There has been a lot of talk in recent years about tension between the United States and Iran. This has mainly stemmed from concerns that American politicians have of Iran developing nuclear weapons. In 2008 Hillary Clinton stated, “Whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they may foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.” Similarly John McCain stated, “There’s a whole lot of things we can do before we seriously consider the military option. I still say there’s only one thing worse than military action against Iran and that is a nuclear-armed Iran.” While both Clinton and McCain always placed a higher priority on diplomacy, their pessimism was a clear indicator that they seriously believe that (1) Iran has or is developing nuclear weapons and (2) Iran is unlikely to hesitate in using its nuclear weapons. I believe I am justified in calling this warmongering. An Inspection of the Iranian nuclear program in 2007 indicated that development had halted in 2003 and had not started up again. A previous report also indicated that it would take Iran approximately 10 years to accumulate the materials necessary to produce a single nuclear weapon. Short story, Iran was probably not ready to arm itself.
McCain and Clinton were taking preventative measures for the most part. They are terrified of seeing the day Iran achieves nuclear armament and that is not a point I’m going to debate (it’s sensible) even though I don’t agree with them there. What I disagree with is creating a ton of hubub and international tension over something that seems to have finally fizzled out recently with a nuclear deal soon to be struck with Iran. Sometimes politicians forget about some of the implications of their actions and I would like to give them a personal dose of reality.
My best friend in the whole wide world is Persian and through her I have interacted with the Persian community within DC and her family. My friend and her parents are all US citizens, but they still have family living in Iran. When all the hypothetical talk about war was going on or military intervention, I just couldn’t help thinking about something. If the playful warmongering turned to mobilizing troops tomorrow, my friend’s mom would be buying plane tickets tomorrow to bring her parents and her siblings to the United States. Sometimes I feel that politicians forget they are holding people’s lives in their hands and there is more to foreign policy than diplomatic relations and treaties. I don’t want a nuclear war either, but due to the unlikeliness of that event, the sheer paranoia on the part of political leaders is somewhat frightening. Frightening because there are people I know living in that country right now, who are completely innocent, who have to flee or put their lives in danger. So to make such statements with little regard for the fear it strikes in some of the Iranian nationals is somewhat disappointing. I remember my friend becoming extremely concerned every time she watched the news because her family could be in danger.
If there was a serious nuclear threat and the United States needed to step in, I wouldn’t be writing this. However, someone needs to point out that statements about war and deployment of nuclear weapons needs to be taken more seriously. How would you like it if a senator gave a speech saying they were considering nuking your home town without concrete justification? Just the mention of such statements made some people like my friend’s grandparents leave the country for a bit until the warmongering died down. I don’t think McCain or Clinton realized that they could potentially change people’s lives by even mentioning war with another country. Regardless of war, the tension undeniably caused some people to travel elsewhere. I just don’t think that’s right given the realities of the situation.
I’m just glad that in the end sensibility ruled and there are negotiations being held right now.
I realize this is quite a touchy subject and I’m completely open to your opinions (rant away I’m listening). I’ll be the first to say that the Iranian government is super sketch, but that doesn’t mean all of their citizens are super sketch (from what I’ve heard many of them are quite normal). The tension preceding the negotiations definitely took a toll on the average Iranian citizen and it’s easy to forget that when you’re sitting in your chair and talking international relations. I just wish very serious threats weren’t thrown around as jokes or hypotheticals by politicians. Those jokes change lives.