GOP warmongering on Iran

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 5, 2015
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As the presidential primary campaign heats up in America, so does the rhetoric of Republican candidates pushing for war with Iran.

Ted Cruz, the first Republican candidate to enter the race, said, "Under no circumstances will the nation of Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, and either Iran will stop, or America will stop it."

The United States and six other nations are now negotiating with Iran to limit its nuclear program. So why the harsh rhetoric when a deal might be reached by the end of July? Almost all of the more than one dozen Republican presidential candidates have said they think the framework deal is too weak. But what is the alternative? Without a deal, there will be no diplomatic constraints on Iran's nuclear development. For years, sanctions haven't stopped them.

The only other option is, as Cruz said, "America will stop it." Cruz's foreign policy confidant, George W. Bush-era U.N. ambassador John Bolton, wrote in the New York Times earlier this year that military action would be "like Israel's 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor."

Such a limited strike would do nothing to end Iran's nuclear development. Iran has multiple reactors, and some of them are built into mountain bunkers that would only be compromised after days of bunker-buster bomb strikes. If such an attack were so easy, why wouldn't Israel, the protagonist in the above examples and the country that has raised the most concerns about Iran, have done so already?

It wouldn't be easy, as it would require a large-scale war to actually cripple Iran's nuclear development. At a time when Iran is sitting at the negotiating table, likely to make an agreement that would slow its nuclear program, waging war would be the worst possible decision. Not only would it end any chances for a peaceful solution and unnecessarily put lives at risk, it would also end U.S. and Iranian cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State. At a time when Americans are reluctant to put troops on the ground in Iraq, Iran has been contributing a large number of armed forces to help ISIS-held cities. When Iraq retook Tikrit from ISIS in March, soldiers from the Iranian Quds Force played a key role.

From America's perspective, this is good. Why put American lives at risk when Iran will do the job for us? Iran faces a much more direct threat from ISIS than does the U.S.: Iraq is right on Iran's border, and ISIS also threatens their ally, Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria.

Yet American neoconservatives are disquieted by the presence of Iran in Iraq. They think it will give Iran too much influence.

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