Feature

Iran: Moving toward ‘a Final Solution’?

While Iran builds nukes, said The New York Times in an editorial, the world is asleep at the switch. Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country would add 6,000 new centrifuges to its main uranium enrichment complex. This would tri

While Iran builds nukes, said The New York Times in an editorial, the world is asleep at the switch. Last week, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country would add 6,000 new centrifuges to its main uranium enrichment complex. This would triple the size of Iran’s nuclear fuel program, and greatly accelerate its progress toward building a bomb. Yet this appalling news caused “barely a diplomatic ripple,” signaling that the major powers have become “dangerously comfortable” with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. If President Bush is serious about keeping nuclear weapons out of this rogue regime’s hands, he’d better respond with something other than mere “bluster.” It’s time for the major Western powers, along with China and Russia, to impose new economic sanctions “with a lot more bite,” along with “a serious set of incentives to bring Iran in from the cold.”

It’s too late for sanctions and warnings, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. Iran has already scoffed at scores of them, while demonstrating its contempt for the rules of the civilized world. When it does build a bomb, it will still lack intercontinental missiles, so its only possible target will be Israel. That leaves the president with one option. Call it “the Holocaust Declaration.” The U.S. should formally announce that we’d regard any nuclear attack upon our ally, Israel, as an attack upon us, “requiring a full retaliatory response upon Iran.” The “apocalyptic” Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly threatened Israel with annihilation, may not be deterred by such a statement of mutually assured destruction—but the country’s more rational leaders and citizens would be. America has little to lose with such a commitment, and everything to gain: Preventing another Holocaust among “an ancient people openly threatened with the Final Solution.”

“Who says Iran has any intention of nuking Israel?” said Joe Klein in Time. The mullahs who actually call the shots in Tehran aren’t crazy; they want a bomb primarily to deter a nuclear attack by their main enemies, Israel and the U.S. Besides, said Zev Chafets in The New York Times, Israel has its own nuclear arsenal. Even without the promise of a U.S. response, Tehran must know that any attack that killed, say, 100,000 Israelis would yield a counterattack that would turn Iran into a radioactive cinder. It’s simply unnecessary, and unwise, for Israel to rely so heavily on America to protect it from Iran. As Israelis learned a long time ago, if they want to continue to exist, they can count only on one group of people: themselves.

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