As you most likely know by now, Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, and Nicolas Sarkozy announced yesterday that Iran harbored a secret uranium enrichment plant — a plant that would relatively soon be operational and capable of producing weapons grade uranium.
That news has outraged America’s neoconservatives — who are responding to it by demanding the US or Israel bomb Iran.
Actually, I have not yet checked out the neoconservative response to the news. I am merely guessing their response to the news is to demand that Iran be bombed. But I think that’s a pretty safe guess, don’t you? Few things are more certain than the fact America’s neoconservatives will demand at every opportunity to bomb Iran. They have been demanding it for years. Why would they stop now?
Gary Sick has written an interesting article that reviews the lousy record of those who have for decades been predicting we will need to bomb Iran. Sick then goes on to analyze why the problem of an Iranian nuclear weapon might be solvable through diplomacy and negotiation. For instance:
The world may have more time and more bargaining leverage than is generally supposed. Iran has proceeded very slowly with its nuclear program. If Iran had proceeded at the same speed as Pakistan (which had far fewer resources than Iran), it would have had a bomb test and a deliverable nuclear weapon more than decade ago. Iran has chosen to remain in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, over the objections of its own hardliners—the only proto-nuclear state to have done so. Iran has repeatedly and formally declared at the highest levels that the production, storage or use of a nuclear weapon was contrary to Islam and not in Iran’s national interest—most recently earlier this week by Supreme Leader Khamenei.
If the problem of an Iranian nuclear weapon can be solved through diplomacy and negotiation, then perhaps the problem can be solved permanently. Bombing, however, is merely temporary solution. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said Friday that “the reality is that there is no military option that does anything more than buy time — the estimates are three years or so.”
There seem to be some sound reasons, then, why diplomacy and negotiation should be our first recourse in dealing with Iran. Of course, this is 21st Century America, and “sound reason” isn’t always the operating system favored by our leaders. The temptation to play the tough guy with other people’s lives and bomb the hell out of the Iranians will appeal to every chicken hawk in Washington. Neoconservative chicken hawks are nothing if not predictable.