Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on Iran

Just saw one of the many Israel may bomb Iran sequences on “Weekend with Alex Witt.”

What I’m not clear about in this is why Iran, if they had an atomic bomb, would have any credible threat to use it on Israel.

First, atomic bombs aren’t able to pick out individuals by religion and kill only Jews (or only Jews and the few Christians left in Israel). So if they were to bomb Israel they’d be killing lots of Palestinians and other Arabic, Muslim believers along with the Jews.
Second, the idea of “assured mutual destruction” that kept the Cold War from ever going hot would seem to apply to Iran. If it ever bombed Israel, both Israel and its allies would return the strike many fold, causing far more destruction and death in Iran than Iran could cause in Israel.

It does not seem to me that there is a realistic threat of Iran getting a nuclear weapon and being in a position to actually use it. No matter how wild the rhetoric, the reality is that nation states tend to act mostly in their own best interests. Perhaps toning down the rhetoric from the world outside Iran would be a good idea. Maybe if Iran didn’t feel that they were threatened on all sides (as Juan Cole pointed out) they might respond differently. If I were Iranian, I’d feel that my country was threatened by outside interests who had installed a repressive regime in the past and looked like it wanted to do so again.

This is too reminiscent of the warm up for the Iraq invasion. Bellicosity cost us a trillion dollars and left two weak regimes in power surrounded by civil war. Attacking Iran would just solidify the mullahs and fail to stop the enrichment of uranium. Maybe we should try serious diplomacy and stop rattling the sabres.

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