PREPARE TO ATTACK IRAN
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
This highly controversial conclusion encouraged the Iranian leadership to dismiss the possibility of an American attack, permitting Tehran to stake out an increasingly bellicose position and rendering further negotiations predictably futile.
Ideally, the Iranians themselves can still be induced to close down their nuclear program, for the alternatives – either a U.S. or Israeli attack, or allowing the apocalyptically-minded leadership in Tehran to get the Bomb – are far worse.
Reviving a sense of apprehension in Iran offers the unique way to achieve this goal. Only by convincing Tehran that it will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons can Washington persuade it to terminate its program, avoiding the need for a military campaign. This can yet be attained, but it requires a basic shift in U.S. policy.
First, the Bush administration must prepare for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure and, second, signal this publicly. (Israeli leaders should do likewise, as some have done already.) Third, the administration must weather the inevitable tsunami of criticism. Fourth, it should encourage those governments most opposed to such an attack – including the European Union, Russia, and China – to lean on Tehran to end its nuclear program.
Should this approach succeed, the crisis is resolved. Should it not, the U.S. presidential election in November will loom large. "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option," John McCain has said. "That is a nuclear-armed Iran." In contrast, Barack Obama has called for "tough-minded diplomacy," "stronger [economic] sanctions," and "alternative sources of energy" – basically, a call for more of the same.
If George W. Bush's term ends with a McCain victory, Bush will likely punt, allowing McCain to decide on the next steps. But Obama's intention to continue with current failed policies suggests that, if he wins, and despite the tradition of outgoing Presidents not undertaking major initiatives in their final weeks, Bush might initiate military action against Iran.
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Military Weaponry & International Security:
Weapons of Mass Destruction & Arms Control
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
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International Politics & World Disorder:
War & Peace in the Real World
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
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Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Dr. Daniel Pipes, a Ph.D. in Islamic History (Harvard University, 1978), is the Founder and Director of the Middle East Forum, the Founder of Campus Watch, a signatory of the Project for the New American Century, a former board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a former adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Golden Circle supporter of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, a former member of the U.S. Department of Defense Special Task Force on Terrorism and Technology, and a former lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pipes was the Director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute from 1986 to 1993.
Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
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