Sticks, Carrots and Nukes

[Guardian-UK] Patrick Clawson - Israel is the country most at risk from a nuclear Iran. Israelis see a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, due to the possibility of nuclear terrorism, the potential for miscalculation in a crisis, or the prospect that an irresponsible or fanatical Iranian leader might be tempted to use Iran's nuclear arsenal to expunge Israel from the region. The challenge facing the international community is to persuade Iran to step back from the nuclear brink. Diplomacy is more likely to be effective if it is reinforced by sticks and carrots. Besides its key role in the European-led diplomacy, Britain could do much on its own to reinforce the actions of its European partners to press Iran until it agrees to compromise. The City of London's importance as a hub for international finance means that warnings from the British government regarding the risks of doing business with Iranian institutions could appreciably increase the pressure on Tehran. If Iran were in effect locked out of the world's two largest financial centers, New York and London, even hardline Iranian leaders might reflect on the high cost of their refusal to compromise. British authorities need not take formal action; they have long been skilled in the art of passing quiet messages to business leaders. Scapegoating Israel sidesteps the issue. Instead, those worried about what Israel might do should take steps to address the security concerns that led Israel to conduct its recent military exercises designed to show that it could strike Iran if need be. Not only Israel but Britain and the whole world will be safer if together we can reduce the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons by reinforcing respect for the UN and international inspections. The writer is the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2008-08-14 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive