Iran: The Haggling Begins
Published on: April 9, 2012
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  • Anthony

    Power asymmetries exit in region of Middle East and tend towards mutual suspicion which exacerbate cracks in shape of the international order – the rules of the road are fluid and create the potential for miscalculation (an additional complicating factor).

  • Kenny

    I’m no fan if Iran but how do the Zionists out there answer questions like these:

    If Israel can have nuclear weaponry why can’t Iran and others?

    Is Israel special and if so why?

    And why are there no international inspection of Israel’s nuclear facilities?

    And, is it anti-Semitic to pose such questions?

  • Myer Rosen

    Re No2 “Kenny”

    Iran’s Islamic regime has long and repeatedly declared its desire to destroy Israel by whatever means. An Iranian nuclear force might make that desire attainable.

    Israel is indeed special in the sense that it is the only country in the world openly threatened with destruction by a powerful bloc of Muslim nations.

    Israel does not declare its desire for the destruction of any country, even its Arab enemies, and it has not attempted any such destruction even when it had the power to do.

    Only people who would welcome the killing of the six million Jews now living in Israel would tolerate the arming of the blood-thirsty regime now ruling Iran with weapons of mass destruction.

  • Tom

    @Kenny: The Israelis aren’t crazy–also, they’ve had nukes for a while, and haven’t used them, even during the darkest days of the Yom Kippur War

    Yes, they’re one of the few islands of the sanity in the Middle East with significant military capability.

    Because the Israelis hid them for a long time, and by the time they finally unofficially admitted it, they’d been around long enough that no one cared.

    No, depending on the spirit in which they are asked.

  • “One core element of Zionist ideology, present from the beginning of the modern movement but significantly strengthened by the events of the 1940s, is that Israel must ensure that the vital, life-and-death decisions affecting Jews are made by Jews. The Jewish people must have the same kind of sovereign right to determine their fate that other peoples do. The question of the Iranian nuclear drive is clearly a vital one for the state of Israel; it would be painful and difficult for committed Israeli Zionists to accept that the US rather than Israel has the final say over what happens on this issue.”

    I’ll say. I know I wouldn’t if I were in their shoes.

  • Frankly, I don’t see how anyone with her head screwed on right (which I’ll admit isn’t many of us these days) could ask for a more considered, dispassionate, what-is-humanly-possible-and-how-can-we-all-get-it laying out of the issues and ramifications here. SUPERB article. And as always, thanks for the many reminders that, however good or evil we may otherwise be, we remain fallibly human. And so not (yet) fully God-inspired – why, not even in our politics or economics (imagine it). In addition to being whatever else we’re supposed to be: righteous or profane, or superior or wicked, or enlightened or misguided or deluded or whatever it is our increasingly hot religions keep telling us we are. Anyhow, to me that’s the really blessed thing about modest little pieces like this: They don’t offer much in the way of glory to ANYONE’s quasi-sacred ideological preconceptions (including mine).

    And you know, now that I think of it (if I may get still more ideological), I wonder if that isn’t the one MOST unsettling thing about any attempt at objectivity: about even so much as trying to look at any phenomenon for ALL that it is, and ALL that is there. We begin to get reminded that the simplest, “clearest” realms of human disagreement can have breathing problems, once we start cramming them into the trunks of even our largest-capacity ideas. That most of our questions, issues, contentions, etc, may go on being ideologically insoluble – or at the very least unclassifiable? – perhaps simply because we’re human? Maybe even that, though I believe we’re every one of us authors of one kind or another, with all our various noble or base compositions, there remains the possibility of yet another Author to the story? One on Whom we continue to depend even now – and far more wholly and vulnerably than any of our glorious works or characters could ever depend on us?

    Nah, on second thought never mind. Let’s just stick to whatever is our favorite scenario of self-engineered apocalypse (with “god” as always our silent partner or underwriter) – you know, our gripping, page-turning little countdowns and timetables – and then see what happens, shall we?

    Last of all, thanks for easily one of the most cogent, compelling definitions of Zionism I’ve run across in a long time. Truth to tell, it makes me a more confirmed Zionist than ever.

  • “[The Israelis are] one of the few islands of the sanity in the Middle East with significant military capability.”

    And a shamefacedly belated thanks to Tom @4 for saying what’s becoming more and more unsayable almost everywhere in the world outside the US.

  • SK Anand

    The one significant element that is probably unseen in Mead’s piece but huge actor is Saudi Arabia. A diminished Iran would be good for Saudi Arabia in the region. A diminished Iran would mean that Bahrain and Kuwait with sizeable Shia population will also breath easy. A dimnished Iran would also mean weak influnece in Yemen and Syria.So it is just not the Israel angle to the Iran story. the stakes are much higher in the region than ever before. And more imortant, privately the OPEC countries donot want a spike in Oil prices currently. Already the Oil demand for 2013 is being scaled back.

    As someone said, interesting times in which we live

  • Antonio

    Millions around the world keep asking the same questions that Kenny poses. Israel has nuclear weapons and does not allow any inspections by the IAEA. Why treat Iran differently?
    Please, to say that Iranians are crazy is childish. The letter their president sent to Bush a few years ago, was by far more lucid, clear and reasonable that any letter that president Bush could have ever written.
    Finally we ask these questions not because we want any harm to jews or to Israel. We ask these questions because we want peace and respect for all men and all nations.

  • Harun

    “If Israel can have nuclear weaponry why can’t Iran and others?”

    Iran signed a treaty saying they would not develop nuclear weapons. Israel did not sign that treaty. Another example is Syria. Syria did not sign the chemical weapons treaty. Syria has chemical weapons. Do you hear any angst over those? No, because they didn’t promise to not have those.

    Also, since Israel didn’t sign the nuke treaty, of course they don’t have international inspectors.

    Finally, do you know the US also put the kibosh on South Korean and Taiwanese nuclear weapons? So, the US is not picking on Iran. We have a history of working to keep nukes down to a minimum.

  • Harun

    “Millions around the world keep asking the same questions that Kenny poses. Israel has nuclear weapons and does not allow any inspections by the IAEA. Why treat Iran differently?”

    Because Iran has treaty obligations and Israel does not.

    But also, there are issues beyond legal reasons, fairness, etc. The more nukes you have the bigger chance for an accidental war. Taiwan wanted to develop nuclear weapons once too. They would work very well to deter China, but Taiwan would only have about 30 seconds to decide to use them if they thought they were being attacked…not a lot of time.

    Thus America told Taiwan “NO NUKES FOR YOU.”

    so, Iran is not some special case – America has pressured South Korea, Taiwan, Libya and other countries into giving up nuclear arms.

    And…keep in mind Israel’s nuke program was helped by the French not the Americans.

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