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Consequences of military action

Reader comment on item: Interview with Daniel Pipes
in response to reader comment: Dr.Pipes says US will have to take military action if Iran goes on making nukes

Submitted by Jim Rudolf (Switzerland), Apr 1, 2007 at 06:06

I have read convincing arguments that military action against Iran, even as a last resort, can only function as a stalling tactic. Bombing would damage, but not destroy, nuclear facilities. An attack on Iran would rally the entire country around Ahmadinajad, who is suffering from falling popularity at home. It would "radicalize" moderate voices, and Ahmadinajad would have more support than ever to rebuild. In fact, I read somewhere that trying to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities could actually *move closer* the date that Iran develops a bomb.

History suggests that you cannot stop a country from developing nuclear weapons if it is committed to doing so. What does that leave as an alternative? In a perfect world it would (in my opinion) involve engaging Iran (or North Korea, or...) economically, politically, and offer enough carrots to convince them to stop. Because I don't think there's a big enough stick to do the job, at least not without using nuclear weapons to halt a nuclear weapons program... how's that for ironic?

Related questions: 1. Is there an effort underway to fix this "flaw" in the Non Proliferation Treaty, whereby Iran isn't allowed to exercise its right to peaceful nuclear power because of the fear that it will then continue until it has developed nuclear weapons? 2. If it is in fact Supreme Leader Khamenei and not President Ahmadinajad who is responsible for defense and foreign policy issues, and if Khamenei does not agree with Ahmadinajad on the nuclear issue (which I believe is the case), what does Khamenei gain by tolerating Ahmadinajad's rhetoric about the nuclear program and about "wiping Israel off the map"?


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