Here's the latest in our series, "Ask me a Question, Win a Book."
Ron Furman: When or if Obama wins the November election, do you believe a new war in the Middle East is inevitable? If so when and will it involve Israel? Please elaborate?
No, I don't believe a new war in the Middle East is inevitable, not remotely—anyway, not a war between states (what is occurring in Syria now surely qualifies as a civil war). I have not surrendered hope that Iran's nuclear program can be crippled by means short of war. I expect that either a re-elected President Obama or a new President Romney will be very reluctant to authorize military force against Iran. If there's anything we've learned about Mitt Romney through this campaign, it is that he is very risk-averse; and as President Obama demonstrated in Libya, he likes his military actions multilateral, which an Iran war would not be. If Israel does not strike Iran before November, I can't imagine when Israel will. It seems most likely that the next presidency will be focused on fiscal consolidation, and fiscal consolidation precludes wars.