‘Change of Music’ in US Regarding Iran

December 25, 2011  

Israeli experts note a “change in the music” coming from Washington regarding the possibility that the U.S. will attack Iran militarily to prevent its acquiring nuclear weapons.

The latest chord in this new tune comes from Matthew Kroenig, a nuclear security expert on the Council on Foreign Relations who served in the Obama administration’s Defense Department.

Sanctions and steps such as the Stuxnet virus attack have not succeeded in stopping Iran’s gallop toward a nuclear weapon, he explained. “Some states in the region are doubting U.S. resolve to stop the program and are shifting their allegiances to Tehran. Others have begun to discuss launching their own nuclear initiatives to counter a possible Iranian bomb. For those nations and the United States itself, the threat will only continue to grow as Tehran moves closer to its goal.” 

“To constrain its geopolitical rivals,” he estimates, “Iran could choose to spur proliferation by transferring nuclear technology to its allies – other countries and terrorist groups alike. Having the bomb would give Iran greater cover for conventional aggression and coercive diplomacy, and the battles between its terrorist proxies and Israel, for example, could escalate. And Iran and Israel lack nearly all the safeguards that helped the United States and the Soviet Union avoid a nuclear exchange during the Cold War – secure second-strike capabilities, clear lines of communication, long flight times for ballistic missiles from one country to the other, and experience managing nuclear arsenals. To be sure, a nuclear-armed Iran would not intentionally launch a suicidal nuclear war. But the volatile nuclear balance between Iran and Israel could easily spiral out of control as a crisis unfolds, resulting in a nuclear exchange between the two countries that could draw the United States in, as well.”

Washington, he adds, would also be able to limit civilian casualties in any campaign. The majority of the victims would be the military personnel, engineers, scientists, and technicians working at the facilities.

Israel, he adds, must pledge to the United States that it will stay out of the war, and refrain from responding to Iranian attacks.

Attempting to manage a nuclear-armed Iran, he concludes, “is not only a terrible option but the worst.”

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