The Iranian issue

Jake Davidson

Managing Editor

I am not a fan of President Barack Obama at all. I am appalled at the manner in which he has denigrated Israel in the eyes of the global community. I am disheartened at his economic ineptitude and his inability to revive American business. I am dismayed by his recent partisan actions with the Keystone pipeline, sacrificing American jobs for his re-election campaign. However, all of these failings pale in comparison to my outright consternation as both a Jew and an American in Obama’s approach to Iran’s nuclear situation. To be frank, every Jew (and for that matter every American) who believes in democracy should be concerned with the current path the Obama administration is taking in dealing with Iran.

For the purposes of this article, we will ignore the atrocities and neglect of Iranian citizens and focus on Iran’s relevance internationally. Iran has taken steps towards nuclear proliferation, even creating computer models of nuclear explosions. The country has attempted to hide their program under the guise of generating electricity to provide fuel for medical reactors. However, a 2011 United Nations report exposed Iran’s true intentions, saying that they have uncovered evidence that makes a “credible case that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” (United Nations report).

Standing alone, Iran possessing nuclear weapons would be a global crisis. When combined with the fact that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that “Israel should be destroyed from the face of the earth,” this becomes even more of a serious crisis.

From a Jewish perspective, this is a major issue, for if not stopped Iran will develop a nuclear weapon and proceed to obliterate Israel. History has shown without Israel as a safe haven for Jews we will be persecuted. It happened in 1492, it happened in the pogroms of Russia in 1903, and it happened during the Holocaust. It would be the ultimate in naïveté to deny the very real and imminent possibility of these events happening.

On top of this issue is a larger issue at play, which should cause anxiety for every westerner, Americans and Europeans alike. While the liberal media slams Israel every chance it gets, the fact remains that Israel is the only democracy in a sea of dictatorships and Muslim Brotherhood-run states. If Iran were to exterminate Israel, the Middle East would develop further into a powder keg. Dictators and tyrants would run even more rampant and global democracy would suffer a colossal setback. Seeing that our country has spent taxpayers’ dollars on combating tyrant run countries, it would be inane to let this happen.

At this point, you are probably thinking Barack Obama and his administration would most certainly stop Iran’s nuclear program and prevent this severe fallout. While this would seem logical, you would have misplaced your faith in the steward of our country. Obama has kept the kid gloves on, playing softball with Iran. His defense secretary, Leon Panetta, (interestingly enough a Jew himself) has repeated the mantra that “all options are on the table” yet we have not seen any decisive action.

Obama’s reasoning for not bringing stringent action upon Iran has been referencing vague “unintended consequences” and the fear that sanctions would shake up the fragile economy by way of the oil market.

On December 1, 2011, the Senate voted unanimously on legislation that would sanction any company that deals with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). The purpose of this legislation would be to stop Iran’s exports of oil, which are run through the CBI. The idea was that this would cut into Iran’s state revenue and make nuclear development a fiscal impossibility. This legislation was considered to be the strongest to date, and “the last step short of military action to prevent a nuclear Iran.” Even though the senate unanimously backed this legislation, the Obama administration convinced the bills author’s to “weaken the legislation.”

The logic behind Obama’s decision was that these sanctions would spike the price of oil, as it would reduce the supply of oil in the market. While this is true in the short run, which happens to coincide with Obama’s re-election campaign, in the long run it poses very few adverse effects towards the oil market. The oil minister of Saudi Arabia has gone on the record pledging that his oil production will provide what the market needs, meaning that it could help soften the blow of losing Iran’s oil. The difference between losing Libya’s oil which caused a spike in prices and shook up the economy, and Iran’s oil is that Saudi Arabia can replace Iran’s oil and Libya’s oil was too high of a quality to replace.

So like many of Obama’s economic assertions, this one is shortsighted. However even if Obama were to back these sanctions, which he hasn’t, the public position of this administration is that any military action would have “unintended consequences.” So at this point Obama, the foreign policy whiz, has struck zero fear into the mind of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Although the “unintended consequences” Leon Panetta has referenced are vague and not specified, I am almost certain they would pale in comparison to the ripple effect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. It would set off a nuclear proliferation race in the Middle East, create instability in the Middle East, and undermine U. S. efforts in Afghanistan.

So Obama’s indecisiveness towards Iran is both misguided and detrimental to the global goals of the United States. His administration has not prevented or even halted the development of nuclear weapons. In fact he has emboldened Iran by publicly denouncing any possible military action.

A country without fear is a scary proposition, a country without fear and nuclear weapons is even scarier, and a country without fear, nuclear weapons and hell-bent on wiping Israel off the map is a nightmare.

This nightmare scenario is on the horizon. While Obama has no control over Iran’s feelings towards Israel, he can be held responsible for Iran developing nuclear weapons and their lack of fear.

However, doomsday can still be prevented. If Obama can be pressured into legitimately scaring Iran, then this potential scenario can be avoided. After three years of Obama in office, I am not sure this is likely. Instead I hold out hope that Iran will not make significant progress in the next year and Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich will have the fortitude and resolve to halt Iran’s program and save the world from a potential catastrophe.

Featured image by Jake Davidson.