Mixed signals being sent by the Obama administration to Iran. On the one hand they claim to want a diplomatic solution but on the other, they keep rattling the sabre.
The only clear signal on the issue they are sending is to Israel; no strike against Iran.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said ahead of a meeting Friday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he would warn his Israeli counterpart about the global economic consequences of a military strike on Iran's nuclear program, adding that he still favors sanctions and diplomacy over a strike.
"To go beyond (sanctions and diplomacy) raises our concerns about the unintended consequences that could result. ... There are going to be economic consequences to that, that could impact not just on our economy but the world economy," Panetta told those travelling with him to Halifax, Canada.
Some Republican lawmakers are complaining the Obama administration is sending a schizophrenic message to Iran and the region. On one hand, it is projecting that the Pentagon now has 30,000-pound bunker-buster bombs capable of striking an underground WMD program and selling smaller bunker busters to Iran's neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates.
Yet officials are warning about the dire implications of a military strike.
The "economic consequences" are almost exclusively related to oil. Iran could mine the Straits of Hormuz and cut off Europe's lifeblood. Or they could simply attack tankers with anti-ship missiles. They actually don't have to lift a finger because panic in the markets if Israel made a strike on Iran would cause the price of oil to skyrocket, the price of insurance for tankers to go out of sight, and send the weak economies of the West over the edge.
As if Israel isn't aware of this? They must make their decision based on their own concept of what is necessary to survive. Lectures from Panetta are meaningless in this context and only serve to annoy our ally.