April 26, 2006

Do Not Attack Iran

Former National Security Advisor and noted international relations scholar

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9 Comments:

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Abed. Hamdan said...

God ! Didn't they learn anything from Afghanistan and Iraq !

ephhhhtt

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

Yes, Iran is problematic.

I'm curious though, as to what solution there is. I hear a lot of people saying the same thing: don't attack Iran. The problem is that all they will say in regards to a possible solution is that it is "difficult." They have no actual solutions. Saying don't attack Iran isn't enough unless it is coupled with an alternative course of action that has a reasonable chance of success.

If Iran does get nuclear weapons we may very well have a nuclear war on our hands. If we do, tens of millions will perish. The overwhelming majority will likely be Iranians. Who will bear responsibility for that, if it occurs? Will you take responsibility? Will others who opposed military action, at that point, take responsibility?

The anti-war crowd is no more likely to accept responsibility for those lost lives than the anti-war crowd is to learn the pivotal lesson of World War II. A war many opposed until it was too late.

In the years leading up to World War II, the French had a strong military but one that was defensive in nature. The whole focus of their army was on preventing an invasion by a fortified line running near the French-German border. Because of the defensive nature of their military, and as a result of general fatigue from the First World War, they were not prepared to disarm Germany. The British, for their part, were mostly a naval power with only a small army. Russia had the military power to do something but, like today with Iran, they simply didn't believe it was in their best interests to do anything.

You might say they had a "difficult" situation on their hand. As a result, rather than dealing with a rearmed Germany militarily, they chose the route of negotiation. We all know what the results of those negotiations were: 60 million dead people. Given the end result, we might wish in retrospect, that despite "difficulty," we had taken action against Germany.

You (or the article, I cannot tell, the link isn't working at the moment) characterize the current environment as one of a "contrived atmosphere of urgency." I have to point out though, time and again, when it has come to predicting how long it would take countries to obtain nuclear weapons, the experts have consistently overestimated the amount of time required.

North Korea is a perfect example of that. North Korea is also a good example of a country we chose to negotiate with rather than take action against. Today, we are in a far more difficult situation with North Korea than we were before the Clinton administration's negotiated "solution" for the North Korean problem.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger moi said...

Tommy, I fixed the link so you should be able to access the article now.

I do not believe that an attack on Iran is justified simply because it wants to possess a nuclear bomb. Many countries today possess this type of technology for defensive mechanisms. Unfortunately, eyes are usually set on countries the US deems "too dangerous" to possess them. Ironically, the US is the only country in the world that has actually used this type of weapon and had come very close to using them again during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In the eyes of the world, the US is doing less to promote international security and human rights than it claims it is doing. The United States’ influence in the world is not seen as a positive one by the majority of the world's population. Therefore, I do not see that it has the right to tell others what to do or what kind of weapons to own when it possesses the largest amount of the most dangerous weapons on Earth. I do not appreciate that Israel is allowed to have its own stockpile of nuclear weapons while most Arab countries see it as the most hostile one in the region. I do not like double standards.

The solution is for every country that possess these lethal weapons to destroy them and disarm completely. We are in a world that is too dangerous for these kind of weapons to be in the hands of so many nations. I, and the majority of the world's population, would much rather live in a nuclear-free world. That would make me feel safer, not an attack on Iran.

 
At 10:07 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

First, thanks for fixing the link. I've read the article. It is interesting.

Many countries today possess this type of technology for defensive mechanisms. Unfortunately, eyes are usually set on countries the US deems "too dangerous" to possess them.

You seem to presume that this is simply a US concern about Iran being too dangerous to possess nuclear weapons. I have to ask whether you truly trust an Iran armed with nuclear weapons? Again, if you are wrong, are you will

Ironically, the US is the only country in the world that has actually used this type of weapon and had come very close to using them again during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Do you really want to get into a debate about using nuclear weapons against a country that flagrantly asaulted us during a world war? A nuclear strike that was chosen in preference to having to invade a country at a tremendous loss of life for our military and for Japanese civilians. I think your point about Hiroshima and Nagasaki has little bearing to what we are discussing with Iran.

It isn't even clear what point you are even making other than the US, under circumstances of a worldwide war, used a previously unknown class of weapons whose potential destructiveness was hardly as well understood as they were today. So what? This is the sort of "blame America" insinuation those of your ilk seem to be fond of throwing out there even if it has little relevance to the discussion.

As for the Cubin Missle Crisis. This was, at least, a conflict between two countries that weren't throwing superstition and religious sentiment into the debate. Both countries had every incentive to want to avoid nuclear war. Imagine a Cuban Missle Crisis-type situation with the ayatollahs in Iran. How do you think that would work out?

In the eyes of the world, the US is doing less to promote international security and human rights than it claims it is doing. The United States’ influence in the world is not seen as a positive one by the majority of the world's population.

I don't really see what relevance what the US is or isn't doing to promote things like human rights has to do with whether or not Iran should possess a nuclear bomb or not.

The fact that the majority of the world's population may not like us is no surprise. I doubt they would like any country that was as powerful as the United States. Most people in the world don't inhabit democratic countries, either. During the attacks on Egypt in the past few days, a poll was conducted. 10 times as many Egyptians thought that the Mossad was more likely behind these attacks than al-Qaeda. I'm sorry to say, but whatever the faults of Americans are, a lot of people in the Third World believe in ridiculous things.


I do not appreciate that Israel is allowed to have its own stockpile of nuclear weapons while most Arab countries see it as the most hostile one in the region.

If Israel was genuinely hostile to other Arab countries, it could have used nuclear force against them a long time ago. It has never done so. Israel, at least, has a proven track record of not engaging in preemptive use of nuclear weapons for its own gains. Israel, likewise, has never threatened the existence of any other country in the region. By contrast, Iran has called for Israel's destruction and has repeatedly urged that it be destroyed quickly.

The solution is for every country that possess these lethal weapons to destroy them and disarm completely.

When the world is as fully democratic as the United States or Western Europe, this might be possible. Until then, that sort of thinking is strictly utopian. Not to mention the fact that verifying nuclear (or other WMD) disarmarment has proven to be a thornier issue than anyone ever imagined.

There is an excellent book by a former top biological weapons scientist for the Soviet Union called "Biohazard." The book's author, Ken Alibek, who defected to the United States, shows how the Soviet Union covered up its biological weapons programs in spite of international treaties and verification procedures. It is definitely worth a read if you are ever interested.


Having read the article, I wanted to add a few things:

First, Brzezinski is a smart man and a clever diplomat. One of the cleverest we've ever had. However, he himself has made decisions that have had unforseen consequences for the United States. Most people tend to believe that the United States involvement in Afghanistan began under Reagan when, in fact, it actually began under Carter. Brzezinski was the first one who really urged pro-mujahideen involvement in Afghanistan to begin with. The relation to the events in Afghanistan to al-Qaeda and 9/11 hardly has to be pointed out.

Second, Brzezinski, and I can only assume you as well, seem to go off the assumption that there is nothing to worry about with Iran getting the bomb since Iran will be deterred from using any weapons because it would itself be facing destruction if it ever resorted to using them. Brzezinski brings up the Soviet Union and China as examples of this. The problem, as so many other analysts see it, is that Iran may not act according to this logic. The Soviet Union and China have never made the sort of vitriolic calls for the annihilation of another country that Iran has. Iran's leader, Ahmadinejad, many fear, also has some strange religious beliefs about the "hidden imam" of Shiism, the apocalypse, and the like. He sometimes seems, almost in the mold of a cult leader, to behave as if he were anointed by God for some sort of great task. There also seems to be a strain of thinking that has been expressed among some in the Middle East, that destroying Israel is worth the destruction of a single Muslim nation: jihad and martyrdom on a nuclear scale. I can only hope that Iran's leadership is far more rational and pragmatic than it acts at times.

There is, of course, also no guarantee if Iran does get the bomb that it won't attempt to harm US interests at that point or threaten other countries - including Arab countries - in the region. Iran may become a long-term menace for the entire world. The Iranians have also indicated they would like to provide other countries with "nuclear technology." The consequences of this sort of hyperproliferation would be unthinkable.

In any event, I suppose you have made your decision. Iran may very well get the bomb. If they do, I hope you and other like-minded individuals will be willing to live with the consequences. It is possible we may be able to ride Iran out Cold War-style if they are as rational about things as the Soviets were. It may be that Iran, despite its current support of Hezbollah and other terrorist movements, can be dissuaded from the sort of behavior we fear.

Yet, if Iran does, at some point attack Israel and possibly other countries as well, it will certainly mean the annihilation of tens of millions of Iranians and millions of Jews and Palestinians as well. The Arabs, the Left, and the others who opposed taking action will have only themselves to blame for any consequences that unfold at that point. You may be right that Iran is an overblown threat but I can hope you and others understand the risk and accept it with open eyes.

I leave you with the last word on the matter.....

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

Sorry, I wrote this in a hurry with little editing. I notice I actually deleted a few things by mistake.

Oh well.

 
At 10:11 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

Not to mention horrid spelling.

"Cubin"

"asaulted"

LOL.

Sorry. I need to take a nap.

Have a nice one, moi.

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger moi said...

Tommy, I don't feel safe with any country possessing these kinds of weapons. Iran's president, to put it simply, is full of talk. I recently attended a lecture by an expert on Israeli-Iranian relations and he spoke of the huge gap between Iranian rhetoric and Iranian action. In addition, the president doesn't have as much power as many people assume because there is a lot of others behind him who are more powerful, including the ayatollahs. It is simply not in the interest of Iran to use that type of weapon, even against Israel, because it will ultimately cause the deaths of Palestinians as well.

I just don't find it acceptable that the international community is trying to talk Iran out of building a nuke when many other countries possess it and continue building them and developing them. I understand that it may be difficult to dismantle existing ones, but many countries are developing the ones they have and building more! Why the double standard?!

Until we have an international body that can really govern all its members, without exempting the veto-holders, then we cannot hope for any such type of regulation on international security matters.

I don't think invading Iran is the solution because Iran will not be the last country hoping to possess nuclear weapons. After Iraq, we found N. Korea, and now Iran, and who's next? There will always be someone who needs to be "stopped" and this vicious cycle will continue. There needs to be a more comprehensive plan to bring an end to nuclear proliferation across the world, and the existing NPT is not the right one.

 
At 9:50 AM, Blogger moi said...

BTW, Tommy, just out of curiosity, how come you don't have your own blog?

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Tommy said...

moi, I just don't have time to maintain one. I go through periods where I can post to blogs a lot and then periods where I have no time at all.

I said I'd leave you with the last word on this subject. So there it is.

 

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