Iran and the 2008 election - 7.20.2007.1
Well here is something that has me wondering. The Presidential candidates and other noted political figures have all made statements about the nuclear program in Iran. Let me correct myself, several of the candidates, not all. But the fact that any have commented is interesting.
This occurred at the press conference hosted by The Israel Project (TIP). The goal is stated as increased sanctions and pressure to cause Iran to end their nuclear efforts. Which is a pretty strong stance for several candidates, especially when the efforts to retreat from Iraq are considered.
This is important to think about because Iraq is directly connected to this. The connection is that Iran is helping to create instability in Iraq. Because of that the foreign policy of the next President may dictate how the Middle East will be over the next decade.
Consider this. If America retreats from Iraq, and pressures Iran with sanctions, Iran must try to absorb parts of Iraq (or effectively control them) to avoid the economic pain. At the same time, Iran can use the disenfranchised to bolster anti-American sentiment – promoting terrorists that would seek to attack Americans world-wide. On top of that, there is no guarantee that Iran would stop its nuclear ambitions.
That is scary, terrorists with nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, if America stays in Iraq and continues to fight Iran will still continue to support instability in the region. Not as much as without a U.S. presence, but still all the same. The economic pressure cannot be offset (or is minimized) by gaining access to Iraq. Fewer terrorists can be trained and any continued efforts of nuclear weapons can have the added fear of a pre-emptive strike by American forces. The cost of all this is American soldier lives. Not tens of thousands, but thousands per year.
Neither situation is foolproof. Nor will either make the U.S. public happy. It will cost American lives either way. And the Middle East will continue to be in turmoil for a decade at least.
Which effort is best? Which outcome is most likely? There is no answer. There is also no answer on what plan is the best from ANY of the Presidential candidates. One of the candidates must come up with a plan and let us know what is going on. Obviously any plan will not satisfy the whole of America. But a plan is better than none at all. I think everyone will agree on that.
So the question is, to prevent/persuade/deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, what do we do in Iraq?