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Why does the right imagine war with Iran would be popular?

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The war fever that was building in early January suddenly subsided without any apparent reason. We now know that Obama warned Netanyahu and Barak that the Israel would fight alone if they started a war with Iran without prior US agreement.

There is a section of the US polity that simply can't feel right unless the US is engaged in at least one war.   Like a gambler who must keep returning to the table after each loss, the next war will always be the one that wipes away the defeat in Vietnam.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Gadaffi was the number one enemy of the West. Gadaffi's funds, guns and explosives backed the Baader-Meinhoff gang, Action Directe, the IRA and PIRA. Obama has helped remove him from office without a single US soldier's boot touching the soil of Libya yet this is not enough for the militarists; From their point of view it is the wrong sort of success won in the wrong way. They don't want the Libyan people to be choosing their own government, agency is their prerogative. Helping the Libyan people oust a dictator does not advance the cause of US supremacy or erase the stain of Vietnam. Only war with Iran will suffice.

A war with Iran is all but certain if Romney or Gingrich becomes President. But that looks a remote prospect and so the idea is being floated that Israel should start a war with Iran just before the election forcing Obama to choose between abandoning Israel and defeat or joining Israel's war.

As political strategies go, it is the second stupidest proposal I have heard. The stupidest being the idea that a war with a country three times larger than Iraq would be anything less than a three times the fiasco.

The only scenario in which there would be pressure on Obama to join Israel a war they started against Iran is if Israel was losing. And in that case, Obama would be being asked to intervene to save Israel from the consequences of a blunder committed by her own politicians.

There is no doubt that Obama would be obliged intervene to save Israel but he would be under no obligation to save Netanyahu or Barak. Having had his authority challenged, Obama would at minimum have to require them to resign before coming to Israel's aid and that alone might be sufficient for Iran to suspend hostilities.

Far from being the electoral poison chalice that the Republican operatives imagine, Obama holds all the cards and he knows that joining Netanyahu's war for fear of the Israel lobby would mean near certain electoral defeat.

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