In my current blog, How the US brought the Middle East to the brink of Armageddon, a reader criticized me for, to his understanding, me demanding the US go to war with Iran. I do make the case that the United States is responsible for the current shambles the region finds itself today and make that case again in the words below. But what my reader failed to read was my suggestion that a diplomacy without teeth is unlikely to achieve the minimum agreement with Iran to calm the fears likely to result in a nuclear arms race. As flavor to Richard’s challenge which inspired my response which appears complete below:

Just don’t drag America into a war with another Islamic country that will end more disastrously than the previous ones. Can you blame the Iranians for wanting a nuke? Look what happened to Qaddafi when he gave up his program, Israel and the US are allies…”

I appreciate you explaining yourself more fully, Richard. Israel as the “Zionist experiment,” as you refer to it certainly provides some depth to understanding your ideological commitments. Still, I think you fail to think through the ramifications to your position. But let me start by where we agree. I addressed the issue of US diplomacy and military having failed miserably post 9-11. Have described, also in this article, successive Defense Secretaries and Military Chairmen JCC’s find implausible excuses for avoiding, as you put it, “that will end more disastrously than the previous ones.”

But after this important observation I feel you enter territory more ideological than factual. Pakistan, I agree, is a nuclear state in chaos and that more likely than a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan more likely explains that second mismanaged war and its aftermath. As for the Saudis, certainly not a liberal democracy according to America’s home-grown gospel, but fairly stable and the principal Sunni barrier to Iran west of the Gulf. And so an important player in the West’s post-9-11 “War on Terror.”

Your promotion of Iran, Richard, I find puzzling even from your own ideological position. A few years ago its then president described Iran as inviting a war which ending in, as you so succinctly put it, “ashes,” because that would, as my use of Armageddon in the title to my article, herald the Return of the 12th Imam and the ultimate victory of Allah and global peace in the Islamic “Kingdom of God” its result. That Iran is reported by American intelligence to be the primary sponsor of global terrorism seems not to enter your calculus. Neither the fact that a “nuclear Iran” would set off a nuclear arms race in this tinderbox region of religion-driven rivalries. Nor do you seem to appreciate that a nuclear Iran, already funding global terror would, by its nuclear status pose an even greater threat to the West, its primary outside enemy. And if 9-11 was scary, consider a suitcase bomb detonated in London, Madrid or Paris; Wall Street, or the Capital building.

And let’s say for the moment that Russia (yes, Russia is inheriting the region by US default) can contain this nettlesome problem of a nuclear Iran and a very unstable Arab world; where does that leave America? Indeed, where is American standing today as “the world’s only superpower”? And what consequences for an America once again in isolation, protected by two oceans as before WWI. Except Iran already trumpets a ballistic missile program, has apparently successfully launched one, possibly two space satellites demonstrating capability to eventually deliver a nuclear-tipped warhead anywhere in the world thereby calling forth their 12th Imam?

Richard, I appreciate your “heart” in asking, “who wants to live on a planet engulfed in radioactive ash?” I grew up under the threat of mushroom cloud, taking “shelter in grade school under my desk. Asking myself if I really wanted to bring children into this world that appeared on the verge of a Nuclear Winter. But next to what you propose, America allowing the Iranian Bomb triggering a nuclear arms race: the US-Soviet Cold War, in comparison, sounds well-controlled and almost rational.

And finally, I wrote that the present much heightened instability of the region is the direct result of decisions made in Washington since a reckless Bush presidency followed by an equally dangerous naive Obama presidency. Even beyond legal agreements since the 1950′s to protect and defend, America’s much vaunted “nuclear umbrella” with the Saudis and Israel, Since the US is largely responsible for creating the present state of regional disaster (regime change in Iraq, Libya, Egypt; Syria in free-fall!) certainly you must feel some moral obligation by the creator of the disaster at least not to abandon that which it created?

Iran is the match that lights the fuse. Chamberlain’s naive “peace in our time” will fade as avoidance and appeasement leading to disaster next to an Obama “peace at any cost.”