Sunday, August 02, 2009

Iran

What happens when the current discredited regime of Iran does not heed to President Obama's September dead line for starting negotiations? If the regime itself shows some bigger cracks with a realistic possibility of political changes, America would naturally prefer to wait further. If not, what happens? Or say even if it engages, but plays the hide and seek game of diplomacy like North Korea to bluff USA?

Obvious option is President Obama will start lobbying rest of the world for further sanctions on Iran. There is a scope for that. To start with German and other European businesses need to curtail remaining business contacts with Iran. Russia and China need not come in between any sharper sanction terms. Progressively, evenSaudis can be roped in to increase the crude oil production so as to decrease oil price and thwart Iranian economic life line. All these things are possible and should be done. The idea is the resistance against the current radical regime of Iran would get flip by these actions which will necessarily generate a 'political space' to undertake review and potentially halt Iran's nuclear weapon quest.

Many are arguing that West should eventually come to terms with Iranian Nuclear Weapons (Joe Klien of Time?). As Hillary says, 'that is simply unacceptable'. The reason is simple. Look at Pakistan. With nuclear weapons, it essentially nullifies the ability of rest of the world to wage 'regime changing military actions' like Iraq if push comes to shove. It also dramatically raises the stakes by increasing odds of some rogue non-state element getting hands on weapons of mass destruction. And finally, in case of Iran, the state policy of 'wiping Israel from the map' attains apocalyptic tone. The way Iran is structured since the Islamic Revolution, raising ante against Israel and eventually even using WMD against Israel can be beneficial in domestic politics. That is horror.

Apart from that the possibility of Egypt, Saudi and Syria all pursuing nuclear weapons with byzantine deals with Russia and China; that is a sure recipe for 'end of the world' scenario in all sense.

Does this mean, the option loved by Israeli Right - bombing Iranian weapon sites - should be actually pursued? President Obama can wait for few more months before committing to this option, but the option no longer seems 'out of realm of possibility' in this world. May be the world is inexorably moving in that direction. Of course, people will ask question - what is the guarantee that it will uproot all of Iran's nuclear program? No there is no guarantee, it is a last resort with all of it's concomitant risks because USA does not have any other options left. As and when USA nears such an action, USA undertaking such a bombing may be better than Israel to do that. This will buy some favor with Israeli Right when they are upset because of President Obama's insistence to stop new 'settlements'. America better piece together such a bombing act of spending enormous international political capital to achieve something concrete in larger Arab-Israeli peace deal (meaning can come even more forcefully onIsraeli Right to accept total stoppage of settlements, classic carrot and stick?). But there is a danger in such an attack that it will boost radical elements in Iranian politics and will essentially stunt the moderate voices which are resisting current Iranian rulers.

Even after all these faults, USA may be heading towards a situation where it has to accept all these negative consequences. In other words, there is no 'peace seeking, diplomatic negotiation formula' President Obama can have to nullify the dangers of Iranian nukes unless the regime comes around in next few months.

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