I attended a fascinating program last night at the Westin Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Former Secretary of State George Schultz spoke. Also present were two retired ambassadors who used to work for Schultz, a Stanford University history professor, and a retired 4-star admiral who specialized in special operations forces.
This was a group of very bright political conservatives. At the end of the process they said that war with Iran was not inevitable.
They then made two truly surprising revelations as follows:
1) India and Iran are very good friends. (They strongly emphasized that India violates no international sanctions and provides Iran with no help with their nuclear program.) Iran is always helping India to counter Pakistan. Iran has helped India to set up a strong base in Afghanistan. When the US leaves Afghanistan, India will be the dominant foreign power there (much to the horror of the Pakistanis!)
2) Right now Japan has the capability of manufacturing and deploying very advanced nuclear weapons. They choose not to. They love to send a subtle message to China and North Korea that they have the capability to produce and deploy these weapons fast. The learned political conservatives conducting the meeting said this was the same place that Iran wanted to be.
These learned political conservatives emphasized that diplomacy and opening a serious and sincere dialogue with Iran was much better than a military strike that would set back the Iranian nuclear program 4 years but make them more determined to get nuclear weapons.
There is a little hope in the world this morning.