March 04, 2005

Marching On

In today's AmSpec column, I look at the latest cluster of encouraging developments in the process of democratization in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Posted by John Tabin at March 4, 2005 01:56 AM
Comments

As stunning as the events in Iraq, Lebenon, and even Egypt have been, I look with grave concern at the conduct of Iran. If we permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon it will be a blunder on the level of Chamberlain's at Munich. Not only will Iran have a weapon but then weapons will proliferate all over the Mideast.

If it were not for the blindness of our left wing, and the cowardice of the European left, this problem could be solved.

From Iran's point of view it is rational to get a nuke. It will give them sway over much of Europe as time goes on. The entire war on terror is really an anti_Proliferation war.

Da

Posted by: lee t at March 5, 2005 12:58 PM

Yes and no, Dad. If we conceive the war on terror as merely about anti-proliferation, then it's destined for failure. After all, terrorist can succeed in an attack with or without a nuke. Anti-proliferation is a stop-gap measure to weaken terrorists' reach; the real goal must be to undermine the conditions that allow them to thrive-- that is, dictatorships that encourage radicalism as a safety valve against their peoples' grievances against the dictatorships themselves (Egypt, Saudi Arabia) as well as regimes that sponsor terrorism directly (Iran, Syria). Make Iran more like India, and we won't have to worry about it so much.

What makes you think the Iran problem is so easy to solve absent the constraints of Western politics? I know some are suggesting bombing nuclear facilities, but even those who favor it (I'm agnostic, at the moment) admit that even if our intel is good, an attack would only delay the Iranians, and could set us back in terms of goodwill with the Iranian people; the nuke facilities are apparently placed to maximize civilian casualties.

Posted by: John Tabin at March 8, 2005 03:49 PM

john,
your points are well taken as usual, but if WMD were not in the picture the terrorist threat probably would be looked at as more of a "nuisance" by more people.

i personally believe the Iranian nukes can be taken out or at least damaged to such a degree that it will set them back. I am also fairly certain that Kosovo type bombing attacks on Military and revolutionary guard facilities would effect a revolution. I do not believe for a second the bluster of the Mullahs about how powerful militarily they are.

i am not optimistic about Iran changing from within without a "nudge." It is very difficult to subvert a police state from within.

The conditions that lead to radicalism are the nature of sects of Islam,which value a misplaced honor over a moral concept of right and wrong. The terrible statist economies of these Muslim countries which cause poverty in countries that should be rich.

We are living in a hinge of history, much like that of Europe in the 30s. By the way I have more or less stopped being an inveterate fiction reader and am switching to History. I am reading a book about WWI and it amazing how people had similar views to today.

Da

Posted by: ltabin at March 11, 2005 10:22 AM