The Iran Issue
I had an interesting discussion today about the topic of Iran and our growing tension with their nuclear program. Often when I give my opinion on this subject I am accused of not loving America, or in even more extreme(and ridiculous) situations, being a person who supports the rights of a terror state. Let me assure you, before I go any farther, that I would rather live here than anywhere else in the world and I feel I have a great perspective of how good even our poorest citizens have it here. That being said, I also tend to look at humanity without the separation of cultures and borders because in the end, we all have to share and get along on the limited space we have on this planet.
So, my friends and I started a discussion based on a photograph i posted on my Facebook page and I will post it below before I continue to give you perspective on how this conversation got started.
Now, those I was having this conversation with told me a few things. 1)–Not all of those bases were even there before 9/11 and 2)–Many of those dots represent “outposts” as opposed to full-fledged military bases. Those that support these bases and disagree with the point this picture is making often cite that Iran has “made statements threatening Israel” and “supports terrorism” and “if we let them get a nuclear bomb they will surely use it.” Those are generalizations of the statements and I will respond to each of them with the reason I am so staunchly against the consistent military buildup and threatening policy that we, the United States, are currently using towards Iran.
First, I want to make it clear that I am not excited, happy, or joyous about the idea of Iran having a nuclear bomb. Their leadership is, at best, somewhat religiously fanatical and fanaticism can be very dangerous as it is often based in belief as opposed to knowledge or reality. Now having said that, I am no more comfortable with North Korea having the nuclear capability either but, as I see it, that is their right as a sovereign nation, despite what we may think of them as a government. That previous statement is where I start to differ with many people I often have this conversation with. I know many Americans who feel it is our right and even our duty, to ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear bomb. They usually state that Iran is in violation of the IAEA protocols and that they have openly threatened the United States and Israel over this topic. Now that I have lightly grazed over both sides of the coin, I will delve into the questions I think must be answered with unity throughout the nation before we can make an educated decision on what is right and what is wrong.
1.Does the United States have the authority to dictate personal military policy and rights to another sovereign nation, even if that country’s agenda is conflicting to ours? Personally, I feel the answer to this question is a resounding no. I do not feel the United States has the right to force policy upon another sovereign nation based what we think they might do. Though we are arguably the top superpower in the world currently, we have been here for a much, much shorter time than certain other powers as well as some countries that are never that powerful. We are a country based on personal freedom and liberty,and what could go more against that then telling a country that also has its sovereignty that we are going to force them to make certain decisions based on our prediction of what they might do in the future? When looking at the above map, I always give an analogy for supporters of our military buildup to consider, and for the record in many cases they refuse to answer this question, which I feel lends credibility to my point. The question is, regardless of whether every one of those bases is a small outpost or a full military base, what do you think the United States would do or say if tomorrow, suddenly Canada and Mexico were no longer friendly to us and suddenly allowed Russia to build 30 or 40 “outposts” along our northern and southern borders? Let me just go ahead and give the answer we all know would come. Our government would have none of it and it is quite possible Russia doing so would immediately lead to an armed conflict. With that being the case, why would we expect Iran to react any differently??
2.Do verbal threats from a government carry the same amount of weight that an actual, physical action does?Again, I have to say no and here is why. Saber rattling, hollow threats, and fiery rhetoric have become commonplace in today’s world.From George Bush referring to certain countries as an “Axis of evil”, to North Korea’s constant threats, to China’s threats over Taiwan and territorial rights to the ocean off their border, to Iran threatening Israel, these verbal barbs are a daily and common occurrence in today’s world.To imply that because someone says they might do this or that is the same as doing it is ridiculous, presumptive and just plain illogical. If threats always equaled actions then there would pretty much be a new world war every day.Even more ridiculous, is saying that some threats are worth an act of war and others aren’t. How can threats from a country that doesn’t have a nuclear weapon yet (Iran) be so much more dangerous than threats from a country that has tested nuclear bombs(North Korea) only hundreds of miles from 25,000 of our troops in South Korea??
3.Is there truly a separation of church and state when the United States is so supportive of Israel that we will not enforce international policy on,them but we will on Islamic countries such as Iran? This seems to be the biggest point of contention, or at least a major part of, the discussion at hand. These countries, many of them largely Islamic, see the United States, a country of Christians, regularly treating Islamic countries with different policy than we treat Christian ones with. North Korea, for example, is not a Christian country but also is not an Islamic one and they have already tested a nuclear bomb, yet we do not seem nearly as concerned with that danger as we are with Iran, who hasn’t even shown they can build a bomb yet. You can then further factor in the fact that Israel is allowed to freely build as many bombs as they want, without any pressure for transparency from the IAEA, as that same governing body pressures Iran at every turn, as an example of the hypocrisy of the authority that keeps these countries distrustful of the motives of both the IAEA as well as the United States. The fact that some of these Middle Eastern countries are theocracies led by religious belief hasn’t changed in hundreds of years and if you believe we can change them, just look at what has happened to our effort to install a democracy in Iraq as an example. These are different religious cultures than ours and when we treat them differently based on a government fueled by Christianity it is easy to see why they fear us and refuse to compromise.
In the end, Iran having a nuclear bomb could be very dangerous, I agree with that, but there are countries all over the globe that have made threatening statements and who have very different beliefs than we do, and they have dozens of nuclear bombs. Iran would be foolish to attack anyone as they would be easily wiped off the map and that is why I believe that they may fire heated rhetoric all day long, but that doesn’t mean they are going to do anything. They are smart enough to know that doing so would lead to their destruction but to expect them to just obey the commands of other nations, often nations that treat their enemies completely different from the rules enforced on Iran treat the Iranian government, I just believe it is ridiculous to expect them to comply. We would not listen to another countries demands if we were in a similar situation so I can not understand why anyone expects any less from Iran, a sovereign nation.