Even if you don’t give a fuck about politics, surely you give a fuck about oil prices. And oil prices are through the roof nowadays as Iran has blocked oil exports to our Western European allies in retaliation for their tough economic sanctions aimed towards pressuring Tehran to stop its nuclear program. Gas prices are almost to the point where the average American wants to go to war with Iran (Rick Santorum sure is riding that popular unrest in his quest for the Republican nomination). But war with Iran would be disastrous for U.S. foreign and domestic policy, and it’s time we start becoming pragmatic about the limitations and role of U.S. foreign intervention.
It is alarming that the only Republican nominee who thinks war with Iran would be detrimental to the U.S. is Ron Paul. He cites, with great rationale, that we are over-extended and bankrupt from our decade long war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the last thing we need is another Middle Eastern nation-building escapade. It should go without saying that we do not possess the money, men, or motivation to go to war again so soon. The hard-line Israelites and Republican war hawks would have you believe that Iran acquiring the bomb is a doomsday scenario. However, I am of the conviction that if a megalomaniac like Kim Jung Il can possess the bomb and not use it, or that Pakistan and India – who are sworn enemies – can both possess it and not blow each other up, we can expect at least the same level of control with Iran.
I know Iran is full of shit. They aren’t going to research nuclear technology and not try and develop the bomb. And in the end, it’s not a matter of if, it’s when. What are we going to do, try and prevent them from acquiring the bomb for the next century? It’s time we lift economic sanctions, get the oil flowing like normal, and attempt to negotiate with a nuclear Iran and North Korea pragmatically. Governments, no matter how fascist their leaders, are always interested in self-preservation. They will not willingly leap towards a nuclear holocaust simply because of their ideological beliefs. What does it matter if Iran reiterates for the umpteeth time that they believe Israel to be an illegal atrocity? If they ever tried to nuke it, a nuclear barrage would carpet their country, and they know it.
It is important that the bomb not slip into the hands of radical terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, and to that end we must develop international bodies designed to better protect nuclear facilities and research. How much easier would that be with an Iran grateful towards the international nuclear community for allowing it to freely become a member, instead of an Iran who finally achieved that status through ruinous economic hardship?
This may all sound defeatist, I know. I would like nothing better myself than to keep the bomb out of Iran’s hands in a truly ideal world. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and we must realize the limitations of U.S. (and our Western European allies’) power. It is better now to make Iran and North Korea feel inclusive and negotiate with them, than to further alienate them in their inevitable pursuits and triggering a truly nuclear World War Three in the near future.