Sunday, July 22, 2007

Iran's bomb... the skinny

David Seaton's News Links
The Persians, though strict in their religious practice, are eminently rational. They are just as rational as Khrushchev's USSR. They would not start an atomic exchange that would mean the annihilation of their country. The biggest problem brought on by the Iranians having a bomb would be that all the other countries in the region would want one too. That would not mean an atomic free for all, but it would mean that Israel's freedom of action would be forever curtailed. It would be impossible for the USA to encourage Israel to continue a war like the one against Hezbollah last summer until it "finished the the job". Any action by Israel that could remotely lead to a general war in the Middle East would have to be snuffed out at the first whiff of smoke. This would certainly cramp their style, and many Israelis would not tolerate that restraint. DS

The riddle of Iran - Economist
Abstract: “The Iranian regime is basically a messianic apocalyptic cult.” So says Israel's once and perhaps future prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. If he is right the world is teetering on the edge of a terrifying crisis. While the world has been distracted by Iraq, Afghanistan and much else, Iran has been moving relentlessly closer to the point where it could build an atomic bomb. It has converted yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride gas. Now it is spinning the gas through thousands of centrifuges it has installed at the underground enrichment plant it built secretly in Natanz, south of Tehran. A common guess is that if it can run 3,000 centrifuges at high speed for a year, it will end up with enough fuel for its first bomb.(...) If Iran really is no more than the “messianic cult” of Mr Netanyahu's imagination, it would be worth running almost any risk to stop it acquiring nuclear weapons. But as our special report argues, Iran is not that easy to read. Iran is a self-proclaimed theocracy. Yet it has conducted foreign relations since the revolution of 1979 in a way that seems perfectly rational even if it is not pleasant. Its president, the Holocaust-questioning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is widely reported to have threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”. But in fact he may never have uttered those precise words, and there is both ambiguity and calculation behind the bluster. Look closer and Mr Ahmadinejad is vague about whether he means that Iran should destroy Israel or just that he hopes for Israel's disappearance. Knowing that a nuclear attack on Israel or America would result in its own prompt annihilation, Iran could probably be deterred, just as other nuclear powers have been. Didn't Nikita Khrushchev promise to “bury” the West? Since Israel has memories of a real Holocaust, it may not set much store by that “probably”. This newspaper continues to believe that even for Israel containment of a nuclear Iran would be less awful than a risky pre-emptive attack that would probably cause mayhem, strengthen the regime and merely delay the day Iran gets a bomb. Yet the whole world still has a huge interest in preventing that day from coming. Even if Iran never used its bomb, mere possession of it might encourage it to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy than the one it is already pursuing in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. READ IT ALL

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have yet to know the Economist get anything right about world affairs, sorry if I stick to my own instincts. They tell me that the US will eventually come to talk with Iran. Or else risk handing over the second biggest gas supplies in the world permanently to the Sino-Russian bloc. That would make the biggest and second biggest, most important energy supplies un-controlable by the west, that means you dont control prices, that means you must share power in the world. I mean, you dont distillate crude oil with crude oil distillate, nor do you power cities on diesel.
A gas 'OPEC' would hand the future to the 'east'.
And no amount of US supporting Kyoto would be able to pressure China into not grasping that flower.