Sunday, July 20, 2008

What to do about Iran's "nuclear ambitions"

Politicians are making way too big a deal about demanding that Iran cease any form of nuclear enrichment. The only truly urgent priority is to assure that Iran does not leap into a full-fledged nuclear weapons development program. The level of enrichment needed for fueling nuclear reactors for energy production is far short of that needed for nuclear weapons. Iran is within their rights to pursue nuclear energy and self-sufficiency, including all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle. I can fully understand the interests of the Neoconservatives and the rest of the so-called Pro-Israel Lobby in trying to shackle Iran, but I am a bit baffled as to why "Europe" is so hell-bent on giving the Neoconservatives exactly what they want. That does not quite make sense. There must be some puzzle pieces to that story that the media has not yet uncovered.

To be crystal clear, the greatest threat to our security and survival is not countries such as Iran or terrorists, even if they had nuclear weapons, but our own ignorance, arrogance, intolerance, negligence, and outright incompetetence at managing our relations with countries and peoples around the world. I do hope Barack follows through on his "promise" to "talk" with Iran and other nations, but I do fear that he will succomb to the same distorted mentality that we are seeing with "Europe" on the issue of Iran.

Anyway, what should we do about Iran?

  1. Recognize their sovereignty and their right to nuclear energy, nuclear fuel production, and even their right to develop and deploy nuclear weapons if they so choose.
  2. Reestablish formal relations with Iran, at diplomatic, political, economic, and social levels, before attempting to negotiate over "nuclear ambitions." There needs to be a "climate of concilliation" before any meaningful negotiation can occur. It has been a long time since the 1979 "revolution", so maybe the 30th anniversary next year would be an excellent time to "bury the hatchet." Start with a baseline set of "base" relations, on the theory that greater, more-integrated relations will gradually come as all sides gradually build confidence in each other.
  3. Take the concept of pre-emptive military attacks off the table, officially. Sure, we ultimately do reserve the right to strike any target as needed for our security, but that should be an implicit, unspoken, and rarely-used option and not an explicit, openly-wielded "club" to threaten other nations.
  4. Fully distance ourselves from the foreign policy stance of Israel. Treat them as "peer nation" in the region. We need to fully distance ourselves from any threats by Israel against other nations in the region and publically and loudly denounce any such threats. Symmetrically, we should do the same with other nations in the region. Israel can still be our "friend" and even get some preferential treatment, but other nations in the region need to feel that the U.S. will overall be fair and evenhanded in the treatment of all nations in the region and not "take sides" in any regional dispute.
  5. Publically acknowledge that Israel has nuclear weapons and that it is outright unreasonable for the U.S., "Europe", "The West", the UN, or anybody to deny any nation in the region their sovereign right to develop and deploy nuclear weapons as long as Israel and the U.S. insist on having clear weapons deployed in the region.
  6. Initiate a long-term, back-channel dialog with Iran, and others, on the subject of how to establish workable relations with Israel. In truth, the 1948 Arab-Israeli "war of independence" was never really fully and properly concluded. It is time to revisit the remaining obstacles to peace in the region that derive from that lack of resolution. Trying to address Iran's so-called "nuclear ambitions" without addressing lingering grievances from 1948 is an exercise in futility. This is the proverbial elephant standing in the middle of the room that nobody wants to talk about. Once we get past 1948 and achieve full recognition of Israel and full and open relations with Israel, a lot of these other issues, even the issue of "nuclear ambitions", will simply shrivel up in significance.
  7. [I had some other thoughts, but they have escaped me for the moment.]

-- Jack Krupansky


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