My musings on different political topics relevant to America today.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Isolationism and Iran: a Recipe for Nuclear Holocaust

American foreign policy these days is on no one’s radar.  Ever since the “Great Recession,” so to speak, Americans have turned inward and do not want anything to do with the rest of the world.  Combine this with 2 long winded occupations started back after 9/11, and you have a recipe for an extreme backlash against foreign intervention.  Nothing could have better encapsulated the mood than our reaction to Syria.  The use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians stirred little more than disgust from the casual American spectator.  All the naysayers instantly denied any intervention as pointless and counterproductive.  The general mood was that we should just let them kill each other because they are all Muslim extremists anyways. 

Despite past mistakes, overextension, and general war weariness, Americans must be careful not to become total isolationists.  Yes, Back in the day, we could afford to be mostly isolationist.   However back in the day foreign nations did not have nukes either. Now, a foreign nation can kill millions of Americans with the press of a single red button.  Yes, there are systems in place to try and destroy nuclear weapons before they get to our shores, but they are far from perfect and it ignores the fact that someone and detonate one from inside our own borders.  Its imperative to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of extremists that have no qualms over blowing up millions of Americans.

This brings us to Iran.  John Kerry, our secretary of state, has been negotiating with Iran to convince them to only use their nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and not to bulld nukes.  While some progress has been made since we have employed devastating economic sanctions against them with the help of our U.N. partners, there is still a real danger that Iran will just go for broke and develop a nuclear weapon.  Indeed its not clear if Iran really has any intention of halting its nuclear program if an agreement is reached or if they are just using the talks as a delaying mechanism to buy them time to build a nuclear weapon. 

What I am afraid of, is that if push comes to shove, America will not resort to force to destroy the weapons.  In the 90’s Bil Clinton goofed and let both North Korea and Pakistan obtain nuclear weapons, which has extremely complicated the world situation.  Letting Iran get nukes would be far worse than either of these countries.  Iran funds Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in Lebanon which would have no qualms with deploying nukes, and it funded terrorists in Iraq as well during that conflict.  If Iran had nukes, they could possibly funnel them to terrorist organizations that could wreak all kinds of havoc, if not even try to detonate one in the United States, or blow up Israel more likely. 

Last but not least, letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons would lead to a domino effect.  Other countries, seeing America’s weak resolve would want their own nukes, which would further destablize the world and increase the chances of one actually being used.  In addition several of our Allies in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, would want nukes as a deterrent against  Iranian aggression. 

Allowing politically unstable  countries that support
terrorists to have nukes is a recipe for disaster.
Americans need to wake up to this very real danger.  Somehow American youth were motivated by a simple video to cry out against Kony, yet now we seem completely apathetic to this very real risk to our national security, not to mention the brutality of the Iranian regime.  Both humanitarians and practicers of realpolitik should not want Iran to get a nuke.  The world is simply not simple anymore.  America cannot simply “opt out” of world engagement.  Doing so would inevitably lead to nuclear proliferation across the planet, with disastrous consequences. 

I want to make it clear I understand that America has not always been on the right side in a conclict and that we have overreached many times before.  One easy example is with Iran. Before the current theocratic regime, we supported a widely unpopular and tyrannical Shah with military weapons and financial support.  That unfortunate event in history explains a lot why Iran now despises us, and why they would want a nuke in the first place.  Nevertheless, despite our mixed record, allowing nuclear proliferation around the world would be hugely irresponsible for the world’s sole superpower.  If there is one thing America should use its massive power and influence for, it’s to prevent nuclear proliferation.

P.S. Right after I wrote this up I saw that America and several other countries had reached a deal with Iran.  However history shows that countries don't always abide by their treaties (look at Japan and the Washington Naval Treaty signed after World War I).  America needs to be careful not willingly blind itself into believing its guaranteed that Iran will follow up on its end of the bargain.

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