According to the latest Gallup poll, Americans perceive Iran as the United States greatest enemy, 25 percent listed Iran before others. It also found that Republicans are more likely to support this view than Democrats.
Yet, while very few Americans would wish for a nuclear Iran, it seems highly unlikely they would support military action to prevent a proliferated Islamic Republic. After Afghanistan and more so Iraq it appears Americans are tired of seemingly endless wars in the Middle East.
No doubt American Jews try their best to rally against a nuclear Iran and will continue to do so in the future. And I am sure that Jewish Students at Cornell and other universities would protest a nuclear Iran, as they do now.
Beyond that, I sense a resignation in Ithaca students. To many it feels like little can be done, like Iran almost won the race anyway, like the wrong war has been fought in the last years. Additionally, many worry a nuclear Iran might destabilize the region and lead to an arms race.
“What would happen if…?“ is always a difficult, if not impossible question to answer and at the moment none oft he outcomes are clear. What if Iran could be stopped? Would it be stopped forever? Unlikely. And what really can be done once a country has nuclear weapons?
As we have seen with North Korea and Pakistan, the time for action is before, not after a country proliferates. And generally, international communities silence once the point is reached.
The real concern on the day after will not be Iran, and what threat its proliferation poses to Israel and others. It will be too late for that.
The pressing question on the day after will be how to prevent others from following. A nuclear Iran would not only challenge the security of the entire region, it would challenge the authority and validity of the NPT regime. How can the integrity of the Nonproliferation Treaty be restored after yet another member has decided to break its agreement?
Unfortunately, this concern seems more European than an American. Maybe that would change, “if” Iran acquired Nuclear weapons. But in my opinion, “What if?” is the wrong question.
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