The same misguided thinking that is destroying the City of Baltimore appears to be at play in the current Iran Nuclear negotiations.  You might think this quite a leap, but consider the very short term focus by those in charge against a certain long term loss. The same thinking that leads to the decision not to arrest lawbreaking young people because they’re young and disadvantaged and having only a limited pause (at best ten years) to a Iranian Atomic Bomb because the alternative is military action ensures longer term problems. Why would you show restraint to  lawbreakers when the result will in much dimmer future for the whole community?  By the same token, why would you forgo military action if the result is a future military situation is one of numerous Mideast nuclear powers possibly run by fanatics are at each others and our throats?  Just as enforcing the law on the first rioters increases faith that the community will be protected so people can continue to invest in it,  refusing to allow a rogue state to destabilize the Mideast might allow the area to sort itself out and ultimately progress to the benefit of its people while eliminating a great danger to humanity.

Can we really be serious about a preemptive strike on Iran’s Nuclear facilities?  On the surface this may seem extreme, but there may have never been a better time to act.  As opposed to earlier times, a short term closing of the Straits of Hormuz would be much less disruptive.  The world is awash in oil.  We can’t find enough storage in the US and producers are begging to be allowed to export our excess.  Conversely Iran has lost much of its revenue as a result of collapsing prices.  Closing the Straits  would hurt them far more than us.  One might think Iran could in reprisal  ramp up trouble across the Middle East, but there is actually little more that they can do that they aren’t doing now.  Iran already is heavily involved in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.  They might encourage Hezbollah and Hamas launch a massive rocket attack on Israel but Hezbollah’s best troops are in Syria and unlike in the past the Israelis know where they are.  With the destruction of Iran’s aging air defenses as necessary prerequisite to our taking out the Nuclear Facilities, Iran and Hezbollah would be naked in the face of Israeli retaliation.  With Egypt openly hostile to Arab Brotherhood affiliate Hamas, there is much less to fear from that direction.  Iran has had a long history of aiding Al Qaeda so there isn’t much more they can do with terrorists.  With Iran’s air force compromised or eliminated, clearing the Straits if closed shouldn’t take too long.  Then everyone’s oil would be moving except Iran’s, so no income and little in the way of imports.  As we said, an attack now looks better than in years.

The argument has repeatedly been made that even though you can hit Iran’s nuclear facilities, it would only put them back a few years.  In theory that might true, but in reality the effect would be much greater.  To replace what was destroyed, Iran would have to direct a great part of their now limited resources to the task.  Could they really further deprive an already suffering and maybe restive populace?  Even if they still decide to commit the resources, they would be faced with a Sisyphus situation. Like the myth they would be faced would be with exerting all the effort and resources to get the boulder of a nuclear weapon up the mountain only to be faced with another attack knocking that boulder back down and having to start over and over again.  We are told that our International partners in the sanctions on Iran might bail if we don’t make a deal and bomb instead thus riding to the rescue of the Iranian economy.  This is very unlikely.  Iran would have little money to buy and who would want to invest there given that whatever they do could vanish in another attack or possible uprising by an unhappy deprived populous.  Just as in Baltimore, no one will invest where it could go up in smoke tomorrow.  When their nuclear facilities were destroyed, Iraq and Syria never rebuilt.  Why would Iran make a different decision?  They might, however, choose a slow less costly rebuilding program with limited resources but that would put off their going nuclear to the distant future rather than 10 years at best.

Unless you’re a confirmed pacifist, you have to concede this presents a reasonable argument for taking out Iran’s Nuclear Facilities. Even if you hadn’t considered all this before, you can bet the Mullahs in Iran have.  If we can just let them know that we just might fire on those atomic facilities, our bargaining position would be hugely improved and we just might get an agreement that actually secures the future.

Whether with Baltimore or Iran, sacrificing the future to secure short term political gain will prove to be a mirage.  Failing to take aggressive action early on in Baltimore, failure to fire if you will, has condemned that city to a future of disinvestment  Not even considering the destruction of Iran’s Nuclear Facilities, will guarantee a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous area in the world.  It might be well to remember that those in the past that promised “peace in our time” are known to this day as the ones that gave umbrellas a negative image.

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