What happens the day after an attack on Iran? | Power & Policy

What happens the day after an attack on Iran?

Ehud Eiran

By Ehud Eiran

Former Associate and Research Fellow, International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

With the war drums beating, I reviewed for Foreign Affairs.com on Feb. 24  some aspects of the discussion in Israel about the “day after” a possible attack in Iran. I highlighted the gap between the rather frank and detailed discussion of the military aspects, and the limited conversation about the broader political ramifications.These ramifications include, among other things, the internal effects in Iran and possible crisis with the United States.

I also suggested that the conversation be broadened beyond the limited circles that currently discuss these issues. Some past unsuccessful Israeli strategic operations — like Israel’s 1982 invasion to Lebanon – were similarly conceived by a small and unchecked group of political and military leaders, and ended only when the public weighed in. The process, I write in the piece, “took nearly two decades. To avoid a similar strategic blunder in confronting Iran’s nuclear program — either as a result of an attack, or a failure to do so — Israel should give the public a stake in the debate about the “day after” much sooner than that.”

For a possible set of questions that should be discussed, I highly recommend a superb paper published on Jan. 31 by Brandeis Professor Shai Feldman (a board member of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), and two former government officials, Shlomo Brom and Shimon Stein.

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