Nuclear WeaponsAmerican policymakers believe that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons. Iran has been acquiring the raw materials, building the parts, and developing the expertise necessary to...

Nuclear Weapons

American policymakers believe that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons. Iran has been acquiring the raw materials, building the parts, and developing the expertise necessary to build nuclear weapons. Although the government of Iran insists that its only goal is the peaceful development of nuclear energy, the United States is skeptical because Iran is a major oil producer without the need of alternative energy sources. Furthermore, the Iranian government has generally failed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), denying it access to nuclear sites and refusing to answer questions about the suspected link between Iran’s nuclear program and the Iranian military.

How should the United States respond to this development? Should it respond militarily, diplomatically, or resign itself to a nuclear Iran?

Asked on by kguidry39

12 Answers | Add Yours

justaguide's profile pic

justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

We have to resign ourselves.

First, there's nothing that we can really do about it.  We have not really been able to keep any hostile country from becoming a nuclear power if it really wanted to (see North Korea).  We cannot invade Iran and diplomatic and economic sanctions rarely seem to work.

I think that we have to resign ourselves to a nuclear Iran (just as we have to a nuclear India, Pakistan, China, etc) and try to create a situation in which Iran is unlikely to want to use its nuclear weapons.

...resign ourselves to nuclear nations. Why does everyone here consider the US to be morally right in having thousands of nuclear weapons and all the other nations are committing a great crime by acquiring a few for themselves.

The US it seems is the most secure nation, one that can have all the weapons it desires but others shouldn't worry as it is the least hostile. For a nation that has participated in approximately the largest number of wars in the 20th century, for the only nation to have actually used nuclear weapons against another nation to make such claims seems absurd.

Why is the US the superior one and all other nations are given a second class status. Don't they have a right to defend themselves ... or is the situation so unfortunate that other than the US no other nation in the world has hostile neighbors.

Iran makes a nuclear weapon and the US should rush to do something; like the weapon is being made solely with the intent to destroy the US.

Of course, I can understand that most of the views expressed here are meant to reflect the patriotism for the US, but as educators shouldn't there be a little less of "THE US IS THE ONLY SUPERPOWER," attitude.

belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The biggest issue with a nuclear Iran is the stance they have taken on foreign policy in the last decade. Iran has made no effort to hide their virulent hatred of Western civilization. However, the United States is lower on their list. Their first target will be and always has been Israel, who in turn is shackled by the UN. Israel is not allowed, per public opinion and a constant barrage of misinformation, to take necessary steps to defend itself. Remember, if Iran makes good on their promise to "destroy the Little Satan," they will follow it up with the Big Satan: the United States.

With that said, I think the necessary solution is not ours to make, unless we are going to truly become the World Police. We cannot dictate policy and decisions to other nations unless we give our Republic over to the UN and become a One-World Government. Iran would have to make an overt attack on American soil before our entry into yet another unfunded war would be even remotely justified. Honestly, I see this as Israel's issue to solve. If they are willing to risk the UN's wrath and proactively ensure their safety, we will have less to worry about.

(Opinion Piece) --> http://www.fillmoregazette.com/front-page/iran-and-modern-day-nuclear-terrorist-threat

(eNotes wiki) --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_relations#Iranian_nuclear_program

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

We have to resign ourselves.

First, there's nothing that we can really do about it.  We have not really been able to keep any hostile country from becoming a nuclear power if it really wanted to (see North Korea).  We cannot invade Iran and diplomatic and economic sanctions rarely seem to work.

I think that we have to resign ourselves to a nuclear Iran (just as we have to a nuclear India, Pakistan, China, etc) and try to create a situation in which Iran is unlikely to want to use its nuclear weapons.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think that all of the posts have summed it up. Simplistically, the problem lies in trying to find a cut-and-dry answer to a question that is anything but cut-and-dry.

There is no right answer. All one can look at is what has happened in the past and apply to the current problem. No one, I hope, really wants war. Everyone loses.

There are problems with all of the options. I think the best way to answer the question is to look at what history has produced- too many cooks in the kitchen. Unfortunately, either way the US decides to go, people will disagree. Just a part of life.

jpope1's profile pic

Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Clearly it’s a complicated answer with no easy solutions. I believe there can be a non-militarily solution. Traditional routes of diplomacy may be difficult because of the uncompromising nature of Iran's leaders and its relative power within the region, but I think Iran's government is an unstable one and there exist a strong educated group of citizens seeking regime change. I think trying to exploit this political instability and facilitate a regime change is the best chance for a peaceful solution.

 

wannam's profile pic

wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

There is no right answer here. I agree with the above posts that diplomacy would be the best option, although it is likely to fail. Certainly, we can't sit by and watch. Doing nothing is not really a viable option. A military strategy is likely to be costly and devastating for both countries. I don't see there being any military action until there is some sort of provocation from Iran. The US has to consider the opininons of the rest of the world as well as its own agenda. Don't forget that the US does have an agenda here other than keeping world peace. As you pointed out, Iran is a major oil producer. The US needs their oil desperately. Of course, Iran needs the US money that purchases this oil as well. Right now, this situation is really headed for a stalemate.
brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

North Korea has almost no trade partners, a destitute economy, crop failures, annual starvation and the US did everything from sanctions, carrots and sticks and the six party talks to get them to stop developing nuclear weapons.  If it did not work to stop North Korea, what action could we take, short of military invasion, that would stop Iran?

We should make it as difficult as possible by organizing the world community against any sales to that country that might aid their program, but that likely will not be enough, and I don't think the US has the will power or the resources, financial or military, to invade.  Either another country acts (likely Israel, and still very risky), or Iran getting a nuclear bomb seems our only two options at this point.

A pro-Western, pro-democratic revolution in Iran wouldn't hurt, though I find that very unlikely in the near term.

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Doing nothing is the only option we do not have. Diplomacy is the best scenario, of course, but only if both sides are coming to the table in good faith--something which seems unlikely in this scenario. Military force is certainly something we have to be willing to use if we find we have to defend ourselves against the potential use of the weapons by Iran or other nations through Iran. In your list of choices, that only leaves resignation, which is no option at all. It will probably require a combination of several approaches to ensure our safety against a nuclear attack by Iran or anyone else to whom they sell or give the weapons.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As you can judge by the previous two posts, there is no easy solution to the Iran/nuclear weapons question. I certainly prefer the idea of solving the problem diplomatically, but our relationship with Iran is poor at best. Talking is probably not going to work. However, our recent military ventures into Iraq and Afghanistan have led to a devastated economy and reduced our friendly stature overseas. Yet another invasion of an Asian nation may be more disastrous than the previous ones.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree that we cannot stand back and do nothing.  We learned that with Hitler.  On the other hand, we learned with Iraq that we should not act too hastily.  We need good intelligence, and should not make decisions based on our emotions alone.

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Under no circumstances should the U.S. resign itself to a nuclear Iran. There is already the danger that North Korea, which may or may not be a nuclear power, may sell nuclear devices to Al Quaida or some other such terrorist group who would have no qualms about using it. North Korea would do so for money; Iran might do so simply for ideological reasons: avoid using them itself, but profiting from them and harming its enemies along the way.

A diplomatic solution is probably best, but it would require the cooperation of Iran, which is not likely. That being the case, the U.S. should keep the miliatry option available on a stand by basis.

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