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16 April 2012

Threat assessment of Iran

Iran is no more likely to use nuclear weapons than any other nation that has such capabilities.

Comparisons


Iran is not riddled with out-of-control corruption. Consider Nigeria. Nigeria is an oil-rich nation but operates most of its petroleum production facilities at only 40% of capacity. Nigeria must even import refined fuel for its own consumption. Iran doesn't do that.

Unlike Afghanistan, Iran has a decently educated population. What of matters such as state-imposed religion, negligible women's rights and censorship? Regardless, it is highly unlikely that the people of Iran find the prospect of war, in the Middle East or elsewhere, to be a desirable outcome. The cascade of destruction from ANY country using nuclear weapons would be disastrous, whether it were the U.S.A., France, India, Israel, Russia or others.

Policy


U.S. foreign policy has been unclear to me lately. I do not see motives of self-defense, nor of imperialism. But the "war on terror" is not going well. The U.S. cannot sustain a constant state of foreign conflict. Yet that appears to be the case, continuously since 2002, and intermittently throughout the preceding 40+ years. 

When necessary, there will be intervals of war. These must have a conclusion. The delineation between peace time and war time needs to be finite, discrete.

Peace and war and peace


I am a U.S. citizen and I love my country. I don't want us to be in wartime conflict on two or three fronts for years at a time, particularly since the "fronts" are not adjacent to our sovereign territory. Terrorist actions on U.S. soil, e.g. the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, elsewhere, on September 11, 2001, must be responded to decisively. That doesn't necessarily mean going to war though. Let the CIA, or military counter-intelligence do what they are intended to do.

The first three months of 2012 have seen tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, nearby international waters, the sovereign waterways of Iran, and of neighboring countries. The same issues were a concern last year at this time, though. Barbs were exchanged in the international press. Nothing awful happened. Not last year, not this year.
Iran recently held military exercises and announced production of highly enriched uranium fuel. What of that? 

Iran seems to be participating in the world community much as other countries do, and have done for centuries, with saber rattling as a show of strength.