The Gentlemen Revolutionaries

Dedicated to the Preservation of the First Amendment

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, January 16, 2006

Iran, I run, I duck and cover

Iran has become a mythical beast of sorts. They are legitimately scary in that they are a fundamentalist nation that wants to wipe Israel and the United States off the map, they are legitimately nuts when they say the Holocaust did not happen; but the fear of their possession of a nuclear weapon is somewhat exaggerated. A number of factors must be taken into account to come to this result, but once taken into account, this is the obvious conclusion.
One of the most looked over factors is that Iran is a State. They are not a lose collection of tribes and warlords (like the Taliban) they are not a terrorist organization. It is a State. States, no matter how much of jerks they may be, generally do not cavalierly launch nuclear weapons. Though they may want to destroy the "Zionists" doing so at the risk of one's own State is foolish and illogical, even for a State that is commonly seen as foolish and illogical. Iran may be in the hunt for the bomb, but they are not in the hunt for a bomb. This is Iran pursuing a long term national security (or aggressiveness) campaign. This is not a flash in the pan, put one nuke in Israel or DC, and that should not be our concern with the program.

The argument has been made that it should be because Iran does not have the delivery capabilities of the Soviets. But here is a little secret- for a price, everyone in the world, including you and I, have the delivery capabilities of the Soviets. The porousness of the former Soviet bloc is also proof that this is not a flash in the pan operation. If it was, a warhead could be bought much more quickly, quietly and cheaply from the former Soviet military (this is not to say that Iran has not done this, they may have, but the course they are pursuing shows that possession of a singular weapon is not the end of the road).

More dangerous than Iran is Pakistan. This is a country that is a nuclear power, with an enemy across the boarder (India) and that is, as a friend put it, "only one car bomb away from a fundamentalist government." I want you to imagine a map for a moment. First think of this chunk of the middle east, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Now think of the stable governments in that group. There is only one, Iran. Iraq doesn't have a government, Afghanistan could collapse with some force, and Pakistan, as said before is a crap shoot. Right now, US troops are the cohesive force in the region. The risk here is the creation of a Fundamentalist Bloc (to be clear, this would most certainly not INITIALLY contain all Islamic Nations, for example, Jordan, Egypt and other Moderate and Modern States would not be entwined in this grouping. Overtime, however, it may be more likely than not that fundamentalist organizations in these States become more brazen and come to power. This is the real threat to the region, not a nuclear Iran, or a nuclear Middle East, but instead, a Middle East led by a single ideology of removing Israel from the map.

So where do we go, what do we do?
1) Take a measured approach in preventing Iran from going nuclear. The slower the process is for them the more likely it will be that a non-extremist will be in power when the finally get the technology (which is inevitable in reality).
2) Stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq (Duh!)
3) Encourage democratic reforms in Pakistan even if they don't 100% fit our interests
4) Encourage the formation of a Palestinian State, to take that issue off the table.
5) Create economic reform and growth in the region in a sector other than energy.

It seems like a lot but in reality it is. It is a ton of work and long term initiatives and maybe we will get there. Hopefully we give it a shot.

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