Monday, March 16, 2015

On the issue of letter to Iran by Republican senators...

by Salman Hameed

It would be easy laugh at the provocative actions of almost all of Republican senators regarding Iran. Their Open Letter to Iran was of course condescending. They want war. And they want war with an unequal adversary - preferably one that doesn't have a nuclear weapon. And they are not exactly alone. Here is an opinion piece in Washington Post titled War with Iran is probably our best option. And look how easy its going be:
Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary. Of course, Iran would try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program, so we might have to find new ways to discover and attack them. Surely the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.
Much the same may be said in reply to objections that airstrikes might not reach all the important facilities and that Iran would then proceed unconstrained by inspections and agreements. The United States would have to make clear that it will hit wherever and whenever necessary to stop Iran’s program. Objections that Iran might conceal its program so brilliantly that it could progress undetected all the way to a bomb apply equally to any negotiated deal with Iran.
Absolutely disgusting call for war. In fact, all this rhetoric and a very different reaction to Russia's actions in Ukraine can only lead countries to having nuclear weapons - at least those countries that are adversaries of the US. I can usually make a blanket statement that I'm against nuclear weapons. But the recent US actions on non-nuclear states have caused tremendous casualties. In a world where no nuclear country is going to give up their arms, it may be worth reevaluating the calculus of war prevention by having nuclear weapons. The problem is that with the proliferation of weapons, it is almost certain that the weapons are going to be used at some point or that there is going to be an accident. In an ideal world, we will have a system that prevents bullying of non-nuclear nations by nuclear countries. Ah - but then we don't live Gene Roddenberry's universe.

And yes, it is unclear whether to laugh or cry when the leader of anti-negotiations (and pro war) Republican senator, Tom Cotton, says that "Iran already controls Tehran". But then these are the people in the upper echelon of power.

For a more sobering look, here is an excellent discussion over Iran's nuclear program on Democracy Now. Hillary Mann Leverett makes two interesting points. One, that Obama has not made an effort to sell the nuclear negotiations as in America's own best interest. In this vacuum, conservative hawks can fill the space as Iran getting its way. Second, and something that I didn't know, that Israel used to oppose sanctions against Iran in the 1980s. It changed its stance after the degradation of Iraqi military. Also, hear Ali Gharib talk about Cotton - the Republican senator spear-heading the anti-negotiation effort in the US congress.

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