“The true reason US fears Iranian nukes: they can deter US attacks” by Glenn Greenwald [Guardian]

2 October 2012

[Excerpted]

…[W]hat…is the real reason that so many people in both the US and Israeli governments are so desperate to stop Iranian [nuclear] proliferation?

Every now and then, they reveal the real reason: Iranian nuclear weapons would prevent the US from attacking Iran at will, and that is what is intolerable. The latest person to unwittingly reveal the real reason for viewing an Iranian nuclear capacity as unacceptable was GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the US’s most reliable and bloodthirsty warmongers.

On Monday, Graham spoke in North Augusta, South Carolina, and was asked about the way in which sanctions were harming ordinary Iranians…in the middle of his answer, he explained the real reason Iranian nuclear weapons should be feared:

“They have two goals: one, regime survival. The best way for the regime surviving, in their mind, is having a nuclear weapon, because when you have a nuclear weapon, nobody attacks you.”

Graham added that the second regime goal is “influence”, that “people listen to you” when you have a nuclear weapon. In other words, we cannot let Iran acquire nuclear weapons because if they get them, we can no longer attack them when we want to and can no longer bully them in their own region.

…the true threat of nuclear proliferation is that it can deter American aggression. Thomas Donnelly of the American Enterprise Institute and the New American Century Project has long been crystal clear that this is the real reason for opposing Iranian nuclear capability [my emphasis]:

“When their missiles are tipped with warheads carrying nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, even weak regional powers have a credible deterrent regardless of the balance of conventional forces … In the post cold war [sic] era, America and its allies, rather than the Soviet Union, have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North [sic] Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities.”

He added:

“The surest deterrent to American action is a functioning nuclear arsenal …

…In 2002, State Department official Philip Zelikow said that if Iraq were permitted to keep its WMDs, “they now can deter us from attacking them, because they really can retaliate against us…”

…The No 1 concern of American national security [sic] planners appears to be that countries may be able to prevent the US from attacking them at will, whether to change their regimes or achieve other objectives. In other words, Iranian nuclear weapons could be used to prevent wars – ones started by the US – and that, above all, is what we [sic] must fear…

…Whatever one thinks of Iran, the signal the US has sent to the world is unmistakable: any rational government should acquire nuclear weapons. The Iranians undoubtedly watched the US treatment of two dictators who gave up their quest for nuclear weapons – Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi – and drew the only reasoned lesson: the only way a country can protect itself from US attack, other than full-scale obeisance, is to acquire nuclear weapons. That is precisely why the US and Israel are so eager to ensure they do not.

Full article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/02/iran-nukes-deterrence?INTCMP=SRCH

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