Pakistan has nuclear weapons. North Korea has nuclear weapons. Israel has nuclear weapons (whether they admit it or not). Iran is going to have nuclear weapons, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Well, there is one thing: the U.N. Security Council can stop pretending they are in control of Iran and start treating them like a nuclear-capable government, so that Iran, like the above-mentioned countries, will never use their nuclear weapons. And that is what a “coherent Iran policy” is going to look like, whether John McCain likes it or not.
The U.S., the United Nations, NATO – no country or alliance in this world is going to be able to regulate nuclear power in Iran, unless diplomatic channels are opened and a “defacto enemy” attitude is abandoned. There can be no more “axis of evil” talk in a world where billions of people believe the turning point of that axis is the United States and its allies. Things have changed. We have to move on.
Today, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen spoke at Columbia University, and his message was clear: “Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. Attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome…In an area that’s so unstable right now, we just don’t need more of that.”
“From my perspective,” Mullen added, “the last option is to strike.”
For Democratic Senator for-the-time-being Joe Lieberman, however, the primary criterion that should shape American policy toward Iran is the security of Israel. He has more than once advocated “bombing” Iran. This kind of mentality will not do for 21st century reality.
But Mullen goes on with the same futile rhetoric anyway: “I worry about Iran achieving a nuclear weapons capability. There are those that say, ‘C’mon Mullen, get over that. They’re gonna get it. Let’s deal with that.’ Well, dealing with it has [results] that I don’t think we’ve all thought through. I worry other countries in the region will then seek -– actually, I know they will seek — nuclear weapons as well. And the spiral headed in that direction is a very bad outcome.”
Ironically, Tehran claims its recent arms buildup is a direct response to threats by the West of creating missile systems that can destroy large areas believed to be nuclear development sites within Iran’s borders. Iran has stated that its nuclear ambitions are to generate civilian power. OK, so nobody believes that last bit entirely; but the idea that a superpower like Iran can be more easily manipulated than North Korea or Pakistan is completely absurd. President Obama is going to have to lead the way into a more constructive relationship with Iran, no matter what is being said in Tel Aviv. Surely we have learned something from the Cold War: no one really wants to use nuclear weapons. So we must negotiate. There is no other way forward.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad said last week that “ »We do not welcome the idea of threat or sanctions, but we would never implore those who threaten us with sanctions to reverse their sanctions against us.” Iranian Major General Hassan Firouzabadi was also quoted making his own threats against America and Israel should they attempt to use force within his country. And the article gratuitously reminds us, “U.S. troops are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which border Iran.”
Meanwhile, last week President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a nuclear reduction treaty.
“At this moment…Oceania was at war with Eurasia and in alliance with Eastasia. In no public or private utterance was it ever admitted that the three powers had at any time been grouped along different lines. Actually, as Winston well knew, it was only four years since Oceania had been at war with Eastasia and in alliance with Eurasia. But that was merely a piece of furtive knowledge which he happened to possess because his memory was not satisfactorily under control. Officially the change of partners had never happened. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.”
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