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Ear to the Ground

The Real Reason the U.S. Fears Iranian Nukes

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Posted on Oct 3, 2012
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Iran wouldn’t be stupid enough to attack the United States or Israel with a nuclear bomb, Glenn Greenwald suggests in The Guardian. If it had such a weapon, it would be for the purpose of deterring American aggression.

That’s intolerable to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, “one of the U.S.’s most reliable and bloodthirsty warmongers,” Greenwald writes. At a talk in North Augusta, S.C., this week, Graham unwittingly revealed a rarely advertised reason American officials want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of one of the most formidable states in the Middle East:

“They have two goals: one, regime survival. The best way for the regime surviving, in their mind, is having a nuclear weapon, because when you have a nuclear weapon, nobody attacks you.”

The second regime goal is “influence,” Graham added, as “people listen to you” when you have a nuclear weapon. “In other words,” Greenwald writes, “we cannot let Iran acquire nuclear weapons because if they get them, we can no longer attack them when we want to and can no longer bully them in their own region.”

Graham isn’t the only member of the policy establishment who wants to preserve the United States’ monopoly on atom-splitting force. Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute has confirmed the senator’s opinion. As Greenwald cites (emphasis his):

“When their missiles are tipped with warheads carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, even weak regional powers have a credible deterrent regardless of the balance of conventional forces … In the post cold war era, America and its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities.”

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former State Department official Philip Zelikow and senators on both sides of the aisle can be counted among the choir as well.

The United States has executed a belligerent foreign policy in most corners of the world over the past half century, with this last decade amounting to an attempt to outdo the previous five. In that time the Iranians have watched as the United States drove bulldozers over two dictatorships that abandoned the quest for nuclear weapons—Iraq and Libya. Would it come as a surprise then, Greenwald asks, if Iran wanted to take a different approach?

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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