This op-ed by Max Boot was posted on the Council on Foreign Relations and can be found here.
The author proclaims that the inactivity to deal with the (possible) Iranian threat can be compared to the inaction of the West during other historical moments; or as Boot put it, “why did the West slumber?”. He lists the Nazi grasp to power in the 1930s, enslavement of half of Europe under the Soviets, revolution in China during the 1940s and Al Qaeda’s strengthening during the 1990s. Boot says that when looking at the historical instances, one can easily understand the current diplomatic struggle with the Ahmadinejad Regime and why the West has not done anything to stop the looming threat of the Islamic State’s possible nuclear ambitions.
Iran has been a nuisance to US administrations since the Revolution in 1979:
– “A central feature of the 1979 revolution, after all, was the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
– During the 1980s, “Khomeini and his henchman…established a beachhead in Lebanon, where Iranian operatives worked with Hezbollah proxies to bomb Western targets (including the U.S. Marine barracks, the French barracks, the U.S. Embassy and numerous Israeli targets) and to kidnap more than 100 Westerners…”
– In the 9/11 Commission report it has been stated that there were “significant links between Iran and Al Qaeda”, though there was no Iranian link to 9/11 itself.
It is clear that for the past three decades Iran has been on the radar of Western powers, but, as Boot put it, it was covertly developing nuclear weapons at the same time. This statement stems from the IAEA report posted on November 8 and is based on several intelligence agencies’ findings. (More on this report will follow at a later date)
While sanctions have been imposed on Iran from the Carter administration to the current Obama administration, Iran was still capable of working towards its nuclear ambitions. Oneself may ask the question as to whether sanctions are the way to go, seeing as though Iran has gone ahead with little problems, besides the few road bumps such as the Stuxnet virus. As Boot puts it, the only credible option for delaying the nuclear program is through a bombing campaign. However, how practical and realistic does that seem? As before, Western leaders are faced with that question. The Middle East is already a powder keg and the US could not afford another Iraq or Afghanistan, but only time will tell how this situation will play out. One thing is for certain though, the sanctions, as in the past, apparently do not stop Iran from pursuing any sort of nuclear ambition, be it for civilian or military use.