Best Argument Against New War In Iran I’ve Read

Posted: March 18, 2012 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , ,

I recently read an article by CNN/Time columnist Fareed Zakaria arguing why we shouldn’t start a “pre-emptive” war against Iran.  You should read the whole thing: Another War In The Middle East?: Why Israel And the U.S. Must Not Launch A Preventive Strike Against Iran , but here’s an excerpt:

What if Iran does manage to develop a couple of crude nukes in several years? Obama says a nuclear Iran would set off an arms race in the Middle East. But a nuclear North Korea has not led the two countries directly threatened by its weapons—South Korea and Japan—to go nuclear. Saudi Arabia and Egypt did not go nuclear in response to Israel’s developing a large and robust arsenal of nuclear weapons. After all, Egypt has gone to war with Israel three times. By contrast, it has not been in a conflict with Iran. Were the U.S. to provide security guarantees to Iran’s neighbors, as Hillary Clinton has proposed, it is highly unlikely that any of them would go nuclear.

Obama has explained that a nuclear Iran would be a problem like India and Pakistan with their nuclear weapons. But India and Pakistan went to war three times in 30 years before they had nuclear weapons. Since they went nuclear, they have been restrained and have not fought a war in 40 years. That case shows the stabilizing, not destabilizing, effects of deterrence. If Israel genuinely believes that deterrence doesn’t work in the Middle East, why does it have a large nuclear arsenal if not to deter its enemies?

Iran’s weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, says the President. But would a country that has labored for decades to pursue a nuclear program and suffered huge sanctions and costs to do so then turn around and give the fruits of its efforts to a gang of militants? This kind of reasoning is part of the view that the Iranians are mad, messianic people bent on committing mass suicide. When General Martin Dempsey explained on my CNN program last month that he viewed Iran as a “rational actor,” he drew howls of protest.

I find his arguments logical on every level.  But I would love for somebody to point out the flaws they see.  As it stands, I really see this as yet another case of never learning our lessons, even when we are still suffering the consequences from our previous bad decisions.  Is it so important to create the appearance of being “tough” that we must do so even if it is to our own detriment?  Given my druthers, I would rather Iran not develop a nuclear weapon.  But how much danger does a nuclear Iran actually pose to the United States?



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