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President Obama: "I firmly believe that an opportunity still remains for diplomacy..."
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President Obamba "...we put forward a very clear choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations..."
Photo by RH


Raymond Hall

Confronting Iran

Houston, We Have a Problem

Raymond Hall, March 26, 2012

 Iran's continuing development of nuclear weapons capability, in direct contravention of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and United Nations Security Council Resolutions presents a real and existential threat to not only Israel, but to the entire Western World.  Attempts to dissuade Iran from continuing its pursuit of nuclear armament have all apparently failed, despite the efforts of both the United States and the European nations, with the clock  close to running out.

This article provides a review of the Iranian nuclear threat from a historical and analytical, decision-making perspective.  It criticizes the efforts at resolutions made so far, and provides a theoretical framework for addressing the core issue in a timely manner.

Decision making is rarely non-controversial.  Usually, the more there is at stake, the greater the number of conflicting opinions put forward to resolve problems arising from the issue. This is especially true in the case of international arms development, and nowhere moreso than in the nuclear arms race, where the United Nations and its component agencies are empowered to supervise conflicting national aspirations without any inherent power to enforce alternative forms of conflict resolution.

With evidence that Iran is flagrantly in violation of the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the 1974 Safeguards Agreement mandating report of any processing and use of nuclear material and several United Nations Security Council Resolutions, what decision making process should nations use in order to effectively persuade Iran to halt its nuclear weapon development program and comply with its international obligations?

Flawed decision analysis is invariably at least one of the major components of every war, large or small, and experience in flawed decision making appears to provide little immunity from repeating the same errors in succeeding conflicts. Nations do not always learn from their mistakes.

Nations both large and small, with their cadre of skilled and experienced diplomatic, military and political human resources combined with their innate knowledge of their own political history are not immune from making simple, fundamental decision errors that can lead to disastrous consequences, often as a result of their failure to adequately identify the root cause of a problem, or as a result of erroneous assumptions regarding their adversaries. My misgivings in that regard resurfaced most recently at the AIPAC Conference held in Washington, D.C. March 4th to 6th.

I was reminded of the words of former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold when President Obama, in his address on Sunday, March 4th, stated, “…from my very first months in office, we put forward a very clear choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations, or a path that leads to an escalating series of consequences if they don’t…” and later, “Of course, so long as Iran fails to meet its obligations, this problem remains unresolved. The effective implementation of our policy is not enough – we must accomplish our objective. And in that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity still remains for diplomacy – backed by pressure – to succeed.”

In his book, The Rise of Nuclear Iran, Ambassador Gold painstakingly documented a litany of verified facts as well as admission after admission from senior members of the Iranian regime displaying not only their violation of several treaties and six separate U.N. Security Council resolutions but also their outright contempt for the community of nations to which President Obama refers. Gold also identified and tracked the Iranian regime's now 30-year single-minded focus on strengthening the power and the authority of its own regime, at any cost, within the hegemony of the Middle East and beyond. 

In the chapter entitled, “Where did the West Go Wrong?” Ambassador Gold states,

“If there is a core error that repeated itself over the years, it was the tendency to underestimate the true hostile intentions of Iran’s revolutionary regime.
“[S]uccessive U.S. administrations have totally misread Iran’s revolutionary leadership, underestimating the deep enmity of the Iranian regime and its uncompromising commitment to its confrontational revolutionary ideology.”
The errors in acknowledging, gauging and reconciling Iran’s continued refusal to compromise or change its unswerving path toward nuclear domination of the Middle East are not limited to the United States. For over two decades, the European Union has also unsuccessfully attempted to resolve the nuclear impasse between Iran and the Western World through an inherent belief in the use of diplomacy and negotiation and by entering into signed treaties or agreements that were invariably disregarded or openly disavowed by the Iranian regime shortly after the documents were executed. Many of these breaches led to offers of additional economic inducements from the European community, which led in turn to further agreements, and then to further breaches.
Given the incontrovertible evidence of the seriousness of the Iranian nuclear ambitions, these “diplomatic failures” by now ought to have given rise to several fundamental questions regarding the underlying assumptions made and the decision analysis methodology used by the West in its approach to avoiding the potential consequences of a nuclear-armed Iranian state, before the current problem changes from one of preventing nuclear warhead development to one of nuclear warhead containment. Apparently, that has not yet happened.
At AIPAC, President Obama stated, “Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
That statement obviously makes for good feelings, especially when it is made to over 13,000 supporters of Israel who, without doubt, carry immense influence in the U.S. Congress and the Senate, and whose constituency could make a substantial difference in the outcome of the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. But how effective is a policy that is not implemented with any effective deadline for achieving its objective, or that allows repeated failures of the Iranian regime to respond to the policy’s initiative to be met with further offers to engage in more negotiation, while the Iranian nuclear development program proc
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