Iran Knows the Lesson North Korea Learned Long Ago
December 6, 2010
(ChattahBox Op Ed) – Twice this year North Korea has attacked South Korea. First in March with the sinking of a South Korean Navy ship and most recently the North Koreans shelled an island killing several civilians and military personnel. The massive, merciless response by the South Koreans and our most formidable military? Hand ringing and murmuring. Just wait ti’l next time we said. “Oooooooh, you’re so going to get it the next time you attack”. Honestly I’m not sure how the North is sleeping at night with the terrifying finger waving we gave them. One thing for sure is they got the message. The message being if you have nuclear weapons we will treat you completely different than if you do not. The North Koreans understand this message and so does every other country on Earth.
One country in particular observed what happened on the Korean peninsula and duly noted the message, that country is Iran. You wanna know why Iran is so hell bent on obtaining nuclear weapons, look no further than Korea. See, if you don’t possess nuclear weapons and you make the big dog angry you run the risk of being invaded, chased down a hole and eventually hanged until death. If, however you happen to have one of those magical weapons, you get to assault your neighbors at will and the big dog will do nothing more than growl from behind his fence.
For years now the world has stood by essentially helpless as Iran has openly built it’s nuclear fuel and power capabilities. This weekend the Iranian government announced that their nuclear program is in essence self sufficient, meaning for the first time they were able to mine uranium yellow cake (remember that word from the Iraq War build up?) domestically and convert it into nuclear fuel. The Iranians claim their program is peaceful and meant to produce nuclear power. Of course no one believes them and why should we. It is clear they covet the power that a nuclear bomb brings to them. Equally as clear is the concern the rest of the world has with the real possibility that Iran has or will soon be the second nuclear power in the Mid East.
One of the many unintended consequences of Bush foreign policy is he sufficiently scared every despotic country in the world into strengthening their military capabilities. The funny thing about Iran is prior to Bush’s presidency they were conveniently contained by their counter weight, Iraq. That was until we invaded Iraq and vaulted Iran into the preeminent military power in the Mid East. With whole divisions of the US military on their border my guess is they fast tracked their nuclear programs in an attempt to be treated like N. Korea.
Moving forward our national security teams must take into account these simple facts. It’s not rocket science but somehow Bush and his people thought that American military might could solve all our problems. They can’t. In many ways our bullying made things infinitely worse. If we have any hope of containing Iran our efforts must be done with the understanding that Iran is terrified of American intentions and that’s why they desire nuclear capabilities. We also must understand that the one unifying issue in Iran is security. Making Iranians feel safe is the only way to solve this issue. Doing so may also bring about a leadership change which most likely would lead to a more Democratic government with a more enlightened view of the West.
If we do not use this approach and cave to those hawks on the right, Iran will surely continue down the path of militarization and confrontation. It’s a lesson they’ve learned well from North Korea.