Anyone who purports to have the “right” solution to containing a nuclear Iran is either lying or delusional. We’d like to think a heavy sanctions regime will compel Tehran into abandoning its nuclear ambitions, and we still hold out hope that it will, but so far its leaders have shown no signs of backing down in the face of harsh economic pressure. Espionage and sabotage have put a dent in the program, but have only slowed the clock, not shut it down. As for military action, Israel has hinted that a strike could be effective before Iran enters what Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak calls the “immunity zone.” Yet the consequences of military action — retaliation by Iranian operatives and allies on American assets, a regional conflict drawing other Middle East countries into war, a major disruption in oil supplies that could cripple the already fragile global economy — are a series of awful alternatives.
If the Jewish community has one agenda, it is to keep all these options on the table. The martial language that comes out of some Jewish think tanks and thinkers is regrettable; ultimately, responsible advocates for containing Iran are not out for blood, but for whatever it takes to forestall the unimaginably destabilizing effects of nukes in the hands of Iran’s theocrats.
Nor are these advocates out for Israel, even though its Supreme Leader said only recently, “The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumor that should be removed and will be removed, God willing.” If there is any doubt that an Iranian bomb will have global consequences, consider this: Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, is reported to have warned that were Iran to acquire the bomb, “that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit.”
Walter Russell Meade cited the prince’s remarks in a blog post attacking the “blame Israel first” crowd that considers the Iran-U.S. crisis an invention of the “Israel lobby.” “Not only does this analysis miss the vital U.S. interests at stake in the region and the threat Iran poses to a balance of power the United States needs,” writes Meade, “it misses the reality that for several years now some of the strongest, most consistent pressures on Washington to act against Iran have come from the Arab world.”