There is some reason to believe that our policies on nuclear agreements and proliferation of nuclear capabilities for energy and possibly warfare at some point, are recognizing the obvious, however sad the reality may be.
From the Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2012 (emphasis added):
“The Obama administration in 2009 signed a nuclear-cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates that bound the Arab country not to enrich uranium domestically or reprocess spent plutonium fuel, the two technologies that can be used to produce atomic weapons.
President Barack Obama cited the U.A.E. agreement as the “gold standard” for future nuclear-cooperation pacts. Washington has used the deal to press Iran over its nuclear program, arguing that Tehran should follow the Emirates and rely on the international market for nuclear fuel.
U.S. officials involved in the policy review said the Obama administration concluded that most countries wouldn’t be willing to follow the U.A.E. model, and that insisting on it would hurt American interests.
They said Washington risked losing business for American companies seeking to build nuclear reactors overseas, and could greatly diminish its ability to influence the nonproliferation policies of developing countries.
I know why many countries in addition to the US don’t want Iran to get the bomb and see it as a threat to their security. What I don’t know is how all these pronouncements about how it cannot be allowed to get the bomb have any meaning.
Absent going to war with it, a security-threatening step not taken when India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and, much earlier, the Soviet Union, got the bomb and in part because all the named countries and the US have it, the argument for why Iran should not get it is far from obvious.
Iran, for better or worse, is the place where conclusions about what will adequately defend it from aggression or prepare it for pre-emptive war is to be made. It may want it for the latter purpose: to wage aggressive war against its perceived enemies but it is far from clear to me why it shouldn’t prepare for its plans, aggressive or defensive, as it chooses, if the other nuclear powers have done so.
What possible activity, especially long-term activity, short of war (which, although the US seems at times to forget its own experience, is a “long-term activity”, extending beyond the engagement of troops), can stop Iran? Agreements, inspections, and embargoes may delay the process or make it necessary for Iran to be more covert about how it secures atomic weapons but all are delaying tactics.
It looks to me like Iran will have nuclear weapons no matter what the rest of us want. I suspect that even after “regime change” any new regime would feel obliged to continue the process of securing them, just to show it was independent and not subject to Israel and the West.
Don’t hesitate to explain where you think I misunderstand this issue.