Iran is processing nuclear fuel. We are demanding that they stop, and this time, at least, we have the United Nations behind us. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who maintains that it's an energy program and not a weapons program, says that he will stop his nuclear program when we do, and not until. He will negotiate with us as long as the negotiations do not require that he stop his program.
I do not like Ahmadinejad; he's a right-wing religious fanatic who thinks that God tells him how to run his country and who doesn't care whether he tramples the civil rights of his people.
But on this point, he's right.
It's always been quite lame to say that we may have — and keep, and continue to develop new — nuclear weapons, but no one else may. And, in fact, because it's hard to stop a country with a nuclear energy program from developing weapons too, we're going to wave our sticks and stop that too, while we take advantage of nuclear energy and hold nuclear bombs over the world's leaders' collective head, like the sword of Damocles.
We can't expect the world to disarm if we do not disarm. We can't expect the world to refrain from developing weapons if we do not so refrain.
But for Iran, it's worse. Because our right-wing religious fanatic who thinks that God tells him how to run our country and who doesn't care whether he tramples the civil rights of our people... explicitly declared three countries to be our evil enemies, and one of them was Iran.
One of them was Iraq: no nuclear program, though we accused them of having one, and we bombed them into chaos, destroyed their infrastructure, and had their leaders killed.
One of them was North Korea, which cranked up its nuclear program and has managed to fend us off — possibly in part with the nuclear threat; who's to know for sure?
And so what's Iran to think? No nukes: get blasted. Nukes: we'll talk. Which would you pick, if you were an Iranian official?
No, Mr Ahmadinejad is right to
- use what power he has to make sure we don't attack his country, and
- refuse to give up his power unilaterally, and instead demand reciprocal concessions.
We should not be pushing any particular country to disarm. We should be leading a worldwide effort to have everyone disarm. And that is, when you get down to it, the way we used to operate.
Update, 12:30: I meant to add, but forgot, that we've actually accused Iran of supplying bombs to Iraq, giving Iran even more reason to fear that we might invade them at any time.