February 3, 2012
Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.--60 Minutes (5/12/96)
Sanctions are not a way to avoid war. They are an act of war. Most critically, they hurt civilians not the regime. Malnourished Iraqi children were featured in Bin Laden's recruitment videos. We trade with China. We've been trying to starve Castro out of power for 50 years. How's that working out for us?
1) Is Iran building a nuclear weapon? "The latest IAEA report confirmed â€“ as has every quarterly IAEA safeguards report on Iran for nearly a decade â€“ that the agency detected no diversion of nuclear material for military purposes, and that Iran's known nuclear facilities and uranium enrichment remain under strict IAEA watch.
Separately, two US National Intelligence Estimates on Iran, the latest in February 2011, have concluded that Iran halted weapons-related work in late 2003, and has so far neither resumed such work, nor made a decision to do so.
"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told CBS earlier this month.
2) What is the threat if they had nuclear weapon? Iran's has no weapons to deliver nuclear weapons to the US. There are 20,000+ nuclear weapons in the world most in US and Russia. Pakistan which harbored Bin Laden has over 100. If anyone would turn weapons over to terrorist it is them, but the rulers are not suicidal. Israel has over a few 100 nucs. A potential nuclear Iran with poor delivery mechanism has to be put in context. Unlike Iraq, Iran has not invaded anyone. The 9/11 attacks were by Sunni not Shia. Wealthy rulers are not suicidal, as any initiation of nuclear force clearly would be.
3)What is the best way to keep Iran from going nuclear? "President George W. Bush's administration concluded that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would be a bad idea -- and would only make it harder to prevent Iran from going nuclear in the future" http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/01/19/bush_s_cia_director_we_determined_attacking_iran_was_a_bad_idea Threats always promote nationalism, stifle dissent and strengthen leaders political power (see our post 9/11 response). We got Quadafi to give up his nuclear program and then helped overthrow him. We leave N Korea alone. Our actions are showing that a nuclear weapon is the best way to get left alone. Sanctions never work. While the rest of the world has seen communism fall, Castro has been in power for over 50 years. Sanctions help him divert blame from his own failed policies to us. Contrast change in the sanctioned countries of Cuba, North Korea and Iraq with how we've traded with Vietnam and China.
Take some time and look through my prior posts on Iran for more info.
Threats make good theater and help politicians get elected but the track record for trade and diplomacy is much better.
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