The Threat From Iran

The International Atomic Energy Agency has discovered traces of weapons-grade uranium at a second site in Iran. The Iranians are claiming that the equipment used was contaminated by nuclear material from Pakistan where the equipment originated.

It’s no secret that Tehran has nuclear ambitions. Iranian officials have repeatedly said that they want a nuclear capability to match that of Israel.

The question is what must be done to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. As President Bush meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran will undoubtedly be on the agenda, as Russia has provided technology and expertise for the Iranian nuclear energy program. However, even the Russians are balking at the prospects of having a nuclear armed Iran.

The outright invasion of Iran is off the table. The US military is currently stretched too thin to engage Iran militarily, and Iran is a far more difficult country in terms of terrain than Iraq. Most of Iran is either vast desert or desolate rock, making it difficult for for special ops teams to navigate and impossible for heavy armored vehicles.

The possibility of a precision strike against the Iranian’s nuclear facilities is not entirely off the table. Either the United States or Israel has the ability to use a precision bombing campaign to utterly destroy the Iranian’s current nuclear facilities similar to Israeli’s 1981 bombing campaign of Iraq’s French-build Osirak reactor complex near Baghdad.

However, this would also be a dangerous action to take, and would undoubtedly raise storms of criticism from the international community. At the same time, such an action may be the only way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran from destabilizing the region and threating other countries.

The international community cannot be counted upon to deal with Iran either. There are too many temptations for nations like Russia, Germany, or France to break the sanctions and deal with Iran. Furthermore, Pakistan is the main source of Iranian nuclear technology and is highly unlikely to follow international sanctions – no less North Korea which has already pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Inspections are also likely to produce no more efficacy than they did in Iraq – meaning that inspections are absolutely worthless without the full cooperation of the offending state. The chances of Iran agreeing to a truly effective inspections regime is exactly zero.

The other option is to hope for domestic regime change. The media has been largely silent on the continuing efforts towards democratization by Iranian student groups, but that silence does not mean that such efforts have ended. Young Iranians have been able to pierce the veil that surrounds Iran and see the kind of Western freedoms that their totalitarian state have denied them.

The best way of defusing Iran is to foster democratic regime change in Iran. That means broadcasting into Iran from Iraq using a Farsi-language version of the very popular and effective Radio Sawa, and continuing to foster the ability of Iranians to communicate with the outside world. Just as the actions of the US towards Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s helped the non-violent overthrow of their totalitarian governments, the same needs to be applied to the Middle East. A successful and democratic Iraq will also help foster that movement towards increasing democratization of Iran by providing a model for such a transition.

In the end, the status quo cannot be maintained. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a direct threat to the peace and security of the region and must be dealt with. If the international community cannot effectively deal the the threat through the IAEA and other agencies, then more drastic actions must be taken.

5 thoughts on “The Threat From Iran

  1. Whether or not Iran is a threat to us has yet to be determined by people who aren’t neocon ideologues, but if it ends up being one, we only have ourselves to blame for “being spread to thin to fight them” since we insisted on fighting another war against Iran’s neighbor, a country which wasn’t a threat to us….at least until now.

    On an unrelated manner, I figured I better take the initiative to mention the fact that the final four Levi-Strauss plants in the US have just announced that they’re closing shop and moving to the third world. Newsworthy items, no matter how significant they are, that conflict with Jay Reding’s personal opinions have a funny way of never getting talked about on this blog.

    Had I not been assured a half dozen times this past week that the costs of operating in the Third World aren’t worth it for American companies, I would swear this decision was based upon pursuit for cheaper labor abroad. Since I’ve been duly informed that there’s no way that could be the case, I guess they must be moving for another reason. Maybe they don’t like the weather here I guess.

  2. Newsworthy items, no matter how significant they are, that conflict with Jay Reding’s personal opinions have a funny way of never getting talked about on this blog.

    If you want to control the direction of debate, get your own damn blog.

    Levis had already moved most of their production facilities overseas because of the way in which greedy union leaders had systematically decimated the textile industry through a series of untenable demands unreated to workplace health and safety that drove the cost of labor through the roof.

    Furthermore, it’s significantly cheaper to ship cartons of jeans than it is to ship steel.

    Again, I never said that jobs won’t be lost. Indeed if you spend more time reading economics (especially Joseph Schumpeter) you’d understand that the business cycle will produce job losses in periods of economic instability. However, if you allow the economy to expand and grow and reduce costs you see a greater return later on down the road.

    The textile industry has left the United States because the level of efficiency has reached its peak for the moment. This means that consumers can now purchase jeans for not much more than it costs to make them.

    Instituting a protectionist tariff means that you’re arbitrary raising the price of jeans – meaning that poor people will have to choose between jeans and food for their children.

    Of course liberals want to live in some fantasy world where Big Mr. Government rescues them from having to make hard decisions about either keeping prices low for everyone or saving a few hundred jobs in Texas. It’s far easier to take the intellectually shallow approach and just blame everything on Bad Mr. Business and be done with it.

    You want to keep Levis in America? Fine, but don’t complain when Levis goes out of business because they can’t meet payroll (meaning more people lose their jobs in process) or the price of consumer goods goes through the roof (meaning that the poor now have to choose between food and clothing).

    Then again, if you had any sense of reality and economics you wouldn’t be a liberal to begin with.

  3. “Poor people will have to choose between jeans and food for their children.” No they won’t. Since their jobs have all moved to Mexico and China, they won’t be able to afford either.

    Funny how you accuse me of leaning on “Big Mr. Government” when you simultaneously tear down the other top conservative boogeyman, “union bosses. One would think that unions would be hard for conservatives to be against seeing as how they’re a non-government form of achieving upward mobility for the peasants, but then again, unions reduce profit margins for Republican constituencies just the same as government, so they’re obviously fair game to be cast in the GOP bullseye.

    This is an argument that may have (and in fact did) won over some simple minds 30 years ago. Moving back to the present era, you know, the one we live in, these garment industry jobs have been based in the non-union South (i.e. San Antonio, Texas) for years….and its workers were assured that if they simply worked for poverty-level non-union wages with few benefits and without any protection or empowerment, they could count on thousands of American jobs being saved. Time has proven that there’s a basement that leads to even drearier places where cheap labor exists than the American South, as hard as that may be to believe.

    As for suggesting that liberals don’t understand economics, it might be more convincing if you weren’t supporting a President who created the biggest deficit in American history…and is likely to double that record deficit with his swell understanding of economics next year.

  4. First Mark stick to the issue, Iran. Liberals always go into other areas when arguing, which tells me their losing the argument. The present Iranian government was created by revolution, mostly by Iranians living in Europe. Khoemini was used as a figure head. But once he came to power, he either killed or exiled the European based Iranian intellectuals. Jimmy Carter did nothing to help guide the opposition to the shah. He said Iran was a island of stability, right before the shah was overthrown. The US could’ve used its influence to promote change years before, and it didn’t. Now Iran is a anti-western Islamic Republic responsible for murder, bombings, terrorism, etc. worldwide. This problem was not created overnight. Of course as a typical liberal you blame the US for everything. Where not perfect, but it’s strange how liberals like yourself never blame the oppressors. You always excuse them for being victims. As far as Iraq goes, it was Saddam who wouldn’t cooperate with the weapons inspectors and wasn’t sticking to his part of the deal after the Gulf war. For 12 years he had plenty of time to cooperate. If he had, he’d still be in power terrorizing his people. Which doesn’t seem to bother you. We’d also know if had WMD’s for sure, if had cooperated. We end up being wrong about that. But who was to know for sure? And after 9-11. How we couldn’t trust the word of a dictator who gassed his own people years before. But no matter how powerful an argument I make, your dislike for Bush will overcome any ration thoughts you might have for understanding what I’m trying to say.

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