This conservative, strongly pro-Israel, national security Republican says, “Enough.”
Enough carping and whining about President Obama and the nuclear deal with Iran. As little as I and others like me may agree with Mr. Obama’s other domestic and foreign policy initiatives, the president clearly took the least difficult and least dangerous path on this one.
All the pundits, news analysts and hyper-politicized media talk shows who’ve picked this carcass down to bone marrow need to give it a rest.
Of course nobody can be sure, but when the bark’s all the way off, it’s much more likely than not to show that the president did the right thing; that is what he – correctly – believes is in the country’s best interests given the realities of a bitterly tough, intractable and dangerous Middle Eastern environment, even in its non-nuclear aspect.
The two core questions the president had to deal with are, first, will the deal work. That is, will the deal meaningfully delay or even eliminate Iran’s quest for the bomb in a way that will enable the international community to bring diplomatic, economic, or other pressure to bear on Iran to restrain them.
The second key question the president obviously had before him was, are there alternatives to some kind of diplomatic deal at this point.
The two questions actually merge in what’s called “worst case analysis.” What if the Iranians twist and turn and dance around the agreement, and ultimately build a bomb down the road? Is there an alternative, now, to prevent that?
A preventive military strike? Not likely.
Economic sanctions? They haven’t worked yet.
So, if there is no agreement, or the Iranians breach an agreement and acquire nuclear weapons anyway, the only realistic issue is how are we worse off for having at least tried the president’s initiative?
That conclusion is bolstered by the historical fact that neither the United States, nor any international coalition has ever been able to prevent a determined nation from going nuclear.
We’ve certainly helped a few get there – among them Britain, France, Israel - and only a few have voluntarily given up nukes, including South Africa, Libya and Brazil.
What we and our allies have been very successful at is preventing the use of nuclear weapons. Whether the quite effective Cold War policy of threatening MAD (mutual assured destruction) to a country threatening another country with nuclear weapons will work against a marginally irrational Iranian leadership is not clear. But again, what do we lose by trying a non-proliferation agreement?
My hat’s off to the president for stepping up and doing it.
Finally, where, and why, are the churches hiding from this issue? Their persistent silence is deafening. Who gets the bomb and how they use it, or even threaten to use it, is clearly one of the most critical moral and theological issues of this millennium, as well as the last.
As my late friend and sometime colleague, Dr. Glen Stassen – a nuclear physicist, Baptist pastor, theologian and the originator of “Just Peacemaking Theory” – would say: “Give God’s peace a chance.”
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach. He is a retired U.S. Navy officer who helped analyze the practical military warfighting aspects of nuclear weapons policy.