In my opinion the forces at work that may lead us to war are predicated upon inexorably opposed doctrines. On the one hand it seems like Iran has
calculated that they will be attacked or their regime will be deposed from within with U.S. and/or Israeli support eventually no matter what they do,
and therefore their only hope of preserving themselves is to develop a credible nuclear deterrent. Therefore their doctrine appears to be to pursue
that nuclear capability for as long as they can. In their estimation it seems like their "best bet."
On the other hand, it seems like the U.S. has, in a post-9-11 world, adopted a zero tolerance policy toward unfriendly nations whose leadership they
assess as being unpredictable or erratic acquiring any level of nuclear weapons capability. I suspect that this is due to their calculation that once
the genie is out of the bottle and there is a nuclear armed state actor in the ME (not allied to the U.S.) it would inevitably lead to a terrorist
organization such as Hezbollah acquiring that capability. It may also be because, contrary to what many casual observers believe, Iran's government is
not as unified as it may appear. The civilian and theocratic elements of power in Iran are not always in agreement, and the U.S. may assess that this
makes for a much higher degree of unpredictability, which might also be why Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon is so unacceptable to them.
And on a third hand (however anatomically incorrect that may be,) Israel seems to have calculated with a high degree of confidence that if Iran
acquires a nuclear capability, it will use it. So its “red line” is probably somewhere in the sand well before that of Iran or the U.S. All of
this makes for a difficult to predict and control situation.
In any case, in my opinion the first step necessary to defuse tensions between Iran and the West is for both sides to step back from these intractable
policies. It is inevitable, if these doctrines are adhered to unwaveringly for long enough, that they will collide with one another head-on. In my
opinion Iran must be flexible on its position that it will continue to pursue this technology no matter what, and the West must be flexible on its
position that a nuclear Iran is 100% unacceptable. There is a middle-ground that is possible, however it carries serious security and political risks
If Iran were to, for example, scrap its nuclear program in a verifiable manner in exchange for a light water reactor or several light water reactors,
it might create enormous political pressure on the leadership there, as they would be perceived as bowing to international pressure (to say nothing of
those who will - perhaps rightly so - scream from the hilltops that it is unfair to deny Iran the capability that the West has in abundance.) If the
West allows Iran to develop nuclear technology, and manages to get Iran to commit to a series of arms control and use treaties thereafter in which
Iran guarantees never to use its capability in a first strike capacity, Israel might balk and go ahead and launch strikes on Iran on its own.
Obviously I believe that the ultimate ideal solution would be to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world entirely. I also believe we should all live
together in harmony and peace forever and ever, but that's not happening anytime soon sadly. And since tensions are so high, and both sides' "red
lines" are so imminent, the solution must be a pragmatic, potentially painful one.
The only ways to achieve a lasting peace with Iran all require one or both sides to give up some level of security certainty and trust the other. So
the question becomes: can either side trust the other? Should
either side trust the other? Will Iran refrain from using its nuclear capability
if it signs a treaty saying so? Or will the U.S. assessment that the theocratic elements of its power base are unpredictable and zealous prove true?
Will such a treaty agreement by Iran guarantee that the U.S. and Israel won't ever act unilaterally anyway? Will the West deliver light water
technology to Iran in a timely manner? Will Iran scrap its nuclear program in a timely manner, and do so verifiably? A lot of things have to go right
to prevent the inexorable march toward war now in my opinion.
Perhaps one compromise might be for the U.S. to dramatically reduce its nuclear armaments along with Russia (which would kill two birds with one
stone, as nuclear reduction treaties have been stalled for some time now) and
provide Iran with light water reactors, in exchange for a
complete and verifiable scrapping of its nuclear program. That would reduce some of the perceived unfairness potentially. I don’t see either side
agreeing to this, though. Not on this time scale.
(Continued below... I can't believe I ran so long...)
edit on 1/16/2012 by AceWombat04 because: Typo