Few Choices Left on Iran

[Wall Street Journal] Eliot A. Cohen - Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that Iran has at least one other covert site whose only purpose could be the production of highly enriched uranium for atom bombs. Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase Iran's nuclear program. A large sanctions effort against Iran has been underway for some time. It has not worked to curb Tehran's nuclear appetite, and it will not. The Iranian regime wants nuclear weapons and has invested vast sums to get both the devices and the means to deliver them. The Russians and Chinese have made soothing murmurs of disapproval but have repeatedly made it clear that they will not go along with measures that would cripple the Iranian economy. Living with an Iranian bomb has enormous hazards. It will engender - it has already quietly engendered - a nuclear arms race in the region. It will embolden the Iranian regime to make much more lethal mischief than it has even now. In a region that respects strength, it will enhance Iranian prestige. At the heart of the problem is not simply the nuclear program. It is the Iranian regime that has, since 1979, relentlessly waged war against the U.S. and its allies. Iran is militarily weak, but it is masterful at subversive war, and at the kind of high-tech guerrilla, roadside-bomb and rocket fight that Hizbullah conducted in 2006. American military cemeteries contain the bodies of hundreds, maybe thousands, of American servicemen and servicewomen slain by Iranian technology, Iranian tactics, and in some cases, Iranian operatives. This is a corrupt, fanatical, ruthless and unprincipled regime - unpopular but willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. With such a regime, no real negotiation, based on understandings of mutual interest and respect for undertakings, is possible. It is, therefore, in the American interest to actively seek the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Not by invasion, which this administration would not contemplate, but through every instrument of U.S. power, soft more than hard. The writer teaches at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. He served as counselor of the State Department from 2007 to 2009.

2009-09-30 06:00:00

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