April 29, 2005
Iran and the Bomb
Looks like the EU's talks with Iran are failing in a big way, with the Islamic Republic threatening to stalk off and restart uranium enrichment a bit later this week. The article's a bit vague on what's killing them -- likely as not, that information simply isn't known -- but my guess is that there's simply not a lot the EU can offer Iran that they're not already giving them.
It's really a tough spot for those trying to stall Iran's weapon programs. Europe, theoretically, could apply serious sanctions and really pressure Iran into sitting at the table and hammering out a deal. But they won't. Worse, Iran's long-term trade prospects are brighter than their short-term ones, as their huge stores of natural gas (Iran and Russia have the most natural gas in the world, more than half the known total) are going to be in demand no matter how much of a pariah we judge them. China and India, frankly, don't much care how we feel towards Iran.
As far as the options go, this may mean that, pace Justin Logan, the only thing to do is learn to live with a nuclear Iran. Awhile back, I spoke to a disarmament expert who argued that there were two directions to go in when trying to control nukes -- nonproliferation and super-proliferation. The former no longer works well, as too many other countries have nukes for the states left behind to accept their lot in life. The latter's more interesting, it basically argues that we should help countries that're going nuclear do so in a safe way, which means building facilities that won't breach, security systems so the bomb can't be stolen, etc. That way, their weapons are less likely to disappear during times of unrest or revolution, and their relationship with America is less oppositional. Assuming that Iran is going to have one of these suckers sooner than later, helping them down that path -- and trying to improve our relationship with them as we do it -- may be our best bet.
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The last option is a non-starter. The Israel lobby will not allow it. Neither the Dems nor the Repubs would even think about it in fear of Jewish retribution.
Posted by: marvyt | Apr 29, 2005 11:40:52 AM
Not in a million years. Dubya and Rummy would much rather attack Iran than admit an Islamic state as an "equal" to the good ole US of A. And what would John Bolton say? And as marvyt pointed out above, the Jewish lobby is way too persuasive with both parties and would quickly force them to discard any such thoughts.
And in one last argument, this makes too much sense for anyone in the current administration to even consider!
Posted by: Jim H from Indiana | Apr 29, 2005 11:56:15 AM
Things will get very interesting if Iran tests a nuclear weapon.
Maybe interesting is the wrong word.
Posted by: Ugh | Apr 29, 2005 12:03:42 PM
Maybe we should revisit "How to stop worrying and start loving the bomb". heh heh
Let's not forget that at least one Islamic state, Pakistan, already has the a-bomb. Iran is going to have theirs, if for no other reason than they see it as insurance (reinforcing Ezra's argument for super-proliferation.)
The US really can't bomb Iran unless we want to be facing another Iran/Iraq war except with the US being the Iraqi forces.
Vladimar's pure heart might also be revealed to be less than white (more black or red) since Russia will not look with pleasure on Iran being taken on by the US. There is some limit on what the US can do with states on Russia's southern edge, and it probabably isn't wise to test this limit.
BUT, we can, and we are, going to sell 'bunker buster' bombs to Israel, and they have a somewhat free hand. They already have their own nuclear deterrent in the old form of MAD.
Now why would Israel need bunker-busters? To get at Iranian underground uranium enrichment facilites, maybe? Or for some quicker form of archaelogy that forgoes shovels and dust pans?
Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 29, 2005 1:36:05 PM
MAD on a global scale. It might work, for a while, but it will make nuclear war inevitable -- not the planet-smashing type we so viscerally fear, but the smaller conflicts, along the lines of India/Pakistan, would be more likely to go nuclear. It would be only a matter of time. And I'm not sure what we can really do much about this right now, with the Pentagon running the procurement process from within the Congress, Senators and Reps. bought and paid for by defense contractors. Without the US to take the lead on disarmament, it'll never happen. Remember, it's now the rest of the world -- nuclear nations included -- which is afraid of us. Us! The United States of America. Do you think France, let's say, would be willing to talk disarmament when we're not at the table? I certainly don't, and Chirac should have his head examined if he were to even contemplate such a thing.
Man, Eisenhower's warning seems almost mild when you compare it to the total fucking militaristic nightmare the "Arsenal of Democracy" has become over the last fifty years.
Posted by: urizon | Apr 29, 2005 2:11:37 PM
Jim's recollection of Dr. Strangelove and civil defense drills which consisted in teaching kids the best method to "kiss yer ass goodbye" bring back no fond memories. A company man put world trust in the U.S.A. in perspective during the bad old days. "Pity the Russians. They're up against the only nation ever to use atomic weapons in wartime." Do remember Iran's thoughts about the U.S. "The Great Satan" Do you wonder why the europeans exercise some restraint ?
Posted by: opit | Apr 29, 2005 3:07:26 PM
Urizon is correct. This will surely lead to a world nuclear war.
Most of the commenters here seem to have some misguided sense of 'fairness', as if it's unholy to have a military advantage such as Israel may have in nuclear weapons. I would like to remind those posters that Israel is a democracy and Iran and most all other Arab nations aren't. Why would anyone think the government of Iran is as legitimate as Israel's unless they do not value democracy any more than dictatorship?
Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Apr 30, 2005 9:55:32 AM
Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 7:12:52 AM
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