Solving the Nuclear Crisis in Iran
An Open Letter to President Bush
President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I am compelled to write by the gravity of the circumstances facing our nation and the world. It is imperative that Iran not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons, but a military strike of any kind from the West, particularly the United States or Israel, will merely open another Pandora’s Box. I am writing to propose an unconventional solution to this problem.
The nation of Pakistan is considered to be one of our primary allies in the broader war on terror. A scientist from Pakistan, A.Q. Khan, is also apparently responsible for aiding Iran’s progress in its nuclear ambitions. While the nation of Iran claims that their uranium enrichment programs are intended strictly for civilian use, this argument seems highly dubious at best. It is my sincere hope that diplomacy works this time; but if it does not, I propose we let Pakistan clean up its mess.
Military intervention launched by the United States against Iran will merely inflame more sectarian violence and spawn more hatred against us. It will make the current debacle in Iraq look like a trip to Disneyland by comparison. The initial invasion might be a leisurely stroll to Tehran, but the American people cannot sustain nor stomach another bloody occupation. There is also the issue of our blown credibility because of Iraq. Allowing Israel to strike Iran could potentially be even more catastrophic.
However, if Pakistan were to intervene in Iran, it would have a shaming effect upon Iran, as well as neutralize the current threat they pose. Having the intervention come from another Islamic country would do far more to humiliate Iran’s current regime, and it would also reduce the perception that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. For lack of a better analogy, I would compare it to Tony Soprano “whacking” his own cousin rather than letting an outsider discipline him.
It is obviously not in Pakistan’s interest to have yet another nuclear country at their border, especially an unstable regime like Iran. Additionally, in this scenario, a strike from Pakistan would show the West that they are responsible stewards of nuclear capabilities, and could be rewarded with economic incentives, and likely an agreement like the one we forged with India.
Forging a similar agreement with Pakistan under these conditions would restore the delicate balance of power between India and Pakistan, thus also reducing the potential for an Asian arms race. We should obviously continue all diplomatic efforts until they are exhausted, but we should let Pakistan nominally take the lead in such negotiations. China, Russia, and Europe can be allowed to keep their corrupt gravy trains reaching the proper stations, as long as they form the bulk of the democratization task force that would naturally follow any kind of military intervention in Iran.
Mr. President, in an ideal world, we would not have blown our credibility and international political capital on our ventures in Iraq, and now might have stood a chance to convince the world of the threat posed by Iran. But our seeming failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will make the burden of proof for us concerning Iran a nearly insurmountable barrier, no matter how many successful elections the Iraqis may hold. Therefore, UN sanctions will be half-hearted at best, and the rest of the West has little incentive to grant us international legitimacy in the worst-case scenario of U.S. military intervention.
If Iran is the threat it seems to be, and your administration claims it is, then the other nations of the world must act to stop them. If the UN Security Council fails to reach such a consensus, and Iran will not desist, then I believe Pakistan, not us, should be the country to lay down the law.
I suggest these things after much careful consideration and deliberation. It is my sincere hope that diplomacy will work with Iran and that the game of brinkmanship we played with Iraq can this time be avoided. In fact, I constantly pray that the situation does not deteriorate to the point where military action is necessary.
But the statements your administration have made regarding Iran seem to mirror those during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq and indicate that another war is likely imminent. Therefore, before it is too late, I felt I should offer this alternative.
Mr. President, I cannot fully describe the moral conflicts with which I have wrestled before deciding to send this letter. While I realize that this letter will probably never actually reach your desk, I still have moral reservations about offering my meager strategic counsel to an administration that endorses almost everything I oppose. This is particularly so because I fear that my suggestions may be misinterpreted as encouraging further bellicosity by your administration, even if from just one constituent. But, politics aside, I am still an American citizen, and felt it was my moral duty to offer this advice. It is my fervent hope that our country employs minds far greater than mine, and that an even better solution will be found to the problems Iran poses.
In closing Mr. President, despite my differences with your administration, I know at heart that this issue weighs heavily upon your soul. I hope at the very least that my proposal will encourage fresh thinking in these matters and that another disastrous course of action can be averted. In the mean time, I will continue to pray desperately for peace. Thank you.
Kevin E. Cleary