Friday, April 30, 2010

So if there's no strategy that will stop Iran's nuclear capability, can we move on now?

The importance of publication of the memo by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the United States does not have any strategy options that the US can expect to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear capable is that it raises the question: under what terms will the United States live with a nuclear capable Iran.

If Iran is going to be nuclear capable any way, does the US benefit from attempting, even if its attempts are not fully successful, to sabotage the Iranian economy? Or even worse, to support separatist organizations on Iranian territory?

The common sense answer is no. The United States has painted itself to some degree into a corner, in that it promised repercussions if Iran did not agree to export its uranium stock and further to forswear a Japan-like nuclear capability. But this principle that Iran should be punished for not submitting to US demands is the only interest the US has in steps that will increase hostility. The US has more tangible interests in decreasing hostility, for example, it is possible for Iraq's political process to become very chaotic over the next few months while a cooperative Iran has a lot of resources that could stabilize the situation.

We see the US hesitation in getting UN sanctions passed. US strategists do have some degree of common sense. There are pressures that push away from an admission that the US must live, either cooperatively or in an environment of hostility with a nuclear capable Iran now. But it is very likely that Washington has reached the obvious conclusion by now and has decided to begin to roll it out.

No comments: