Major-General Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s chief of military intelligence, announced Thursday that Iran is moving even closer to developing a nuclear weapon. According to Kochavi, Iran has an “amount of material is already enough for four atomic bombs."
Inevitably, many glance over these estimates with immense skepticism. Sure, the international community would embrace any situation that did not leave Iran with a nuclear weapon. But the current narrative has a striking, if not troubling, parallelism to the one we heard in the early 2000s. The last thing the world needs is a decade-long search for weapons that simply do not exist.
Israel obviously has the greatest concern regarding an Iranian weapon, which in turn impacts the U.S. and Europe. We have already seen Washington, as well as the European Union, cripple Iran with sanctions. Those efforts have largely failed, and have only tightened things up.
In addition to sanctions, the U.S. and Israel have allegedly been engaging in covert assassinations of Iranian scientists, attempting to stifle the nuclear program at its roots.
These efforts display what has mainly been an international panic. Regardless of the fact that we are still unsure of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the U.S., European Union, and Israel should all rethink their collective defense, and use history as a framework.
The sanctions and covert operations, thus far, have failed. Sure, Iran may be suffering, but these measures have not achieved the ultimate goal of halting the nuclear program. Instead, Iran has consistently moved their program forward, and has also threatened to retaliate by closing the Strait of Hormuz.
Tensions have only increased – unsurprisingly. After all, economic sanctions and targeted assassinations will do little to put pressure on Iran’s leadership, which is presumably in charge of this nuclear mission. The victims are the innocent people of Iran, who, with little ability to communicate and virtually no resources, are unable to pressure the regime. Moreover, the current efforts only give Iran more motivation to develop a weapon and organize and attack. That’s not smart foreign policy.
Instead, Israel in particular should focus on one fact: Even if Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, it would still take them at least a year to produce it, and likely more. That gives Israel plenty of time to sit down with Iran and work towards a solution. Perhaps all Iran wants is an Israeli admission that they, too, have nuclear weapons. Whatever it is, we cannot know until we try.
All predictions aside, the logic of the current panic simply does not add up. Why would Iran, a small nation with limited resources, ever dare to attack a nation as powerful as Israel or the U.S.?
Iran has shown that it will not bow down to pressure. The U.S. and Israel both harbor nuclear weapons, and nations are becoming increasingly less willing to simply live by our rule. The days of the U.S. flexing its muscles, and getting its way, are over. We cannot kill or pressure our way out of this. Maybe, for once, we may actually have to take another nation seriously.
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