In the United States, no one questions our right to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. At the same time, everyone agrees that a nuclear Iran does not present a direct threat to the United States. With all our budgetary problems and mounting debts, it is incomprehensible that we are even threatening war. We seem to have assigned ourselves a role that should be of little or no interest to us. Why is this our problem anyway?
Iran has been a great empire long before the United States came into being. It ruled the Middle East at the time when the Indians were roaming the American plains painting their bodies and carrying bows and arrows. Iran was a major civilization before the Europeans ever had what could be called toilets. For us, or for any country in fact, to presume to tell Iran what it should or should not have represents the height of arrogance and ignorance. Any attack on Iran, apart from the thousands of people that would be killed, will surely accelerate America's demise and its economic decline.
While small and belligerent countries like North Korea and Israel already possess nuclear weapons, we are determined not to let Iran have them even though Iran is a large country and it does not have a history of belligerence or war. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons and its belligerence is well known. If it is peace we are interested in, perhaps, we should concentrate on removing Israel's nuclear stockpile and create a nuclear-free Middle East. This would remove Iran's primary motivation to have nuclear weapons in the first place.
Let us look at the other side of the equation. If Iran builds a nuclear weapon, it would contribute to regional stability. That would serve the interests of the United States better. In such a case, Israel and Iran will understand that the use of these weapons will bring about their "mutually assured destruction'. That term should easily remind the Americans of the standoff with the Soviet Union in the 1980's.
It is Israel, not Iran that poses a nuclear threat to the Middle East. If Iran goes nuclear, it would provide parity to Israel as Pakistan's nuclear abilities balanced India's. It is instructive to note that in 1991, the historical rivals India and Pakistan signed a treaty agreeing not to target each other's nuclear facilities. Since then, even in the face of high tensions and risky provocations, the two countries have kept the peace. Leading thinkers in the United States such as Brzezinski, Keller, and Slavin are advancing similar arguments.
Economic sanctions, no matter how severe, are not going to dissuade a self-respecting and historic Iran, from doing what is in its national interest. The economic difficulties being imposed on Iran are only hurting ordinary Iranians, not their government. The sanctions will have little or no effect on Iran's policies. It only proves that the United States and the West do not care about the Iranians; they care only about Israel. In addition, the sanctions are having a negative effect on energy prices and oil company profits here in the United States. The support of the Arab "kingdoms' for our stance against Iran is motivated by their need for American support. The attempts to exploit the Moslem Shiite/Sunni differences to force a regime change in Iran are only illusionary.
Our history with Iran also needs re-examination. At discussed briefly in the movie "Argo', we engineered a coup in Iran and replaced their democratically elected government with a despot of our choosing in order to get at their oil. The Iranian people soon replaced our hand-selected Shah with a religious nationalistic regime that we could not live with. Our relations with Iran never recovered.
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