[tweetmeme] Sadly, not a day goes by where calls for an attack on Iran are not heard. From the pages of the New York Times to Foreign Affairs to Newsweek credible and scholarly men and women continue to call for sanctions and/or military options to be considered and enhanced.
This is a dangerous and ignorant assertion. For example, in a recent Newsweek Article CFR president Richard Haas called for a more antagonistic approach to U.S.-Iranian relations. What is more problematic is that someone as scholarly and mainstream as Dr. Haas is now arguing for “regime-change-lite“. It would seem, similar to the pre-Iraq invasion, that a case is being built for military action. Nothing could be more dangerous for the American or Iranian public.
More upsetting is that someone like Dr. Haas fails to recognize, or at least mention, the reason for the Iranian effort to proliferate-if that is indeed what they are doing. So, why would Iran be seeking Nuclear weapons? The Iranian regime does so to protect itself from further meddling or attack from the West. This is quite clear. According to the eminent Israeli military historian, Martin Van Creveld, If [after the invasion of Iraq] the Iranians are not developing Nuclear weapons they are “crazy”. Iran, like Pakistan or India, seeks Nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
Americans seem to forget the coup d’etat in 1952-53, in which the democratically elected prime minister was replaced by the authoritarian Shah… supported and funded by the United States. Over the past 50 years the U.S. has unleashed a series of military and economic attacks against the State of Iran. It is for this reason, not Islamic doctrine or the irrationality of it’s leaders, that the current Iranian regime seeks to acquire nuclear weapons.
The U.S has shown that those who do not acquire a deterrent-like WMDs- are subject to U.S. intervention and occupation: Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Nicaragua, Vietnam…. the list goes on and on. It logically follows, then, that Iran would seek such a deterrent.
Furthermore, even if Iran acquires a nuclear device the U.S., and Israel, will be just fine. To quote, again, Professor Van Creveld:
“We are in no danger at all of having an Iranian nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons … thanks to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from the U.S. and Germany.” (my emphasis)
Such candor. While the second half of his remark signals a dangerous reality about the Military Industrial Complex, such a digression is unwarranted here. If the U.S. and Israel continue the relentless wave of rhetoric and antagonism it is quite possible that violence will follow. But it should be noted that if violence does indeed follow it will be because of U.S. and Israeli antagonism, not because of Iranian irrationality or Islamic doctrine.