In discussing options with Iran, NPR’s Siegel lists military response, leaves out deterrence

Israel/Palestine
on 21 Comments

Yesterday Robert Siegel of National Public Radio did a long report on the efforts to deprive Iran of the materials to develop a nuclear weapon. The report concluded that if a nation wants to make a nuclear weapon, in the end, it will be able to. Then Siegel concluded:

Which is one reason we’re hearing a lot about the alternatives to nuclear keep-away: diplomacy, sanctions and the threat of force. And we’re likely to hear a lot more about all of the above in the coming months.

This seems like a limited menu. Many have said that we can deter Iran from using a nuclear weapon or “contain” Iran. I believe that the far greater tolerance the West has shown North Korea — do you hear anyone talking about keeping the military option on the table there?– reflects a policy of deterrence. Recently Kenneth Waltz argued that things would be stabler if Iran got a bomb. And Chomsky has argued for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. I am against a war with Iran, or a military strike on Iran. I don’t want any more Middle Easterners or Americans killed in bad policy decisions. If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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21 Responses

  1. marc b.
    February 8, 2013, 11:10 am

    I don’t want any more Middle Easterners or Americans killed in bad policy decisions. If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.

    perfect. and i want a pledge from any advocates for military action against a ‘nuclear’ iran that they are willing to shed their blood or the blood of their service-age relations in that military action.

    • JennieS
      February 8, 2013, 7:15 pm

      “and i want a pledge from any advocates for military action against a ‘nuclear’ iran that they are willing to shed their blood or the blood of their service-age relations in that military action.”

      “Aye, there’s the rub.” Within living, but fast dying off, memory the sons of wealth, priviledge and political power, risked life and limb leading their nations armies. Go a little further back in history and those armies would be led by the king himself. The risks borne by the powerful never prevented war but at least gave the rulers pause to consider whether there was another, less risky, option. Now, especially in the US, war is promoted by those who have not only never served in the armed forces but by those who have actively avoided doing so. (J.Kerry & J. McCain are exceptions)

    • sardelapasti
      February 8, 2013, 9:35 pm

      “to shed … the blood of their service-age relations…”

      Horrendous. What are we, Israelians, to ever even think of such barbarian collective punishment?

  2. Kathleen
    February 8, 2013, 11:47 am

    Iran has pushed for a nuclear free zone with the IAEA…

    • James Canning
      February 8, 2013, 2:30 pm

      Yes, and Iran continues to support that zone, and to support efforts to have Israel sign the NPT.

  3. Citizen
    February 8, 2013, 12:34 pm

    Containment worked against the USSR, a much more deadly enemy. Why is this such a no-no, as we all learned from the vetting of Hagel? And, in context, what ever happened to “balance of power” doctrine? For some reason Kissinger thought it remained the way to go–except where Israel was concerned.

    • JennieS
      February 8, 2013, 7:19 pm

      In a sense containment by the USSR also worked against the US. The US has become ever more enthusiastic about military actions since the demise of the USSR.

  4. Les
    February 8, 2013, 12:40 pm

    I suspect that Siegel as well failed to make clear that Iran is Israel’s enemy, not the US’s.

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 8, 2013, 2:22 pm

      Les, after all the garbage that the US has done to Iran in the last 70 years, I think it’s fair to say that Iran is the US’s enemy, thanks to the US’s own actions.

    • James Canning
      February 8, 2013, 2:29 pm

      Iran has indicated it will accept Israel within its pre-1967 borders, if the Palestinians do so.

      • Kathleen
        February 8, 2013, 6:23 pm

        Heard Ahmadinjad say this on Democracy Now and in another interview maybe with Leslie Stahl

  5. hughsansom
    February 8, 2013, 2:21 pm

    “If National Public Radio host wants to talk about going to war, he has an obligation to discuss deterrence as a policy alternative.”

    Not least because Siegel’s darling Israel is a leading example of a country using deterrence (among other things). As Kenneth Waltz (and many others) have noted, Iran wouldn’t directly attack Israel because of Israel’s capacity to retaliate massively. It is precisely because a nuclear-armed Iran would have a credible deterrent that the US and Israel are so determined to block proliferation there.

    • Kathleen
      February 8, 2013, 6:25 pm

      NPR is a leading example of a media outlet that has not been so subtle in its support of Israel no matter how many UN resolutions they are in violation of, no matter how many Palestinians Israel throws out of their homes, no matter how much Palestinian land Israel steals. NPR is there..got their back

  6. James Canning
    February 8, 2013, 2:27 pm

    The New York Times yesterday reported that the P5+1 (Six Powers) would accept Iranian enrichment of uranium to 5%. Iran has offered to suspend enrichment to 20%.

    I expected Khamenei to reject publicly the recent US offer to engage in direct negotiations with Iran.

    • Kathleen
      February 8, 2013, 6:26 pm

      We never really never hear that Iran has the legal right to enrich up to 20% as signatories to the NPT coming out of the main stream media. That would include NPR

  7. MHughes976
    February 8, 2013, 3:55 pm

    I note that Siegel says threat of force not force which is perhaps a tacit admission that force is a very difficult proposition. Even a fanatically Zionist US President would pause. The long years of empty threats from Israel must have had an anti-deterrent effect quite markedly.

  8. a blah chick
    February 8, 2013, 4:24 pm

    Does anyone at NPR know how Israel acquired ITS nuclear technology?

  9. American
    February 9, 2013, 9:32 am

    “Recently Kenneth Waltz argued that things would be stabler if Iran got a bomb. And Chomsky has argued for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. ”

    Should be one or the other.
    But Iran going nuclear has never been about Iran attacking Israel, it’s always been about Israel’s delusion of being the ME hegemon. ….little Satan assuming the Big Satan US’s hegemonic position. Domination and intimidation.

  10. James Canning
    February 9, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Actually, the original impetus for Israel’s development of nukes was to obtain a means of ensuring Arab armies could not conquer Israel without bringing catastrophe to their own countries.

    Clearly, there is no further need of nukes, for Israel.

  11. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    February 9, 2013, 3:32 pm

    First, nuclear weapons are a threat to life on the planet and therefore every nation has an obligation to seek their elimination. At a minimum, the five “legal” nuclear powers should sign a treaty forswearing first use.

    Second, in the absence of complete disarmament, every nation has a sovereign right to have the weapons it deems necessary for defense. If Iran withdraws from the NPT, then it has the same right to the weapons as does Israel.

    Third, a nuclear-armed Iran is preferable to a war with Iran.

    Fourth, protecting Israel’s nuclear monopoly over the Middle East is not worth the life of a single U.S. soldier, sailor or marine. Israel made a very fateful decision when it elected to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the region. They made their bed, now let them lie in it.

  12. James Canning
    February 9, 2013, 4:27 pm

    Surely it makes more sense for all countries to pressure Israel into getting rid of its nukes.

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