Focus on Iranian bomb is misplaced

Iran is working toward the creation of a nuclear weapon. This is not good news and warrants our attention, but not in the way that the Washington concensus has it.

An Iranian bomb, in many ways, will be no more destabilizing and dangerous than the possession of a bomb by any other nation; our history with Iran and the assumption that their leadership is more irrational than other leaders guides our thinking in unhealthy ways and has left us wearing blinders when it comes to the threat of nuclear weapons.

The threat is not an Iranian bomb, but the proliferation of nuclear weapons more generally. We should be concerned about Iran's bomb, but also North Korea's and China's and the bombs possessed by our allies, all of which create a destabilizing situation. Israel's bomb, for instance, may seem important to the protection of the Jewish state, but it also creates fear in the rest of the Middle East, resulting in the various Arab and Muslim nations feeling the need to develop their own weapons in response. The Middle Eastern arms race did not start with Iran or even with Iraq, but with Egypt and Israel and the hostile environment across the region.

We should be working to prevent Iran from getting a bomb, but also to reduce the number of nukes in existence, overall. If we are going to be honest about the dangers of nuclear weapons, we can't just focus on the so-called rogue states, but on Russia and China, England and France, Israel, Pakistan and India -- and most of all, on the United States, which possesses more nuclear weaponry than anyone else. As long as the smaller nations of the world feel threatened by the larger ones, they will be looking for an equalizer -- which is why the threat of war cannot work.

Our best approach to getting nations like Iran and North Korea to step down is to show a willingness on our part to step away from our own nuclear crutch and to lead the rest of the world away from nukes.

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Read poetry at The Subterranean.

Suburban Pastoral, a chapbook by Hank Kalet, available here.

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