I see 2 glide paths for the Presidential race if the campaigns play out as set without interference:
A. The studied, cool Romney campaign versus the manic, panic Obama campaign continues. Things remain close. In the end the economy tips the balance, Romney wins.
B. The studied, cool Romney campaign versus the manic, panic Obama campaign continues. Things remain close. A real or media created Romney team gaffe occurs. The media pulls Obama over the finish line…again.
But what if an outside event intrudes? Is there a man-made Hurricane Isaac churning off shore threatening to disrupt the campaign’s course ? I think there is.
At some point Israel will attack Iran. I don’t write that because I want Israel and Iran going to war. I write it because they almost certainly will at some point. Iran’s nuclear program is the flash point. But even if Israel could learn to accept what it sees as a mortal threat in Iran obtaining nukes, the basics of how regional powers behave suggest an Israel/Iran war is an eventuality. Iran as the undisputed regional big dawg is untenable for Israel.
Unlike the Syrian civil war, the impact of an Israel/Iran war would be immediate here. The price of oil would skyrocket, which means in short order the price of everything would rise. The economic slow down would take a few months. The social disruption would be immediate. American soldiers in the region would almost certainly come under attack via Iranian terror cells. There would be terror alerts in the U.S.
In watching this story evolve I’ve found it difficult to see a scenario in which war doesn’t occur. The event is waiting on either Netanyahu’s persuasion skills or an Archduke Ferdinand moment. I now think the war will start after our election and before Christmas, though I obviously have no way of knowing. If Obama wins Netanyahu has nothing left to lose. If Romney wins Netanyahu may delay until January 21st but not much longer.
Without seeming too cold-blooded about it – it is worth asking: Which candidate benefits if Israel pulls the trigger before November? Does a pressured Obama involve us quickly? Or does he stand aside risking a furious backlash from the Right and many Jewish voters? (Standing aside is a near impossibility if Iran disrupts the flow of Middle Eastern oil.) Does the Romney/Ryan domestic front campaign seem suddenly out of step with a potential regional and world-wide conflagration occurring? Or is Obama’s foreign policy rendered suspect?