Obama's worst nightmare: an election-year nuclear ploy by Iran
Obama should send a message to Iran that he would react strongly in the event of an election-eve Iranian nuclear surprise. That way, he keeps his options open and Iran on notice.
(Page 2 of 2)
For a regime that seeks to impose its will on the Islamic world, Iran’s leaders must be in a calculating mode. Iran is a lingering autocracy in the midst of upheaval in the Arab world. It is estranged from many of its own people, whose protest Green Movement may be dormant but not dead.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Syria, its most important ally, may be lost as a platform for projecting support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza. Iran is reportedly helping Syria repress social media networks and put down opposition demonstrations, but the outcome is uncertain.
As it takes stock of its role in the Islamic world, the Iranian regime must ponder how its friends and enemies in the region would react to its possession of nuclear weaponry. Saudi Arabia would be appalled and probably seek nuclear weapons itself. Syria, which has sought to develop a nuclear program, would presumably laud Iran as long as Bashar al-Assad’s regime stays in control. An unfortunate consequence could be nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
ANOTHER VIEW: Reality check: Iran is not a nuclear threat
Although many Muslims deplore much about the Iranian regime, a surprising number, both inside and outside Iran, might laud a nuclear breakthrough. I remember how many strongly anticommunist Chinese throughout Southeast Asia celebrated when Communist China joined the nuclear-weapons club. They were not celebrating communism. They were celebrating Chinese prowess.
Some Muslims might react similarly.
With the exception of his gutsy decision to take out Osama bin Laden, Obama – fairly or unfairly – has gained a reputation for being weak-kneed in foreign affairs. He should send a confidential message to Iran’s leaders that he would react strongly in the event of an election-eve Iranian nuclear surprise. That way, he keeps his options open and Iran on notice.
John Hughes, a former editor of the Monitor, writes a biweekly column.