Via Yglesias, we learn of an Air Force General who knows just how to help the long-time Iranian catspaws that we've been pleased to endorse as the Iraqi "government" --- bomb Iran. Matt and his source both astutely observe that this is insane; the source cites the near-certainty that the Shiite militias in Iraq (all of which have Iranian support, even when they're fighting each other) would respond by turning on our troops as one, making just about the entire country impassable to them. Which is true, as far as it goes. But if we look at a bigger picture, it's insane for another reason.
The big picture is that the Chinese leadership is trying to displace us as the dominant world power, in, say, a fifty-year time frame. (Their planning horizon is at least that long). And over the shorter term, to shore up their energy reserves, they've signed deals with just about anyone with oil exports, from our inoffensive neighbors in Canada, to Dubya's bête noir in Venezuela, to the genocidal freaks now running things in Sudan. Almost needless to say, this friendship campaign has not missed Iran, which beyond its oil wells, is already a regional power in its own right, which (for good or ill) is currently aligned to work against us.
So, what's the effect of bombing Iran? To drive them further into the arms of the Chinese, who are trying to make themselves players on the world stage, and will take any allies they can get.