What If Gaddafi Had Gone Nuclear?

(Wall Street Journal) Michael Oren - America and its allies are interceding militarily in Libya. But would that action have been delayed or even precluded if Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi had access to nuclear weapons? Gaddafi unilaterally forfeited his nuclear weapons program by 2004 because he feared that the U.S., which had recently invaded Iraq, would deal with him much as it had Saddam Hussein. A similar fear impelled the Iranian regime to suspend its own nuclear weapons program in 2003, resuming it only when the threat of military intervention receded. It continues to make steady progress today. Sanctions alone are unlikely to prove effective unless backed by measures capable of convincing the Iranian regime that the military option is real. The critical question then becomes: Does anybody in Tehran believe that all options are truly on the table today? While the allied intercession in Libya may send a message of determination to Iran, it might also stoke the Iranian regime's desire to become a nuclear power and so avoid Gaddafi's fate. The writer is the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

2011-03-29 00:00:00

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