Iran’s nuclear bomb less than a year away

So claimed the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta in a CBS interview. For once, he was unequivocal about America’s position: ‘The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon… We will take whatever steps necessary to stop it… There are no options off the table.’

Well, there are some options that have fallen off the table, if only by default. Such as diplomatic pressure: the chap whose name sounds like ‘I’m a dinner jacket’ seems to be impervious to it. Or else a quick surgical strike: by now Iran’s nuclear facilities are buried so deep underneath rock and concrete that it’ll take something apocalyptic to get at them from the air. But it does sound as if the USA is committed to do whatever is necessary. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

Much as the invasion of Iraq was foolhardy, the destruction of Iran’s nuclear capacity is a matter of life or death, not only Israel’s but ours as well. For one thing, should a nuclear war break out in the Middle East, its consequences would be unpredictable. A strong line of thought among strategists says that a nuclear exchange anywhere in the world, and certainly close to Europe, could precipitate a doomsday scenario. And then, should the spirit move ‘I’m a dinner jacket’, Iran would be able to deliver a nuclear charge — to any Mediterranean country in a rocket or to any country in the world in a suitcase.

This proves the danger of shilly-shallying, if any further proof is necessary. The Nazi war machine, for example, could have been taken apart on numerous occasions before the whole world caught fire. This could have been done in 1936 after the Germans occupied the Rhineland — a couple of French divisions would have sufficed. Or even in 1939, when Germany was getting bogged down in Poland and didn’t have a single tank on its own western border. The French and the British had more than 1,500 tanks there, and they could have reached Berlin practically without a shot. Instead, the ‘phoney war’ was being waged, with a catastrophe just round the corner.

Had the Americans refrained from their ill-advised ‘nation-building’ in Iraq, they could have nipped Iran’s nuclear ambitions in the bud years ago. Then a few sorties of a US-led Nato airforce could have put paid to the cascade-building effort in Iran, or at least delayed it either indefinitely or at least until ‘I’m a dinner jacket’ shuffled this mortal coil (one hears there’s no dearth of Iranians who’d be happy to hurry him along). Now, having suffered much erosion of public support for any military action, and wasted a trillion dollars, not to mention 4,500 American lives, the US will have to consider starting  yet another major war (possibly with a bit of nation-building thrown in at the end), and one it can’t afford to lose. If that’s what they’ve decided to do, the decision is right. Shame about the delay.

The upshot of it all is, if you’re planning a holiday anywhere in the Middle East next year, I’d put it off. It may get too hot there, in more ways than one.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.