[Homestead] Hard Choices in Iran
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 23 12:04:15 EDT 2004
We can take the choice that led to World War TWICE (frivolous hope,
furiously spinning the prayer wheel and no "pre-emptive strike"--- so
history will repeat itself.
The result was 20,000,000 Russian corpses, 400,000 U.S. corpses and an
insufficient number of German and Japanese corpses---well, maybe enough
Japanese corpses, they show no signs of renewed ambitions of empire, but
there is an ominous increase of Neo-Nazi's in Germany again..
OR we can put out selected too-dangerous flames while they are still
embers and before they transform into raging forest fires---specifically
the underground nuclear facilities in Iran, that we have the
deep-penetrating weapons to destroy, that Israel does not---so Israel
cannot save us again as they did when they bombed the above-ground
Osirak reactor out of existence andput Saddam temporaril out of the
nuclear weapon business.
Gird your loins---there is no intelligent life in the universe---the
noisy and death-seeking quiverers will choose to take the U.S. and the
world down the path to catastrophic war again, rather than cutting out a
cancer while it is small.
George Will cescribes the dilemma---but doesn't. sufficiently emphasize
what should be done, what MUST be done NOW to avert the Middle East
catastrophe in the short time-frame it is avertable. It is the practice
of our species to watch a killer grass fire speeding toward us and make
mo move to get out of the way.
*The Iran Dilemma*
By George F. Will
Thursday, September 23, 2004; Page A29
/ A ten-year-old had awakened his parents in horror, telling them he had
been having an "illegal dream." He had been dreaming that he was at the
seaside with some men and women who were kissing, and he did not know
what to do./
-- Azar Nafisi, "Reading Lolita in Tehran"
What the young Iranian should have done to please the regime running the
Islamic Republic of Iran is obey the prison rules in Vladimir Nabokov's
novel "Invitation to a Beheading": "It is desirable that the inmate
should not have dreams at all."
Nafisi, who left Iran in 1997 and now teaches at Johns Hopkins
University, says, "What differentiated this revolution from the other
totalitarian revolutions of the twentieth century was that it came in
the name of the past." In the name, that is, of a lost religious purity
Iran is not a mere literary dystopia. It is perhaps the biggest problem
on the horizon of the next U.S. president because it is moving toward
development of nuclear weapons, concerning which the Bush administration
has two factions. One favors regime change; the other favors
negotiations. There is no plausible path to achieving the former and no
reason to expect the latter to be productive.
The regime-changers have their hands full with the unfinished project
next door to Iran. Negotiations cannot succeed without one of two
things. One is a credible threat of force, which America's Iraq
preoccupation makes unlikely. The second, which is also unlikely, is a
mix of incentives, positive and negative, that can overcome this fact:
Iran's regime is mad as a hatter, but its desire for nuclear weapons is
Iran lives in a dangerous neighborhood, near four nuclear powers --
Russia, India, Pakistan and almost certainly Israel -- and the large
military presence of another, the infidel United States. Iran has seen
how the pursuit of nuclear weapons allows the ramshackle regime of a
tin-pot country such as North Korea to rivet the world's attention. Iran
knows that if Saddam Hussein had acquired such weapons, he would still
be in power -- and in Kuwait. And even if the major powers could devise
security guarantees sufficient to assuage Iran's geopolitical worries,
there remains the regime's religious mania:
Until 1994, Nafisi says, Iran's chief film censor, who previously had
been theater censor, was nearly blind. He would sit in a theater with an
assistant who explained what was transpiring on stage and took notes on
the cuts the censor required. The showing of "Billy Budd" on television
was condemned because it supposedly promoted homosexuality -- although
the television programmers chose it because it had no female characters.
After the 1979 revolution, the regime lowered the marriageable age of
women from 18 to 9. Since 2002 -- this is Iranian moderation -- a
court's permission has been required to marry younger than 13.
President John F. Kennedy could not have imagined that such a
backward-facing regime would be among those that would acquire the most
modern of weapons. In the 1960 presidential campaign, he cited
"indications" that by 1964 there would be "10, 15 or 20" nuclear powers.
As president, he said that by 1975 there might be 20 nuclear powers.
Today it is unclear whether North Korea has become the ninth by
weaponizing its fissile material.
It is in the United States' interest -- indeed, the interest of all
members of the nuclear club -- to keep new members out. But a mere
aspiration is not a policy. The club will expand over time. U.S. policy
can vigorously discourage this but must discriminate among, and against,
nations. It is unlikely, but possible, that China's weight, properly
applied in the context of North Korea's desperate material needs, can
prevent North Korea from crossing the threshold. However, Iran is almost
certainly going to cross it.
Iran can negotiate in bad faith while it continues its progress toward
development of such weapons, as North Korea has done while increasing
its supply of plutonium. When that tactic has been exhausted, Iran can
come to agreements that it then more or less stealthily disregards, as
North Korea has done.
On Tuesday, four days after a U.N. agency told Iran not to do it, Iran
announced that it has begun processing 37 tons of yellowcake (milled
uranium) into a gas as part of a process to produce a compound that can
be used in nuclear power plants but that also can be a precursor of
highly enriched uranium for weapons. U.S. policy is that the
"international community," whatever that is, "cannot allow the Iranians
to develop a nuclear weapon" (Condoleezza Rice, Aug. 8). It is surreal
to cast this as a question of what anyone will "allow" Iran to do.
/georgewill at washpost.com/ <mailto:georgewill at washpost.com>
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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