Why is Iranian Nuclear Containment Insufficient?
Let me start out with this - if I had my druthers, there would be no nuclear weapons at all.
Unfortunately, I do not reside in Shangri-la, so this is obviously not the case. But, we do have many Nuclear Arms Control Treaties - and that's progress.
I personally believe that weapons capable of ending all humanity are inherently inhumane, and we should strongly oppose uranium enrichment beyond 20% for nefarious purposes - pie-in-the-sky as that may be. We do however, round up loose nukes and even spent nuclear fuel. That's a start, at least.
And as far as nuclear power goes, far more resources should go to ensuring that the process is done as safely as possible.
That being said - why is it so important to us that Iran specifically be denied access to not only nuclear weapons, but of the capability to do so?
We have thousands of nuclear warheads. China has hundreds of them, as does Russia. France & the UK have around a hundred apiece. Pakistan has them. India. It is widely assumed Israel has 150-200.
And we do have a stated historical policy in these regards, and it's called containment. We did, in fact, survive the Cold War with this policy in place, if memory serves.
Are we really to believe that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a greater threat to Americans than the old Soviet Union throughout the entirety of the Cold War? Have we weaken so much since then?
We certainly haven't slowed our defense spending.
Granted, President Ahmadinejad has proven time and again that he is an unabashed loon, but his presidential term runs out soon enough, and he's mostly just a figurehead like the Queen of England. Fact is, the Supreme Leader holds more power, and in my uneducated opinion is far less an inflammatory provocateur. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but at least publicly, the Ayatollah seems far less hostile to the West than is Ahmadinejad.
I do know this - Iran is a real country. Iran is not at all like Iraq or Afghanistan. There are 75 million men, women, and children in Iran. They have apartment buildings and office buildings. They have an $830 million shopping mall in Shiraz.
And they love Americans. They love our culture. Believe it or not, the US has positive approval ratings among Iranians.
To be clear, I am not pro-Iran, and I don't endorse any nuclear procurement or proliferation efforts - I just don't quite understand all of the jitters we seem to have with Iran specifically.
Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un threatens a preemptive nuclear strike on the US in response to anticipated UN sanctions on North Korea. The official North Korean website, Uriminzokkiri, recently produced a video depicting a US city being bombed. North Korea also recently threatened to cancel the 1953 Korean War cease-fire.
So where exactly is our Red Line with North Korea?
What about China?
During the 2012 US Presidential campaign, President Obama and Governor Romney jostled for position along the Red Line for Iran. We were assured that indeed, all options are on the table, including military force.
In 2008, Republican presidential-nominee Senator John McCain, giddily joked about "bomb, bomb Iran."
So why is Iran taken so seriously as a threat, and North Korea is... less so.
The elephant in the room, of course, is our relationship with Israel.
The US & the West in general are largely Judeo-Christian. Many of us believe that the Holy Land belongs to God's Chosen People, and that eventually the rapture occurs and a time later Jesus/God covers the earth and it's non-believing Gentile inhabitants with fire - leaving the entire planet for Christians. Zionism.
Iran & the Middle East in general are largely Muslim, and they lay claim to Jerusalem as their Holy Land as well. And while I'm no theology major, there's that whole infidels and jihad thing.
"The last hour will not come unless there is much bloodshed." Hadith Sahih Muslim 41:6903
Thus, America and Israel are best buds.
While I may have some concerns with Intifadas & building on settlements and overnight shellings and whatnot - Israel is in a tough spot considering their geographic vulnerability.
With the fall of Mubarek, all of Israel's borders seem tenuous at best. So they really could use a big buddy with seemingly infinite funds for seemingly infinite weapons capabilities.
Of course, Israel has their Iron Dome missile defense system.
And let us not forget the Stuxnet computer virus. Assassination of nuclear scientists. US drones that just happen to accidentally stray into Iran.
So should we have any Red Lines for Israel as well? (GASP!)
If Israel & Iran went to war, regardless of how it started, would the US have any choice at all but to join our ally in battle?
What if Israel were to preemptively strike Iran? Would we still be compelled to saddle-up?
By the time of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, US intelligence were already spreading the word that Iran had "set up a clandestine nuclear weapons development program."
Then in 1984, West German intelligence suggested that Iran's proliferation of a nuclear weapon "is entering its final stages."
I recall the Wyle E. Coyote-style bomb art, with a literal Red Line, that Bibi shared with the UN last year.
So how close is Iran to weaponized nukes really?
- Israeli President Bibi Netanyahu claimed in 1992 that Iran was "close" to said nuclear weaponization, and in his 1995 book that Iran was "three to five years" away.
- The House Republican Research Committee reported, also in 1992, with "98 percent certainty that Iran already had all (or virtually all) of the components required for two or three operational nuclear weapons."
- Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres told ABC in 1996 that, “I believe that in four years they [Iran] may reach nuclear weapons.”
- Israeli Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told reporters, "As far as we know by the year 2005 they will, they might, be ready.”
- Bush 43 warned in 2007 that a nuclear-armed Iran would inevitably lead to "World War III".
- Then-US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicted in 2008, that Israel would attack Iran before President Obama took office in January 2009.
- On Meet the Pressin 2012, Netanyahu asserted that “They are very close, they are six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb.”
- Barack Obama in March 2013, "Right now, we think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon."
For argument's sake - let's say that we go through with a preemptive attack Iran in an effort to cripple their nuclear program. How long would that delay their nuclear ambitions? A few years? Then what? Would we occupy Iran in perpetuity so as to ensure that their nuclear capabilities do not come to fruition?
We simply cannot go around the world assassinating scientists and occupying nations forever.