Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Does Iran Threaten The U.S.A.?

There's an interesting discussion going on at the TPMCafe Book Club where the book of the week is Glenn Greenwald's "A Tragic Legacy" and the guest authors include Chris Floyd. I haven't read "A Tragic Legacy" but I have read a lot of Chris Floyd and I wouldn't want you to miss this discussion. Here are a few quotes and links to get you started:

Glenn Greenwald: Is Iran a threat to the U.S.?
The cartoonish depiction of Iran embraced by Bush and his supporters is nothing more than pure fiction, completely removed from reality. The view of the Iranian government as irrational, intractable, single-minded evil-doers bent on threatening the United States and wreaking world destruction stands in stark contrast to their actions over the last several years.

It is simply beyond dispute that Iran’s behavior since the 9/11 attacks empirically disproves the President’s assertions about what motivates them and how they behave. Indeed, the gap between reality and the President’s rhetoric concerning Iran is almost impossible to overstate.
Chris Floyd: Disaster Bound in the Land of Nod
The very best outcome of a war with Iran – the most benign result possible to imagine – will be the deaths of thousands of innocent people and a floodtide of terror and carnage set loose on a world in overwhelming economic crisis. And that's the best outcome. The worst is the slaughter of millions of innocent people from the nuclear attacks that we know George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have advocated in their war planning: perhaps tens of millions dead, hundreds of millions poisoned, whole nations brought to ruin and a planet mortally sickened. Between these two poles of ungodly mass slaughter and unfathomable genocide lie the only possible realistic outcomes of a war with Iran. And we stand on the very brink.
Seth Gitell: A Rising Threat
Glenn’s put a lot on the table. But he fails to address a central problem: what to do if and when Iran develops nuclear weapons? At the point Iran achieves an ability to produce a nuclear weapon, a reality coming closer every day according to the International Agency for Atomic Energy, the regional calculus of the entire region changes. Nations, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, immediately become subject to an immediate and, in the case of Israel, existential threat. Even if Iran refrains from an immediate, direct attack, it gains an ability to hold the whole region hostage as it did American hostages twenty-eight years ago.
Chris Floyd: Mixed Motives: A Conflation of Concerns on Iraq
Seth Gitell asks: What to do if and when Iran develops a nuclear weapon? Why, I imagine the United States will do what it has done with North Korea: finally sit down and negotiate. Or perhaps, as with India -- which illicitly created a bristling nuclear arsenal that destabilized a volatile region of the world -- we'll just shrug our shoulders and strike juicy deals that "legitimize" their illegal nuke program. Or maybe we'll follow the Bush example with Pakistan -- which not only built its own illicit nuclear arsenal but peddled the technology to "rogue states" around the world -- and give the Iranians billions of dollars in arms and aid. Or we could even adopt the approach used with Israel -- yet another nation with an illicit nuclear arsenal outside all international supervision -- and award Iran with unlimited military and economic largess and unstinting support for its treatment of certain religious and ethnic minorities within its borders.

As you can see, our president has given us a wide range of policy options to choose from when dealing with nations who develop illicit WMD arsenals. (He has also given us -- and the Iranians -- an instructive example of what happens to nations which, like Iraq, do not have WMD programs: they get it in the neck.)
You can click the links to read the full posts, each of which has a comments thread; they're very interesting too. Or just start here.