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Monday, June 27, 2005

Russia, Iran, and the Bomb: What Should the Bush Administration Do? – June 27th - Heritage Foundation


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Of the events I’ve attended with the ASCF this summer, I found today’s lecture on Iran the most intriguing. Author Joel C. Rosenberg forcefully addressed the problem of Iran and its desire for nuclear capabilities. He boldly argued that Iran is the most dangerous terror state on the planet, and that our security would be severely jeopardized should Iran obtain nuclear weapons. Mr. Rosenberg pointed out that US and British intelligence confirm the fact that Iran could be able to produce the type of uranium used in nuclear weaponry as early as January of 2006. Within only a few months, Iran could then assemble its own stash of nuclear weapons. Both Democrats and Republicans realize the danger this poses to US security.
Having argued that the situation in Iran truly is a crisis, Mr. Rosenberg addressed possible solutions. He believes the Bush administration has four reasonable options. The first option is diplomacy, which we are currently engaged in. We seek to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Iranian mullahs. Unfortunately, this strategy hasn’t worked so far, and there is a danger that lengthy negotiations could be used by Iran to buy time for their nuclear buildup. Another alternative Mr. Rosenberg labeled “democracy.” Essentially, the US would engage in a propaganda campaign to convince the Iranians to overthrow the current regime. Though the strategy could work in this case, it failed to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro. Also, there’s no guarantee that a new regime would give up the nuclear program. As a third option, the Bush administration could choose to simply accept the inevitability that Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons and work to convince its leaders not to use them. Though this would be the least expensive strategy, it also makes us look weak and gives the appearance of “rewarding bad behavior.” Finally, as a last resort, the US could take direct military action against the Iranian government. The least appealing option of all, this would receive fierce public opposition and would be costly in blood and treasure.
None of these options looks very good, as Mr. Rosenberg aptly pointed out. Unfortunately, he failed to mention which option(s) he believes President Bush should choose. Speaking for myself, ideally diplomacy will succeed in convincing the Iranians to disarm. Should negotiations fail, it seems the nation will be faced with a serious decision. Are we willing to risk the possibility of Iran using nuclear weapons and/or selling the technology to its terrorist friends? I, for one, am not comfortable with the idea of terrorists gaining access to nuclear bombs.

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