I view the framework of the nuclear agreement between the presidents of the United States and Iran as a very positive beginning. Getting two enemies talking is always better than rattling sabers. I think these talks between alien enemies continents apart are going far smoother than dialog between our two alienated parties only feet across the aisle from one another.
What is the alternative? Iran continuing its production of fissionable uranium and plutonium at the rate it is? I’ve always been against U.S. Sanctions (see post US Sanctions, A Failing Foreign Policy). Sanctions produce poverty for the population in the nation we declare sanctions against which makes such nations even more dangerous, like cornering a wild animal. Increasing the standard of living of a nation is always a better and more positive strategy. It makes governments and people more placid and focused upon making even more money, of course unless they happen to have the most powerful military in the world.
At least having open inspections of their nuclear facilities would give us a far better idea of how advanced they are and reducing their production will make it take longer for them to build up nuclear capabilities. Then they need to develop a delivery system. We are probably talking decades before they become a real nuclear threat. I think the biggest fear we should have is of them selling some of their enriched weapons grade fuel to some renegade Arab group to make a dirty bomb. If we provide them an environment where they are not desperate for money then that possibility become far less likely. However continuing Sanctions against them only makes them more financially strapped and desperate for cash.
I feel that Iran is far less of a threat to us and our allies if we have a dialog with them to discuss compromises which both sides can live with. I feel that is what is happening. We will give up imposing some Sanctions and they will open their nuclear development to inspections and slow down the production of fissionable material. Maybe the two nations can become even closer in the future. All this saber-rattling in the past has got us nowhere.
Israel, regardless of what their conservative government is saying, really has little to fear from Iran’s nuclear threat. They will not nuke Tel Aviv which is only 30 miles from Jerusalem and contaminating that holy city preventing pilgrims from visiting. This would anger the entire Muslim, Christian, and Jewish world against them and open themselves up to nuclear retaliation from Israel and perhaps the U.S.
They want nuclear weapons for the same reason as all nations including North Korea, Russia, and the U.S. Nuclear weapons level the playing field by posing as a deterrent against attacks from their enemies due to the threat of nuclear retaliation. I think we need to stop thinking that Iran and other hostile nations are run by mad idiots. These governments are able to survive for long periods because they have smart leaders though sometimes ruthless.
I fully support President Obama’s efforts to have a conversation with Iran. I wish the two parties in Congress could open similar conversations and both parties show a willingness to compromise and give and take more.