A nuclear Iran is the elephant in the room that very few of us seem to be talking about. I discussed this here recently (WAKE UP, MR PRESIDENT!).
Imagine my surprise when I see that a sensible solution is promoted in Thursday’s New York Times, no less, by a director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas at Austin (near where I live):
There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran
By ALAN J. KUPERMAN
Published: December 23, 2009
PRESIDENT OBAMA should not lament but sigh in relief that Iran has rejected his nuclear deal, which was ill conceived from the start.
Since peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work, and an invasion would be foolhardy, the United States faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Stark choice? It’s no choice. Iran must not have a nuclear weapon.
If Iran acquired a nuclear arsenal, the risks would simply be too great that it could become a neighborhood bully or provide terrorists with the ultimate weapon, an atomic bomb.
This simply cannot be allowed to happen.
The final question is, who should launch the air strikes? Israel has shown an eagerness to do so if Iran does not stop enriching uranium, and some hawks in Washington favor letting Israel do the dirty work to avoid fueling anti-Americanism in the Islamic world.
But there are three compelling reasons that the United States itself should carry out the bombings. First, the Pentagon’s weapons are better than Israel’s at destroying buried facilities. Second, unlike Israel’s relatively small air force, the United States military can discourage Iranian retaliation by threatening to expand the bombing campaign. (Yes, Israel could implicitly threaten nuclear counter-retaliation, but Iran might not perceive that as credible.) Finally, because the American military has global reach, air strikes against Iran would be a strong warning to other would-be proliferators.
That’s the argument, published in the New York Times.
Other people should take up this argument. Drop the Tiger Woods Op-Eds for a minute and consider the safety of the world.
On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal reports on John Kerry:
DECEMBER 24, 2009
Kerry Floats Plan to Visit Tehran
White House Wouldn’t Oppose Trip, First by Top U.S. Official in 30 Years, to Chagrin of Iran’s Opposition
By JAY SOLOMON
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry has suggested becoming the first high-level U.S. emissary to make a public visit to Tehran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, a move White House officials say they won’t oppose.
It’s unclear whether Iran would welcome the visit, and it would be controversial within both countries. The Iranian government has rebuffed other recent White House efforts to establish a direct dialogue.
The Obama administration hasn’t decided whether to make Sen. Kerry its official representative if he goes, but as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Kerry can visit if the White House and Tehran both approve.
Ugh, John Kerry. (Shudder.)
Important reading for today.