow is underway nonetheless.