Showdown to go nuclear

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Fascinating analysis from (you can sign up for free content) makes the case that it is almost showtime on the issue of Iranian nuclear weapons

The Israelis have presented evidence to the Russians of Russian scientists being deeply involved in the Iranian bomb development program. It looks like what is being set up here is a red pill/blue pill scenario where the Russians will either have to support crippling sanctions or Israel and/or USA will take action on their own. You take the red pill, and we try sanctions. You take the blue pill, and we’ll see how much bombing the Iranians can take.

Given that much of the Iranian people already hate their regime with a well-deserved purple passion, why not try an intermediate approach? The U.S. Navy could blockade the Persian Gulf for Iranian oil shipments, and announce that the Iranian people have a set amount of time to accept U.N. weapons inspectors before a catastrophic bombing campaign begins aimed at not only destroying any nuclear capacity but also the Iranian military.

The President could tap the Strategic Oil Reserve here in the United States to ease the pain. The Iranian economy and body politic would be thrown into chaos, and there would be a chance that the Iranian military would make a rational decision regarding self-preservation.

If we had to bomb anyway, no one could say that President Obama failed to go the extra mile to avoid war.

For those of you who are instinctive multilateralists, don’t forget that Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If such treaties are to have any meaning, they must be enforced.

14 Responses to Showdown to go nuclear

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Sure, I’d love a president who might consider such an approach. I’d also like a spaceship and a million dollars. Doesn’t matter which party is in office – McCain would have done little better on this.

    Truth is, we’re not even going to help Israel bomb the nuke factory. We’re going to try to stop them. And it won’t matter much because Iran doubtless has lots more nuke factories we don’t even know about.

    In yesterday’s Journal Bret Stephens laid out how it’s all going to go down. Hint: we don’t disarm Iran, we disarm Israel.

  2. Bob says:

    Matt, that is by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Not that I’m an expert, but their facilities are all hardened targest. I’m sure it would take quite a bit of conventional bombing to destroy them.

    And I’m sure that they would NOT wage any kind of proxy war through terrorist groups, nor would they attack Israel in a retaliatory fashion.

    Perhaps you should stick to union-bashing and education policy discussions.

  3. Patrick says:

    I’m against trade sanctions on the grounds that they hurt the people more than the regime.

    Bob, America has more than enough weapons to take out hardened targets – in fact we have special weapons just for that purpose. Saddamm had hardened facilities constructed by French and Russian companies and we took them out without any trouble.

  4. Jarhead says:

    The first response by the Iranians to such a blockade would be to mine the Straits of Hormuz ‎which would shut down oil shipment from most of the Middle East and force a confrontation in ‎the international community. Iran would blame the US saying our actions were an act of war and ‎left them no other option. Sadly, most of the countries of the world would quickly and happily ‎jump on that band wagon and blame the US. Our two options in this situation are to push for ‎stronger sanctions or give Iran all the nukes it wants (pointy end first of course).‎

  5. Greg Forster says:

    If the threat of a proxy war or retaliation is sufficient to justify total paralysis, why don’t we just go ahead and crown them emperors of the world? It would be more honest.

    Oh, and if you think their ability to threaten us with proxy wars and retaliation is a problem now, what will things be like when they have the bomb?

  6. Jarhead says:

    I agree totally Greg. My point was that this is not something to go into blithely. The original post ‎suggested it was a simple as a blockade and instant revolution. I’m just pointing out the fact that ‎reality will be much more complicated.‎

    Personally, I don’t think the issue will end until someone uses a nuke (or maybe a lot of them). Of ‎course if Israel does it, then the Muslim world will react to an attack on their “brothers”. Never ‎mind the fact that most Arabs detest Persians. If the US does it, then we are taking an imperialist ‎stance. Sad to say, but the best political outcome for the US would be if Iran actually used a ‎nuke first. Then we would just be retaliating in kind.‎

    BTW, it is debatable whether our current bunker busters would penetrate enough to reach Iran’s ‎facilities. The only way to guarantee destruction would require at least a low-yield nuke.‎

  7. Greg Forster says:

    For the record, Jarhead, my comment was aimed at Bob and not you – I didn’t mean to suggest you shared Bob’s recalcitrance to do anything about the bully because he might hit back.

    On that subject, Mickey Kaus links to this aerial photo of the Qom facility. “Does it look non-blowupable to you? Me neither….I’m not advocating a strike against Qom…I’m just saying that when pundits say we can’t strike because the facilities are buried and hardened, I don’t believe them. Do the Iranians?”

  8. Matthewladner says:


    I have no illusions that stopping the Iranian nuclear program will be easy. It will be difficult and costly. The problem in my view is that not stopping them will makes matters much worse.


    It is amazing to read the official quoted in the WSJ equating Iran and Israel. Israel of never signed the NPT, nor has ever had a President threaten to wipe Iran of the map.

  9. todd says:

    “nor has ever had a President threaten to wipe Iran of the map.”

    Israel has submarines with nuclear armed cruise missiles sitting in the Gulfs of Oman and Aden. Much more provocative than mere words.

  10. Todd, I think you’d have to agree that it would be much more provocative to have the nukes and talk about wiping your enemy off the map (as Iran soon will) than simply to have them and not make such threats (as Israel does).

  11. todd says:

    Israel has talked openly about attacking Iran and has invaded its neighbors. This certainly gives the impression of belligerence.

    I’m not saying that Iran is not provocative, I just don’t find it convincing to suggest blame lies mainly with one party in this.

  12. Todd, there is a difference between self-defense and aggression. Israel has only talked about attacking Iran to deny Iran the nuclear weapons that would allow Iran to realize their stated goal of wiping Israel off the map. Israel has no similar desire, stated or unstated, to wipe Iran off the map.

    And Israel has only similiar attacked its neighbors in response to threats from those countries. Israel has repeatedly expressed its acceptance of the legitimacy of its neighbors and has expressed no desire to obliterate them. The same is not true in reverse.

    If you can’t tell the difference between self-defense and aggression. then off course you would deny that “blame lies mainly with one party in this.” I think most reasonable people can tell the difference and don’t accept the false equivalence you suggest.

  13. todd says:

    So everything was hunky-dorey before Ahmadinejad went on his looney tirade? Please, this goes far beyond and before Ahmadinejad presidency. The issue of Israel’s foreign policy in the region gets quite a full debate in the Israeli media, I suggest you look into some of it and read for yourself. Many Israelis don’t even see things in such black and white terms as you seem to.

  14. No, Todd, Iran is not the only country that has declared its intention to wipe Israel off the map. Unfortunately, many in that region have, which has forced Israel to defend itself quite vigorously.

    And yes, Israelis do debate the merits of their foreign policy actions in local newspapers, unlike Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc…. where anyone who dared to debate government policy risks jail or death. Maybe that’s another reason we shouldn’t be neutral between Israel and those who threaten its existence.

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