Perhaps the most frightening issue in the world today is the fear that some rogue dictator will get hold of a nuclear device and hold the world hostage by threatening to use it. That’s a real fear, since the power of religion includes philosophical perspectives which devalue human life to the point where suicidal madness is a real possibility in order to please or appease some imaginary deity.
Scientific development has made the possibility of acquiring nuclear technology a reality in places where the resources allow for it. Unfortunately, there are some rogue nations whose leaders have the power to diminish the prosperity of their citizens in order to make the development of nuclear weapons a priority. Hence, the United States, and the other major powers in the United Nations, are working to prevent such a weapon from falling into the hands of rogue nations like Iran and North Korea.
Keep in mind that the reason the sanctions have worked so far, and there is some doubt about the completeness of their success, because they have international support, particularly from nations like Russia and China. And whether or not the sanctions continue will depend on the level of cooperation that comes from the international community. There is a lot of interest in keeping Iran nuclear free, but there is also a lot of interest in finding another way to do it, and that seems to be the direction the international community wants to go. The US is still the most influential power at the table, and our expertise in nuclear technology is an essential element in preventing nuclear proliferation, but it is clear that we will not be able to keep the sanctions in place if several other nations want to take a different path.
Keep in mind that the Republicans made up the majority of the opposition to the sanctions. That was a major difficulty for UN Ambassador John Bolton, and for President Bush. Had it not been for Democratic party support, the US would not have supported the resolution for sanctions against Iran. Ironically, now they are supporting keeping the sanctions in place. They are playing politics, and using this international issue as another means to put obstacles in the path of the President, and keep him from accomplishing anything. But while the GOP plays its games, Iran moves closer to a nuclear weapon. The Republicans are being very short sighted with their predictable opposition to an agreement they didn’t even read before they criticized it. The stakes are too high here and real solutions will be much more effective than stone-faced opposition.
There’s only so much life in sanctions that slow down, but are not completely stopping, Iran’s move toward acquiring nuclear weapons. There are humanitarian issues associated with strangling the economic life out of a country, and it is not only Americans who are beginning to get uncomfortable with the suffering of the Iranian people, no matter what their government leaders do. And ultimately, the sanctions will fail. They have succeeded in buying time for the international community to figure out how to deal with the issue, but sanctions won’t be 100% successful. What’s the contingency plan in place to be enacted on the day that Iran succeeds in achieving the first major step toward having a nuclear bomb? Because that is what will happen if there is no change made in the status quo. At least the proposed plan makes it possible for the UN to “snap back” to sanctions if the Iranians violate the agreement, and it would make it possible for a much closer, up front inspection of the nuclear activity taking place in the country.
It’s not a perfect plan, but no plan of this nature, basically interfering with the sovereignty of an independent nation to prevent them from acquiring something we already have, can be perfect. Perhaps the best asset we have is Ernest Moniz, the nuclear physicist who is also our Secretary of Energy. He’s the best nuclear physicist in the world, and that’s who you want in charge if there’s any treaty with the Iranians regarding their nuclear potential. His presence and involvement in this issue is the one thing that assures its success. If you set aside your political bias, and read up on Ernest Moniz, including what he’s said about this particular treaty, it will be very reassuring. The man knows what he’s talking about, and what he has to say makes a lot of the critics look like they don’t.
What’s the alternative? I haven’t heard one. Continuing the sanctions depends on the UN security council, and a few countries that have the economic power, and political reach, to make or break any deal. But the experts tell us that even with sanctions, Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon, or at least the capability to make one, is a foregone conclusion. Do we take military action? The security council would never authorize it, and if the US went in alone, the cost, in terms of lives lost and destruction of property, would be staggering, not to mention the trillions of dollars in monetary cost. Iran is a large, very rugged, desert country. There’s no assurance of a quick, easy win, and a war could take years to resolve. It would be a tremendous risk to Israel. Iran is a large, rugged, mountainous desert country. Invading wouldn’t be easy, and the risk of getting bogged down for years is high. Is it worth it?
Congress needs to evaluate this treaty by consulting the experts, and determining whether it achieves the goal of keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon. What we are doing now isn’t working to accomplish that, so doing nothing is not a viable plan. The paid propagandists who are running ads encouraging people to call their Congressmen and derail this treaty are just playing politics and don’t know squat about the treaty, what it would do, or how it would work. It’s time for some good, old fashioned common sense. Who’s ready to stand up and show some?