Friday, May 22, 2009

An Iranian nuclear weapon would be "calamitous"?!

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, now says - after Iran successfully fired a multi-stage missile - that for Iran to possess nuclear weapons would be "calamitous."

Calamitous?! Disastrous?! Please . . . .

Cannot Admiral Mullen or anyone else in the US state/defense establishment envision a geopolitics in which the USA does not call all the shots, always have the best hand at the table, or perpetually have the ability (or, both the US and Israel seem to assume, the prerogative) to intimidate Iran or anyone else into whatever policies or attitudes they prefer, simply by virtue of their military might?

I would recommend to Mr. Mullen the recent report from Abdullah Toukan and Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington (which is nicely summarized in this Haaretz piece from Reuven Pedatzur), which predicts that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would most likely fail (and, if the IDF were to bomb the reactor at Bushehr, would produce a radiological and humanitarian catastrophe - in other words, a real "calamity", to borrow Mullen's expression - in both Iran and in the Gulf states), and that the US (and Israel) need to come to terms with the impending reality of an Iran with a nuclear deterrent.

Is this something to be happy about? Not particularly. In a better world, nuclear arms would be eliminated and outlawed. But in the world that now exists, Israel has a monopoly on nuclear deterrence in the Middle East, and is backed up by a nuclear superpower that believes it possesses a virtually inalienable right to the petroleum resources of the Gulf region. Perhaps in their view, Iran's "rational response" would be to knuckle under. It's not going to happen. After more than 200 years of being bullied and then reviled by the West, Iranians - even those who oppose the current Islamist regime - feel they deserve respect and the right to call their own shots, especially in the development of nuclear capability. (And let's not forget: Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Israel - along our other pals India and Pakistan - is not.)

Iran nuclear bomb would be calamitous: U.S. military | Politics | Reuters

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