Strict stochastic dominance means that for each outcome, the result is as good or better with the dominating plan or action (or control) than the dominated plan or action (or control). By this definition, a draft of 2 million men, stochastically dominates not drafting 2 million men in our dealings with Iran.
We can consider 3 actions in combination with a draft or no draft. For each of these 3 actions, there is a good and bad outcome. The probability of the good outcome goes up with a draft for each of the possible actions.
Action Bad Outcome Good Outcome
No strike Iran builds nuke Iran gives in
Missile Strike Iran strikes back Iran gives in
Invasion Big Insurgency Little Insurgency
In each case, a draft moves or tends to move us from the bad outcome to the good outcome. So a draft stochastically dominates no draft in combination with each of the 3 possible actions towards Iran.
With a draft, whether we invade Iran, or attack Iran with a missile strike, or we negotiate in Geneva or Vienna, the result is better than if don’t draft. If we are ready to invade Iran, and Iran realizes this, we will get better outcomes in each case. An invasion of Iran will be costly and expensive.
A missile strike when we are not ready to invade Iran gives us the following problem. If we pull our ships out of the Persian Gulf to avoid their Russian Sunburn anti-ship missiles,when can ships, civilian or military go back into the Persian Gulf? The answer is never.
How do we supply Iraq or even our forces in Kuwait, if ships can’t go through the Persian Gulf after a missile strike? A missile strike is not a plan that makes sense dynamically, unless we were poised for invasion. Even then, we would face the issue of what happens when we stand down our poised for invasion military. We would be hoping for regime change or some buy in from the Iranians not to retaliate when they had the chance.
This is a separate issue from stochastic dominance for each choice with a draft rather than without. This is choosing among the 3 choices. The two outer choices, no strike or invasion and an invasion of Iran may dominate the compromise choice of a missile strike.
The missile strike and air bombardment option is based more on wishes than on thinking dynamically through time. This has been the weakness of the entire Bush presidency. There has been no thought given to the action and reactions of the players in the Middle East and the evolution through time. They also didn’t think about the other side realizing that our military wasn’t large enough to manage the multiple conflicts or potential conflicts we had in the Middle East, South Asia and North Korea.
The Bush presidency has been an object lesson in poor planning and strategy. It shows how failing to think dynamically, in terms of several moves and counter-moves of multiple players will play out. They didn’t think about how information would evolve in that situation. The current situation is one where the US is seen as weak by both Iran and Pakistan, our main adversaries. For this the US has gained temporary victories over the 2 weak players, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Donald Rumsfeld is partly to blame for this. But it is also the fault of Dick Cheney, the neocons, Paul Wolfowitz, and George Bush.