"1) Can Little Satan act as a regional superpower independently of Great Satan and
2) What would Little Satan do to establish its regional superpower status?
"The answer to the first question obviously depends on the second. To act as a regional superpower, Israel would have to take actions that shift the configuration of forces in its favor.
"No outside analyst has sufficient information to judge the issue - with the best of information a great deal of uncertainty is inevitable - but there are several reasons to believe that an Israeli attack on Iran would establish the Jewish state as an independent superpower and compel the United States to adjust its policy to Israel's strategic requirements.
"First, the Sunni Arab states have a stronger interest than Israel's to stop Iran from possibly going nuclear. Israel, after all, possesses perhaps two hundred deliverable nuclear devices, including some very big thermonuclear ones, and is in position to wipe Iran off the map. But none of Iran's Arab rivals is in such a position.
"The Saudis have done everything but take out a full-page ad in the Washington Post to encourage the Obama administration to attack Iran. Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, warned on February 15 that sanctions were a long-term measure while the world faces a short-term threat from Iran.
"Egypt reportedly has allowed Israeli missile ships to pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Persian Gulf.
"Secondly, Russia well might prefer to deal with Israel as an independent regional power than as an ally of the United States. A stronger Israeli presence in the region also might contribute to Russia's market share in missiles and eventually fighter aircraft.
"Russian-Israeli cooperation in a number of military fields has improved markedly during the past year, including the first-ever sale of Israeli weapons to Russia (drones) and Israeli help for the Russian-Indian "fifth generation" fighter project.
"Third, the United States would have to respond to a new strategic situation in the Middle East were Israel to inflict even moderate damage on Iran's nuclear program.
"The consequences would include, among other things:
"Aggressive retaliation by Iran against American targets in Iraq. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have opposed bombing of Iran for years in part because they fear that Iran could inflict significant casualties on American forces.
"Stronger Iranian support for the Taliban. Washington's plan for Afghanistan depends in part on the fanciful notion that Iran will be persuaded to support the Shi'ite Hazara minority against the Pashtun Taliban. Iran has always played both sides and in the event of an Israeli strike would shift resources towards whatever America liked the least.
"Greater tensions between Pakistan and Iran. Iran's credibility in the region depends on its perception of being the protector of Pakistan's 35 million Shi'ites, the second-largest concentration outside of the 70 million people of Iran.
"To the extent Washington has a Middle East policy, it seems to involve playing balance-of-power games
"Whatever Washington thought it was doing would come unstuck in the wake of an Israeli strike against Iran. Rather than attempt to lead events - in no particular direction - Washington would have no choice except to follow until it arrived at its own foreign policy at some unspecified future date.
"Although Washington would scream like a scalded pig, Israel's influence is more likely to rise than to fall in the aftermath.
Pic "Strike Package and Going Ballistic"