Avoiding War with Iran
May 22, 2006
recent weeks the Bush administration has stated its willingness to use diplomacy
in dealing with Iran, which is a welcome change from previous policy.
Letís hope itís more than just a change in tone.
With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan costing more than $5 billion
per week, record levels of federal spending and debt, and oil hovering around
$70 per barrel, American taxpayers certainly cannot afford another war.
like Iraq, is a major source of global oil.
For all our posturing, the truth is that worldwide crude prices would
spike rapidly if we attacked Iran. With
summer coming, demand will increase and gas prices at the pump will be over $3
for most of the nation. Airlines
are raising ticket prices to compensate for jet fuel prices that have nearly
doubled in a year. A strike on Iran
in coming months would create serious trouble for an American economy that is
already struggling with high energy prices.
time for a foreign policy based on reality, a foreign policy that serves the
interests of ordinary Americans. The
reality is that we will continue to use oil as a major source of energy in this
country for the foreseeable future, and therefore the health of our economy will
be affected by the price of oil. Like
it or not, some of that oil will continue to come from the Middle East even if
we get serious about tapping domestic sources.
US has not used diplomacy with Iran for nearly 26 years, since the hostage
crisis of the Carter era. But this
ďno negotiationĒ stance hasnít worked: Iranís defiant behavior
continues, and its uranium enrichment program has not been dismantled.
Iran a nuclear threat? Not
according to our own CIA, which says Iran is years away from developing nuclear
weapons. This is not to say we
should sit back as nuclear weapons proliferate in the Middle East.
But we shouldnít allow war hawks to wildly overstate the threat posed
by Iran, as they did with Iraq.
2001 we have spent over $300 billion occupying Afghanistan and Iraq.
Weíre poorer but certainly not safer for it.
We removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan-- much to the delight of
the Iranians, who consider the Taliban an arch enemy.
Warlords now control the country, operating a larger drug trade than ever
in Iraq, our ouster of Saddam Hussein will allow the majority Shia to claim
leadership title if Iraqís election actually leads to an organized government.
This delights the Iranians, who are close allies of the Iraqi Shia.
about unintended consequences! This
war has produced chaos, civil war, death and destruction, and huge financial
costs. It has eliminated two of
Iranís worst enemies, and placed power in Iraq with Iranís best friends.
Even this apparent failure of policy does nothing to restrain the current
march toward a similar confrontation with Iran.
What will it take for us to learn from our failures?
power in Iran is divided, and President Ahmadinejadóthe man responsible for
hateful comments about Israel- does not control their nuclear policy.
We should ignore him as a pariah, and deal instead with Ali Larijani,
head of Iranís National Security Council, who has made several reasonable
statements about the US and shows a desire to have direct diplomatic talks.
Discussions with Iran are not appeasement. On the contrary, dialogue is needed to explain clearly that Americaís objectives of non-proliferation and peace in the Middle East will not be compromised. 25 years of isolating Iran has moved us farther from, not closer to, achieving those objectives.