There is dangerous rhetoric circulating American society at the moment. There is a subconscious idea that one’s problems can all be washed away once the blame is placed on “those people.” Who those people are differs from one situation to the next. Residents of Hamden point out students living in their neighborhoods. President Obama calls out the rich. It is the same bigoted ideology that dominated generations past, but with a different focus.
The most dangerous of such conversations is the war mongering going on among the Republican Presidential candidates (Ron Paul, notwithstanding) and even among so called foreign policy experts. We should not even be talking about further aggressive action toward Iran. Have we as a country learned nothing from the promise of WMDs in Iraq and the 10 year occupation and attempted national building of Afghanistan?
Right now Iran is attempting to enrich uranium to a 20 percent level required to produce nuclear power, but they are not even at that mark yet. A level of 90 percent is necessary for nuclear weapons. Yet Matthew Kroenig, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and former Special Advisor to the Department of Defense, is advocating for a preemptive strike on Iran in his article in Foreign Affairs magazine and on NPR’s On Point.
This man now has people believing him that a surgical strike into Iran will set back their program six to 10 years and make the world a safer place for everybody to live. Let us go through the problems with that.
First off, there is no clean or “surgical” way to do this. It will be bloody, it will be fought by Americans of our generation, it will cause unknown collateral damage and it will not be short. I am not confident in the will of the United States armed forces hierarchy to go into a country, drop a few bombs and leave. There will be attempted regime change for sure.
It is not safe to assume that American intervention will even make the region a safer place. “U.S. troops in Iran would destabilize the region, in my opinion, both short term and long term,” said Dr. Nita Verma Prasad, assistant professor of history and director of the Middle Eastern Studies program at Quinnipiac.
This postulated American intervention into a sovereign nation’s right to self determination will undermine the entire idea behind the Arab Spring, which surrounded non-Arab Iran. “It would give renewed fodder to those elements both in Iran and in the wider Islamic world, many of them already radicalized, whose actions are partially inspired by anti-western sentiment,” Prasad said.
Secondly, Iran has the right to a nuclear weapon. Israel, the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and North Korea, among a host of others, have nuclear weapons and Iran has that same right. No matter how much some people wish it to be, being elected President of the United States of America does not make you Supreme Leader of the World, so it does not give you the right to dictate the domestic, or even foreign policy, of another sovereign nation.
As a student of history, I must point out that today does not exist in a vacuum, but rather as a result of past actions. According to former United States Senator Rick Santorum, we cannot trust Iran with a nuclear weapon because they are an Islamic state. No, Rick. You are wrong. “They” do not hate us because we are Christian and free. Some of them despise us because, on top of the harsh economic sanctions that are imposed upon them by the western world and the multitude of military installments we have surrounding their country, they have had to oust the government that the United States had illegitimately propped up for decades.
The CIA talks about the concept of blowback, which is actions that our former adversaries take against us for our foreign policy history. Sept.11, 2001 is the finest example of blowback that I can think of. American military action in Iran and the continued unconditional support of Israel will do nothing better than embody the anti-American fervor that is already rampant in the region and in the world.
So what is there to do then? According to Prasad, “In order to achieve a lasting peace in the region, the U.S. must address some of the basic inequities in the region, many of which are deepened and perpetuated by American policy.” That is to say, I would argue, that simply leaving the region alone would benefit everybody involved. For if we did, thousands of American lives, tens of thousands of local lives and trillions of American dollars would be saved. After the region is free of American meddling, then our government can work with other legitimate governments to seriously aide, rather than bomb and sanction, the world at large.
I want to be very careful to distinguish between my non-interventionist foreign policy ideas and what some people consider anti-patriotism. “Support the Troops” is not a mandate to blindly accept asinine executive policy. My problem is not with the men and women on the ground, but rather the men and women who are choosing to send them there.