Do not let Hollywood’s obsession with the Mayan calendar take your attention away from the apocalypse currently brewing in the Middle East. For years, the elephant in the room of international politics has been Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
The Iranian government says it is only developing nuclear power and medicine, not nuclear warheads. The country also is allowing International Atomic Energy Commission inspectors into its nuclear facilities.
However, those reassurances have not held up in Israel, and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes it is likely that the Jewish state will strike Iran sometime this summer in an effort to destroy the country’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
The Iranian Ayatollah, Ali Khamenei, said an Israeli attack would be “detrimental to the U.S.”
Paying attention yet? Two countries halfway around the world are willing to start a nuclear war over conflicting claims to 50 square miles of Mediterranean dirt. That ought to raise your eyebrows.
But how did this all begin? I will give you a brief history.
In the late 19th century, a Jewish nationalist ideology began to develop. Beginning with a man named Theodor Herzl, Jews began to feel that the only way to ensure their livelihood was to come together as a nation, not as a religious community, and establish the state of Israel.
The ideology became known as Zionism. And although it was prevalent for years before “Nazi” was a word, Adolf Hitler pretty well assured that Jews around the world would demand the creation of an independent Jewish state.
Zionists got their wish on May 14, 1948, after a series of debates in the U.N. when Israel was declared an independent state. War broke out the next day.
The quick story is that Arab nations fought the Israelis and won a majority of the battles until the Six-Day War in 1967.
Because that war was so swift and resulted in an Israeli victory, many Jews believed it was a sign that God was now on the side of Zionism and would soon send his Messiah. Forgive my own personal skepticism, but this belief has led just about every Jew and even many Christians to support Zionism.
Most Arab nations, including Iran, support the Palestinians, who feel the Zionist Israelis stole their land in the first place. The U.S., however, has been on the side of Israel from the beginning. President Barack Obama said in his most recent State of the Union address that we have an “ironclad commitment” to Israel in this affair.
TCU political science professor Manochehr Dorraj said he believed history showed that nations like Iran did not want to acquire nuclear technology because they intended to use it.
“Israel and the U.S. have thousands of nuclear weapons,” he said, “so it would be suicidal for Iran to bomb Israel.”
Dorraj said that Iran has seen its neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, invaded when they did not have nuclear capabilities. Conversely, North Korea is also known to have nuclear weapons, so no country would ever consider invading it.
In Dorraj’s opinion, Iran wants to have nuclear capabilities like Japan — that they could weaponize in about a month, should they need to — so they will have greater leverage in international relations.
This is an unfortunate situation for Americans, like myself, who somewhat believe the only land worth fighting over is somewhere in Texas. I am afraid that, if we don’t prevent World War III, it will begin the way WWII ended.
Though nuclear power and medicine would be good for Iran, nothing good can come from the current Iranian theocracy having nuclear capabilities.
America does not have a choice but to support Israel; it has nuclear weapons, and it is not wise to make an enemy of countries that carry really big, really hot and really deadly sticks. We do not need the same situation with Iran.
Iran has multiple human rights violations, and we do not need to be forced to negotiate with evil regimes just because they have powerful weapons. Imagine how differently WWII would have ended if Hitler beat America to nuclear capability. We cannot allow ourselves to lose bargaining power to a theocracy with a proven track record of inhumane wrongdoing.
However, the Obama administration should also continue to clamp down on Israel’s expansionist war efforts in the Middle East. Israel is bigger than it ever should have been, and further efforts to take land from Palestinians will only deteriorate peace efforts.
David Shaver is a sophomore journalism major from Canyon.