In an editorial last week, the Washington Times sent a clear message to world leaders on Iran, “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Saber-rattling and fear tactics are counter-productive. Threats of military action bolster the positions of hardliners in Iran’s government and weaken the position of anti-nuclear moderates in the region.
They also undermine diplomatic hopes for a negotiated settlement.
The Times goes so far as to state that, “Compared to the 2002 case for war against Saddam Hussein, [the case for using force in Iran] is a slam-dunk.”
We all remember what happened the last time neo-conservatives had a “slam dunk” case for war – we’re still paying the price for the mess in Iraq.
While we oppose Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, bellicose rhetoric and military action actually make the United States less safe. They reinforce Iran’s pro-nuclear regime and put our troops in Iraq at further risk of attack. The staggering economic, humanitarian, political and military consequences of a conflict between the United States and Iran would damage American strategic interests both now and for years to come.
There is clearly time for diplomacy to work. Experts state that Iran is unlikely to possess the capability to develop a long-range nuclear missile within the next ten to fifteen years.
On Saturday in Berlin, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei urged the international community to continue to engage with Iran diplomatically, saying that “small steps and negotiations” are necessary to achieve results. ElBaredei insisted that threats of force are a “bridge to nowhere.”