The assumptions that tougher sanctions could deny Iran nuclear capabilities, could pacify Iran’s nuclear programs, and could produce a regime change in Teheran, defy reality. These assumptions and the suppositions that Mutually-Assured-Deterrence (MAD) would enable the Free World to co-exist with a nuclear Iran, and that the cost of a military preemption would be prohibitive, reflect a determination to learn from recent history by repeating – and not by avoiding – critical errors; a victory of delusion over realism.
US and UN sanctions against North Korea – which were initiated in 1950 – failed to prevent the nuclearization of Pyongyang. Sanctions could not abort the development of impressive North Korean weapons of mass destruction capabilities and its exportation – along with terrorism – to Iran, Egypt, Syria, Asia, Africa and the American continent. Sanctions have not toppled the Kim Jong-il regime and haven’t ended its relentless pursuit of the takeover of South Korea.
Sanctions against North Korea instilled a false sense of success, relieving Western policy-makers of taking tougher action, thus facilitating Kim Jong-Il’s attainment of nuclear power. While sanctions brought down the comfort-driven White regime of South Africa, they generally do not deter rogue repressive Third World regimes, such as North Korea, Saddam’s Iraq, Cuba and Burma, which has been targeted by US sanctions since 1990.
US and UN sanctions against Iran have been ineffective for 16 years! US sanctions were initially legislated in 1995, and UN Security Council sanctions were initially approved in 2006. They intended to end Iran’s nuclear program and its support of Islamic terrorism and to bolster the Iranian opposition. Additional US legislation has tightened the sanctions and intensified punitive policy towards violators. However, systematic non-compliance has been demonstrated by Russia and China, as well as by Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Japan, South Africa, Venezuela and some of the European countries.
Disengagement from delusions and engagement with realism constitute a prerequisite for averting Iran’s nuclearization, which constitutes a clear and present danger to the US, then to NATO, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, as well as to Israel and to global sanity. Therefore, the prevention of a nuclear Iran should constitute a top US national security priority.
In other words, Iran’s mega-goal, since the 7th century, has been the domination of the Persian Gulf, irrespective of the Palestinian issue, Israel’s policy or Israel’s existence. Iran’s mega-hurdle has been the US and NATO presence in the Gulf. Therefore, the development of Iran’s mega-(nuclear) capability is primarily designed to force the US evacuation of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, through deterrence and intimidation in the Gulf region, through beachheads in Latin America and the US mainland. Iran’s mega-capability would allow it to occupy Iraq – its arch rival since the 7th century – and Saudi Arabia, which Iran considers an apostate regime. All Gulf States are perceived by Iran as key prizes, required to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll Teheran’s megalomaniac regional and global aspirations.
Iran’s geo-strategic goals are energized by its current Islamic zeal, viewing Jihad (Holy War) as the permanent state of relations between Moslems and non-Moslems, while peace and ceasefire accords are tenuous. Iran demonstrated its zeal to obtain the mega-goal at all cost, sacrificing some 500,000 people on the altar of the 1980-1988 War against Iraq, including approximately 100,000 children who were dispatched to clear minefields. Moreover, Teheran’s Mullahs are emboldened by the pending US evacuation of Iraq, which they consider an extension of the US retreats from Lebanon (1958 and 1983), Vietnam (1973) and Somalia (1993).
An Iranian nuclear cloud, hovering above the US and Israel, would not require the launching of nuclear warheads, in order to acquire significant extortion capabilities and produce economic, social, moral and national security havoc. Therefore, one cannot afford to await a smoking nuclear gun in the hand of Teheran; one must prevent the nuclear gun from reaching Teheran’s hand. That excludes the options of deterrence, coexistence and retaliation. It highlights the option of a swift and a disproportional preemptive military operation, whose cost would be dwarfed by the cost of inaction.
The Iranian nuclear challenge constitutes the ultimate test of leadership. Will the US and Israel be driven by long-term conviction and realism, or will they succumb to vacillation, oversimplification and short-term political convenience, thus facilitating the surrender of Western democracies to rogue Islamic regimes!?