October 12, 2006

Give Iran the bomb

Boris Johnson wants to do exactly that this morning- Johnson's point is worth exploring without deriding it. Being the licensed jester of British politics might allow him to express an opinion that the rest of us should consider. Iran obtaining a bomb would obviously be a disaster for the United States in the middle East but it would not be the disaster that many people imagine- nuclear holocaust would not hit Washington nor would it be particularly likely to hit Tel Aviv- unless Ahmenidijad were to get control of the bomb.

What though an Iranian bomb would do would be to advance Iran's prestige within the Middle East and the wider Islamic world- with a bomb the Ayatollahs would be able to proclaim themselves the successful leaders of the Middle East against the Great Satan- successful because alone of the Middle Eastern powers they could not be invaded and successful because they had defied America to reach that position. Whether there is anything that we can do to stop that, if there is nothing then Johnson's strategy of accepting its reality and attempting to ingratiate ourselves with Iran maybe our only strategy, what Johnson is right about is that rhetoric without response is an inadequate policy and will not help us deal with Iran at all.

Unrestrained rhetoric without results merely damages our image in the Middle East without securing our objective- the more we call the Iranians monsters without doing anything about it, the less likely we are to succeed in Iraq where a large section of the population likes Iran and the more likely many are to see the Iranian bomb as justifiable given Western Intervention.

If the choices are making a lot of noise but doing nothing, versus accepting the Iranian bomb, then Johnson may well be right- our pride might find it difficult but the second choice might well be the choice to make.

There may though be other alternatives- but if there are our leaders to need to enact them quickly and this blog is not confident that anyone is confident about which alternatives there are.

One danger Johnson doesn't think of is that Iran might hand a small nuclear device to a terrorist group in order to bomb the West or Israel- an interesting article from an academic at Georgetown assesses the nature of that particular danger which may lead us to reconsider the benign nature of a deterred Iranian regime. It doesn't change the underlying reality that unless we are able to do enough to stop the bomb- just irritating the Iranians but letting them get a bomb would be the worst possible policy. If we are going to be tough, then lets be tough- but pretending to be tough whilst actually being weak, isn't going to help anyone.

The reality of the terrorist nuclear bomb threat is revealed here.


Anonymous said...

Although I think that Boris, to a certain degree, may have a point it must be said that it would be rather dangerous to start to suggest that anyone that might want a nuclear weapon just needs to ask. It wouldn't be hard to imagine a whole host of countries raising their arms in the air and expecting them to come down with a nuclear weapon attached. It has been suggested that the Saudis would be keen to buy a weapon from Pakistan if Iran were to join the gang the US Administration, having given one to Iran, would not be in a very good position to refuse such a request from such a strong allay. Also we are all signed up to the Nuclear NON-proliferation treaty aimed at trying to stop this kind of thing happening! To start handing them out would be making even more of a mockery of it than we are at the moment with the idea of a renewed Trident and the US already hard at work updating their stash.

Gracchi said...

Yes I agree with you handing them out might not be sensible. But what I think Boris has called out is this strategy of condemning people and hence irritating them but not doing anything about it which ends us in the worst of all possible worlds where we have an irritated nuclear power on our doorstep.

edmudn said...

i agree with Gracchi that rhti has to be backed up by the fist of force, but that doen mena this propoa 9if meant seriouysl which I doubt) is absurd

yank said...

A fantastic blog. Keep it up.
just visiting my site
Computer Information
Parisj Van Java
Anti Virus Protection
Digital Camera
New Anti Virus
Anti Virus Info an Virus Remover
Brontok Information
Music MP3 Download